Zahra Khalil on Ramadan style, traditions and where she breaks her fast during the Holy Month.
Dubai-based fashion blogger Zahra Khalil of justlyla.com
Scroll through Zahra Khalil’s Instagram page and you’ll soon see why her sartorially savvy snaps have made such an impact with modest fashion fans everywhere.
Frequently jetting to Europe’s capitals with some of the world’s leading luxury fashion brands, including Bottega Veneta, the Iranian/Emirati influencer’s appeal reaches far beyond the Middle East.
In addition to an artfully curated social feed, Zahra also gives her followers a further glimpse inside her life through justlyla.com, a blog where she showcases outfit diaries, beauty buys and her travels.
We recently caught up with the Dubai-based tastemaker to get the exclusive lowdown on her personal Ramadan traditions, the best spots for Suhoor in Dubai and how she switches up her style during the Holy Month.
Style influencer Zahra Khalil
What are you looking forward to the most about Ramadan this year?
I always look forward to slowing down during Ramadan and focusing on the important things in my life such as health, family and my spirituality. It’s also a time to connect religiously and understand what it means to be a good person.
Do you and your family have any special traditions during the Holy Month?
We always aim to spend every Iftar together without being distracted by our phones. Our Iftars at home always consist of traditional Iranian and Emirati dishes, but my mother also likes to include international cuisine such as Italian and Chinese, so we have everything from machboos to lasagne! The table is always full of delicious dishes so we’ll often have the leftovers for Suhoor to make sure no food is ever wasted.
Zahra reveals where she loves to eat Lebanese food in Dubai
Where are some of your favourite places to go for Suhoor in Dubai?
I love going to one of my favourite Lebanese restaurants Al Hallab for their small starters dishes, such as the maaniek with pomegranate sauce, moutabel and fattoush salad. Other favourites of mine are the sushi bites at Salmontini and Din Tai Fung’s amazing Asian food. And I could never leave out Café Bateel’s delicious selection of dates.
How do you stick to a healthy regime during Ramadan?
It’s very important to me that I stay healthy during this time as it can be easy to overindulge. I’m not a fan of diets but try to have everything in moderation and keep up my workouts while fasting. I like to use the treadmill an hour before Iftar and then go for a walk after eating.
Zahra Khalil shares her tips for fasting during the Holy Month
What advice would you share for someone new to fasting?
Fasting isn’t just about not eating; it’s also a state of mind and a way to connect with your body. Hydrate yourself as much as you possibly can before starting your fast, and wake up before sunrise to have a glass of water with a couple of dates, it really helps.
Does your style change at all during Ramadan?
My style generally leans more to the modest side but during Ramadan, I like to add an abaya to my outfits. I don’t need to spend much time thinking about what to wear, so I really enjoy the ease of getting dressed during this time. It also keeps me comfortable during the day while respecting the Holy Month.
Visit Zahra’s blog justlyla.com and follow her on Instagram @zahralyla.