The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Great Places to Shop: Zara Old Orchard

During a recent trip to Chicago, I toured the gorgeous new Zara store at the Old Orchard shopping center just outside Chicago. Not like, an "official" tour, hence the lack of interior photos, but I went there with my mom and sister and we all agreed it is truly a pleasurable place to shop. Zara is spacious, clean and highly organized. Track lighting illuminates neatly arranged garments, shoes and handbags just like an upscale boutique--Prada comes to mind.

This ain't no Forever 21, nor does it try to be. Styles appeal to an older, more polished clientèle--there's plenty of business casual attire that can take today's sophisticated working woman from the boardroom to a posh nightclub--and yet the prices are not those you'd find at a designer boutique. Wool peacoats were on sale for $80. My sister bought a chic black trench full price for just $89. Also, Zara generally avoids knock-offs and instead offers the latest runway-inspired trends. I saw a leather patchwork hobo only vaguely reminiscent of a Miu Miu bag; plenty of luxe plaid jackets; black leather bombers; studded belts; oversized clutches; lots of dark colors; and what seemed to be an entire Gucci-inspired collection with peasant blouses, embroidered details, and coin link belts.

What I would like to see is an improved sale section, and perhaps a less somber mood, which will most likely happen in the spring when bright colors make their return. I didn't purchase anything on this trip, but I will definitely pay them a visit each time I go to Old Orchard, and need a reprieve from the sensory-overload at the mega-Forever 21 a few doors down.

I love this new addition to the mall! It was a much needed alternative to the Bebe and Arden B that can just look cheap, not chic. I will be doing more shopping there for sure!
#1 Peaches on 2008-11-30 12:47 (Reply)
Hey BB! Do you know if Zara has any stores in the western U.S.?
#2 Katie on 2008-11-30 23:30 (Reply)
Yes, they have a couple stores in California, as well as Nevada and Texas. A link to their website would have been helpful! Here's the url:
#2.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-12-01 00:33 (Reply)
I wish zara had a store in minneapolis! i loved it when i lived in paris!
#3 Angela on 2008-11-30 23:59 (Reply)
I never heard of this store before...turns out, there's one 15 minutes away from me in Center City Philadelphia! Where the heck have I been?
#4 Colleen on 2008-12-01 08:01 (Reply)
I am under the impression that you, in the us, don't go to zara on a daily basis, but in europe, especially in spain and portugal (sice it's a spanish brand and it has a large market and many factories in portugal)it's a must have store.
I have to say I have always shopped there, since I was about 3 and my mother would take me to the only one in town, downtown. 20 years pass and it is still my favorite store of all times (now there are more than a dozen just where I live, which is a fairly small town), it presents high end fashion at extremely affordable prices (I am not sure it is that way in the states, because it's imported for you, but in Portugal very rarely does a jacket, for example, cost more that 50 euros, without it being on sale).
The quality of the clothes is amazing, I have items with more that ten years that I still wear.
Of course there is a downside to it, many people go there, so may people buy the same things, but since they renew their stock with new clothes twice a week that problem is easily overcome, and also, because of this every week there is a sale section from the week before, and once the "old clothes" get of the store you just have to wait about a week or so to find them at "lefties" (there is also one of these for every sing town), which is sort of an outlet for clothes that are two weeks old! lol
About the clothes being a little sofisticated for a younger audience the group that owns zara has othes stores, more targeted for a younger market, "berska" and "stradivarius", for instance, and also the zara store itself as a section for teens, "trafaluc".
I have to say that I gravitate more towards zara basics exactly because it has a more grown up style, I look so much younger that I am, that I have to do something to look my age, otherwise no one believes that I am a year short of being a doctor (that is a problem at the hospital, believe me!)lol :-)
(what a long comment!)
#5 rita on 2008-12-01 09:38 (Reply)
DANGIT! We just got back from Evanston and I swore off Old Orchard all weekend for fear of getting trampled. Next time, I will make my first visit to Zara evar. Mark my words.
#6 Sal (Homepage) on 2008-12-01 12:14 (Reply)
I went here yesterday and almost fell when I walked in! Their floors are quite slippery when wet, so after seeing almost two women fall, they should put up signs. Anyway, I love their men's clothing. Trendy and classic! However, their prices seem a little high for the quality. I consider them a step above H&M.
#7 Jade on 2008-12-01 23:24 (Reply)
I really wish they had a Zara in my city. They don't have too many stores in the US, I don't know what their expansion plans are with such a weak economy, but I sure wish they would open up one here!
#8 budget chic on 2008-12-02 10:59 (Reply)
If only I liked Old Orchard...
This may be worth making a trip though. I've a friend from Europe who swears by it and probably 80% of her closet is Zara, haha.
#9 Christina (Homepage) on 2008-12-02 13:42 (Reply)
Well, well I just love Zara stuff... Empire "Inditex" is the Textiles Factory owning this great Spanish brend! I am Portuguese, but born in France and during my childhood and teen years i always wore Zara, i dress there from head to toe, LITERALLY... even my perfume is from Zara scents... I totally agree with RIta comments and plus lool I've got a daughter called Zara and a dog called Rita... lool having a economy in recession as the Portuguese, we mut buy bargains with quality in this store... PS the Chiado Lisboner one is really great I live near by...
#10 Olga Ribas on 2009-01-03 09:34 (Reply)
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