Zara opening a can of trendy worms

by jennine on November 4, 2009

Last week, Zara opened the largest US store in Chicago. Oddly enough, I just assumed there was a location already here, but I guess not! Over the past decade or so I’ve shopped there on and off, loving what I get there, but never really becoming the a die-hard evangelist for the brand, even though there are a lot of times when I compliment someone on their outfit, and lo and behold it’s from Zara. Maybe I’ve had the fear come in that if I have something from Zara, everyone else will have the same thing, or will have seen it at the shop, and say, ‘Oh, I saw that at Zara.’ which isn’t really the biggest compliment one can give about an outfit, even if it’s great. For some reason, I want my clothes to have some exotic story attached to them.

But most the time, I go in for inspiration, Zara’s always had a great way of carrying on-trend clothing at attainable prices. The interesting part about them is they own the whole process from design to production factories to retail stores, not many companies have such close involvement with every detail in selling clothes. They also make quantities to fit the orders, and keep close tabs on emerging trends, replenishing their shops twice a week. I was pretty impressed by their business model when I learned about that, which is no surprise how they overtook The Gap as the largest clothing retailer, then again, The Gap is so out of touch I don’t even know where to begin…

(Click on the images for full view)

A friend of mine who works for Zara alerted me to the opening, while I’ve been to Zara a million times before, I took this chance to go and share with you some inspiring pieces I found there, since most of the time you’re not allowed to take photos inside the store. There weren’t very many surprises, everything was perfectly what I want and tend to wear right now, lots of black and grey, interesting blazers, chunky scarves, buttons, studs, zippers, covetable booties,  all very edgy and elegant at the same time.

It made me wonder if I should be dressing to be on trend right now, or if I should just wear whatever inspires me. I do think of it, more and more as the blog evolves and my relationship to personal style evolves. I’ve never been one to do exactly what’s hot, and more often than not, I’m off either by being too early, or too late, and sometimes just out of it all together. But then again, isn’t that what puts the ‘personal’ in personal style?

How about you? Do you shop intuitively or do you try to stay on trend? If you have a blog, do trends affect your style more now, then they did before you started blogging?

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate November 4, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I first came across Zara while I was in Europe, but that was a long time ago. Unfortunately, there’s not one near where I live, but I love that store. Very reasonable for you what you get.
Kate´s last blog ..The Fur Debate My ComLuv Profile


Maria November 4, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I think this Zara is the only one in the Midwest. I might have to take a trip to Chicago soon.

That’s a good question. I do think I’m a bit more trend aware now that I blog, but I still try not to let if affect my purchases. I try to buy what jumps out at me and fits with my overall style. But some trends are too hard to resist.


Fi Figueroa November 4, 2009 at 4:42 pm

I work at ZARA heheh in PR, our gentleman’s section manager was actually there to train people for the opening :)

It’s quite the temptation to buy “what’s hot” whenever a shipment arrives, because as you said, two times a week we get new stuff. But, personal style is what it’s all about. Trends aside, we should all wear what we want from whichever season he! A couple of new and “on trend” items are good to have but, wearing them JUST to be on trend, is not the idea.

I like your style very much! Even if “off either by being too early, or too late, and sometimes just out of it all together” like you say lol
so go ahead and mix & match it all up!!



Alicia November 4, 2009 at 4:43 pm

I like to say that I always shop intuitively. Some things I purchase and it will be completely wrong for the time, season, weather, or whatever. If I like it, I like it. Every now and again what I like will fall in line with a trend, so I can’t say that I’m completely immune from them.

I’ve never really had any luck at Zara. It’s weird because I know great things come out of there, but nothing has ever really struck me as something I had to have.
Alicia´s last blog ..110309 My ComLuv Profile


The Seeker November 4, 2009 at 4:57 pm

That’s such a great question to discuss!!
I’ve been thinking about style, personal style, trends and besides what I think my blog readers would expect from me. I think that ater blogging for a while I’m more alert to trends and want more to show that I’m “in”, that I’m a fashion foward. How does this afects my style???? Am I now having a really personal style?
I think that maybe most of us walks to some kind of phase like this and then it will pass… I hope.
But like Maria said “some trends are too hard to resist.”



