How to Shop at 5 Wildly Popular Stores Without Looking Like Everyone Else

One day in middle school, I wore the same checkered Gap Kids button-down shirt (yes, I wore Gap Kids until approximately age 15) as my friend, who shared pretty much every class with me (I went to a very small school). Twenty-five years later, I still remember that day. This probably sounds ridiculous because it has happened to all of us at one time or another, but who knows why we remember what we do.

My purpose in sharing this is that dressing like everyone else can be annoying for some, but it can also be hard to avoid when we all like to shop at the same stores. While I'm always fascinated by what items become best sellers, I don't want to show up wearing the same exact thing as my friend. So I've figured out a few simple tricks when shopping popular brands like Zara and Reformation. Read on to learn more and shop pieces you can wear without worrying you look like everyone else. 


The good news about Zara is that there are hundreds and hundreds of items to choose from, and only a fraction of them go viral. That means it's pretty easy to avoid the viral pieces if you don't want to wear what everyone else is wearing. It's also a good idea to stick to the more timeless items that would be hard for someone to place.


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

Shop under-the-radar items from Zara:


You're not imagining it. Everyone is suddenly shopping at J.Crew again, and its most forward items have lately been popping up in my feed more and more. Avoid items found in the retailer's Best Sellers section and almost sold-out items. Gravitate instead toward things that fly under the radar while still being chic. 


(Image credit: @lucywilliams02)

Shop under-the-radar items from J.Crew:


I hate to say this because they're so good, but if you want to look unique and shop at Reformation, you might want to avoid the dress section. Dresses have always been the most popular category at Reformation, but they have many other epic items, from denim to shoes to blazers. Mix and match those with your existing wardrobe, and you'll have less chance of seeing your clone when out and about.


(Image credit: @nicoleakhtarzad)

Shop under-the-radar items from Reformation:


Most of us admire The Frankie Shop for its excellent suits and outerwear (that's what's all over Instagram, after all), but there is so much good stuff to choose from. I've found great skirts, sweaters, and even a random accessory at the retailer that are all just as great as its wildly popular blazers.


(Image credit: @styleidealist)

Shop under-the-radar items from The Frankie Shop:


Mango is one of the brands often seen on the Instagram accounts of the fashion set, and that's something I love about it. But if you want a unique Mango look, you might want to avoid the popular pieces you see while scrolling through Instagram. There are tons of other chic Mango items to choose from. I'm particularly fond of its shoes, jewelry, and vests.


(Image credit: @sasha.mei)

Shop under-the-radar items from Mango:

Next up, the designer items people are actually buying right now.

Allyson Payer
Senior Editor

Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.