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Reality Shopping – making fantasy work at the mall … part 1.

Posted in Aging, Style & Travel, and Women's issues

tumblr_m0sgiidIg31ro00smo1_500As much as we love high fashion – and especially couture – the reality is that neither camparigirl nor I actually wear it. Nor can we afford it. Sure we may have a couple of pieces stashed away in our wardrobes – but these are from the old days, and seldom get an outing. Unless they are paired with something a lot more casual. Real life just doesn’t demand fancy – now our wardrobes are built around jeans and some basic staples. Bought from the high street – J Crew, Club Monaco and The Gap in the US. Cos, Whistles and M&S in the UK.

And Zara anywhere.

The beauty of these retailers is they reinterpret the runway looks – making them workable for everyday gals. AND – even though they are targeted at a younger market – with a bit of careful editing – are perfectly suited to those of us over 45. Then there’s the fact that they are easily returnable, available online and come in all sizes – not just model. So if you don’t want to try them on in the hectic change rooms, you can do so at leisure at home.

With all this in mind, camparigirl and I set ourselves to creating a day/evening collection each, for next season. I picked Zara as my ever go-to. And Claudia saw lots in J Crew that she loved when she was in Miami. You’ll see her picks tomorrow. Please keep in mind these are looks to suit us – there are many, many other options for all bodies. Click on the pictures if you want to see bigger images.

Zara is an international brand – literally everywhere in the world. A savvy mix of fun, classic and ‘ripped-off-the-runway’, with the stock being refreshed in the shops every couple of days. My visits to Zara follow the same pattern each time: A quick once-over of the whole store – grabbing a few things that immediately get my attention. A try-on session. Then a more leisurely and thorough investigation of the stock. Followed by another try-on. If things don’t work when I get them home. I take them right back the next day.

Their sizes are true – and fit as they should. And their online offering is efficient and no questions asked as far as returns. My only quibble would be with their trousers/jeans – they’re definitely created for skinny legs. So I seldom get pants there. But I’ve included a great pair of black basics, that I actually own. Zara’s dresses are mostly for women who are still able to show their knees. But I found an Indian print frock I would wear belted, and with flats or chunky platforms.

My tip for jeans would be to go into a department store, grab a sales assistant – give him/her clear instructions as to what you want – and ask them to bring a selection to you. Don’t buy if the fit is at all wrong. You will only regret it. IF you find something that works – invest and buy a couple of pairs. You will wear them forever.

And I have a golden rule – wide trousers – slim top. Slim trousers – wide top. This applies whatever your body shape – wearing wide on wide makes everyone look unnecessarily bulky. Draping hides nothing. And figure hugging in the right colour – gives vooma to curves.

I don’t do much colour – nor frilly, or very femme … much to camparigirl and the Italian contingent’s frustration. I won’t show my legs and have no boobs to flaunt. I also don’t do uncomfortable, revealing or anything with huge prints. And, never, ever, ever, will I wear leggings or a garment with the manufacturer’s name or a slogan on it. That’s just nasty.

Shoes should always carry you through a couple of seasons. So it is worth investing in the best you can afford. Zara’s are great value and on trend. I am quite conservative (surprise) shoe-wise – and tend to stick to black, brown or navy … unless they are sandals – then all bets are off.

As Black and White is very much the palette for Summer – I have focused on that. With a touch of dark blue to liven things up (hah!). And some pops of colour from accessories.

Because I am such a fashion mag-hag – I was able to spot where each of these items began it’s journey – mostly in US and Italian collections. Which is interesting as it shows how those designers are making haute couture work i.e: wearable. Especially in the purses/bags … straight references to some of the US’s finest leather workers.

Just for fun I added everything up together – to see what the whole capsule collection would cost me:  and it came to around $1900/£1200. Way less than a single cashmere cardigan from Prada!

(Image for “Keep calm and go shopping” found in the public domain. All clothing images came from the Zara website. Please know that this post is not sponsored by Zara in any way.)

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  1. Carla P
    Carla P

    Interesting that you and I are totally different shapes, heights, but Zara is one of the few places that has always worked for us both…

    March 20, 2013
    • Yep – that’s the beauty of it! And us

      March 20, 2013

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