WHERE TO SHOP: HOLIDAY PARTY EDITION

If you’re looking for something to wear on Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or anything in between, you can always fall back on the old standbys: H&M and Zara. But if the Summer of the Isabel Marant x H&M Dress taught us anything, it’s that when an entire city relies on the same two shops, we quickly meld into a faceless mass of trendy, budget-conscious clones. Rather than show up on someone’s mental “who wore it better” list, broaden your horizons with three alternatives.

ASOS 2

ASOS
You’re cutting it close with timing, but you’ve still got five days (until December 16) for holiday delivery – if you’re willing to pay for express shipping. Given the prices of most ASOS dresses, it may be worth the additional cost.

I haven’t had any issues with packages delivered to a solid address (say, an office rather than a vague home address), and most arrive within a few days of the estimated delivery date. I’ve also never heard of anyone ordering from ASOS being charged any sort of Lebanese taxes or import fees – the total you see on the screen is what you pay. The only drawback is that returns seem like a major, and pricey, hassle. Stick to pieces you’re confident will fit, like dresses or sweaters, rather than trickier items like pants or shoes.
asos.com

RAGHUNTERRaghunter

Raghunter is the answer to a mall-aphobe’s prayers, especially when it comes to shoes and accessories. The style search engine pulls items from dozens of stores in Beirut and organizes them by category. Search by key word, product type, price, season or store and then click on the item you’re eyeing. A page will appear with the stockist, store hours and phone number. You can’t order directly through Raghunter, but you can call the store and see if they’ll hold the item for you. A major time-saver when Beirut traffic is at its holiday worst.
raghunter.com

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The Outlet

Aïshti’s best-kept secret is The Outlet, a place where clothes, shoes and accessories from previous seasons make a last-ditch effort to find homes. The luxury department store’s outlet is admittedly hit or miss, but if you’ve got the time to sift through racks, you will often be rewarded. Brands include Saint Laurent, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Burberry (above, in Aïshti) and a roster of other Fashion Week regulars, starting at around 60% off. If you’re really patient – or have nowhere fancy to be until 2015 – the entire store goes up to an additional 70% off sometime in January.
aishti.com, Tabaris, 01.200.865

Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, Asos, Raghunter and Rag Mag.

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