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There’s almost no greater feeling than finding the perfect item at Zara. When you come across a piece that’s on-trend, affordable and fits perfectly, it’s akin to hitting the sartorial jackpot. In fact, I still have some pieces from Zara from more than a decade ago — like this oversized black blazer and these snakeskin ankle boots — that I still wear today.
That said, there’s almost no worse feeling than showing up wearing the exact same Zara outfit as someone else — and now that socializing is back in the forecast, the chances of that happening are higher than I’d like to think. In an effort to diversify my post-COVID wardrobe without spending way over my budget, I’m looking toward these five stores like Zara instead. Each retailer offers affordable, often under $100 pieces that orbit the trend cycle.
Stores Like Zara: Source Unknown
I’m sad to say that Source Unknown hooked me on an Instagram ad — and almost a year later, I still peruse the site at least a few times a week. It’s known for selling on-trend items (like this checkered knit top or this cropped short-sleeve blazer in a dreamy buttermilk hue) with limited stock, and more often than not, the store’s running a sale. The only downside is that its pieces come in limited-size runs, so if you don’t jump on a piece quickly, it’ll probably sell out.
Stores Like Zara: Shop Pêche
When I lived in New York, I stumbled upon Shop Pêche in the South Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, and I was so happy, I may have blacked out. Founded by 31-year-old Jiwon Eom, the store, which also has a well-run digital component, is filled with Korean brands that Eom sources herself by traveling back and forth to South Korea to handpick each item from local brands. In short, it’s a minimalist’s dream, filled with trend-adjacent pieces in neutral colors (and some fun brights that are tempting, even for me), at prices that could easily be two or three times higher.
Shop Pêche Yumi Top, $98
Stores Like Zara: W Concept
If you want to know what’s going to be trending next year, just browse W Concept. I first heard about the retailer about five years ago when I was looking for a pair of Reike Nen heels that were sold out everywhere. At the time, the site was translated from Korean and a touch hard to navigate, but now, W Concept is home to more than 1,000 independent global designers — with the cache to follow. Sometimes I’ll spend hours on the site browsing new designers and brands, many of which help cement the trends we see in the West. Even more: The retailer is almost always running a promotion for 10% off.
ARCHIVEPKE Took Bag, $199
Stores Like Zara: The Frankie Shop
The Frankie Shop was one of the Lower East Side’s best-kept secrets for almost a year. Every weekend, without fail, I’d head into the brick-and-mortar store to peruse the week’s new arrivals, and often, only one or two other people would pop in. Four years later, owner Gaelle Drevet launched a full-fledged e-comm business, the store’s own line and a second location — in Paris. The Frankie Shop was one of the first contemporary brands to jump on the oversized-blazer-and-Bermuda-shorts trend a few years back, catapulting it to cult status. And though some of the retailer’s most on-brand pieces (like the muscle tee that spawned a million knock-offs — including one from Zara) can sell for upwards of $400, most pieces are priced around the $150 mark. It also stocked some of the best emerging brands — like Ganni, By Far and Mari Guidicelli — before they blew up.
Ganni Knit Backless Vest, $155
Tai Short-Sleeve Blazer, $155
Athena Knit Bra, $87
Stores Like Zara: Oak + Fort
Hailing from Canada, Oak + Fort began as an online store based in Edmonton, Alberta and eventually opened up its first brick-and-mortar in 2010. Fast forward more than a decade, and the affordable retailer has more than 20 stores, including one on Mercer street in NYC’s Soho neighborhood. The brand stocks easy-to-wear clothes and accessories for both men and women, often available only in one-size-fits-most. Still, it’s a great place to grab tees, tailored separates and even jewelry if you’re on a budget.
If you enjoyed this article, check out the under-$100 spring pieces that Lauren Caruso gets the most compliments on!
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