We Spent Hours Trying On the Best of the High Street—Here's What We Loved

Our aim on Who What Wear UK throughout February was to cut through the noise of the busy high street and really focus in on the coolest, most exciting buys that are truly worth your money for the new season ahead. Because let’s face it, there’s a lot out there to choose from. Between the high street, designer second-hand and independent brands popping up, it can be difficult to pinpoint what to get from where and which pieces will make a difference to your current collection. 

If the last month of analysing the new spring drops from the trusty British high street has taught us anything, though, it’s that it is still worth your consideration, especially if you’re looking for trend-led options to dip your toe into before investing heavily or more affordable options of classic capsule pieces.

High Street Try Ons: COS

Photo:

Joy Montgomery

Scrolling continuously through the new-in sections of the digital high street has been useful in getting an idea of what’s out there. There’s often a lot more choice online these days and a lot more diverse options. But nothing really compares to seeing pieces in real life, feeling the fabrics and trying them on ourselves before we give you our verdicts and recommendations. That’s why over the past couple of weeks, all of the Who What Wear UK editors have been popping into the biggest high-street destinations—from H&M to M&SMango to Arket—and reporting back on what we’ve found.

There have been some real hits and a few pieces we’ve admittedly left the shops with for ourselves. So with March arriving and spring very much on the horizon, we thought it might be helpful to compile the best of the best from all our recent high-street try-ons. 

Keep scrolling, and you can see our top pieces and then shop them for yourselves.

1. Arket

High Street Try Ons: Arket

Photo:

Joy Montgomery

"Paintbox brights are having a moment in the spotlight, and flame orange is right at the centre of the action. I love the idea of wearing this instead of a dress to a wedding this spring—just style with slingback kitten heels and gold jewellery." — Joy Montgomery, Shopping Editor

High Street Try Ons: Arket

Photo:

Joy Montgomery

"Tailored trousers are a great building block from which to create outfits, and I love how this pair is not only comfy (hello, elasticated waistband) but also works beautifully as part of a tonal look. The key is to create interesting textural contrasts via the fabrics with pieces like this knit vest and white shirt." — Montgomery

2. H&M

High Street Try Ons: H&M

Photo:

Maxine Eggenberger

"If you were to look inside my wardrobe, you’d find a lot of space is taken up by floral dresses. I find them very difficult to resist. And '70s-inspired retro florals like this are set to be huge this spring. Although my specific dress is yet to land on-site, this puff-sleeve dress is available now. Actually, I think I might even prefer it—and it comes in plus sizes, too." — Maxine Eggenberger, Acting Assistant Editor

High Street Try Ons: H&M

Photo:

Maxine Eggenberger

"I’d never normally wear colours as bright as this, but after seeing a slew of bright shirts doing the rounds on Instagram, I was tempted to give them a whirl. I saw four women pick up this oversized shirt, and after trying it on for myself, I get why. The colour is slightly more grass-green in real life, and it was so sleek." — Eggenberger

3. COS

High Street Try Ons: COS

Photo:

Joy Montgomery

"I never thought I'd see the day that COS dropped neon-hued pieces, but here we are, and I kinda love it. As a tailoring lover, I think it's sometimes useful to have those personality pieces to offset any corporate undertones, and this T-shirt is ideal for this purpose. COS's perfect tailored trousers even come with smart elasticated tabs in the waistband to allow for a more precise fit." — Montgomery

High Street Try Ons: COS

Photo:

Joy Montgomery

"I think this suit, specifically the blazer, is one of my favourite pieces from the new COS collection. Silhouette-wise, it's just the right amount of boxy without being shapeless. The trousers (a 10 here) were a tad snug, so I would recommend sizing up if you prefer a looser fit 'round the hip area." — Montgomery

4. Mango

High Street Try Ons: Mango

Photo:

Emma Spedding

"I LOVED this! The tie detailing at the waist makes it really flattering, and I particularly like how it doesn't have a collar or one single button. I decided to wear it with just a bra, but it would also look amazing with jeans or a roll-neck jumper. It comes with a matching miniskirt, too." — Emma Spedding, Editor

High Street Try Ons: Mango

Photo:

Emma Spedding

"I love how the single button to the left side gives this shirt almost has a tuxedo feel. The sharp silhouette stops it from looking too much like pyjamas. This print is really striking, and I love how it looks with the matching trousers." — Spedding

5. M&S

High Street Try Ons: M&S

Photo:

Emily Dawes

"A great striped jumper has the potential to be your most-worn spring piece this year. It works with jeans for weekends, but paired with these wide-leg trousers, it's great for the office, too." — Emily Dawes, Affiliate Editor

High Street Try Ons: M&S

Photo:

Emily Dawes

"This is the kind of trusty dress you have in your wardrobe for years and rely on for every 'I don't know what to wear' occasion, which makes it a cost-per-wear winner in my eyes." — Dawes

6. Zara

High Street Try Ons: Zara

Photo:

Maxine Eggenberger

"I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this blazer. The material looked expensive (not too shiny, nor too matte) and the colour was actually very easy to style—even with bright-blue jeans, it didn’t feel like it was too much." — Eggenberger

High Street Try Ons: Zara

Photo:

Maxine Eggenberger

"Ask anyone who knows me, and they'll tell you I have a thing for white dresses. They’re all I wear in the summer months, and try as I might to fight it, they’re my biggest shopping weakness. I saw this midi style with a pleated bodice and puffed sleeves from a distance and practically sprinted towards it." — Eggenberger

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