When shopping on a high-street budget, it’s all too easy to fall for the trend-smashing charms and regular arrivals at Zara. After all, we’re only human. The Spanish superbrand works fast and efficiently and never appears to miss a beat when it comes to the items we want in our wardrobes at any given moment. In many instances, Zara can be credited with setting retail trends that other affordable stores follow. (Remember when every brand scrambled to produce a loose-fitting polka-dot midi when that dress took off a couple of years ago?) Right now, the store’s outerwear looks strong, and we keep spotting designer-looking pieces on the new-in page. But there are other shops that provide the same level of inspiration and excitement.
If you want to be truly on top of your consumption, then we’ll always be here to chart the top trends you can buy second-hand. In fact, we’re pretty obsessed with hunting down affordable vintage items. If, however, you aren’t a wiz in the thrifting department, there are some other affordable, agenda-setting stores with pieces just as good as Zara’s. But you won’t see these pieces all over the streets or Instagram—they’re a little too niche for that. From Zara’s sophisticated sister brand to Scandi brands that have become high-street stars, keep scrolling to see and shop the other labels on top of their game.
Style Notes: As we brace for the coldest months of the year, I’m particularly taken with Mango’s layering pieces. But it’s statement party designs are always top tier, too.
This classic camel coat is such a great find.
Easy to dress up and down, whether you’re in the office or headed out for the night.
The bouclé jacket can elevate so many looks.
Pair with blue jeans and a slouchy jumper for an effortlessly gorgeous outfit.
This bag instantly caught my eye.
Style Notes: When it comes to tracking down more whimsical, ultra-cute pieces on the high street, I’ll always recommend & Other Stories. If you’re after printed dresses, basics with a twist or great jeans, this is the Scandi store that will provide.
This piece is perfect for creating a layered look.
The subtle contrast stitching makes this look extra polished.
Cut from organic cotton, & Other Stories’ jeans are a firm favourite.
You can always rely on this brand to deliver joyfully colourful knitwear.
These would pair perfectly with skirts and dresses.
Style Notes: Another beloved Scandi high street brand, COS has earned a place in our fashion hearts for its sleek, minimalist designs that often boast an unexpected twist. This should be your go-to for beautifully tailored pieces with a high street price-tag.
Such a gorgeous colour and cut.
A layering essential, this slim-fit shirt looks so sharp on its own, but could also be worn under a chic jumper for a preppy look.
Next time you go to put on jeans, try tailored trousers instead.
So many influencers own this bag.
Style Notes: When it comes to unique pieces that are perfect for British weather, no other high-street brand is nailing it quite like Warehouse. From oversized coats to sleek evening pieces, there’s something for every style and taste.
Go on, get the matching vest, too.
You’d never know this was from the high street.
A really beautiful colour.
The easiest, coolest dress to have on hand for last-minute evening plans.
If you still haven’t invested in a slip skirt, this is such a good option.
Style Notes: Zara’s older sibling, Massimo Dutti, is a go-to for anyone who wants to opt for more classic, tailored items rather than younger, trend-hitting pieces. Massimo Dutti is still relevant, but it’s a bit more grown-up and expensive. The store is full of top-quality basics like button-down shirts, tailored wide-leg trousers and leather goods.
I’m so tempted to get the whole suit.
This would seriously upgrade your work wardrobe.
This dress looks dreamy with knee-high boots.
This is very, very high on my wish list.
A square-toe loafer is such a cool flat shoe choice.
Style Notes: Though it’s no longer the under-the-radar brand it once was, the beauty of Arket is that its stores don’t dominate the high streets of every town. Sure, it’s a little annoying if you don’t live near one, but it’s worth the trip to walk away with sleek, tailored clothing that no one else has. Of course, you can order online, which we do more often than we’d care to admit.
The neckline on this is so sophisticated.
Elevate your workwear with these split-hem trousers.
I predict you’re going to see a lot of lilac this season.
This would work for day and night.
Wear with denim, tailored trousers, long dress—basically, everything.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.