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

Software Developer (Java /C# Programmer)- London

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...

Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CCNP, Cisco, London)

£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...

Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, Cisco, CISSP)

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...

Senior Network Engineer-(Design, Implementation, CCIE)

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letters: The West flounders in the Middle East morass

Independent Voices
David Tennant as Hamlet  

To vote no or not to vote no, that is the question... Although do celebrities really have the answer?

David Lister
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition