A bit of a fall from grace from Spring 12’s heights but still a dependable menswear operation.
- Upper Mall, The Glades
Product - 7
In contrast to the more outlandish styles Zara had on offer in its Bluewater store in April, the autumn 12 offer seems a little more sober. Some items are still fun - particularly a skinny navy and green checked suit - but overall the fashion fabrics are dominated by the blazers, trousers and fine knits that the retailer is built upon. This means the smarter pieces come off stronger than the more casual styles, the latter appearing a bit too European for the UK market. Clever reworking of classic dogtooth patterns revitalises shirts and blazers while elbow patches crop up across the range.
Value - 7
At the lower end of its price range, Zara is very competitive - the cheaper blazers are better made from more premium fabrics than similarly priced options at Topman and River Island. Pricing is consistent too - shirts rarely deviate from the £30 mark - but problems arise further up the scale, caused mainly by its sister fascia Massimo Dutti’s extra attention to detail for similar prices.
Experience - 7
As with all Zara stores, the glass and metal interior is light but finding the men’s area isn’t as clear as it could be from the door. The window carries one rather sombre look that doesn’t make the most of what is inside. Once in the relatively quiet department there were quite a few boxes full of stock around, suggesting storage is a bit of an issue, while some garments were left strewn across displays. That said, a very helpful member of staff made trying to find a certain coat far easier.