How do you buy good-quality, expensive-looking pieces without breaking the bank? As a fashion editor, it's a question I've wrestled with for many years—from my time at university right up to the present day. Over the last couple of years, it has also become a pressing issue faced by the wider fashion community, as people attempt to buy less but buy better. But it's always easier said than done though, right?
Photo:Joy Montgomery for Who What Wear
On Joy: Topshop Boutique White Poplin Smock Top.
The reality is that most of us don't have a spare £1,000 to spend on a designer coat, and historically, the high street hasn't exactly been known for quality or longevity. However, over the last few years, it seems as though the likes of H&M, ASOS and Topshop have finally clocked onto the demand for something more substantial. The result? A slew of dedicated high-street lines that commit to premium fashion with an accessible price point.
Personally, I've found these collections to be invaluable for discovering affordable yet expensive-looking gems. The brands are keen to separate these high-end offerings from the mainline collections and so put extra time and effort into making them feel special, which results in items that can end up feeling more designer than the designers themselves. After all, they can't just rely on their name to be a signifier of quality. The proof is in the product. From Topshop Boutique's chic silhouettes and Uniqlo designer collabs to H&M Studio's high-end spring staples and ASOS White's stylish separates, scroll down to shop my premium high-street edit.
1. Uniqlo U
Uniqlo U is the fashion girl's go-to for expensive-looking minimalist staples. From straight leg denim to trench coats, there's so much to love.
2. H&M Studio
H&M's Studio collections famously sellout within days (if not hours), in no small part thanks to its experimental and boundary-pushing approach to high street design.
3. Topshop Boutique
Topshop may be in new hands this year, but that hasn't stopped the iconic store continuing to do what it does best. The brand's Boutique line is always a winner for occasion dresses and tailored separates.
4. M&S Autograph
M&S was one of the first high street brands to experiment with different lines to appeal to different audiences, and its Autograph has long been considered a failsafe for design-led, high-end wardrobe heroes.
5. ASOS White
On the more affordable end of the market, ASOS has jumped on the premium bandwagon with ASOS White. From statement blouses to printed midis, you'll find plenty of feel-good buys in this line.
6. Next Label/Mix
Label/Mix from Next champions the next generation of design talents, collaborating with fashion’s rising stars to create high-end designs with affordable price points.