Welcome to The Great Try-On. With spring well and truly in the air, we seized the opportunity to try on some of the best new-in pieces from some of your favourite brands, documenting the process along the way. We believe that the best way to shop online is to see an item IRL and to read candid reviews, so we hope that this leads you to your most successful purchases of the year.
Ordinarily, I don't like to speak on behalf of my colleagues, but of all the high-street stores we frequent, & Other Stories is up there amongst our favourites. Over the past few years, it's a brand I've found myself relying on more and more, and I think that's down to its more nuanced take on the trends as well as its bountiful edit of what I consider my wardrobe foundations—striped tops, classic jeans, tailoring. It's this potent blend of what I perceive as essentials sitting alongside pieces that feel current (but not frivolous) that makes & Other Stories so appealing, something I imagine strikes a chord amongst you, the seasoned shoppers that you are.
Because of this, I thought it would be interesting—as part of our Great Try On series—to head on into my local & Other Stories store, size up the new collection and try on a selection of the trend-led pieces of which I speak as well as some of the brand's timeless staples. As someone whose personal style tends to err on the classic side, I didn't expect to love some of the more directional items as much as I did. Never would I have considered, for example, investing in a cargo maxi skirt, so you can understand my surprise when it was one of my favourite pieces from the entire experience. This attests to the power of trying clothes on in real life, especially when you think your style might benefit from a shake-up or if you want to ensure that the pieces you're spending your hard-earned cash on actually merit it.
For transparency, I'm 5' 4" and a pretty true UK size 12 with an hourglass shape. I have big boobs and shapely hips, and I'm happy with my lot. However, before we go any further, it would be remiss of me not to mention the ongoing issues I have with & Other Stories sizing. I did a similar & Other Stories try-on last year, and at the risk of coming across as self-indulgent by quoting myself, this is what I wrote six months ago: "Standing looking at my reflection in the mirror as I struggled to pull a pair of trousers several sizes bigger than my usual over my thighs, I was disheartened. I'm more than willing to size up if need be, but if I find it difficult to shop here, I have to wonder how many others have no option but to write [& Other Stories] off completely."
While there is still truth to these words, there has been some positive progress in this area in the last few months. This time around, I was able to wear a 40 (which in-store staff confirmed is indeed a 12) in a pair of tailored trousers that bear a striking resemblance to those I refer to in the quote above, which, by contrast, only fit in a size 46. There was significantly more room around the bum and hips, even if it did mean that the waist was on the generous side. The same sentiment goes for & Other Stories jeans, which I wear in a 30 waist, just as I would in any other store. The fact that the largest jeans size & Other Stories carries is a 32 waist, however, makes me think the brand could do better here.
You may have no issue with & Other Stories sizing, but in the interest of being honest, I wanted to share my experience and compare it to that of previous visits. We can all agree that it would be wonderful to see & Other Stories expand into a more diverse size range. Of course, this isn't a sole & Other Stories issue, but inclusivity has to start somewhere, right? Beautiful, well-made clothes should be for everyone, and there are definitely pieces I discovered during my try-on that I would love for all to, at least, have the option to own. Scroll on to see my favourite finds from & Other Stories' spring 2023 collection.
1. Oxford Shirt + Pencil Skirt
My Review: Sometimes, items we generally consider to be classic and "trend-proof" actually start trending, and that's the case with striped Oxford shirts. Beloved by bankers and fashion people across the globe, styles with white collars and cuffs seem to be the most in demand, so I was keen to get my hands on one I'd seen on the & Other Stories website. Fortunately for me, it was in-store and in plentiful supply. Size-wise, I grabbed a medium and a large, and honestly, there wasn't a whole heap of difference between them. The fit is already somewhat relaxed, so I opted for the medium, as I knew I wanted to style it with something more streamlined—a pencil skirt—and I didn't want surplus bulk to tuck in. After taking my outfit snaps, I untucked the shirt from the skirt and was impressed at how little it had creased. As I try to avoid ironing as much as I can, this is definitely a selling point.
2. Trench Coat + Basics
My Review: One item I always think & Other Stories does very well is outerwear. Some of my favourite coats from the last seven or so years have come from & Other Stories—the brand does them well and crafts them beautifully—and this trench coat is no exception. The sizing is very generous. I grabbed a 40 out of habit, but I very easily could have downsized to a 38. The sage colourway is unique, but not impractically so. In fact, for anything that you hesitate wearing a classic beige style with, I think this colourway would be the solution. There is, however, a taupe iteration should that fit in more with your aesthetic. But if you're looking to keep your spring outfits looking fresh this season, I think this green trench is the perfect way to do so.
