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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Claire's: Cute and Girly Accessories in Citystars
Claire's is an international brand renowned for its cheap, girly accessories. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the franchise's branch in Cairo. Most of the merchandise is overpriced, especially considering that their quality is definitely not the best that Cairo has to offer.
Claire’s clearly targets a younger female market with its bright colours, plastic accessories and celebrity-endorsed collections (Hannah Montana, High School Musical, etc). Although the Citystars branch is a tiny shop, it is packed with a decent selection of adorable girly accessories. The layout of the products is definitely not the most practical; similar items are not grouped together. Cluttered and cramped, the space makes it difficult to navigate through the shop.
Claire's targets pre-teen girls and teenagers, so expect to see a lot of glitter and bright colours, but if you are a savvy shopper, you can find a few items that work for all ages, such as their hair accessories, clip-on flowers, earrings and studs, as well as their purses and wallets.
The shop carries everything from headbands and hair clips to flip-flops and sandals. A plastic headband will set you back 50LE; which is a little shocking considering this reviewer found similar headbands sold elsewhere for just 2.50LE. Of course, the difference lies in the fact that the former is made by Claire's.
You can also find a nice collection of handbags at Claire's. Although most cost over 200LE, they are trendy and work for all ages. Hats are also available in several designs and colours. A beach-friendly straw hat costs 147LE.
Claire's adorable earrings are what had this reviewer swooning. Available in funky shapes like teddy bears, the Eiffel Tower, ducks and hotdogs, most earrings are priced at around 100LE, which is a lot considering their size and quality. More conventional earrings are also available, including drop earrings and hoop earrings.
The shop also carries a diverse collection of bangles and bracelets starting at 70LE. You can also find several necklaces appropriate for older women, starting at 80LE.
Other items on offer include a palm-shaped jewellery holder, a keyboard-button-shaped ring, funky pens, best friends key chains, sparkly hair extensions, faux leather wallets, diaries, Capri tights and belts.
Claire's is the shop to go to when you are looking for a cute pair of earrings, or an adorable summery hat, but if you want something more serious and sophisticated, we suggest that you look elsewhere.
After scouring shops in Cairo for a silk scarf in a difficult-to-find shade of grey, we were eventually recommended Dubetta for its varied collection of colourful scarves. Located on the ever-so-busy Geziret El Arab Street in Mohandiseen, across from Bershka and Pull & Bear, Dubetta's bright exterior is difficult to miss.
At the time of our visit, the shop's floor was being mopped and a staff member politely asked us to return after ten minutes. Ten minutes later, the floor had yet not dried and the same staff member asked us to kindly wait; she also suggested we check a few other shops in the meantime.
After finally entering the shop, we found it shaped like a long, narrow hallway; due to the fact that only two other customers were present at the time of our visit, we thankfully weren't irritated by Dubetta's tight space.
Most, if not all, items at Dubetta were without price tags, which meant we had to ask the sales attendant every time we wanted to know the price of an item.
Dubetta stocks chiffon scarves starting at 90LE. Another shinier collection of chiffon scarves was also available for more evening-appropriate outfits. The diversity of colours and the fact that there are at least six different shades of each one, you’re likely to find exactly what you’re looking for. Tragically, our specific shade of grey tragically could not be found, but Dubetta still remains a good option when on the lookout for chic, quality scarves.
An entire stand was dedicated to glittery evening scarves, starting at 45LE going up to 150LE. Plain scarves are not the only thing Dubetta offers; the shop also carries polka-dot, floral and several patterned scarves. A patterned natural chiffon scarf was priced at 120LE, and a polka-dotted chiffon scarf also sold for 120LE.
If you are going for a more casual look, Dubetta also carries cotton scarves. A brown and white polka-dotted scarf was priced at 45LE. Hair bands are also on offer starting at 10LE. Hair bonnets, bandanas and wallets are also available.
A corner of the shop is allocated to low quality looking handbags; with prices starting at 280LE, we thought the handbags were not only overpriced, but also quite hideous. Right across from the handbags section, a very small collection of sleeveless knee-length satin dresses were available. Starting at 210LE and available in a variety of colours, the dresses looked like they were sewn together with leftover fabric.
All in all, we think Dubetta's scarves are among the best and most diverse Cairo has to offer; however, the other items failed to impress as much.