It was a gorgeous Chanel-ish tweed coat that first caught my eye. I was looking for something fabulous to wear to a wedding and I loved the idea of topping off my look with this amazing coat. For some reason, I didn't buy it. It is one of those shopping mistakes that haunts me. I can't find an image online, but it was something like this (there were subtle hints of gold woven throughout -- basically the prettiest little coat ever):
At some point Zara fell off of my list of regular shopping haunts. Suddenly the European stores were popping up everywhere (seriously, there's a Mango outpost in my airport), so Zara didn't feel like my secret little source.
And of course now online shopping is easy, but I never spend more than a few minutes browsing Zara's site. Truth: I really don't like their online store. It's a little unwieldy (so much stuff...scrolling for days). But more than that, I kind of hate the way they style their clothes. The proportions are always weird, the poses are so exaggerated, the models look so miserable. It has a high fashion vibe, but it just makes their clothes feel a bit unrelatable.
On a whim, I popped into my local store last week and was kind of blown away. The experience in the store is SO different. The minimal vibe is in full effect, but you have the chance to see each piece in isolation. I found myself noticing things that I probably zipped right past online, and I could immediately see how I'd work them in with the rest of my wardrobe.
Here are some of the things that made me fall in love with Zara all over again:
As I was browsing the store, the first thing that caught my eye was this great buttery soft yellow bag (dead center, above). This is a GREAT bag -- roomy, slouchy, easy to carry. I did a double take at the price, just $40 - I've seen some pretty cheesy looking bags at Target for the same price. This one isn't real leather, but you'd never guess it. It also comes in basic black and a nice pale tan color.
Other great options include this simple clutch, a great basic if you don't have a good evening bag (very similar to this DvF bag at teeny fraction of the price). I am really considering this cobalt blue satchel -- I love the shape and feel like it would be really versatile. This colorblock shopper has a convertible shape...and since it works with both black and brown, it is kind of like getting two bags for the price of one. (It is! I'm not just trying to justify an unnecessary purchase!)
I really love this ombre tote -- so pretty, right? And I don't have a particular need for a white bag, but I like this bucket style. A year or two from now people will be stashing their overpriced Mansur Gavriel bucket bags for looking too dated, but this one will still be going strong. And sometimes it is fun to treat yourself to something silly, like this pouch. It could work on its own as a clutch, or as a place to stash your makeup or other mini essentials in your giant black hole of a tote bag.
Why you should fall in love: on trend bags you won't be sick of after one season; so cheap you can buy two!
As I was walking through the store, I found myself spending a lot of time looking at the details. I would see a blouse or a dress and immediately want to get closer to examine some delicate beading, a bit of lacework, an unusual hemline. Zara does simple pieces that are still interesting because of lovely details.
This blouse with a lace yolk and sleeves is so, so pretty -- I can't decided between the black, which is a little dramatic, and the sweeter pale pink. I love the unabashed girly-ness of this ruffled blouse, and the neckline seems super flattering. This tunic is the best version of a windowpane pattern I've seen so far (but honestly, I didn't really like any of the photos online -- you really should see it in person!). It is apparently my life's work to collect all of the striped tees, and I'm digging this one with beading on the shoulders. You definitely don't own anything like this sleeveless pleated blouse -- the shape and color are amazing. I would stand around all day looking vaguely pissed to make sure everyone saw the buttons on the sleeves of this pretty sweater.
Why you should fall in love: simple pieces with great details that you'll reach for over and over again
I fell in love with a great pair of Zara heels last month and I was thrilled to see lots of fun footwear options in store. The strap on these pretty, office-appropriate shoes is interesting and also really flattering. You'd never guess these ombre glittery flats are only $20. These retro platform heels are perfect with the wide leg jeans I am obsessed with. These are the best option I've seen if you're trying to find a dupe for those great Loeffler Randall sneakers -- the price is right, though I'm missing the bold colorblock look. There are still a few weeks of boot-wearing weather -- these are a lot sexier than your crusty old Uggs. These remind me of the shower shoes I wore in college (but so fancy) - buy them to celebrate the fact that you aren't using a communal bathroom anymore.
Why you should fall in love: you want a lower-priced version of the hottest of-the-moment shoes that won't fall apart after a few wearings.