Andrea November 4, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Oh lucky you have a Zara! Over the years, I guess I have shopped with a little of both. I am interested in trends and definitely have pieces of my wardrobe that fit within a trend. But I don’t usually buy something specifically b/c it’s trendy - it has to speak to me in some way, and I have to be inspired to put it together in an outfit and create a look.
Andrea´s last blog ..IFB Presents: Links à la Mode - Week of 10/29/09 My ComLuv Profile


Nickie Frye November 4, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Wow, I’ve never heard of Zara, but I used to work in production for GAP. I never had a problem with the company. They definitely try to appeal to everybody, which is both perhaps good & bad for business. They’re great for basics, but I always avoid their more “trendy” pieces b/c everyone on earth will probably be wearing them at once. For trendy pieces, I try to find my own vintage interpretations. Lately I’m loving Urban Outfitters, too. I shop intuitively, to answer the question, & very frequently. I shop almost every day because I’m a vintage clothing dealer (bounty hunter!) & I like to list fresh items every day. No rest for the wicked.

p.s. Both of those boots pictured are crucial. You’re killing me.
Nickie Frye´s last blog ..Vintage Liz Claiborne Beaded Necklace My ComLuv Profile


KB November 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I would say it’s more intuitively, when I find something that I know I love, there often isn’t really an explanation and it’s not always bang on trend. I will always love 50s style dresses and shoes without peep toes. For some reason I wanted velvet months before it came into the shops and knee high boots aren’t quite my thing. I guess blogging makes me aware of micro trends that are happening, and I pick and choose according to what I like.
KB´s last blog ..Goodbye October… My ComLuv Profile


Glendy November 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Oh yes, Yes, YES! I need me some red studded gloves and those boots are Killer :) BTW how di dyou manage to take pics of the accessories I got warned once by a manager in Herald Square that pics in Zara were not allowed, what a B$%^&

Much love,


Sal November 4, 2009 at 6:10 pm

I generally shop intuitively, but am definitely influenced by trends and by my fellow bloggers. And I rarely shop for trendy or distinctive items at places like Target for the same reasons you cite: The entire state of MN shops at Target, and I’d rather have more distinctive pieces in my wardrobe. That said, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Zara shop and I’m thinking I might have to stop by over Thanksgiving!
Sal´s last blog ..Who Are You? My ComLuv Profile


Kristen November 4, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I use “trends” as inspiration for my personal style, but never the basis. Blogging has made me more aware of emerging fashion trends, I will test drive them if I like them, but only incorporate them into my style if they suit me and/or my look. I don’t rule it in or out based on the mass-appeal, because you are right, personal style really has to be, well, personal!
Kristen´s last blog ..You Say… Rocha vs. Deyn My ComLuv Profile


Peldyn November 4, 2009 at 6:32 pm

I have never shopped at Zara. I don’t have one remotely near me. As for trends. I of course am aware of them and try to keep my readers informed about them, but I think that no one should slavishly follow them. Some trends are quite horrible to tell the truth! No one can make me do stirrups *shudder*. Everyone should follow their own personal taste and pick and choose what feels right to them.
Peldyn´s last blog ..Distractions My ComLuv Profile


Steff November 4, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Honestly, I’ve never gone with trends. And I don’t ever shop in malls. Blogging hasn’t changed that at all. Actually, I may dress a bit more ‘intuitively’ (ie. weird/out there/however I want) since starting my blog. I do love when people take the effort to make trends their own though, so I don’t necessarily hate trends. I just can’t be bothered with keeping up with what’s in/out each season.
Steff´s last blog ..Just a scrap, please? My ComLuv Profile


Maria November 4, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Re: It would be nerdy, but oh so fabulous!! I’ll let you know when I make it to Chicago. ;)


jennine November 4, 2009 at 7:21 pm

❤kate…mee too!!! i first came across abroad, where they seem to be more prevalent, and they’ve been in SF for several years too, and NY, so i just assumed they were everywhere!
❤maria…so true, some trends are hard to resist!
❤fi… oh my, i’ll never get invited again! but you’re right, wearing trends for the sake of it always kind of has a bad ring to it, but trendy items do seem to pull an outfit together!
❤alicia, oh yeah, i’ve been trying to think of how much i’ve actually shopped at zara, but maybe it’ sjust me, because other people have great luck there. but yeah, i go back and forth with the whole trend thing.
❤the seeker…so true, sometimes i feel like i’m missing the mark and it lets my readers down in some way, but at the same time, it’s the personal touch that separates us from the mainstream fashion media
❤andrea…oooh yes, well there are limits, no one should really buy into a trend series each season, ti seems to be waaaaay too much work!
❤nickie…ooh i used to work for the gap too! but yeah, i used to love them, but it’s literally been six or more years since i’ve been in the shop, maybe they’ve changed, but they have a style about them that i don’t think is relevant any more.
❤kb, oh yes, blogging does make you more aware! maybe even jaded? i have started thinking about the things i always love…and they aren’t always in style!
❤glendy…oooh yes! well that’s why i went to the opening, because usually they don’t let you take photos!
❤sal, i think you would like it! lots of goodies there! and if there is no zara in MN, then all the better!
❤kristen “I use “trends” as inspiration for my personal style, but never the basis.” well said.
❤peldyn… i have stirrups! i’ve had them for a long time too! ;)
❤steff… that’s awesome, and i know what you mean, sometimes when everyone is doing it, it just becomes so passe, which is more opportunity for you to do your own thing!


jennine November 4, 2009 at 7:22 pm

❤maria… hahah please do!


Rachel November 4, 2009 at 7:46 pm

The older I get the less I follow trends. I’ve never been that in to what others were wearing or doing, just sort of grabbing a trendy piece or two and mixing it with my personal style of vintage/oddball/basic black looks. Like studs, I can’t get enough of studded belts and shoes, but the difference between myself and people who follow trends very closely is that I will continue to wear them for years.
Rachel´s last blog ..A Visit to Hello Kitty’s Three Apples Festival My ComLuv Profile


lei ann November 4, 2009 at 8:30 pm

what a great discussion! first off, i went to a zara for the first time in almost 5 years this week & really wasn’t impressed with anything…except for a scarf in zara man, hahahaha.

i think seeing what other bloggers are interested in, whether on trend or not, just opens my mind up to different options that i wouldn’t think on my own. some trends i embrace (like animal print, high platforms, etc.) because that’s my aesthetic anyway. some i just never got into, like DIY studding, those Christopher Kane for Topshop alligator shirts or designers like Rick Owens/Gareth Pugh…i’d just look dumb in those while others rock them. i think if you just know what works for you & not embrace *every* trend out there, that informs your personal style :)
lei ann´s last blog ..i’ve SERIOUSLY been wearing my asos coat every day since i… My ComLuv Profile


Olyvia November 4, 2009 at 8:57 pm

I don’t think there are any Zara stores in Canada, which is where I am, so no Zara shopping for me. I am definitely an intuitive shopper, sometimes I have an idea of what I want when I go shopping, but I usually just go looking for things that catch my eye. Because of this I do most of my shopping is thrifting, retail stores just seem limiting.


WendyB November 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I think your acquisition of the knickbocker pants proves that you go with whatever inspires you. They look great and are a daring choice too (also nice job by your personal stylist, Pamela).
WendyB´s last blog ..Pop In to My Pop-Up Shop My ComLuv Profile


grace November 4, 2009 at 10:51 pm

i don’t have a whole lot of physical exposure to what is “on trend”. as a result of full-time work, i am no longer out and about as much as i used to be…not to mention that my main peer group seems to consist mostly of business casual professionals, anywhere from 1 to 40 years my senior. but maintaining knowledge of current fashion trends bears a fair amount of importance to me, simply because i don’t like to be behind the times on anything. so i’ve begun following fashion editorials, blogs and communities much more closely. wherein i think current trends are actually influencing me more now than they were before.
grace´s last blog ..nerd halloween. My ComLuv Profile


alexandra keller November 5, 2009 at 12:02 am

I first went to Zara in CA. I’ll have to stop in on the next trip to Chicago - I assume it’s on Michigan Ave? It’s a fun store to visit and pick up a few things, but I’ve only kept a few select things for more than a season.
alexandra keller´s last blog as usual and a sale My ComLuv Profile


Make Do Style November 5, 2009 at 1:09 am

Bit of both I think - I love trends as they reflect changes in society or are only relevant to one particular place. But I have my own preferences and like to keep things dear to my heart and my wardrobe.
Make Do Style´s last blog ..The imaginarium of petit garcon My ComLuv Profile


Retro Chick November 5, 2009 at 3:19 am

I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything in Zara. Everyone seems to love it but everytime I manage to find something I like I try it on and it looks terrible.

I think they must make clothes for body shapes other than mine!

I just shop for things I like. If I like a trend then I’m keen to incorporate it in my wardrobe, but I don’t buy things that don’t suit and I don’t like just because they’re in fashion!
Retro Chick´s last blog ..10 Question Style Snapshot – Ashe Mischief of Dramatis Personae My ComLuv Profile


Queen Michelle November 5, 2009 at 3:19 am

I see other people in great Zara stuff but can NEVER find any of it at my local store. It’s really frustrating. I also find the quality a bit questionable at times to be honest.


Midtown Girl November 5, 2009 at 3:20 am

I’ll mix in a few pieces that are trendy but certain clothes look better on my figure than others, so I tend to stick to what looks good on me…but Zara has been a staple in my wardy for over 1o yrs now…and their price points are feasible!

Midtown Girl´s last blog ..Solo Living in the City… My ComLuv Profile


Corinna November 5, 2009 at 3:31 am

i’d say trends have affected my style less than when i didn’t have a blog. back then i read magazines like InStyle and just wanted to buy everything the celebrities in there wore. now i’m thinking more about what suits me and what i like, even if i’m a little alone with my opinion at school etc.
Corinna´s last blog ..The sun is fading away… My ComLuv Profile


Arushi from FabBlab November 5, 2009 at 3:35 am

I first encountered a Zara store when I was in the States a few years ago. I think I picked up a coat.
Zara will be opening up here in India this coming Jan and I am looking forward to it.
While I share your fears of ending up wearing something as another girl, I think high street shopping comes with that price.
I love a lot of the pieces over here! Esp. the ankle boots, shorts and scarf! Fabulous.


Fajr| Stylish Thought November 5, 2009 at 7:07 am

It’s funny because the Zara in Philadelphia is certainly not a “trend” emporium, more a place for basics at a great price point. I definitely lean toward the shopping initutively, just because trends come and go and when I’ve succumb to trends I’ve noticed that those pieces don’t last in my wardrobe very long. I’m going through a personal style revamp as well and trying to figure out the right balance between fashion and me…
Fajr| Stylish Thought´s last blog ..What I Wore | Feels Like Fall My ComLuv Profile


jennine November 5, 2009 at 7:15 am

❤rachael…ooh good point! also, it’s interesting how your everlasting style evolves through the trends you integrate in the permanent wardrobe!
❤lei ann oooh yes… i felt that way too, zara man had a lot of great pieces. and i too love to see how bloggers interpret style.
❤olyvia..there is! my friend who works for zara used to work in a few locations in canada…
❤wendy…hahah, well yeah, i’ve always been one to get into odd things. and pamela is great!
❤grace…oh my, that’s what i said about style when i first got into blogging! it opened me up to a whole world!
❤make do.. it’s good to have a bit of both, i think, it keeps your mind open
❤retro chick… ooh i’ve had that problem too, which is probably why i only own purchased less than 5 things from them in a decade.
❤queen michelle, my sentiments exactly! i thought i was the only one! but if you can’t find it either, then i feel better.
❤midtown girl…that’s such a great strategy!
❤arushi… i know, right? i love the booties! but yes, i remember when zara first came to San Francisco, the same month as H&M opened, it was exciting!


jennine November 5, 2009 at 7:17 am

❤fajr, i love it ‘trend emporium’ but yeah, often times when i succumb to trends, i end up with ‘what was i thinking’ photos a few months later…


Mer November 5, 2009 at 7:33 am

uff…Zara… I have to say I really don’t like the Inditex Group. Zara (as many others) had help too much to this actual fashion moment of dress for nothing, throw it away, and buy new—>copies.

