Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Girl's Guide to Tznius Shopping in Jerusalem

Warning: Men should stop reading this right about now.

So you're in Jerusalem, the holy city. And you want to be holy, and dress modestly. But you don't want to look holy. You want to look good.

Never fear. I'm a secret Shopaholic. And arriving home loaded with shopping bags tonight, I suddenly felt like sharing my accrued wisdom with the world. This is going to be an exceedingly shallow post. 100% Chitzoniyus and Gashmiyut. My only defence is that a girl in Shidduchim has got to be well dressed!

Frum stores
I'm not so into shopping at Frum stores. Something about the idea of being dressed exactly the same as every girl in Bnai Brak and Sanhedria Murchevet gives me the shivers.

But if you're aiming for a Frum-yet-classy look for a Simcha, where you want Tante Baila to approve of you and suggest a fine Bochur for a Shidduch, then check out One-of-a-Kind (Location: Go down Rechov Haturim, which is off Malchei Yisroel, and then turn either left or right, I don't remember. It's on a small street that runs parallel to Malchei Yisroel)

And for an – I-may-be-an-old-maid-but-I-can-still-be-the-best-dressed-girl-at-this-wedding, look, there's a Frum designer called Shoshi Yogodayov. She's a bit-over-the-top, but much more original and glamorous than anything else you'll find in the Meah Shearim. The prices are crazy, wait for the end-of-season sales.
(Location: Go up the stairs of a building next to Noam Hafakot on Malchei Yisroel)

International Brands
Zara is the basic staple of most 'Yerushalmi' girl's wardbrobes. (Yerushalmi doesn't mean Chasidic from the Meah Shearim, but rather Boro-Park wannabes.) To go with the head bump comes the Zara pencil Skirt. Arab women also love Zara, so shoppers are guaranteed to have their heads covered one way or another.
(Location: Malcha Mall. There's one scheduled to open in Mamilla soon, and then 'there won't be a reason to go to the mall anymore.')

Mango also has a good skirt selection, their short ones are usually too short, but they have some long ones too. And I like their sweaters and tops.
(Location: Mamilla.)

Hold on a second, what about the Gap? Gap is a huge disappointment to all of us Israelis who were counting the days till it opened. American fashion simply does not work in Israel. Take the 'boyfriend shirt' – no secular Israeli is going to wear a huge baggy plaid button down shirt- that's what religious people wear! And no religious girl is going to wear it, because it's too baggy even for her, and besides, it only looks good over jeans, with half the buttons undone. The store is usually half empty, people flick through the racks and leave empty handed, the cash registers are desolate.
(Location: Mamilla, in the indoor building.)

Israeli Brands-
I popped into Mekimi once when I was waiting in Center1, and emerged an hour later with three skirts. They are specially for the religious public, but manage to stay fun and colorful.
(Location: Center1, Mamilla.)

Most Israeli chains cater for the non religious public, which let's just say is a lot less conservative than your average Frum girl. Also their prices are almost as high as Zara/Mango, but the quality usually isn't as good. But some places worth trying are:

Lord Kitch – they used to sell just T-shirts, then got so popular with the religious crowd who flocked there for their high necked 3/4 sleeved ones, that they branched into a whole range of clothing.
(Location: Malcha, Mamilla, two stores in town.)

Golf- Not that much to say about it. It's pretty Blah, but sometimes has pretty stuff.(Location: Tachana Mercazit, town (top of Ben Yehuda), Malcha)

Fox – Itsy bitsy handfuls of fabric in summer, but they stock cute sweaters in winter.
Local designer stores are Jerusalem's best kept secret. Start off at Betzalel street, and walk down towards King George street, you'll pass a couple of rows of them. Some are more expensive than others. I love the fact that their stuff is pretty unique, yet avoids the typical Israeli-Designer style of vast gray sacks with colored patches randomly sewn on, and asymmetrical hems.

My favorite store is Chumi, on Betzalel 10. They have a collection of Tznius clothes from a bunch of Israeli designers, and have an impressive selection. What sucks is they almost never have sales.

