Secrets of the Shopping Experts

No one knows how to go on a spree better than the retail professionals. Here, the best in the UAE tell us how to spend in style
Thursday , 14 April 2011
Secrets of the Shopping Experts

Buy LBDs in bulk

When you attend a black-tie event, no fashion faux pas is allowed. A lady should always have a few stylish LBDs to choose from, so make sure you invest in a couple of classic black gowns. You can’t go wrong with something from evening geniuses like Elie Saab, Carolina Herrera or Collette Dinnigan. Souraya Alahmar, portfolio manager for Boutique 1 (

Out with the new, in with the old

Timeless classics are always the best type of buy, so I like to shop in vintage stores. I recently brought a stunning Thierry Mugler jacket from Garderobe ( in Umm Suqeim. The thing I love most about buying vintage is that there’s a little history to the piece. Rima Zahran, co-owner of Dinz (

Don’t wait for an occasion

If you see something you love, just buy it. The opportunity to wear it will arise and because it’s hanging neatly in your wardrobe, you won’t be forced into one of those knee-jerk buy situations the day before a party. Melina Mitra, brand manager for s*uce (

Don’t be seduced by sales

I always make a list of what I need before I hit the sales, because you can get carried away by the promise of a bargain. Once the sales signs surround you and the instore music is pumping, you can suddenly find yourself making vague purchases, ‘because they’re cheap’. A mental run-through of your ‘needs list’ will help you know whether leopard-print leggings are actually a good buy (whether it’s 80 per cent off or not). Kirsten Doak, VIVA fashion stylist.

Accessorise yourself

I make a point of stocking up on accessories, because regardless of the season, they are the pièce de résistance of any outfit. From handbags and shoes to costume jewellery, scarves and hats, it’s the finishing touch to your look, so don’t neglect it. Hala Eid, personal shopper for Harvey Nichols (

Be prepared

If you have a difficult fashion piece that you can’t match anything with, take it with you when you next hit the shops. If it’s right there, you’ll have a much easier time finding something to go with it. Hussein Abbas, personal shopper for Bloomingdale’s (

Diversify your wardrobe

I have a soft spot for beige cardigans and, as a result, I’ve way too many in my wardrobe. A lot of people tend to fall into the trap of buying similar items because they suit them. That’s fine, but it’s also good to mix it up. This season, I’m going to diversify! Jil Sanders, personal shopper for Saks Fifth Avenue (

Try before you buy

When I’m in a hurry, I often feel the urge to buy an outfit without trying it on. It’s easy to be swayed when you see something in the shop window that looks amazing on a mannequin. But you absolutely must make sure it’s a look that works for you before you produce your credit card. If you get home and realise it’s not your thing, the piece will sit in your closet collecting dust. Bedour Al Bin Ali, brand manager for TopShop (

Spend a little more

It seems the older I get, the less interested I am in a quick fashion fix – here today, fallen apart tomorrow. It’s been a hard rule to follow for a self-confessed shopaholic, but these days I’m more inclined to spend that little bit extra on pieces that stand the test of time. I’m still a bargain hunter at heart, but I’ve learned to tone it down, so that I’m adding iconic clothes and accessories to my fashion collection, rather than one-hit wonders. Ruth Bradley, head of PR for Louis Vuitton (

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