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Winter in Dubai: A Waiting Game

These days, a trip to any shopping mall is a constant game of I-spy-with-my-little-eye coats, jumpers and hoodies in every store display. Whether they’re high fashion labels or streetwear brands, the fall trends for this season have emerged from the closets.

Thick knitwear is a common sight in store displays around this time. Image credits: Unsplash

Seemingly the days of breezy sundresses, crop tops and linen shirts are behind us, which can only mean one thing.

Gear up, folks. Winter is coming.

Or is it?

As soon as October rolls around, residents of Dubai start waiting for the advent of the city’s watered-down version of the winter season. But like every year, this highly anticipated guest is unpredictable and almost always (fashionably) late.

When it does finally arrive, it lingers around at the doorstep, mercifully bestowing us with the absence of humidity and then promptly leaves as fast as it came. This year, come the month of November, temperatures in the city have started to drop. An easy breeze accompanies soft sunshine during the early morning and late afternoon hours. The nights are colder still.

Keeping up with the global climate calendar is, however, imperative for a fashion hub like Dubai, where the world comes to get a juicy bite of the latest trends popularised by some of the biggest brands in the world. But in a perennially-warm Dubai, these trends may not make the most sense.

The science of selling: marketing winter wear

Kavisha Khandelwal, a Dubai-based stylist and assistant fashion editor at Ounass, believes that marketing luxury fashion for fall is a balancing act in Dubai.

Local buyers tend to favour lighter pieces and fabrics. On the other hand, the selling factor, brand identity, cannot be ignored. Khandelwal says: “Even though Dubai doesn’t get very cold during winter, it is extremely important for us, as a styling team working with luxury brands, to be cohesive with the brand identity. We often get a lot of wintry pieces in the collections.”  

Curating outfits that are weather-appropriate but also brand-representative is a balancing act. Image credits: Unsplash

The effect of social media is another influencing factor that Khandelwal takes into account.

“We always keep in mind what the customers are expecting to see in terms of the trends. People are influenced by social media and try to relate themselves to it, irrespective of the weather differences.”

According to Khandelwal, juggling brand identity and local customer preferences are mastered for the most part in Dubai. The international shopping culture of the city is facilitated by an exclusive offering of designer stores equipped with early deliveries of the seasonal collections. It definitely justifies the display of heavy winter wear that is more Europe-appropriate.

“To provide an accurate display to the locals, the stores can always add some light pieces which can easily be layered,” says Khandelwal. Bridging the trend gap between Dubai and Europe, home of the labels that the locals so love to wear, can be done tastefully without alienating their essence.

Batool Zehra Husaini, an India-based modest fashion blogger, suggests that brands do this by shifting their focus to colour.

Fall colour palettes with warm tones can make any outfit more winter worthy. Image credits: Unsplash

“I think it’s important to understand what defines winter fashion. My view of it is a shift to warmer colours like brown, red and olive green. A fall colour palette with light chunky sweaters, thin trench coats, boots, sweatshirts and joggers and so on.”

Your winter wardrobe: style tips for this fall season

Clearly, tackling winter fashion here is quite the dilemma. Staying on the fall wear bandwagon, while also being weather-appropriate, might seem like Mission Impossible but Ethan Hunt-ing our way out of this is surprisingly easy.

“You don’t need a whole new wardrobe for winter,” says Husaini. Revamping your existing summer pieces into more season-appropriate looks can be done by the addition of a few top pieces like blazers, light coats and cardigans.

Here are a few tips to refresh your style this winter season, courtesy of a certified fashion blogger!

For the lovers of layering: The cardinal law of layering, according to Husaini, is being mindful of materials.

Practical layering entails choosing the right fabrics. Image credit: Unsplash

“A heavy woollen coat wouldn’t be appropriate because you’ll basically be walking around in a sauna, but a light and thin trench coat would be perfect,” says Husaini, adding that anything with too much felt or fleece is a big no-no.

Add a buttoned collar shirt under your favourite oversized sweatshirt or a pair of thin stockings under your plaid skirt for practical layering.

Athleisure: Light hoodies, sweatshirts and joggers are closet staples for this season.

Athleisure for winter is a wildly popular trend this season.

“A cropped hoodie or a light windbreaker is the perfect addition to an outfit to make it more winter-appropriate. Leggings and joggers are great pieces, too,” says Husaini.

Light coats: Trench coats with belt ties are a must for the winter, according to Hussaini. A long line blazer or a light leather jacket paired with a thin sweater and straight cut jeans makes for a chic look.

Trench coats are a staple in every wardrobe. Image credits: Unsplash

Fashion forecast:

Khandelwal’s fashion forecast for the upcoming fall season trends includes lots of oversized hoodies and sweats, varsity jackets, 70’s inspired tracksuits, knitwear and satin sets, puffers and a variety of boots.

“Sweater vests are very much in style this season,” says Hussaini, confirming that the reign of the style of yesteryear continues.


  • Jibran
    January 17, 2022

    Really cool article

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