Now, for the jeans. I already own a pair of the brand's Favourite Cut jeans in a 30 waist, and I was happy to see that its new style, the Mood Cut, has a similar fit. It's described as a cropped style—on me, it is just below the ankle. In spite of being a straight-leg-jeans girl through and through, I really loved the look of these flares on my leg. The kick-out was cute, not cliché, and the denim wash looked premium. I'm sold.
3. Cargo Skirt + Crew-Neck Knit
My Review: Aside from leather blazers and shoulder bags, I've largely been avoiding investing in anything too Y2K or '90s. Sure, it might be the height of fashion now, but with releases such as Daisy Jones and the Six coming out as well as the slew of retro designs that populated the spring/summer 2023 runways, I just know it's only a matter of time before another decade or movement takes their place. One piece from this aesthetic, however, that I can imagine sticking around for a while is cargo. Pockets began cropping up on the sides of trousers once more a couple of seasons ago, but this year, it's proving to be all about the cargo skirt.
Many other options I've seen looked underwhelming, but the minute I picked up this style, I knew it was different. The cotton was lovely and thick, the beige hue not too yellowed—things were off to an impressive start. In the changing room, it was mostly a success. The waist on the 40 was pretty roomy but fit nicely on my thighs and bum. I went back out and grabbed the 38 to compare it to, but I couldn't get that past my thighs. I didn't buy it, but I'm still very much thinking about it. The column shape probably has something to do with how sleek it felt to wear. If I do buy it, I'll be heading straight to the tailors to have taken in on the waistline to hone that silhouette.
4. Nice Top + Jeans
My Review: Rosettes are everywhere right now. They're so pretty that they're even tempting me, someone who dresses pretty conservatively and plainly, to give them a whirl. A similar scenario to the Oxford shirt above, I'd already seen this gathered top on the & Other Stories website and had even spoken with my colleagues about it. "If it's there, you have to try it on" and "I'm desperate to know what it's like" were just some of the comments we exchanged on it. Feeling like it could be the perfect nice top to my jeans outfits for spring, I made a beeline as soon as I saw it in a central display in my local store. It's beautiful—we can agree on that. But the price? I'm just not convinced any top that feels this trend-led is worth it. It does feature a heck of a lot of detail as well as boning to ensure a perfect fit, so if this feels like a bit of you, then it could very well be a wise purchase. If, like me, you're someone who would only get occasional fun from wearing something like this, this might be one & Other Stories item to swerve on.
Sizing is small. I know I have big boobs (I wear a 32G bra), but even a size 44, the biggest & Other Stories stocks, felt tight across my chest. Waistline-wise, the 38 fit me best—talk about one extreme to the next! Then again, I have a very extreme hourglass physique, so I need to take that into account. Even if I were tempted to buy it, I would be reluctant to snap up a bigger size with the intention of having it tailored, as the combination of gathering and boning would make that quite an expensive tweakment. So although it is very pretty and I know it would feel right at home in the correct wardrobe, it's got to be a no for me.
5. Striped Knit + Tailored Trousers
My Review: Few knitwear trends feel as timeless as Breton jumpers, and & Other Stories has plenty to choose from for the season ahead. I've been contemplating investing in a few of them, but having tried this option on, I think I've made my mind up. The weave is close, and the material has a silky quality, both of which combine to make this jumper feel very elevated indeed. The stripe sizing and spacing are near perfect, and I'm very fussy about that sort of thing. The medium fit is just how I'd want it to as well. I'm already picturing slinging it around my shoulders in a rather pleasingly lackadaisical fashion this spring.
The trousers I paired it with looked incredibly sleek on the hanger. I took three sizes into the changing room with me—a 40, 42 and 44—and the 40 fits. This is major progress from last season when the 44 still left room to be desired. A common problem we curvy girls face when it comes to trousers is waist pleating. Having studied fashion design at university, I've seen firsthand how trouser pleats designed on a streamlined mannequin become distorted when anyone with a sliver of shape slips into them.
It seems this is where & Other Stories encounters a stumbling block. Reevaluating the placement of the pleats or how much fabric you allocate to them won't hinder the design of the trousers for those with athletic or slim figures, but it will make them generally more wearable for those of us with different body types. It's a simple change that could make such a difference to the overall fit and feel of & