The month-long Dubai Summer Surprises sales bonanza offers shoppers the chance to snap up unbeatable deals across the city’s malls and boutiques. But, before you start, you’ll need to make room in your closet for some new threads – the sales begin on Thursday June 14, so you have a week or so to get your wardrobe looking shipshape. Dubai-based stylist Dina Yassin, 34, hails from New York and has 15 years of industry experience under her belt, so she knows a thing or two about closet clear-outs. Here she lends us her tips on getting your dream wardrobe. Listen up.
1 Get to know your wardrobe
‘The most common problems are disorganisation and not knowing what you have. Do a wardrobe overhaul. By that I mean organising your wardrobe every six months. That way you familiarise yourself with what you have, and you’re able to tell yourself what you need and what you don’t need.’
2 Create piles
‘Anything that you haven’t worn in six months needs to go. When you’re cleaning out, you should have five piles: the keep pile, the sell pile, the donate pile, the throw away pile and the unsure pile.’
3 Donate to charity
‘Good places for this in Dubai are the Al Noor Charity Thrift Shop (04 397 9989), on your left after the Ramada Chelsea Hotel heading in the direction of Mall of the Emirates in Al Barsha. There’s also the Holy Trinity Church Store in Oud Metha (04 337 4947). You can either drop your clothes off there, or you can arrange for them to be picked up.’
4 Sell unwanted investment pieces
‘You may have some items that you’re still slightly attached to because you spent money on them, but you’re not going to wear them again. Set up an account on Ebay, Souq.com or Dubizzle to sell the unwanted items. It does take some time: you have to be willing to set up a little consignment site for yourself and spend a few hours on it over a weekend, or an hour a day. If you’re selling to people in Dubai, you can sometimes arrange to meet with them in person.’
Time Out tip: To sell clothes, also try locally based My Ex Wardrobe (www.myexwardrobe) or Xagura (www.xagura.com)
5 Have a home sale
‘Have a swap party: display all your items and invite friends to bring unwanted clothes to swap. They’ll then tell their friends and so on.’
6 Give clothes a new life by having them altered
‘See if you can use any of the items in the unsure pile. Sometimes you have pieces you can wear, but they don’t fit too well and need alterations. Find a good tailor to help: for example, a maxi dress can be turned into a short summer dress, and jeans can be turned into shorts. It saves you money instead of going out and buying new things.’
7 Take notes
‘When you’re going through your wardrobe, have a pen and paper with you. Jot down everything you have and see if any of these items need something extra: maybe you have a few jackets, but you feel you don’t have enough tops or shirts to go with them. That way, when you’re shopping in the sales, you only end up buying what you need.’
8 Invest in some organisation tools
‘Go to Ikea, Home Centre, Carrefour – they sell plastic containers that are great for organsing your accessories, bags and jewellery. Get rid of wire hangers and buy proper wooden ones.’
Time Out tip: Lakeland at Mall of the Emirates (04 323 6081) is a great place to find clear shoe storage boxes and multi-tiered hangers.
9 Make it a fun chore
‘Set a mood, put music on and invite friends over for their opinions. Invest in a good full-length mirror, and be honest with yourself. You need to be ruthless. Ask yourself: “Am I going to wear this? Do I need this? Who do I think could make use of this piece?”’
10 Out with the old, in with the new
‘When you buy something new, throw out something old. You don’t want clutter. I clean out my closet once every two months.’
Contact Dina on firstname.lastname@example.org (04 442 3510).
Sales shopping tips
• Set a budget and don’t over-spend. If you’re using your credit card, be really smart. If you use it to buy something on sale but end up paying 23 percent interest on your credit card, you’re not really gaining much from the sale.
• Always start shopping early to beat the rush and make sure you find the best bargains before they’re snapped up. Take breaks when you can.
• When you buy items, check the store’s return and refund policy. When you get home, you may notice holes, imperfections and damage that you didn’t spot in store.
• Make it an enjoyable experience. Go with friends and try not to stay too late. Shop during the week rather than weekends if you want to avoid the crowds.