Welcome to Who What Wear UK's High-Street Week. Stay with us as our dedicated team uncovers the best that the world of affordable fashion has to offer. This is your edited guide to the essential intel behind S/S 18—don't even consider shopping without us.
The high street can't be strong in every single area all of the time right now, but right now the most valuable area to shop has to be within the accessories department. And we're not just talking about bags and shoes here (although, guys, you HAVE to see the bags and shoes below), because at the moment more is more, and that means that our favourite affordable stores are having to step up the extras game like never before. Street style types aren't complete with their looks until a hair clip, chain belt and gigantic pair of bonkers earrings has been added: This method is the fast-track to a unique personal style, even if your clothes are as simple as a navy jumper and jeans.
So I trawled through all of my top haunts (Uterque for jewellery, Mango for shoes and so on) to bring you the best of the best…
Brocade, embroidery, pom-poms, tassels, glitter, jewels… If it's shiny or textural, then it's probably taking over some realty in the wardrobes of your favourite style stars. Go flat, go heeled, go for whatever style you desire—just make sure they're loud with decoration. Kurt Geiger London's lobster-embroidered mules (£129) look so OTT anyone else will be convinced they are a designer vintage find. Wear them with a plain pair of slouchy cropped jeans and let your feet (claws?) do the talking.
Don't get us wrong, we still love a pair of plain gold hoops now and then, but with the high street producing such statement-making, super-sized, conversation-starting earrings, it's a cost-effective way to look more adventurous in a flash. These Uterque strawberry beauties (£49) are everything I wanted them to be.
STRAW BAGS 2.0
Last year's straw bags were kind of safe and neutral. This year's straw bags have a lot more to say for themselves: Bolder finishes such as the above colourful crochet Zara number, which will be arriving in stores ASAP and coming in at £30, set the bar very high for summer.
The '80s phoned—they want ALL of their accessories back. You've probably noticed a trend here with the fancy shoes and big earrings, so it's no wonder the 1980s staple of a chain belt is also making a comeback. This simple version from River Island (£20) is an easy way to get in on the idea. Fasten a jumper or pair of jeans into place, and unleash your inner supermodel.
Bows, clips, slides, combs, bulldogs—you name a hair accessory, and we can guarantee we've seen it in the past week. They've been trending all over the streets and runways of fashion month. This somewhat frivolous pink bow clip from ASOS (£6) is on the more adventurous part of the spectrum, we know, but being a wallflower never suited us anyway.
POSH WHITE PUMPS
The high street is still having a love affair with the white shoe trend—and can you blame such a thing? These days the once-tacky idea has taken a very chic turn, being rendered in lower-height heels and more unusual fabrics such as these fabulous corduroy ones from Mango (£50) pictured.
Extreme cat eyes and skinny sunglasses are making the tills at ASOS ring all day long—with this £12 blue pair proving to be particularly popular, which is indicative of the desire for matching coloured lenses. You can find the kind of frames that hit the mark in almost every corner of the high street, but a few of our other favourites are also available to shop below…
When is a tote bag not just a tote bag? Well, when it's lucky enough to be flourished with extra detailing and come in at a friendly price point while looking extremely expensive. Take this stunning Finery leather shoulder bag (£149): It will see you through countless seasons, being the trusty go-with-everything, carry-everything handbag you've always wished for. See some of the other luxe styles the high street has created below.