Just a quick post on why I’ve fallen in love with Zara and why it’s taken me so long!
Two months ago, if someone were to say ‘Zara’ to me, here’s what would’ve sprung to mind: expensive, inaccessible fashion for svelte business-y people, bland.
Having previously lived overseas (vicious, vicious price mark ups of European brands), Zara had struck me as this high-end store where skinny ‘cool’-but-sophisticated moms (and their skinny wannabe-sophisticated kids) shopped. Going in as a teenager and seeing that I’d have to spend at least a month’s pocket money to get a plain tshirt has definitely stuck in my mind, and had also made me a little bit bitter. And I guess me considering it to be ‘bland’ was just younger me finding a mean word for ‘[very useful and important] neutrals’, in regards to their typical colour palette.
So first up. Not expensive. At least not when sales are on! Living in London I’ve resigned myself to some of the price tags I’ve come accross, and I had never even bothered with Zara because I just had it in my head that it was too expensive to begin with. The first real Zara experience I had was less than two months ago, when my lovely and very put-together-and-sophisticated flat mate asked me if I’d like to go shopping. We only went to Zara. In fact we went to two Zara’s, on Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road, on the hunt for a particular pair of trousers that she’d seen online. I even dressed up (by my standards) to go shopping to Zara (especially because I was with Anna, who, well, you want to dress up when you’re going out somewhere with Anna!), such were my expectations of the store setting, staff and clientele. And this is coming from the girl who wore her aged black jeans, docs and £2 vintage sweater on a designer shopping trip to Michael Kors, Burberry and Dior (we literally didn’t even get served in Burberry, Heather had to go and find a guy, when normally they can’t leave you alone –my bad). Anyway. It blew my mind. I’d decided beforehand that I wouldn’t spend any money, which gave me the freedom of trying on everything and anything (10 items max in their dressing rooms, love it, no time for your six-pieces-only-please). So I did. There wasn’t a sale on at this point either, but I went wild with my 10 pieces. Flowing wide legged trousers, silk screen-printed tops, all the florals I could find (lots! Tailored shorts, flowing shorts, oversized blouses), summer dresses with crochet overlays. I felt like I was one step below Ralph Lauren, and a little more adventurous.
The first thing that blew my mind when trying all these things on: they all fit, or were a little too big. This is unusual, I’m an 8-12, even a 6 waist, depending on the store, the clothing item, the cut, the material, the style of binding and waistband etc. Shopping is not always fun for this hourglassy gal. In Zara the XS skirt didn’t just fit on my waist — it fit on my thighs and butt too! The S shorts, if tailored, were the same, and if they were flowing the XS was great. My large chest worked in the M top, and it was still well-fitting across the shoulders. I felt as though these were what made-to-measure clothes must be like, with no need for compensation. I wasn’t having to accept a gaping waist so that the material wasn’t pulled taught across my butt. Also, the lengths of the clothes! This was so thrilling! I’m a little under 5ft9″ (not even all that tall) and things were touching the ground, I found I’d have to wear heels with certain trousers and dresses and jumpsuits! Perhaps that’s why they were so long: they expected you to wear heels with them. After having to send things back repeatedly because of length (RE: Asos playsuits. I have a long upper body and no one wants their vagina to look like it’s eating your damn pants), or say no to pieces that fit everywhere else but you can’t bend down in (RE: Topshop; I’ve had to start shopping in the tall section for skirts), this was just so relieving.
Going through the racks that day with Anna, I promised myself that when I got my first ‘real’ job, I’d buy myself some fabulous office wear from Zara. I didn’t actually buy anything that first trip (the overdraft wasparticularly sad that day), but returned after the sales had started. What I bought:
- A very sturdy and structured crop top with concealed zip on the side, £12.99. I’ve already gotten so much wear out of this! I’ve worn it to work, to dinner, and even to a club! Very versatile, easy to dress up or down. Also, what I love is the front: it dips up between the ribs, and as someone with a long, lonnnng torso this is beyond flattering!
- A white A-line skirt with overlay, £19.99. And again, I’ve already worn this twice: to work, and also to a fancy family dinner. It’s so summery! And I’ve had real trouble finding A-lines that work with my body — if it fits on the hips, it usually ends up looking like a pencil skirt because it’s so tight everywhere else.
- A fabulous and £19.99 dress for the ballet! This was a very unusual buy for me. The trip to the ballet was very impromptu, plus we were to be in a box, and I was living out of a suitcase at the time. I had three hours to get ready, and I spent one of those hours in Zara trying on every ballet-worthy outfit I could find! I ended up picking this dress as this colour is just made for me (it’s the eyes, yo!) and I felt like Aphrodite-meets-Khaleesi in it! And the way it hangs to your body and moves with you oh my goodness!
Here were some of the other contenders, when hunting for the dress for the ballet! The floral dress was £34.99, the white jumpsuit just £15.99 (it also had ankle grazed length legs — so fab with heels ah), and the pastel 70s jumpsuit (also had the lowest back of all time, fave) was £24.99.
Zara, please take my money.