We Try Before You Buy: The High-Street Pieces We Love

Zoe Anastasiou

Our We Try Before You Buy series aims to take the stress out of shopping and eliminate the number of post office visits you make each month to return failed online orders. We test new-season buys and styling ideas so you don’t have to. Here, we’re letting you know what’s actually worth investing in.

If I had to guess, I'm going to make the assumption that you are currently sitting inside whilst reading this article, though if you care to take a look out the window, it's likely that you're able to see some blue sky. (Maybe on your morning run today you even came across a blossoming tree, or while walking the dog, noticed an unsettling number of chirping birds?) Yes, we may all currently be confined to the inside of our homes, but it is evident that spring has certainly arrived, and with it has come a lot more than just an improvement in the weather.

The high-street spring collections have provided a welcome distraction from the current climate, offering a plethora of pastel hues, floral patterns and all-round smile-inducing styles. From Zara and H&M to Mango and Weekday, many of our favourite high-street labels have created the kind of collections we'll invest in now and wear for years to come, featuring elegant trenchcoats and accessories that will stand the test of time.

A few weeks ago (back before Boris Johnson was delivering regular 5 p.m. updates and we were all restricted to a single daily exercise outing), we took a couple of our favourite spring high-street looks out for a spin. Keep scrolling for a selection of our favourite pieces from the high-street spring collections.

"I would never normally class myself as a colourful-snakeskin-coat kinda gal, but this French Connection trench manages to do the impossible for me and make python seem elegant. I love the cut of this coat and chose to play up the '90s feel with this M&S handbag and exaggerated flares from Topshop. If you've read WWW recently, you'll know heeled flip-flops are having a moment, and I love these Kurt Geiger croc heels."

Shop Emma's look:

French Connection Adila Faux Leather Mac (£124)

Topshop Indigo Let Hem Jamie Flare Skinny Jeans (£38)

Marks and Spencer Collection Leather Mini Hobo Bag (£69)

Kurt Geiger Bianka Heels (£99)

Before I started working at Who What Wear, you never would have caught me in a puff-sleeve dress. But thanks to a few colleagues who encourage me to dress outside my comfort zone, here we are. Surprisingly, I actually fell in love with this Mango dress. The puff sleeves make a statement without being too much, and the floral pattern gives a fun nod to the spring season. To avoid it being overly girly, I've paired the dress with chunky flat boots and a mini bag from Who What Wear's new collection.

Shop Zoe's look:

Mango Floral Puffed Sleeves Dress (£40)

Topshop Metro Gold Round Sunglasses (£10)

Who What Wear Bernnan Mini Bag With Crossbody Strap (£60)

"Out of the whole Who What Wear team, I was probably the only person who didn't recoil in horror at the idea of the return of the waistcoat. I can understand the boho-related trauma of fashion's past, but I am all about the tailored iterations for 2020, which feel less Sienna Miller and more Annie Hall. This Mango pairing is just what I want: a clean-lined style with a subtle '70s-twist via the wide-leg trousers and faded pink hue. Best to keep it simple with bare arms and a classic trench. Delicious."

Shop Joy's look:

Who What Wear Trenchcoat (£115)

Mango Linen Blend Waistcoat (£29)

Mango Linen High-Waist Trousers (£40)

& Other Stories Half Moon Croc Embossed Crossbody Bag (£85)

"I love the ease of a jumpsuit and anything in a pastel colour gets my seal of approval this spring. I'll be throwing a trench over every outfit as I usually do at this time of year. This one is a bit smarter than others I've had in the past, so it's perfect for pulling an outfit together for a meeting or smart drinks."

Shop Emily's look:

Jigsaw Dale Trench Maxi Coat (£255)

Gap Utility Tie-Belt Jumpsuit (£35)

& Other Stories Leather Croc Embossed Shoulder Bag (£100)

"I try to fight it, but I'm inherently lazy. That's why suits are just the best thing for me to wear. I have a couple on rotation that I love but always on the hunt for another. This blue version from John Lewis & Partners might look a little cabin crew, but worn with a T-shirt or silk shirt and trainers, it works."

Shop Elinor's look:

John Lewis Slim Two Button Jacket (£84)

John Lewis Flat Front Trousers (£62)

"Every single time we do a We Try Before You Buy, I end up buying something, and this time, I think it's this pink Zara midi dress. The spaghetti straps make it perfect for summer and I love how full skirt is. I paired it with a pink daisy-print handbag from Zara, beaded chunky Velcro sandals (this trend is going nowhere) and a beige blazer from Weekday."

Shop Emma's look:

Weekday Paris Blazer (£70)

Zara Poplin Dress (£30)

Missoma Lucy Williams Gold T-Bar Necklace (£215)

Zara Bucket Bag (£20)

Zara Flat Sports Sandals With Beading (£40)

"As I've mentioned, I'm being very drawn to pastels this spring. I think it's their mood-enhancing effect and a reaction to wearing so much beige and brown through winter! This Warehouse knit is the perfect transitional piece and looks so cute with a pair of wide-leg jeans like these (which are super comfy, by the way)"

Shop Emily's look:

Warehouse Puff Sleeve Cropped Cardigan (£29)

Warehouse Wide Leg Jean (£39)

Who What Wear Seeley '90s Shoulder Bag (£65)

"It's fair to say the leggings trend was a real slow-burner for me, and it took me a while to work out how to wear a pair in day-to-day life without feeling half-naked. The key, as it turns out, is in the thickness, and this H&M pair feels substantial enough to warrant pseudo-trouser status. I'm shamelessly channelling Rosie HW and styling mine with a boxy blazer, chain necklace and oversize leather clutch. Elevated minimalism at its best, if I do say so myself."

Shop Joy's look:

Arket Oversized Wool Hopsack Blazer (£135)

P.E Nation x H&M Ankle-Length Scuba Tights (£35)

Arket Soft Leather Clutch Bag (£150)

Midi dresses are somewhat of a seasonal staple that I and the rest of the Who What Wear team tend to live in throughout spring and summer. This iteration by Topshop is not only affordable (it's currently on sale!) but is also seriously versatile. It's the kind of dress you can wear time and again, and never tire of. It can easily be dressed up with heels for a formal event but will look just as good when worn with sandals, flats or boots.

Shop Zoe's look:

Topshop Blue Sheer Midi Check Dress (£20)

Carvela Taken Boots (£159)

"I love the printed roll-neck microtrend. I spotted it a season or so ago and wasn't fully on board, I have to admit, but then I was drawn to this piece from Weekday. I love the contrasting colours, and tucked into high-waisted trousers it feels smarter than if I was just wearing it with jeans. The highlighter green in the trench coat just rounds off the whole look." 

Shop Elinor's look:

ASOS Design Neon Spliced Trench Coat (£75)

Weekday Meja Long Sleeve (£20)

Weekday Parker Trousers (£55)

Next up, the biggest S/S 20 fashion trends you need to know.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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