Got a Zara addiction? Mix up your habit with these alternatives.

Zara is the reigning queen of the high street. It is, after all, the brand that has it all. It does latest trends as well as basics without – as many others do – trying to embellish with unnecessary detail. It is nimble enough to ape high-fashion catwalk styles in double-quick fast fashion time. The quality is good, the prices are reasonable – and the simple branding and typically spacious layouts in store make shopping expeditions feel a notch above your standard high street foray.

Yet, as with everything in life, we can’t help but seek some variety. Here, to break up the Zara addiction, are a few other brands with a similarly wide variety aesthetic and approach, along with their best buys of the moment.

Happy (from home) shopping.

COS

Chances are, if you love Zara’s simple basics, you’re already a COS super fan. And how could you not be? Every minimalist’s dream, there are shades of Armani in every simple and well-priced collection but with edgy details – all in a muted palette with pops of colour and excellent fabrics that last. It is, perhaps, the most elegant high street shop there is, staying true to its design principles yet still responding to the catwalks in its own way. Side note: kids’ and men’s collections are excellent too. Oh, and the underwear? Clean lines, no frills perfection.

Editor’s picks:

Long Dress With Square Neck, £79



Gathered Panel Cotton Dress, £55



Embroidered Dress With Gathered Panels, £79



KITRI

While COS ticks all the right minimalism boxes, KITRI is excellent on the pretty patterns and feminine shapes that are also a Zara signature. Founded by Haeni Kim, a former ballerina who heads up a London-based team of creatives, KITRI cuts out the middleman to bring customers an alternative to the high street at prices that don’t make your eyes water. These are the kind of pieces you could wear to work or to a wedding – and you won’t see ten other people wearing the exact same thing (when we’re allowed out to see other humans again, that is.).

Editor’s picks:

Siena Pink Floral Tea Dress, £125



Angela Green Check Top, £85



Sylvie Floral Polka Dot Shirt Dress, £145



Stradivarius

Love Zara? You’re bound to feel curiously at home browsing the pages of Stradivarius. Why? It is one of a number of Zara’s lesser-known sister brands, this one with a pretty similar onus on creating catwalk-inspired looks, aimed chiefly here at millennials. Skewed a little younger, it offers a winning mix of the pretty alongside the useful and perfectly simple – all at a lower price point than Zara.

Editor’s picks:

Long Poplin Dress, £29.99



Long Skirt, £19.99



Double-breasted Open Blazer, £29.99



House of Sunny

At the edgier end of the Zara spectrum comes House of Sunny, with its fashion-forward knits, and its super-sized blazers. Not one for those who flock to Zara for catwalk-inspired classics, but perfect for anyone who want to make an edgy graphic statement for less.

Editor’s picks:

Day Tripper Cardi, £90



Island Blazer, £119



Palm Bay Suit, £120



Reserved

This Polish import has an accolade that no serious fashionista can ignore: Kate Moss loves it. And if Mossy is a fan, chances are, we’re all likely to follow suit. Plus the price point is excellent, and it’s packed full of an assembly of simple wearable frocks with cool leisurewear (all of our go-to looks right now), as well as some pretty-as-a-picture dresses for wafting around in.

Editor’s picks:

Off Shoulder Floral Dress, £29.99



Cotton Dress With Belt, £34.99



Pattern Skirt, £19.99



Sézane

Created in 2013, French label Sézane does that thing that Parisian women seem to effortlessly pull off: timeless, well-cut clothing that is understated and tasteful yet interesting and chic too. Believe us, that is hard. The clothes are well made and – perhaps crucial to the above – pay close the attention to detail. Deep V-neck backs on simple dresses; a ruffle just where one is needed; a perfectly positioned pleat: Sézane does the more chic end of the Zara continuum perfectly. The necklines. Oh the necklines!

Editor’s picks:

Lucille Dress, €105



Short Lucas, €90



Graziella Dress, €185



Paris Georgia

At the more expensive end of the field comes Paris Georgia, a womenswear label made in New Zealand. But if you like Zara and fancy a splurge, it is glorious (many of its piece are also available through Net A Porter). Not so every day as some of the brands listed here, these are, broadly speaking, clothes to wow in – though who can resist a little lockdown dressing up while dreaming of nights out to come?

Editor’s picks:

Alice Top, £255



Heart Dress, £356



Larry Dress, NOW £183



Wolf and Badger

Wolf and Badger is at the vanguard of good sartorial design, championing independent and ethical brands from around the world. For that reason, its price point may be a little higher than Zara’s. Yet its broad church of styles means it’s likely to appeal to those who like the fact that they can pick up design-focused pieces for everything from work to dance floors to holidays to weddings. Like Zara too, there’s a men’s collection, beauty and a home section. The best bit? You get to snap up a unique wardrobe and support independents at the same – all under one roof.

Editor’s picks:

Nettie Fruit Punch Shirt Midi Dress By Sugarhill Brighton, £64



Azúcar Embroidered Midi Shirtdress By Berta Cabestany, £240



Mexico Maxi Skirt By My Pair of Jeans, £200



Plumo

The north London-based Plumo works with British designers and artisans to deliver ‘modern clothing which is minimal, comfortable and wearable for strong individuality.’ We are always super impressed by its quality, and the timeless meets catwalk-inspired aesthetic. Think the more grown-up end of the Zara scale.

Editor’s picks:

Selina Skirt, £129



Ganni Seersuck Dress, £239



Blackened Overall, £169



Me + Em

‘Flattering and functional, with wear-forever appeal.’ These are the three pillars of everything that Me + Em produces and sells to its customers, all minus the middlemen. We love its loungewear, its simple, no frills beautifully crafted basics and the pretty-meets-casual vibe.

Editor's picks:

Ottoman Rib Wide-Leg Crop Trouser, £115



Fuchsia Floral Print Halterneck Dress, £295



Frill Detail Cotton Maxi Dress, £115



Sideline

In many ways, Sideline is the opposite to Zara, but bear with us here. While Zara is a behemoth, Sideline is a tiny one-man band, all designed by Ellen Brookes in her Sussex studio. And yet her relaxed, easy but feminine collections will appeal to those who like the simpler, more stripped back pieces. Only here, expect superlative materials and clothes with an onus on sustainability. We love it all – but watch out, favourites do sell out fast.

Shore Dress – Dust Rose, £190



Curve Jeans – Recycled Denim, £175



Folke Top – Green, £148



Finery London

Where Finery London scores on the shops like Zara scale is in its soft tailoring. If you’re looking for an alternative to Zara’s ready-to-wear work attire, look no further.

Editor’s picks:

Cassidy Trench Coat, £139



Kellen Frill Pocket Trousers, £89



Kiara Puff Sleeve Printed Top, £59



Pixie Market

New York brand Pixie Market was founded in 2006, its ethos then and now that it should sell only ‘the trends you keeo. Trending styles that have a timeless appeal.’ That sentence could have been written about Zara. Pretty, feminine, trend-led and affordably priced, Pixie Market is a very welcome addition to our sartorial arsenal.

Editor’s picks:

Terracotta Linen Shirt Dress, £170



Silver Grey Tiered Skirt, £115



Mandarine Wide Leg Jumpsuit, £155



By Nancy Alsop
May 2020

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Nancy Alsop

Editor

Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.

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