Fashion Shopping in Israel: What you need to know

By Michelle Esther Appelbaum, MA Educational Psychology, MBA Candidate

As an American living in Israel, my expectations, desires, needs and wants tend to be different than those of women who were born and raised in this country. The entire fashion scene in Israel is completely different, for example. People have many thoughts when the word Israel comes to mind: sand, desert and camels; war zone, danger, political unrest; Start-Up Nation or, of course, hummus. Fashion is not usually on the list at all, but in fact there is a scene here and it is quite impressive.  (I should mention that wine is also usually not on the list, but absolutely deserves to be…expect to see an article on Israeli vineyards in the near future)


Oh yeah, we have all this AND good fashion. And wine. Yum.

Israeli women are generally beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, breathtaking, call it what you will. For that reason and others, they often wear less make-up and more simple clothing. On the other hand, the fashion-savvy women enjoy a vastly different wardrobe: bright colors, shapes, and patterns, all mixed and matched for a look that I describe with one word: fun!

Fun – the one word to describe it.

So, how should we go about finding fashionably fun clothing and accessories? The items sold in global stores such as H&M, Zara or American Eagle might work, but you need to be aware of the fact that the merchandise sold here is not the same as what is sold thousands of miles away.

Where I am from, the customer is always right. Often times in Israel, the opposite proves to be not only an acceptable business value, but one that is encouraged. Yes, they will walk into your fitting room while you are trying something on. Yes, they will tell you if you look fat in those jeans. Yes, they will tell you that you must buy something, even if you already told them twenty times you hate it. Yes, it can be obnoxious, but no, you should not get upset or frustrated: They are genuinely trying to use their honesty and straight-forwardness to help! This is simple the way it’s done in Eretz Yisrael. If and when you leave, you just might miss it…

According to Edan, working hard and hustling pays off, big time. Edan is an American Israeli who understands this mentality inside and out. He was working the floors of multiple fashion clothing stores in Tel Aviv, as the first step in his training program. While he did not (hopefully) walk into girls’ changing rooms, he did go above and beyond in order to get the best of both worlds: giving women more to try on including shoes, hats, jewelry, purses; and making those sales happen. During his training, I think he engaged in what we call in business school “Managing Up” and taught the other girls a thing or two about how it’s done. At a good restaurant, part of the service and experience is being offered the perfect white wine for your fish, or the perfect desert wine for your soufflé; so, why shouldn’t you want the sales person to show you the perfect belt for your dress? After all that wine and soufflé you’ll need a belt to cover up that extra kilo, anyway (Or two, or three..)

If this sounds overwhelming, there is a simple, easy, clear, fast and safe answer: shop online! My recommendation? Il Couture ( No, not Il because you are feeling ill from over eating (again) at Shabbat dinner; Il is for Israel. The website gives fashion tips, is clear with a simple and friendly user interface, and offers a membership program with benefits. Check their website, twitter, Google+ and Facebook accounts for discounts.

Whether you are in a store or online, I wish you happy shopping!

About the author

Dr. Mishmish

MBA, MA. Have more fun. Worry less. Laugh more. Be good to yourselves & others. Grow, learn, and develop.

The greatest risk in life is not taking one.


  • This is a joke, right?

    Most Israeli women basically dress as if Walmart and Target were already open in Israel.

    Everywhere but Jerusalem it’s 90 percent too-tight jeans, awful halter tops, and harsh bottle-blond (or worse) hair.

    There is little sense of dressing “up” – and no notion of dressing appropriately for business.

    I worked many years in Israeli hi-tech – and only a handful of the women dressed with any class. Even the people in sales didn’t bother to dress well unless they were going overseas or hosting clients – and “dressing well” for them was roughly equivalent to American “casual Friday”.

  • I am not talking about the majority of women, silly one. I am referring to the world of fashion that exists in israel even though most people wouldnt think so…mostly because of the super non-formalities embedded in the society, as you mentioned.

  • I love Israel because (I guess unless you live in Tel Aviv) you can get away with wearing ancient clothes (please make sure they are clean 🙂 and no one will notice or care that they are not ‘in style’ now. And even things that are out, are still acceptable, Crocs comes to mind. I like the comment about wearing Walmart, I guess it has something to do with having to accept fashion dictated by cheap imports from China.

  • I love the place of Israel so much,Because Israel is the one of the passionately people.

  • Hi! I’m going to Israel in two weeks, and i just wonder wich shops they have. Do they have zara, h&m, Cubus, american eagle, topshop, forever21, abercrombie and fitch and shops like that? Thanks for answer 😉

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