Also I recently discovered Naama Betzalel. Her style is the classic 40s-50s look. There's a store on King George, near Hamashbir, and a "Odafim" store opposite, where they stock leftovers from the last seasons at half the price. That's where the skirt I bought tonight is from :-)

So that's it for tonight. Any questions? Any tips? Places to add?

And yeah I realise this blog post totally ignores the fact that 90% of my readers are located in the States, and not in Jerusalem. Save this list for when you make Aliyah.


  1. FNF I always assumed you lived in the US before making Aliyah, but your spelling of "defence" and "realise" make me reconsider my assumption. Are you from the UK?

  2. This post reminds of the rare shopping spree I used to treat myself to in seminary. Good, good times :) I didn't find Golf so blah. I found some really fine, classy stuff there. I'm sorry to hear The Gap has been a disappointment. It's one of my staple stores here in the US...when I have a gift card. Okay, I've had my gashimus rant for the week. Over and out.

  3. I'm totally not a fan of Gap either. Their sweatshirts are really comfortable, and I got a sweater there like, once.

    You guys really don't have any other American companies? No Macy's with their lovely 75% off rack? That's 95% of my wardrobe.

  4. Why should men stop reading? Because it is boring or because for some reason it is not tzanua to read about women's clothes shops??

  5. Because I don't want to alienate my male readers by making them die of boredom...

  6. Can I actually say thanks for the list? I haven't bought new clothing in ages, but now I might check out your suggestions.

  7. I am relieved :-). I thought this was a new Humra that men can't read descriptions of women's clothing shops (that's the description of the shops where you buy the tzniusdik clothes to cover the body that you're not supposed to see). You can never be sure anymore.

  8. I am really frugal and keep my really fancy designer dresses in style by having them altered and adjusted.

    I have found surprisingly good stuff in Tel Aviv, on Sheinkin, and in the Azrieli Center.
    In Jerusalem I pay attention to the Community Bulletin ads for private individuals bringing in totally unique and very tzniusdig casuals/dressy things from Europe.
    Secret places of my to shop at:
    The 31 Sorotzkin, huge selection of skirts and cotton blouses. Many original Benetton.
    Margalit on 25 Malhai Isroel always has classy ensembles.
    Excellent place to get lost while trying on tastefully decorated shoes - Zeadim, Malachi 9, in the Mea Shearim Mall
    One-stop place for dresses, bed linens, curtains and rugs and anything like that for your home is Sheish V'Argomon Classics, Merkaz Sapir, Givat Shaul

    nearby on Kanfei Nesharim 15 is Pretty Woman, with lots of imported, original dressy ensembles, and lots of pretty things for Shabbos. They are also on Agrippas 15

    and there is always surprises on Janglo.

  9. Are you paid for these advertisements?

  10. there is a store SEAM on corner of ramban and king gorge in rechavia. STUNNING with it classy stuff prices are outrageous, wait for the sale. that's the only place i shop here basically.

  11. I confused Shesh vArgomon the cleaners with the great store next door. I do them in one trip.

  12. This is so cool, I can't wait to check out the places you're all telling me about now!

    but Kasay - I wish! The stores don't even know they've been mentioned..

  13. For basic skirts you can go to Shlager's in Geula (on Malchei Yisrael) - they have lots of the same skirts that Chor BaKir has for much cheaper

  14. Hagara has some fun things. Also the sale items here are great, and the full price is less than many stores.

  15. Display racks help you to arrange the goods neatly and would in turn boost your sales. Smart and attractive retail displays can lure the customers into the shapes. There are many types of display racks including slotted angles racks, slotted storage shelf, commercial slotted angles racks, and offices slotted angles racks. Slotted angles racks suppliers provide attractive slotted angel racks in different-different shape and cost.

  16. do any of you happen to have the Phone # to Chor BaKir in Jerusalem?

  17. Hi, B'sd we will traveling to Israel next week, and in March we will be having a Bat Mitzva party in Argentina, since we don't have the dress for the girl -a small issue as you could imagine- by chance do you happen to know any amazing, wonderful or at least good place to buy it in Israel?

    Any advice would be helpful, thank you very much, Stella