Zara has long been a favourite of fashion editors. It's widely considered a trusty destination for affordable but expensive-looking items that emulate designer currents, and it's rare for a season to go by without at least a few note-worthy pieces making it onto our edit team's wish lists.
Not only does this popular high-street brand consistently back the biggest trends (in many cases with a fresh spin), but it releases a steady stream of classic buys that feel like they'll last long into the future. What's one of the wardrobe heroes we know we can always find at Zara? Handbags.
That said, there are things to keep in mind when making your next bag purchase there. We're talking about a high-street store, so even the most premium items may not quite match up to the longevity that you get with a heritage luxury brand. For example, cheap chains can let down an otherwise impressive design, or a slightly too shiny finish can give away the price point. But, not everyone has the budget for a £2000 tote, so here, our editors are breaking down exactly what they look for when perusing the accessories selection and sharing the best Zara handbags right now. Hopefully, it will lead you to make informed decisions for affordable bags that last.
Hannah Almassi, Editor in Chief
"I probably wouldn't buy my everyday tote at Zara—I need something really sturdy that's going to last a long, long time and a whole barrage of battering! But I would consider smaller options that don't need to hold everything but the kitchen sink. Additionally, I'd prioritise anything made of real leather."
"Black shoulder bags like this one are everywhere right now—this one has a subtle noughties feel while remaining classic."
"If you're on the hunt for a timeless, everyday leather bag, your search is over."
"It's the top-stitching and canvas interior that makes this look even more expensive."
"The simplicity of this bag makes it look so much more premium than if it were draped in chains and buckles."
"Thanks to the panelling, unusual forest-green colour, simple shape and shiny finish, this has all the hallmarks of a far more expensive design."
Maxine Eggenberger, Acting Assistant Editor
"Zara is one of my favourite places to buy handbags on the high street. While it often pulls inspiration from the runway, I think its best are always simpler, more timeless, and more versatile. Its faux leather is so good that sometimes I can't tell it apart from the real deal. In terms of colour, I like to stick to neutrals and blacks, which help make the bags look more expensive. Though I might toy with a burgundy or forest green every now and then, too."
"A lot of high-street chains on handbags look cheap, so I tend to avoid these sorts of styles and instead favour minimal, brushed-gold metal hardware."
"Zara loves embellishment—leather corsages, anyone?—but I lean towards cleaner, minimalistic styles that look more timeless."
"I was in my local Zara store the other day and found a gorgeous handbag in a silhouette I'd been looking for, only the faux leather was extremely matte, which made it look so much cheaper than it was. So a focus on fabrication and its execution is key."
Remy Farrell, Shopping Editor
"I couldn't tell you the last time I used an envelope clutch. Something about the style just feels a little bit dated. For eveningwear, I much prefer mini top-handle bags and sparkly or chain-mail pouches. But for the everyday, Zara has nailed the leather bucket bag. It's my go-to for all of my essentials."
"Chain-mail bags are an easy way to inject the metallic trend into your evening looks."
Poppy Nash, Managing Editor
"I'm obsessed with Zara's party-bag offering. Every year, it amps up the game, and this year is no exception. There's always a great selection of bright, colourful clutches, which I love because my festive-season wardrobe often relies on LBDs or black jeans and a black top. Plus, the store's fun sequin styles that add a playful touch to any look.”
"This bag was an instant hit last year, so it makes sense the brand has released it again this year."
"I'm into the idea of creating a colour-clash outfit with this bedazzled bag, styling it alongside bright pink or emerald green."
Bébhinn Campbell is an Edinburgh-based fashion and lifestyle writer. After receiving an Audrey Hepburn box set for her 10th birthday and subsequently swooning over the actor’s wardrobe, Bébhinn felt pretty confident she wanted a career that involved clothes. She started her first blog at age 14—the title was a pun, but we’ll leave it at that—and went on to intern at print and digital publications in Berlin and London, including Dazed & Confused and Indie magazine.
A job at a fashion startup took Bébhinn from Ireland to Scotland in 2019, where she now works as a freelance journalist and copywriter covering everything from travel and interiors to styling advice. As a contributor for Who What Wear, Bébhinn always keeps her eyes peeled for emerging trends and looks worth writing about. She prides herself on her ability to cut through the noise and identify solid investment buys, exciting new brands and updated takes on classic designs.
While she still loves Audrey Hepburn films, these days, Bébhinn’s sartorial taste sits closer to Annie Hall’s and Alexa Chung’s. In her spare time, she’s likely cooing over cute dogs on rescue websites, playing folk songs on her guitar and browsing bookshops for new additions to her already-overpacked shelves.
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