11 Affordable Items That Will Instantly Elevate Your Outfits in 2021

I won't bore you with the usual "new year, new you" aphorisms because, really, most of us barely have the energy to prop up our "old" selves, let alone fabricate some new, shiny version. Henceforth, our motto until March shall be "new year, same you," hopefully with the addition of a few small comforts to help carry us through to summer—be it good coffee from the nearby café or a weekly catch-up call with your BFF.

Best high street items



When it comes to shopping, if you're anything like me, you'll feel somewhat wrung out by the sales (which lasted about 6 months last year). So this season, I'm attempting to strip it all back with individual, hand-picked items that will refresh and elevate the basics that already sit in my wardrobe. Think of these as the fashion equivalent of a good coffee. It's all about quality over quantity and pieces that will re-energise your wardrobe for months to come. Same wardrobe, new ideas.

Best high street items



From colour-block knits to puffer waistcoats, there's plenty to choose from, but try not to lose your head and buy more than you actually need. Rather, take the time to ponder the options and find the pieces that match your taste and will slip into your personal capsule with ease. For me, this will be fringed jackets to throw over jeans and a roll-neck and second-skin tops to give my summer dresses more mileage. So if you're looking for an affordable gem to add flavour to your 2021 outfits, scroll down to see my elevating high-street edit. 

1. Colour-Block Knits

A colour-block knit is just what your winter outfits need for a bit of artistic flare. Just add to your favourite pair of jeans and throw in a pair of combat boots. 

2. Loafers

Classic and polished, the loafer is the shoe style that is feeling undeniably fresh for 2021. Keep it from looking too much like a school uniform by styling with dressed-down separates. 

3. Second-Skin Tops

Whether you use them to update your summer dresses for the winter months or simply as cold-weather layering heroes, second-skin tops won't let you down this year. 

4. Wide-Leg Jeans

Some may be hailing the return of skinny jeans, but I'm firmly sticking to the dramatic stylings of wide-leg denim. Balance out the OTT proportions with a fitted knit.

5. Pop of Pink

You might not have considered pink as a viable colour for a while, but many brands are offering up stylish pieces in subtle shades of peach and candyfloss.

6. Puffer Waistcoats

The puffer was this winter's go-to outwear buy, but the padded gilet offers a more offbeat way to wear the trend for spring.

7. Layering Dresses

Worn alone with knee-high boots and a roll-neck or layered over tailored trousers, the layering dress is your unexpected trans-seasonal saviour for 2021.

8. Flat Knee-High Boots

What do you get when you combine 2020's cult combat boots with a knee-high silhouette? Only the most perfect shoe we've ever seen.

9. Fringed Trims

Fringing isn't just for the height of summer—give this Wild West trim a winter twist with Arket's knit vest or & Other Stories' blouse. Instant outfit elevation.

10. Printed Trousers

This is a perfect one for when you're working from home but want something a little more polished (but no less comfy) to wear instead of your trackies. Wear H&M's pyjama-style trousers with a cream cashmere knit. 

11. Collared Knitwear

The statement collar is sticking around for 2021, and these knitted iterations are making us fall in love with the trend all over again.

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