Posted on: January 18, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

Few of us have the budget to shop Toteme and The Row on the regular, which is why we so often turn to the high street for more affordable alternatives. It takes a bit of trial and error to identify the worthwhile buys among a plethora of (let’s be honest) mediocre pieces, but stores like Arket, COS and & Other Stories are constantly stepping up their game where quality and fit are concerned.

Louisa wears a brown leather jacket from Whistles.

Recently, 17 styles in particular have impressed the entire Who What Wear team. We’re constantly on the lookout for frugal staples that will last for longer than a season, paying attention to each item’s cut, the materials used and the colour palette to predict its longevity. These buys all fit the bill for us, and we have a feeling you’ll agree. Each has the potential to be pulled out on a whim and easily slotted into a chic outfit, either lifted with trending accompaniments or styled simply and classically. In short, we think every wardrobe could benefit from these affordable additions.

From Arket’s influencer-approved knit to Massimo Dutti’s timeless loafers, these 17 high-street classics are worthy of your wish list.

Naturally, I had to put my all-time favourite jumper at the top of the list. This bestselling knit is released yearly, and it’s easy to see why. Between the relaxed shape, the warming alpaca blend and the versatile shades it’s available in, this is a foundational piece your wardrobe will thank you for—mine certainly has. I’d suggest taking your usual size for a comfy, slightly loose fit.

No high-street brand does tailoring quite as well as COS. This pair of expensive-looking wool trousers is no exception. The crisp front pleats bring a smartness to the wide shape, making them perfect for either work or play. Tuck in a jumper as shown, or add a black blazer to create a suit effect (COS has some great ones, too).

I gasped when I first saw this incredibly streamlined jacket—no exaggeration. Sure, it’s a little pricier than the average high-street buy, but the quality more than justifies it. It also comes in black, and there are matching trousers available if you’re into the top-to-toe leather look.

We truly can’t stop recommending this accessory; it reignited our love of cross-body bags, after all. It’s the ultimate effortless piece that makes any look feel ten times more intentional. Whether you’ve thrown an outfit together five minutes before leaving or have spent an hour assembling it, with this bag, everyone will assume the latter.

We UK dwellers would be lost without our winter coats, and I personally know several people who rely on this one from & Other Stories. It’s unfussy but timelessly chic, which is exactly what we look for in an item we plan on wearing daily. Plus, it’s made from 100% wool, a vital quality when facing British winds.

Stripes never date, as evidenced by this Massimo Dutti knit which has been trending for several years in a row (if not this exact one, then similar iterations). It’s a handy piece to add a subtle French twist to your outfits, from winter through to summer when the evenings call for an extra layer.

Behold, one of the most flattering dresses on the high street. And look at that price! The slight ruching at the side creates a beautiful silhouette that will fool people into thinking you paid a lot more for it. Act fast though, because H&M’s draped dresses historically sell out at lightning speed.

While you’re saving up for a pair of Gucci or Saint Laurent loafers, consider this more affordable pair from Massimo Dutti featuring the traditional gathered detailing. Classic and sophisticated, this shoe will work hard in every wardrobe.

A popular dupe of Toteme’s shearling jacket, this trendy Mango cover-up has also been released in black and green—but this creamy shade is still our favourite. The toggle fasteners and contrasting trims give it a premium feel that can be hard to find at this price point.

Stretchy, thin denim is all too common on the high street, but Weekday’s Rowe jeans are the antidote you’ve been looking for. They hit that sweet spot between sturdy and restrictive denim, available in 13 different washes from size 23 to 24.

An editor favourite, this wool-blend blazer is ideal for the winter-to-spring transition. The slightly boxy shape lends itself well to casual styling, but it’s so simple you could wear it pretty much anywhere—the office, a wedding, Sunday brunch… the list goes on.

We first fell in love with Arket’s buckle bags in 2022, but the recently added suede iteration might be the best yet. The size is just right for daily use, with plenty of space for your on-the-go essentials. Not to mention the dreamy tan hue; it’ll go with neutral and colourful outfits alike.

If the risk of a wardrobe malfunction puts you off wearing mini skirts, perhaps a skort is a smarter option. Zara’s cute skirt-short hybrids are loved by plenty of influencers, easy to style with everything from knee-high boots to sandals.

Remember what I said about stripes? The same applies to this Arket shirt, but the brand’s block-colour poplin shirts are just as enduring. Crafted from 100% cotton and cut to a laid-back shape, this is a piece you’ll find limitless ways of styling. Come summer, toss it on over a swimsuit, and in the colder months, layer it under a knitted vest.

I own these H&M trousers in two colours and I’m constantly alternating between the them. They have an elastic panel on the waistband for a comfortable fit, plus a flattering high waist which makes it easy to tuck tops in. And they’re only £25. It’s a 10/10 from me.

If you’re seeking a low heel with a simple design, call off your search because we’ve found it in this elegant & Other Stories pair, another signature of the brand. It’s the perfect shoe to have on standby for those Friday evenings when you don’t know what to wear.

A staple you’ll reach for every single day, all year round.

Next Up: 30 Chic New Buys from COS, Massimo Dutti and Reformation That Pass for Designer

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