I’m definitely not ashamed to admit that I’m a huge Zara addict. As a broke college student with expensive taste, Zara’s luxe-for-less look is the perfect happy medium between the poor quality of other fast-fashion spots and the high price of an all-designer wardrobe. Since the store makes up such a huge percentage of my closet, I’ve learned a secret or two about how to find all the best stuff at Zara for way cheap – these are the eight Zara shopping rules you should live by.
1. Shop on Mondays
Both online and in stores, Monday is the day when Zara gets new stock, meaning it’s always worth a look around if you have time to kill after work. The amazing pieces that everyone and their mom seems to want to get their hands on? You’ll have the best luck scoring them if you shop on Monday.
2. Hold out for the big sales
While you can get some killer finds at Zara for budget friendly prices throughout the year, hold off on buying anything if it’s getting close to June or December. The store has massive sales twice a year where everything (yes, everything) from the older collection is marked down. I’m not kidding when I say I just got a pair of leather ankle boots, which were originally $140, for $35. Zara does not mess around when it comes to the sale.
3. Sign up for the newsletter
The one catch with Zara’s sales: the employees are tight-lipped when it comes to the exact date the sale will begin. Your best bet for finding out ASAP is to sign up for the store’s newsletter, which usually announces the sale start date the day before. Unlike lots of other fast-fashion retailers, Zara doesn’t overdo it when it comes to spamming your inbox – you’ll only be notified weekly of new arrivals.
4. Use the “find in store” feature
Even the biggest Zara fanatics don’t know this feature exists, and it’s seriously a game-changer. We’ve all found items we love online, but aren’t sure they’ll fit or are sold out in our size. The solution? You can easily check the availability of specific items at a particular location by clicking “in-store availability” on a product’s page and entering your size and zip code. I tracked down the leather jacket of my dreams this way and it was totally worth it.
5. Don’t just shop trendy items
While Zara is great for statement items that look way more expensive than they actually are, its offering of basic, wear-forever pieces isn’t bad either – and won’t break the bank. Items to keep your eyes peeled for: jeans, leather jackets, winter coats and basic T-shirts.
6. Look for leather
What sets Zara apart from some of its fast-fashion counterparts is quality. (We’re looking at you, Forever 21.) You can get real leather bags, jackets and shoes at prices that aren’t that much more expensive than their faux leather pieces – and leather will hold up much longer.
7. Pick up in store
While ordering online can seem like the best option when it comes to avoiding terrifyingly crowded stores, a pesky $4.95 shipping charge can feel like a lot if you’re only ordering a $25 tank top. If you live near a store, you can opt to have the item shipped to the store instead of your home, free of charge. Pro tip: before leaving the store, open the box and try on your order so you don’t have to come back to return or exchange anything.
8. Find your favorite section
Each Zara is different, but when shopping your local, go-to store, try to figure out which area of the store usually has your favorite pieces. I always make a beeline for the store’s Trafaluc line, which often has a younger, edgier look that’s more in line with my personal style. When you know your tried-and-true sections, you’ll cut your shopping time in half.