I came, I saw, but I didn’t conquer.

Believe it or not, I hate shopping.

Sifting through hundreds of items of clothing..having to wait in line for the fitting room only to realize that you’ve gained a couple of pounds and chose all of the wrong sizes..having to repeat the process over and over again.. and then end up buying a scarf, during summer.

I mean really!  Who has the time for it?

But after wearing the same thing for 6 months, I could no longer stay away..so, last night at 8 pm, I decided to make my way from my apartment to Hamra main street to see if I could find anything suitable for work..I only intended on staying in Lebanon for a month when I landed here December 29th of last year..so as you can imagine, I didn’t bring anything suitable for work..

As I passed El Dorado, I remembered that someone had told me that it’s a good place to find discount merchandise from H&M and Zara, but judging from the window merchandising, I wasn’t so sure..

El Dorado Hamra

El Dorado Hamra

I decided to give it a go..


My friend lied.

I didn’t find H&M or Zara, but I found the brand Blind Date Casual by Mister Lady! Believe it or not, I ended up buying the shirt.  I have been looking for a plain white v-neck for ages, and couldn’t find one anywhere..Then I remembered that I was in Lebanon.

Lebanese don’t do plain.

El Dorado Hamra

Yes,,do you have the brand "Blind Date Casual by Mister Lady?"

I then made my way to H&M..where I wish, just for friggin’ once..they would have normal, simple clothing!  Stripes, patterns, glitter, beads, ruffles, frills..you name it..their stuff is just TACKY..all of the time!

H&M Hamra

Enough with the patterns already..

Empty handed, I made my way to Vero Moda..where they had “Crazy Offer” signs like this one all over the place..So the overall effect, was, well kind of bizarre.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but visual merchandising isn’t strong in Lebanon – at least not in the three stores I visited last night..

Vero Moda Lebanon

Too bad the "Crazy Offer" was not enough for me to want to buy anything..

All of this to say..I came, I saw, but I didn’t conquer…and trust me, I’ve been everywhere..Hamra..City Mall, Le Mall, Beirut Souks..you name it.  I’ve even been to Souk el Ahad! And I always home come home exhausted, frustrated, and empty handed!

I guess I’ll have to wear the same clothes I’ve been wearing for six months for another six weeks, which is when I’ll be going back home.  Only for vacation, don’t worry!  I’ll be back! 😉

Don’t mean to sound like an obnoxious American..but I kind of do miss the malls and shopping options we have back home..if I could only find clothes that 1. are decent 2. fit well and 3. and aren’t too expensive, I’d happily spend my money in Lebanon..

Until then, I’ll have to wait until I hit Miami.


Filed under life in Lebanon

28 responses to “I came, I saw, but I didn’t conquer.

  1. Hehehe! I hate shopping too, but El Dorado is an experience. I used to love going downstairs and trying to find something special. You can do wonders with a plain white v-neck. Get it!!! And look well at H&M, there’s usually a hidden gem. Good luck 🙂

    • meinlebanon

      It really is an experience! The place is as big as a bomb shelter! It just kept on going down, and down, and down..I couldn’t believe the amount of junk they have though! Who buys that crap! Well, me obviously, and my Mister Lady tee shirts lol

  2. I can’t stand shopping .

    Fortunately my wife loves to shop. So I assign her on scouting trips.

    When she finds things I might like, she will put them in a mental note, and then we go together on an ‘efficient’ trip and I pick the ones I like..

  3. I’m not much of a reference on shopping, but essentially all the malls have pretty much the same stores, so I get your frustration.
    You should consider going to the Jal El Dib (or was it Zalka) shopping street. It goes parallel to the highway on the inner streets, there are lots of quirky shops there, and some of them are incredibly cheap.

    As for H&M, I have to defend the stripes, this is Swedish fashion, and it’s timeless. Pretty much every girl here wears that stuff at least once a week, and it looks incredibly cute. But yeah I have to admit some of the stuff you find in H&M Lebanon are incredibly tacky, look like they’re designed for our dear tourists 🙂

    • meinlebanon

      Hmm, your the second person to say Zalka..I’ll check it out! As for the H&M, I stand by what I said earlier..their stuff is TACKY. You only H&M because you like Swedish girls.. lol 😉

    • meinlebanon

      I will try Zalka street! Thanks for the recommendation, and the cute story!

      • f

        zalka street is mostly shoes… it is amazing for that though.

        for cheap clothes, try rue arax in bourj hammoud.

      • meinlebanon

        I want good quality clothes, that will last..without costing me an arm and a leg you know? I have enough shoes, what I really need is clothes. Thanks for the recommendations!

      • f

        hi again danielle,

        it doesn’t help that a fair number of int’l brands sell a poorer quality product in lebanon (i’m looking at you, vero moda!). but yeah — bourj hammoud stuff is going to 1) fall apart instantly and 2) be even more over-the-top than the stuff you’re seeing in beirut. it’s a fun afternoon though (just don’t go there, or zalka, on a sunday obviously).

        my best advice would be to take advantage of the amazing sales (which should actually be right about now?), especially if you don’t really enjoy shopping… stock up to last until the next round of sales in january 🙂

  4. Sis, is that you? LOL. I could swear my sister wrote this post. She’s also American and she says the exact same thing. She waits till she goes to the US to do clothes shopping for her and for her kids.

    I can’t stand shopping as well. I don’t understand how some guys love it. Thank god for my old and durable pairs of jeans.

  5. jennifer

    shopping at eldorado is fun i tried that once hehehe i picked the craziest outfits i could find and started trying them on with my friend and taking pictures hihihihi
    i love shopping but yeah sometimes it is frustrating all stores almost have the same stuff and everybody wears the same stuff you should try zalka street it has some small shops that have unordinary outfits

  6. Dar El Akhdar

    Thank God you didn’t bump into some ABIBAS sportswear
    – coz I once did! 😀

    I’m usually a sucker for Massimo Dutti (Verdun) – I’m pretty sure their women clothing line is as classy as its men counterpart

    You can also find a few catches in Zara (Verdun – Concorde)

    But it’ll always feel like an investment when buying clothes in Lebanon – after all, being stylish is a business in itself here 😉

    • meinlebanon

      That’s absolutely right! I really do like Massimo Dutti’s clothes…but, as I’m sure you know, its quite expensive..an investment as you say! And frankly, I don’t want to “invest” in clothing!

  7. You’d be surprised to learn that a lot of people from neighboring Arab countries flock to Lebanon to do their shopping. #justsaying

  8. I really can’t stand what’s out there these days. You’re so right about H&M. Their clothes are incredibly tacky and cheap even (material-wise). I’m so disappointed in the fashion this summer.

  9. Oh yes, shopping is frustrating. I hate it and especially in shops like Eldorado and Akil (too much patterns, too much colors, no oxygen) I get dizzy and sick in such places, seriously. Zalka is a good place for shopping, or just search for stores that sell “Mitsy” and “Intuition”. My Mom used to sew my clothes, you know: I choose the color, the style, the pattern, and it just fits me well; but 3 years ago when she gave birth to triplets, my only solution was shopping, and I don’t find what I’m looking for, so I just stick to what I have trying not to wear the same shirt with the same skirt, and accessorize 🙂

    • meinlebanon

      Your Mom used to sew your clothes? You had a fulltime seamstress? How nice!! Yes, you are the third person to mention Zalka, I will have to give it a try! I will update you on my results, I really do hope to find something. What is it like having triplets as siblings? You must’ve had to help a lot!

  10. Shopping in Lebanon is a nightmare. My only advice, dig beneath the clutter and the surface. It is time consuming and depending on your luck, you will end up finding something that u will find acceptable

    • meinlebanon

      Dig beneath the clutter? ughhh..do I have to? haha..I think I have no choice but to wait until I go back to Miami, or wait for next season!

  11. Okay so this is the first time I read your blogs…. I have to say that I spent a full day at the office reading all of them …. well and forwarding some of them to our customer care department!! You wrote reviews on some of the restaurants that we manage (Napoletana, The Met, Scoozi) and they were pretty interesting especially from a nutral/fun point of view !!!

    Hope your loving your stay so far in Lebanon…. I can tell that it has been pretty adventurous so far!!

    Cheers 😉

    • meinlebanon

      Indeed it has been very adventurous, and I’m happy to read that someone finds my restaurant reviews of value. Some of my readers got annoyed that I wrote so much about my culinary adventures, but for the most part, the food in Lebanon is superb! Some of the restaurants you manage huh? Well then you will know that I love Napoletana, I like Scoozi, and I think the Met could be better. 😉 I hope that you continue to read my blog and find it entertaining!

      Thanks, Dani..

  12. f

    ahh, the plain clothes dilemma! the lebanese have never met a rhinestone they didn’t like.

    zara and especially mango are both solid bets as they have good ‘basic’ lines all year round — useful for plain tshirts, camisoles, tank tops etc. though if memory serves mango ABC had a much better collection than verdun.

    i used to buy my staples at mexx ABC, but then it turned into a hugo boss 😦 booo. there’s still a mexx at city mall though i believe.

  13. Can’t stand shopping either…in one simple go I get all I need for a full season…or more!

    I’ve been postponing buying new shoes for a while now…still waiting for things to get urgent though…I have no patience for it

  14. It is a dilemma. I try to avoid shopping in Zara, Mango, Vero Moda, H&M, Pull and Bear unless I am abroad; they tend to have more options.

    Because shopping here is problematic (you either end up bumping into a girl with the same dress or you are banished forever into the netherzone if your tag is showing something other than high street fashion or designer labels), I changed my attitude towards clothes. Having lived in Dubai, it was hard.

    Apart from staples, clothes should last you for years, fit you well and be original (relatively speaking). Hence, two choices: either find yourself a good tailor and help the local economy rather than faceless corporations or save up for something that you really need and that flatters you like no other. If I’m not sure about it, I don’t buy it.

    It is SALE season, and even though I haven’t been out shopping in ages, I think it’s the start of the 70%. True, you’ll really have to scour, but…

    ABC Achrafieh has some cool labels in their department store, such as Kookai, Sandro, Agnes B.

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