The commercial capital of Israel is a modern, energetic, eclectic and in parts pretty gritty, urban city. Bauhaus buildings, high-tech sky scrapers, upmarket restaurants, fabulous cafes, arty quarters, shopping centers, bustling nightlife and golden beaches grace the shores of a breathtaking Mediterranean Sea. There is lots to like about this wonderful Middle Eastern city.
Tel Aviv is not a religious hub like Jerusalem and this is clearly reflected in the street style of its inhabitants. Modesty is not the norm and trendy fashion is prevalent on every street corner. Generally, the people of Tel Aviv dress casually, but with loads of sass, edge and Middle Eastern twist. The city and it’s street style reminds me a bit of Barcelona. In a nutshell, this is what I saw:
- Long, long hair: Curly, layered or straight – you name it and we saw it, worn loose most of the time. Israelis are often dark and exotic looking, but occasionally you’d see a fair skinned redhead or dark blonde walk by. Needless to say I did not look remotely local.
- Sunglasses: The biggest fashion accessory of all.
- Knitted tops, knitted tops and more knitted tops: This is the city of knits. I can count the number of woven tops that I saw on two hands, which includes the ones that I wore. Cool, clingy, cotton jersey tops with intricate draping and ruching details reigned supreme. Quite Grecian and arty in silhouette.
- Flashdance style: Several women sported the Irene Cara single bare-shouldered look. An interesting 80’s influence amidst a strong ethnic mood.
- Knitted dresses: Semi-ruffled, knee-length or shorter wrap and Roman inspired styles in body hugging, cotton-rich knits were everywhere. A good solution for a hot weather.
- Leggings: A city that prefers knits makes leggings a no-brainer. They were either worn with tunics and denim jackets and gladiators, or on their own with tiny tops. You had to see it to believe it. Tel Aviv street style oozes positive body image.
- Skinny Jeans: 95% of the denim was skinny or straight.
- Harem pants: If this look is going to fly anywhere, it’s in the Middle East. Trendy stores were full of every conceivable variation of this type of silhouette: knitted, woven, solid, patterned, striped, long, short and even jumpsuit form. Lasses were sporting this vibe on the streets too. I’m not a fan of the trend, but it didn’t look half as bad once a pretty Israeli girl with long cascading curly hair added a tight top, denim jacket and killer gladiators. The ethnic flavour of the silhouette worked well in this geographical location. It just goes to show that different styles work in different parts of the world.
- Harem jeans: It’s the first time I’ve seen this item and it’s awful. Baggy harem styling does not work in rigid denim with five pockets and topstitching. Women in these looked like they were wearing nappies. Not so fab.
- Gladiators and thong sandals: Heavenly. It was the number one type of shoe on the street and in stores. I adore this look and enjoyed seeing it worn to perfection. The new sandal bootie also came out to play.
- Flip flops: The cheap, rubbery kind was pretty common on men, women and children. There is no getting away from the epidemic, especially since Tel Aviv lies on a beach. But I’m pleased to say that they were not the norm.
- Ballet flats, flat knee-high boots and Converse: Women were wearing these if they weren’t wearing gladiators, thong sandals or flip flops.
- Scarves: After sunglasses, linen and cotton scarves were the next most popular accessory. Loved it.
- Ethnic jewelry: Tel Aviv style is not glitzy. Jewelry is earthy, natural and avant-garde, which works well with the casual style of dress. It’s not the type of place you’d expect to find people wearing retro Chanel-esque chunky pearls.
- Neutrals: Women predominantly wore grey, taupe, white, black and all sorts of other natural, murky mid tones. Very few brights.
- Matte: Leather was seldom shiny and usually deliberately dull and weathered-looking. This also worked well with the ethnic and arty integrity of Tel Aviv style.
- Large tote bags and slings: As in most cities, it’s all about practical totes and cross body bags.
- Cleavage and bare mid riffs: Slim or curvy, Tel Aviv women proudly show lots of skin. Most of the time it was appropriately alluring, which impressed me no end. Woman generally look natural, avoid wearing loads of makeup, sport flat shoes and dress casually. That coupled with oodles of self assurance makes cleavage work.
My take on Tel Aviv street style is positive even though it’s very different to my own look. People are hip and stylish in a low-key and relaxed kind of a way. No gear, no slobs, and lots of attitude. Fabulous.
Leggings, skinnies, cross body bags, weathered totes, sunglasses, scarves, thong sandals, wedges, Converse and knitted tops till the cows come home.
A knitted dress with lots of cleavage, flat riding boots, one of the few woven tops I saw with a scarf, a bare-shouldered look “Flashdance” style, more leggings, skinnies and large totes. Lots of knitted tops.
Micro-check skinnies, short shorts, gladiators and more leggings, knitted tops, large totes, sunglasses and cleavage. Colours are earthy and hair is very long.
A good example of casual ethnic jewelry, usually made of wood, resin or leather. I grew accustomed to seeing this type of accessory with super long, wavy hair.