In the microcosm of my wardrobe, the "nice top" is probably the piece of clothing that all the other items orbit. I tend to wear the same jeans and trousers on repeat, but fancy blouses or chic shirts have always presented the greatest opportunity for creativity and also the ability to give an outfit an entirely distinctive flavour. I typically buy tops that I can wear all year round, so a large proportion come with long sleeves and a light fabric that will work both in the sun and for layering.
Photo:Joy Montgomery for Who What Wear
On Joy: Topshop White Poplin Smock Top by Boutique (£40)
The best thing about tops? You don't necessarily have to fork out to find one that looks high-end. Of course, there are plenty of duds out there, but the secret is to look out for premium-feeling fabrics and unusual silhouettes. For example, a white cotton shirt or a linen blouse is less likely to look cheap, even if the price tag is on the lower end, because chances are designer versions will look and feel very similar. I'm also a big fan of sculptural detailing, be it a statement shoulder or ruched sleeve.
However, my general rule of thumb for shopping high-street tops would have to be less is more. There are definitely exceptions to this rule, but if in doubt, pieces that have fewer adornments and fussy finishes are more likely to look expensive. So whether you're looking for a park-ready tee or a date-night blouse, scroll down to shop my favourite tops on the high street right now.
Shop my high-street-top edit: