Shopping Fast Fashion: A Guide


You may have heard the message that fast fashion (H&M, Zara, etc.) is "bad."  I agree in some ways. Fast fashion items tend to be made quickly and often-times sloppily. This means that sizing can be off (like really off), hems can be unfinished, and details can get missed. However, if you are willing to put in the work to find those diamonds in the rough, shopping at H&M or Zara can really pay off. 

So what are H&M and Zara the best for? Our thoughts below. 

  • Shopping the trends. If you cannot live without a trend, but recognize it may not last beyond the season (think: bomber jackets, slip dresses, chunky 90s grunge shoes, oversized menswear), pick it up at H&M or Zara. If it wears out after a season, you will not feel cheated because you got what you needed out of it and can Kon-Mari it right out of your life. 
  • Getting a fast grasp on current trends. Maybe you used to read InStyle like it was your job, but now life gets in the way and you just want to get a handle on what is cool, fast. Stop by H&M on your way out of the mall, and you will be bombarded by a bunch of stuff that may seem weird at first, but then you will start seeing it everywhere. For example, right now, you might walk in and see lots of turtlenecks under slip dresses and choker necklaces. Message received: 90s is in
  • Event dressing. Wearing a dress to a wedding means you will likely be photographed in it, decreasing the number of times you can wear it again in the future. This is when a fun, on-trend dress from Zara can come in handy.  
  • Finding shoes you plan to wear outside. You may justifiably be wary of wearing your investment heels to an outdoor or destination wedding. One of the best purchases I made a few years ago was a pair of suede block-heel sandals from Zara. I have worn them to so.many.weddings - and I never have to worry about messing them up because I spent less than $100 on them. Hit up the trendy cheaper stores for shoes you can throw in a suitcase, wear outside in grass and drink champagne in. 
  • When you just need to buy something. Sometimes you just need to buy something, and we completely get it. This is not the time to peruse the fancy shoe aisle at Neiman's. Head on over to Zara, get a metallic shirt or some funky shoes, and call it a day. 
  • Maternity. For a similar reason as those above, maternity or post-partum is a good time to stock up on trendy items at a low(er) cost. You can still feel good in what you are wearing, without investing too much cash in something you will not wear forever. That being said, you should definitely still invest in some quality maternity basics from other retailers

What do you like buying from H&M or Zara? Does it stress you out? For me, online shopping is best in these situations. Check out a few of the things that caught my eye below!