Zara can be an overwhelming store. It's big and bright (except for the changing rooms) and there's a lot to take in from clothes and accessories at eye level to shoes and bags at ground level and tables of flat lay clothes in between!
It's mostly high fashion styles that run the gamete from ordinary to extraordinary. Many pieces mimic those from high end designers with a slight variation to make it Zara's own. But they also offer classic pieces with a modern edge. The prices are unbeatable, from $9.90 rising in ten dollar increments to $69.90! There are higher priced items, but that's not the norm!
In general, the quality is better than average for the price point. Almost everything is easy care and can be either machine or hand washed. There's very little that requires the dreaded dry cleaner!
Zara is from Spain, therefore the sizing varies from what we expect in the US. Many things run a tad smaller than US sizing and some things will never fit an American because they were made for an extraterrestrial... or a human body type I've never yet had the pleasure of meeting!
Each item's ticket has the European size, then the US size and a medley of other countries. This however is redundant as the majority of pieces are sized as XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL! Therefore, an M (medium) is considered an M anywhere in the world! Shoes and some tailored pieces are labelled as actual size but may require a size up for us midlife ladies.
Depending on the cut and style of a garment, I've bought clothes from Zara in a size S, M and L. It doesn't take long to recognize which pieces to size up or down for... I'm usually a US size 6.
TIP - take a couple of sizes to the changing room until you become familiar with their fit.
Gathering items to try on as you go around the store is heavy and awkward (garments falling off hangers etc.), especially if you're picking up a couple of sizes to get the best fit. Nobody will relieve you of this hefty burden and take your bounty to wait patiently in a changing room with your name on it. You'll need a pack horse by the time you've scoured the whole store. But in all fairness, Zara employees don't work on personal commission sales, so don't expect anyone to fawn over you!
TIP - pick up one of the large hessian sacks at the entrance to the store and stuff as much as you can into it, it's way easier to carry than all the individual pieces. Unlike other stores, Zara has no limit on how many pieces you can try on at once!
TIP - unless you're a gymnast, a yogi and have a very tiny gait, (you'll need all of the above attributes), place any shoes you fancy in your shopping sack so you can try on in the discomfort (yes, you heard right!) of the changing room! Trust me, this advice may very well save your life!
The shoes are tied together with a chord that gives you a maximum 4 inch spread, so if you don't crash to the floor taking the surrounding rails with you whilst getting them on your feet from a standing position, then you will likely come a cropper as you shuffle your way to the mirror only to realize that your own shoes, now discarded several feet away are also from Zara and someone is picking them up with a view to buying them!
When the try-on sack is busting at the seams and your arms are numb, give up the search and go to the changing room!
This is where it gets tricky. The changing rooms are small, the lighting is dingy (in the Scottsdale Zara anyway) and the cubicle curtains leave peep gaps at the sides, so if you're bashful you're snookered! The only consolation is you've got a whole lot of try-on fun in front of you, and so has everyone else in there! Nobody gives a toss about peep holes!
You need to stay organized in this nanoscopic space, there's no room to swing a cat! There are three hooks, a narrow bench, a mirror either side, and larger mirrors outside the cubicle with slightly better lighting!
TIP: hang the pieces from your shopper sack on one of the hooks, place shoes under the bench, your own clothes on another hook and save the third hook for rejects. Now you can systematically try everything on and have a bench to sit and try-on shoes without the blood rushing to your head as you take a free fall in the middle of the store!
If you need other sizes whilst you're in the changing room, you may be able to get assistance from the staff, but it can take a while! Leave the cubicle with everything you went in with giving the rejects to the changing room associates.
You have 30 days to return items, and the usual rules apply... all tags attached, unworn, in original condition etc. I've returned shoes with tags intact but the 4-inch death chord tying them together was broken! I think this happens a lot, I've seen them broken in the store. Nobody has ever questioned me about that when I've returned shoes. Besides, if I'm trying on a sling back and I can't take a normal sized step (which is more than 4 inches) then how am I to know if the shoe stays on or not?
So, for any midlife woman who wants to enjoy the many benefits of fashion from Zara, I say give it a try! There's plenty for many style tastes and whilst primarily it caters for the smaller body type, XXL and up to a US size 12 or 14 is available in some pieces. If you enjoy trying new trends, Zara is a great way to do it without breaking the bank. Be patient and try on everything that catches your eye, you will be surprised at what you end up loving!
I can easily spend two hours in the store if I haven't been for a while, there are always new things coming in. Some days I come away with nothing, and other days with only one piece even after many sack loads of try-ons (I'm a stickler for fit, it must be perfect)! But that's okay. As a result of Zara, I've gone from spending $200 plus on one pair of jeans to spending $50 and getting more compliments than I ever received on the expensive ones. I'm now horrified that I ever bought jeans that cost so much. The same is true for many of my clothes... years ago I would have purchased expensive designer pieces that granted have stood the test of time, but if you pick carefully at Zara, the same applies for a fraction of the cost.
Tennis players and golfers are bound to own a skort or two, that ingenious invention of a miniskirt with a built-in pair of shorts underneath. Undoubtedly, ruffled miniskirts minus the risk of over exposure was a tempting draw to the game of tennis for me!
The skort is equally as practical off the court or the fairway! When it comes to bending over, a gust of wind, getting in and out of cars, the color of your panties will remain your secret!
This skort is from Zara, linked HERE. It's extremely well made, the built-in shorts are the same material as the skirt, creating fluidity should that gust of wind take off. It's light weight and very cool (viscose) and the shorts underneath are loose fitting. Why buy a skirt when you can buy a skirt and a pair of shorts in one go. It's like layering without the effort!
I "spot" yet another trend here, the white dotty design on the black background is super cute, and whilst it's not exactly polka dots, it’s a subtle alternative.
It comes with a same fabric tie belt. Now we have a skirt, shorts and a belt... oh, and a hairband (should you choose to wear the belt as a hair tie instead) all for the price of $29.90. The great thing is that you can change out the belt for any other medley of belts to suit the occasion, there are belt loops too!
You know I'm going to style these shorts a zillion ways, so keep a look out on my Instagram feed for outfits of the day featuring this skort. You'll be seeing it on repeat all summer long!
Oh, and how does this skort measure up on the Above and Beblonde V (versatility) scale? I give it 4 stars. The only reason it didn't make 5 stars is because I can't use it for tennis - the loose shorts means nowhere to put my balls ha ha, and no pockets means nowhere to put my hands!
Long story skort... it was the best skort story she ever wrote! Sorry had to do it!
There are affiliate links in this post which means I may receive a small percentage of sales made. This does not affect the price you pay.
Sedona is a scenic two-hour drive from North Scottsdale. One of the prettiest towns in Northern Arizona and home to the famous red rock mountains, some named according to the image they conjure up such as Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock.
Visitors to Sedona are sure to leave better than when they arrived, if not on account of it's healing powers from the Vortex it is said to be - a swirling center of energy conducive to healing, meditation and inspiration. If the Vortex doesn't uplift or recharge your spirit, the sheer beauty, clean fresh air, good food and hospitality of the locals will not disappoint.
Here's how Sedona provided everything two shopaholic, hiking diva, food junkie midlife women could possibly want in 24 hours... minus anything Gucci!
A life of interesting stories leads to a face of interesting wrinkles!
I wasn’t overly concerned until my early-fifties, that is when the ravages of age laid it’s claim to my face. I’ve been afraid to try anything invasive including Botox… the needle, injecting something into my face, what if I don’t like the results? I’m probably beyond fixing anyway… if my face was Earth, some of the wrinkles would be relative to the Grand Canyon!
Thank you to two of my blogging friends Hilda Smith and Robin Lamonte who both nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Hilda and Robin are loyal insta-friends who I very much look forward to meeting one day. We've followed each other on social media for a while as women of a certain age with something to say… which we do via our blogs! I’m greatly chuffed that fellow bloggers like my work, the nomination is a lovely surprise.
In the never-ending struggle of wardrobe maintenance, ensuring a perfect outfit for every occasion from walking the dog in monsoon rains, attending a fashion show on a balmy spring evening and battling the furnace that is Arizona in the middle of an August day… let’s just say I have my work cut out.
Not only can this be a costly endeavor but an overcrowded one, and with neither a pile of money or a spacious closet, strategic measures must be taken.
While the fad for easy-care clothing continues, I was recently intrigued by a new offering from a well-known retailer, Chico’s – a white cotton shirt that repels stains, specifically red wine. The brands marketing targets midlife women, which might suggest we are clumsier than our younger counterparts, or perhaps we drink too much resulting in a few tipsy spills?
When style and functionality come together in the form of a trench coat, it's a modern-day fashion fairy-tale! Inevitably such pieces have been around for donkeys’ years and for good reason - everybody loves a fairy-tale! In the ever-fast-moving fashion industry, when something is here for the long haul it's generally worth the investment.
Say hello to my "little" friend... the mini trench coat. In short (pun intended), the fresh and updated version of the classic trench coat, this year's spring must-have, and undoubtedly many more springs to come! And, if you’re old enough to remember the trench coat’s predecessor, you’re welcome to call it a mini mac!
They say when little girls grow up they marry their daddy. I was one of those little girls. I had the best daddy in the world, and now I'm all grown up I have the best husband. I am truly blessed to have experienced only good men in my life, I know there are many women who are not as fortunate.
Kimonos are a blessing to the fashion world. Their ability to add the finishing touch to an otherwise plain outfit is like the icing on the cake! They bring color, drama, texture, movement, an utterly feminine statement and the ultimate top layer of forgiveness to whatever may be going on underneath... like food babies!
Just because you don't get to wear white trousers everyday doesn't mean you don't need a pair. In fact, white pants score high when it comes to evening functions and special occasions giving your look more panache than the common alternative, black pants! They also make the perfect dressy look for day or evening, just tweak how you style them, and you've got versatility nailed.
Would you wear a hat that originated in the 17th century worn by peasants in southern France? How about a hat worn by revolutionary activists or military forces across the globe? If your answer is yes to any or all the above, you are clearly a fashionista with an eye for style!
Never under estimate the skill of a good tailor. A true professional can transform a garment from looking cheap to chic, frumpy to fabulous, ill-fitting to something that alludes to custom made!
Garment fit is crucial to looking our best whatever size and shape we may be. It’s a factor between stylish and style-less, provides the ability to emphasize one’s best attributes and camouflage the others. Skillful stitches with a nip and tuck can turn an outdated garment into a current trend or give an old dress nine lives!
Most of us have been making new year resolutions since we were old enough to decide we wanted to improve or change ourselves in some way. Whether it be a short-term resolution to return to a svelte figure after the over indulgences of the holiday season, or perhaps a more long-term plan to get into a fitness routine, it's a steadfast way to press the reset button in our minds eye and instill some positive inspiration.
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50