Carola Long: A winning formula: flattering, chic and cheap

The designs at Zara appeal to women of all ages, tend to be flattering, and are also smart enough to be worn in the office

Share
Related Topics

There are numerous high street stores offering affordable takes on catwalk looks, so what makes Zara stand out from the crowd? The key to the Spanish giant's appeal is that its clothes and accessories are sufficiently fashionable and well-made to impress people who know the season's key trends inside out, and that includes even fashion industry insiders.

Last Milan Fashion Week, faced with the the bi-annual pressure to look au courant while attending the shows alongside the likes of the impossibly cool, Balenciaga-clad staff of French Vogue, we made our regular between-shows dash to Zara to supplement our wardrobes with some cheap chic.

Whether it's a floor-grazing maxiskirt or some killer heels, Zara always delivers. Mixed in with designer pieces, Zara can pass for much more expensive than it really is, and that "high-low" mix is popular with all but the loftiest of fashion editors.

Much of the chain's skill is in which trends and catwalk looks it chooses to pay homage to. It tends to bypass anything particularly outré in favour of grown-up looking, wearable clothes. Last autumn/winter it hit all the right notes by picking up on the pared-down tailoring seen at Chloe, Celine and Stella McCartney. Also in the mix were lashings of leopard-print, to add sex appeal, and red, the sleeper hit of the season.

The prices are reasonable at about £50 for a dress and £100 for a winter coat, but the clothes are not so cheap that they will not survive more than a few wears. The stock within the store also changes fast enough to keep pace with consumers' insatiable appetites for new trends, and the brand has a rapid turnaround from factory to shop floor.

Another reason for Zara's popularity is that the chain's designs appeal to women of all ages. It recognises that older age groups are often just as interested in fashion, but usually less inclined to wear overly revealing or novelty-driven clothes, and Zara's designs tend to be flattering. Many of the clothes are also smart enough to be worn to the office.

The brand recently launched a transactional website, the design of which reflects the tone of the stores – light, functional and minimal. Inside the shops, there's no superfluous branding or tacky in-store promotions to distract from the main event, which is, of course, the joy of fashion.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Science versus religion in the three-parent baby debate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Kylie has helped to boost viewing figures for the talent show  

When an Aussie calls you a ‘bastard’, you know you’ve arrived

Howard Jacobson
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee