Clothes Shopping In Spain

Clothes Shopping In Spain

No need to​ diet!

As Northern European women we tend to​ be taller and​ larger framed than our Latin counterparts. This can sometimes prove to​ be problematic when clothes shopping in​ Spain. it​ can be disheartening to​ discover that you have gone up a​ couple of​ dress sizes since arriving in​ Spain.

Don’t panic, you don’t need to​ resort to​ low fat, low carb or​ low calorie just yet. the​ sizes are definitely smaller and​ vary greatly. the​ good news is​ for​ tall women, as​ trouser legs tend to​ be long as​ many stores offer a​ cheap, alteration service, which everyone seems to​ use.

Personally, in​ the​ UK I am a​ Next 10/12, whereas in​ Spain a​ size 42 (14) jeans positively grips my thighs. in​ fact in​ the​ UK I would fall into the​ “slim” category but in​ Spanish fitting rooms I have almost had to​ be surgically removed from trousers whilst they tell me that they are the​ biggest size that they do.

Super slim Shop Assistants

Ironically, it​ goes against our traditional notion of​ Latin women being, well, shall we say, on the​ curvaceous side. On the​ contrary, if​ you look at​ the​ staff employed in​ women’s fashion shops, they are mostly petite and​ incredibly svelte. if​ you have a​ good look around, especially places like Marbella, there seems to​ be a​ clear connection between wealth and​ slimness. it​ seems that as​ wealth increases, weight decreases. Therefore, you will find that a​ lot of​ the​ boutiques around Marbella, especially around Puerto Banus, stock very tiny skimpy clothes.


There isn’t the​ vast selection of​ high street names that we are used to​ as​ people still enjoy shopping in​ individual shops which stock just a​ few sizes of​ each item. as​ you can imagine, if​ you shop this way, it​ can be pretty expensive as​ such shops do not enjoy the​ economies of​ scale that the​ monopolising groups such as​ the​ Arcadia Group do.

Stores such as​ Zara have been very successful due to​ the​ Japanese, automotive methods that they employ. the​ average turnaround for​ design through to​ shop floor is​ just three weeks. Their ability to​ keep up with the​ latest trends and​ replicate catwalk looks explains their popularity. They are always packed, especially on a​ Saturday and​ by the​ end of​ the​ evening the​ stores look completely ransacked. Their main drawback is​ that they cater only for​ the​ size 8 to​ 12. I wear a​ UK size 10 for​ tops but in​ Zara I wear an​ L (large), the​ only size up being an​ XL.

Who shops where?

You just need to​ look at​ the​ shop window displays and​ you instantly know the​ target age, unlike in​ the​ UK, where anyone can find anything appropriate to​ their age from 14 to​ 64 in​ “trendy” shops such as​ New Look. So, in​ that sense, you could say that there is​ a​ lot of​ age segregation.

Shops such as​ Berska are evidently against anyone over a​ size 10 and​ over the​ age of​ 25. Zara, on the​ other hand, attempts to​ satisfy a​ wider age range by splitting its stores into three departments. Zara Basic is​ targeted at​ the​ 21 to​ 35 age group with a​ good range of​ basics mixed with the​ latest trends. the​ durability of​ most products is​ probably one season if​ washed once per week.

The prices are very reasonable, with a​ pair of​ smart/casual trousers costing around 25 euros and​ cotton tops around 15. Zara woman is​ targeting an​ older age group in​ a​ higher income bracket. the​ quality is​ better and​ the​ designs are more sophisticated. for​ the​ casual/funky teens and​ students, there’s TRF, which is​ very young, eclectic, cheap and​ tiny. Zara also do menswear and​ children’s wear. They offer an​ alteration service for​ their clothes. a​ basic shortening of​ trouser leg costs about 4 euros.

Mango is​ another high fashion chain targeting the​ 20 to​ 35 range. the​ quality is​ similar to​ Zara but can be slightly pricier. Again, the​ sizes are small.

Promod targets a​ 35 + group. it​ is​ on a​ par with Principles and​ Wallis. Lots of​ smart casual clothes and​ patterned tops. Again, a​ UK 12 would need a​ size 42. They also have great, reasonably priced accessories including jewellery, bags, shoes and​ belts.

Massimo Duttii appeals to​ smart but casual, classic, preppy, successful thirty somethings. the​ quality is​ very good but they don’t follow high fashion trends like Zara.

El Corte Ingles is​ the​ main department store which stocks designers ranging from Morgan to​ French Connection for​ 20s and​ 30s. There are also Spanish designers and​ some familiar names from the​ UK department stores such as​ Liz Claiborne I always find it​ a​ bit disappointing and​ very expensive.


If you plan to​ check out the​ high street sales in​ Spain, you might be disappointed. Big discounts i.e. 50% are scarce, as​ most stores only offer 20%. There are two sales per year summer and​ January. One thing is​ for​ sure, when shopping in​ Spain, you don’t need to​ worry that your clothes might be discounted next week as​ often happens in​ the​ UK. Clothes shops just don’t do promotional offers as​ there isn’t the​ same amount of​ competition on the​ high street.

Below is​ a​ conversion chart to​ enable you to​ find your Spanish size when clothes shopping. These sizes are the​ “equivalents” but be warned there is​ a​ lot of​ variation and​ you might need a​ size bigger!

I would suggest that when trying on clothes take a​ range of​ sizes in​ with you and​ try not to​ look at​ the​ size label too much as​ it​ really doesn’t mean much. Concentrate on the​ fit and​ remember that many shops have an​ alteration (arreglos) service if​ you ask.

Clothes Shopping In Spain

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