Some stores - and their websites - feel like mountains to climb. They have too much to choose from and no matter how much you have been told “they are amazing,” you’re at a loss when you’re shopping on your own. Case in point: Zara.
Zara is a fast-fashion giant based in Spain, and they made their mark on the retail landscape by offering high styles at affordable prices. They also do it quickly (hence the term fast-fashion), stores can be found in most major cities, and there’s no doubt they’re good at what they do.
But we also know that the stores and the site can be overwhelming and hard to sort through: lots of things are for the very tall/thin/young, some of the offerings seem fabulous but impractical (feather-trimmed pajamas come to mind), the website is tricky to navigate, and photos are hard to decipher.
That said, there’s no question that great things can be had at Zara, so we decided to round up the insider tips on how to shop like a pro.
Get the right view. First, when you land on any collection page (take Jeans for example), there are three box icons in the right corner: a square, two rectangles side by side, and a four-square box. Click on the two rectangles to find our favorite view: all of the products are stacked more neatly and visibly side by side without being too small and overwhelming.
Use the search bar. Second, use the search bar. You’ll get a wide array of items whether you use general or specific search terms. Plus, when you do, the items will come up in smaller, more digestible, tiles.
Employ the waitlist. Zara sells out on items quickly, but they also have an actual waitlist, and it really works. If your size is sold out for an item you want but there is a “Coming Soon” text below your desired size, click on it and drop your email address in. Sometimes a restock can occur within less than 24 hours, and that email will be waiting for you in your inbox.
Stick to basics. For starters, we are madly in love with Zara jeans. They have every style possible and they fit really well. Not only do they feature traditional blue denim, but they usually offer lots of great alternative options. Next up, we love the Zara basics. Their t-shirts, tanks, button-downs, and blazers are often very classic in design with great fit and fabric.
Pay attention to cool categories. When you click on “Woman” on the homepage, you’ll see different categories in small boxes. In particular, we like “CO-ORD SETS” for great suits, silk sets, and sweat sets. Also, take a look at “SPECIAL PRICES,” which has limited qualities of items that are on deep discount.
Try the trend. Zara made its name by selling high fashion dupes at a lower price, and they are masters at rolling out those of-the-moment trends with amazing speed. If you’re not sure if a trend is for you, this is a great way to try it without spending a lot. This goes for an “it” color (this season, red and metallic), a particular item (like a denim maxi skirt or a denim jacket), or a shoe style that piques your curiosity.
Size up. We have found that Zara’s sizing runs a smidge small. There, we said it. Obviously, you need to take into account the shape and fit of an item (read the descriptions—“oversized”=runs roomy), but overall we recommend going one size up. When in doubt, order two sizes and see what works.
Be mindful of fabrication. One of the knocks against Zara is that they scrimp on fabric to keep costs down. Too thick, too stiff, too shear, not breathable…these are all fabrics you probably want to avoid. Zara lists the fabric under “Composition and Care” so double-check before purchasing.
Check out the higher-end brand Massimo Dutti. Zara’s parent company owns a brand we’ve had on our radar for years that’s more common in Europe than in the US: Massimo Dutti. But now, Zara has started to integrate them on their site—think really timeless classic pieces that often look (and wear) like luxury at a more approachable price point.
All products featured on Six to Sunday are independently selected by our editors and contributors. We may get paid commissions on products purchased through our links to retailer sites. However, we recommend products based on our independent research and point of view, and the decisions we make regarding the products we feature on our site are always driven by what we believe our community will love, first and foremost.