About your question, I see the trends, but then I try always to find what would last longer in my warderobe… :-)

Mer´s last blog ..Entrevista a Cecilia Sörensen-An interview with Cecilia Sörensen My ComLuv Profile


FJT November 5, 2009 at 7:48 am

Darn, now that I’ve moved from Chicago, The City I Love, to get married, they get a Zara! I’m living vicariously through you Jennine! :) I first encountered Zara in Las Vegas, and couldn’t walk away without a few pieces. Unfortunately they fell apart a year later, but they were fun while they lasted!

The Gap is the epitome of evil and no one who has graduated from college should shop there.


Casey November 5, 2009 at 9:03 am

Augh! I’m dying for a Zara, or H&M… one of those inexpensive, trend-laden places I used to shop at a lot. I’m in a fashion wasteland, I tell you! ;)

I tend towards more intuitive shopping. Not only because my style is based on trends 60+ years ago, but also because I can never fully commit to a trend. I’m far too changeable when it comes to current fashions, and find that what got me excited one week has me bored the next. (Gee, that makes me sound so snobbish-I’m not! ;) The only thing that really influences me in the area of trends is shoes. My biggest downfall in life. lol. I however, tend to leave it up to my blogging buddies to cull the best shoe trends from the season’s pack and write about them. Right now I’m loving some of the more “hard”, architectural styles of footwear out there; even though that is almost the antithesis of my day to day, personal style. ;)


La Parisina November 5, 2009 at 11:11 am

Hi! I didn’t know your blog and I love it!
I think that since I opened my blog I look differently on trends, I used to follow trends a lot before (in Spain Zara is like part of ourselves:) and now I appreciate much more good quality pieces, thouse that don’t become oldfashioned, contemporary but classical at the same time, as well as original and unique pieces… anyway style is in continuous evolution as well as one’s personnality and I think that’s so great!
La Parisina´s last blog ..Paris la nuit My ComLuv Profile


elena November 5, 2009 at 11:21 am

Love Zara for those great trendy pieces that you know you won’t wear forever. And their quality is way better than H&M and Forever 21. I would have to say I do tend to be more a “trendy” girl myself, but I will say that I will not wear a trend if it does not look flattering on me, no matter how “in” it is. So I would definitely stay true to yourself, and wear what suits you. Your body-type, your personality, etc….regardless of what’s the new trend. Because there’s always new one just right around the corner! ;)


Jessica November 5, 2009 at 2:25 pm

I think a little of both. I love trends, but I never where what is not me…Rule #1 Always be true to who you are. If you’re not, it shows. And I have a blog, but it is more of an extension of me rather than the other way around. I have wanted to work in fashion since I was 12 years old, so I’ve always done this much research, the blog just shows proof of it. haha

PS: LOVING those strappy boots!
Jessica´s last blog ..Fashionable Fall My ComLuv Profile


Crisis in Denim November 5, 2009 at 4:23 pm

This is actually something I have thought a lot about. Very often I come across trends and I don’t really like them- like the ‘bootie’ look you have in this post. Hated it at first- now I love it, and must go buy me some booties. But I’m super late getting to that party, as it were, because it took me awhile to warm up to the style. Now it’s ubiquitous, and I’m more used to it. But often when i wait this long, I don’t get a lot of wear out of things, because then the style changes and what I’ve just bought looks hopelessly out of date.
It’s a hard balance to strike.


miss sophie November 6, 2009 at 5:41 am

hi jennine - thanks so much for stopping by my blog :D i added you to my daily reads, about time!

i haven’t been in a zara in a while…i still have a really cool silk tiered blouse from there that has survived many a wardrobe purge. there are some gems in zara, more so than in any other of the high street shops, in my opinion.
miss sophie´s last blog ..lust and found: virginia johnson camel shawl! My ComLuv Profile


ylz January 12, 2010 at 5:19 am

Hey everyone, could someone tell me the reference number of this ankle boot?
I’ve searched them all across Germany…

Thank you, and yes Zara is the best;)


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv Enabled

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: