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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: £20000 - £25000 per annum + c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a number ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Sales Consultant - OTE £45,000

£15000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want to work for an exci...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Turkey conflict: Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk
 

At last! An Education Secretary who thinks teachers should teach

Chris Maume
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food