Sunday, August 1

I Love Zara, But These Other 5 Stores Are Just as Good


When shopping on a high-street budget, it’s all too easy to fall for the trend-smashing charms and very regular new-in arrivals at Zara—we’re only human. The Spanish superbrand works fast and efficiently and never appears to miss a beat when it comes to the items we want to fill our wardrobes with at any given moment. In many instances, Zara can be credited with setting retail trends that other affordable stores follow—think of how every brand scrambled to produce a loose-fitting polka-dot midi when that dress took off a couple of summers ago. Right now, the store’s shoe collection is strong, and the vibrant colours on offer are giving many of us the feels, but there are other ways and other shops that provide the same level of inspiration and excitement.

If you want to be truly on top of your consumption, then we will always be here to chart the top trends you can buy second-hand. In fact, we’re pretty obsessed when it comes to hunting down affordable vintage items. If, however, you aren’t yet a wiz in the thrifting department, there are some other affordable agenda-setting stores that provide products that are just as good as Zara’s, only you won’t see them all over the streets or Instagram because they are that little bit more niche. From an affordable Swedish brand that’s doing impressive things with its sustainability credentials (the detail and visibility on its site is really next-level) through to another Spanish label you should never ever overlook, especially in the summer months, the below brands aren’t Zara, and that’s okay! Keep scrolling to shop the other labels on top of their game.

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Mango’s Mediterranean roots mean that easy, breezy pieces are plentiful, and that lean towards crafty, bohemian details is very obvious during the summer months. Right now, Mango’s strengths lie in elevated co-ords, throw-on dresses and statement sandals.

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When it comes to tracking down more whimsical, ultra-cute pieces on the high street, I would always recommend & Other Stories. If you’re after printed dresses, basics with a twist or great jeans (even Kate Middleton rates the brand for that), this is the Scandi store that will provide.

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Na-kd is a Swedish label that has a strong commitment to sustainable practices and makes it very easy for you to evaluate each and every piece on its site with credentials and background information. It has pre-loved items and climate-neutral delivery, and there are clear labels about items that are even more environmentally friendly than others. Additionally, its selection of products right now seems to be the very definition of #HotGirlSummer, so you’ll find all of the key trends like linen co-ords, strappy crop tops and smocked dresses.

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When it comes to great summer dresses that are perfect for British weather, no other high-street brand is nailing it quite like Warehouse. From broderie anglaise to gingham, all of the most classic hot-weather prints, styles and fabrics are available and favoured by influencers right now.

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Zara’s older sibling, Massimo Dutti, is a go-to for anyone who wants to opt for more classic, tailored items rather than younger, trend-hitting ones. Massimo is still relevant but just that little bit more grown-up and expensive. The store is full of top-quality basics like linen shirts, tailored wide-leg trousers and cracking leather goods.

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Next up, the the French-girl uniform we love.



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