Zara for me (and probably most Who What Wear readers) has always been one of my go-to high-street stores. Of course it's known for tapping into designer trends like no other, but it's also become a store that actually sets the visual agenda too—you'll find Zara starting some of its own trends these days rather than copying others.
The Spanish fashion megastore never fails to make pieces that cost £30 look like they cost £300 on its online store, and it updates its stock constantly to keep fashion fans happy. This last reason (and the fact that there are some cheaper, younger pieces mixed in with everything else) can also make it hard to navigate when you're past the point of wanting to shop in a busy store for hours on end.
So with new-in pieces landing daily and a grown-up wardrobe to maintain, how do I decide what to spend my hard-earned cash on? I've been doing some Zara research for you—follow my handy guide to scooping up the best pieces, or save time by copying and pasting my wish list below.
1. Focus your time and energy online, not in-store
A Style Album
Em wearing a Zara sweater.
If your size is sold out, do one final check for availability in-store, but apart from that, I'd recommend shopping from the comfort of your own home. We've all experienced the chaos of a Zara store (even the more sedate ones involve a bit of elbow jabbing), and unfortunately the staff are so busy that you can't always get the attention you need. Buy a few extras sizes in your online order so you get the perfect fit without having to do multiple transactions or risking missing an item that sells out fast.
I love Zara for trend-driven pieces, but it's also a really good source for two particular wardrobe staples: men's cashmere and woolen jumpers in the winter, and then women's T-shirts in the summer. This is a pair of classics you can add to any order and get some major wear out of.
Em's fuchsia suit was a Zara purchase from last year.
Head to the "Trending Now" section online to see what the must-have pieces will be, but practice some self control. Try to remember your personal style and what actually suits you: That glitzy crop top might be trending because it's festival season and other people are gearing up for it, but perhaps it doesn't work for your lifestyle or the rest of your closet. What this section will give you a clear indicator on is what's probably going to sell out first, so if you see something you truly love, don't let it slip away.
4. Know that Zara shoes tend to look more expensive than most high-street stores
A Style Album
Zara's printed robes have long been favoured by the fashion crowd—and in Em's closet.
Always always look at Zara's shoe selection. They have one of my favourite selections of all the high-street stores with directional designs as well as the more basic footwear styles you might desire each season. If you want to be really mature about the whole thing, filter the edit down to "leather" and you'll get the premium quality pieces.