Looking back on all the years I have shopped at Zara it’s interesting to see how my preferences have changed and evolved. I still remember the first time I stumbled upon the Zara store on Broadway in SoHo as a 22-year-old fresh out of college. I was interning just down the street and promptly spent most of my income just steps from my office. Most of it went to purchasing frilly tops and mini skirts from the sales rack that I thought were so cute and legitimately adored for the next few years. The next time I shopped at Zara corresponded to another transitional period in my life. I had just gotten the offer from Deloitte and was delighted to end my spending freeze. This time, I picked up a circle skirt and a sensible sheath dress, both with office-appropriate hemlines just above the knees.
As much as I appreciate the flattering silhouettes of sheath dresses that have become a staple in my working wardrobe, I can’t say I feel very comfortable wearing them. Similar to their 4-inch stiletto compatriots, sheath dresses are no longer my go-to items, especially when I’m out of the office. Instead, I have been gravitating towards relaxed cuts that I can move (and eat) freely in and comfortable fabric that doesn’t come with a hefty dry cleaning bill.
In the last few weeks, I made two separate trips to Zara, both ending up with me trying on a dozen pieces and going home with quite a few. This was a bit surprising as I can’t remember the last time I purchased anything from Zara. I think it may have been when I was still working in Chicago, and the piece that comes to mind is a pair of black and white plaid pants (which I still wear and love). It’s not that I have avoided stepping into Zara stores in the last two years, but on the occasions when I did, I remember being rather disappointed. Most pieces felt too trendy, or “young”, or flimsy to me. I thought I had grown out of Zara, but obviously the last two trips proved that I can still be a sucker for the fashion mega star.
The collection at Zara this season had a lot of things I loved. The main trends seems to be off-the-shoulder tops with voluminous sleeves, high-waisted shorts, and lots of feminine elements like stripes, bows, tweed, and linen. If you know my style, you know I have been a big fan of nearly all of these for a while. I ended up purchasing a couple of dresses, tops, shorts, and a pair of trousers. Suffice to say, I will be going on a self-imposed Zara hiatus for a while. While my wallet (or my already over-stuffed closet) is not particular happy, I must say I’ve been loving these recent purchases.
This evolution in fashion taste is also reflective of changes in other aspects of my life. Fashion is not just about the clothes. Fashion is art; it’s also a fascinating form of self-expression. Like many forms of art, fashion is more than just aesthetics. An individual’s choices in fashion expresses an array of values and visions. These values and visions, when pieced together, can become the most interesting and revealing stories of the individual underneath the clothes.