If you were to open up your wardrobe right now, how many brands would make up the extent of your wares? Well, if you're anything like the majority of the population (myself included), chances are all of your clothes, shoes and accessories come from a small selection of stores.
It's nothing to be ashamed of. The fact that we do much of our shopping online these days means we're less likely to explore brands we're not as familiar with. Plus, seeing as sizes seem to vary drastically by store, I'd prefer to buy pieces I know are going to fit as opposed to getting caught in a never-ending buy-and-return cycle.
Freddie Harrel wears a Boden coat.
However, when I realised 90% of my attire came from a mere three shops, I decided it was time to broaden my sartorial horizons and revisit some brands I had long overlooked. Since then, I've invested in pieces I truly love from a plethora of places instead of buying items I might swiftly fall out of love with.
Alex Steadman wears a Gap jumper.
This is why I thought it was a good idea to share with you, dear readers, the unexpected places the Who What Wear UK fashion team find brilliant pieces. From the workwear outfitter turned sleek style hot spot to the interiors mecca that also boasts excellent basics, keep scrolling to discover the editor-loved brands you need to add to your next shopping trip schedule…
"I enjoy the thrill of finding a great item in an unexpected place—it makes any purchase all the sweeter. Although Boden has definitely increased its fashion kudos over the past few years, I'm aware that some shoppers are still surprised to discover the kind of trend-led pieces it offers. Sure, there are the safer items targeted to a different demographic that I don't fall into, but look a level deeper and you'll find some great tailoring, expensive-looking footwear and a really fab dress or two. I've had trousers and sandals that I've bought in multiple colourways over the years (I know a good thing when I see it!), and I do think the higher price point is justified by quality fabrics and fit." — Hannah Almassi, editorial director
"I've seen dresses just like this at triple the price."
"I'm not a jeans girl, so these are the perfect casual solution."
"The kind of luxe tee that I won't get bored of."
"I'll be wearing this skirt with knee boots now, and then with sandals come summer. Much like the pair you'll find below…"
"These tomato-red sandals will go with a lot of pieces in your existing wardrobe."
"Back in the '90s, I was obsessed with Gap's logo hoodies, which everyone under the age of 15 seemed to own. In the intervening years, I slightly fell out of love with the brand, opting for younger stores such as Topshop and Zara, however, recently, I've rediscovered the joy of Gap's menswear department—yes, really. Classic, good quality and lacking in fussy details, it's my go-to for wardrobe staples, such as crew neck knits, white tees and shirts. They offer just the right amount of androgynous cool to any outfit." — Joy Montgomery, assistant editor
"Call off the search—I've just found the perfect hoodie."
"I buy these crew-neck tees in bulk."
"The oversized silhouette of this jumper looks chic tucked into a slinky midi skirt."
"Part Jodhpur, part chino. I'm in love."
"Size up when you buy this denim jacket to give it a vintage vibe."
"Muji was always my go-to for homeware and stationary (I live for its pens), but I never really thought twice about its clothes. However, once I read that its garments are made using sustainable fabrics, I thought again! The pyjamas are so classic in style and are very well-made. I also love the basics: T-shirts, jumpers and layering pieces. The structure, fit and quality is well beyond high-street expectations." — Isabel Mundigo-Moore, associate social media editor
"I'd gladly wear this shirt tucked into jeans at the weekend."
"I'm never without one of Muji's trusty beanies."
"Details like a curved hem elevate Muji's basics."
"I'm forever living out my French-girl dreams in this striped roll-neck."
"I'll be wearing these trousers rolled up with white socks and my favourite black loafers."
"My wardrobe isn't complete without a Muji roll-neck."
Think of Reiss and well-cut workwear likely comes to mind, but over the past couple of years, I've discovered it's so much more than that. The tailoring is second to none, the accessories are on-point and the quality unrivalled in its price range. So much so that it's become my go-to for special occasions as well as daily wares.
This lemon blazer will look gorgeous paired with a chiffon midi skirt in khaki or blush.
I live for white blouses with intricate collars, so naturally, I've already invested in this beauty.
Reiss has convinced me to trade-in heritage checks in favour of a skater-style checkerboard.
My night-out attire usually consists of jeans, a white tee and stand-out heels. Meet my new favourite pair.
I have one word for you: pockets.
These shades allow me to tap into S/S 19's coloured-frame trend without feeling OTT.