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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Chess: Shoddy Women's Wear in Mohandiseen
Geziret El Arab is this reviewer’s favourite shopping street in Mohandiseen with an abundance of clothing and shoe shops all lined up, including Chess. Although the dresses and skirts on display in the shop’s window are alluring, inside is in fact quite a disappointment.
Upon entering Chess, this reviewer was immediately ambushed by the overly attentive staff. The shop’s space is not that big and its racks are rather sloppily filled with clothes. Chess caries a variety of women’s clothing from evening dresses and skirts to bikinis and shoes. In the first section of the shop you can find short and long dresses, shirts and blouses, all of which are in really busy and colourful designs. If you’re looking for a leopard-print shirt with purple lining and diamantes spelling out ‘Gorgeous’ on your back, then look no further.
Chess also carries an extensive collection of what this reviewer believes to be imitation Burberry. The shirts start at 295LE and can actually go up to 325LE. If you ask us, that’s already pretty expensive for a synthetic shirt, especially if it’s a fake one too. Chess still carries a lot of navy inspired clothing and floral prints, as well as fluorescing shirts (250LE) that are a little blinding. In general, the shop’s clothes seem to be a few seasons old in terms of trends and designs.
The section carrying party dresses is a little more exciting. Though some dresses are of questionable taste, there are several reasonable and feasible options, especially the cocktail dresses. Prices start at 400LE for a dress and reach 900LE, which is not that bad when compared to other party dress suppliers in Cairo. A different section carries more casual dresses for around 300LE, but their designs and fabrics are very disappointing.
At the end of the shop is a small shoe and bikini section. All the shoes are high heeled with limited designs but in some funky colours, such as bright pink and neon yellow. Almost all shoes are priced at 365LE, but their quality was not that impressive. The bikini department is quite exciting with tons of different designs for 375LE per bikini.
Chess also stocks jeans and linen trousers for between 400LE and 500LE. Many of the cuts are high-waisted and imitation Burberry. This reviewer liked the white linen trousers, which are perfect in this hot summer weather.
If you are looking for a party dress or a bikini, then check out Chess. Other than that, the shop’s outdated designs and questionable quality of clothing make it a poor contender on Geziret El Arab’s list of clothing boutiques.
Let’s face it; finding good, quality, fashionable clothes for veiled women on the Cairo shopping scene isn’t as easy as one might think. On the one hand, there is a lack of the go-to outlets fashioning clothes for veiled women, then there’s juggling the vicious triangle of size, taste and affordability, on the other hand.
Prude & Style Girl is possibly one of the very few shops trying to break that vicious triangle; as a shop specialising in ‘hijab fashion’ and answering to veiled women’s challenge of finding decent, hip and affordable fashion wear, Prude & Style Girl is a rather unique venue.
As the brainchild of two female entrepreneurs in their early twenties, Prude & Style Girl also offer online shopping via its Facebook page, but our visit to the store in Heliopolis threw up more surprises.
At the time of our visit, the shop was overcrowded - this is a place that has quickly gathered a loyal fan-base - but that didn’t detract from the wide variety of clothes and accessories on offer.
Prude & Style Girl’s summer collection caters for all tastes; there are plain simple sleeveless dresses (200LE) that can be paired with cardigans, long-sleeve dresses with different Indian-inspired and paisley patterns (250 LE) – of which we liked a beige dress with shades of blue, red and green. The shop also boasts a large variety of summer dresses available in vibrant summer colours (200LE); one white dress with blue sleeves (200LE) perfect attire on the beach for veiled ladies, caught our eye.
The shop also has a selection of evening dresses and skirts suitable for many occasions; black and white polka dot dresses (210LE), a light pink V-neck lace dress also (250LE) as well as satin and lace skirts available in different colours (150LE) stood out in particular.
But it’s the cardigans and kimonos that impressed in Prude & Style Girl’s summer collection; the versatile pieces add a hip and trendy dimension to putting an outfit together.
Overall, what impressed us most about Prude & Style Girl is the versatility of its pieces and the sheer options available. Veiled Cairenes often find themselves in despair when it comes to shopping for modern, demure clothing but this is one shop that proves you can have the best of both worlds.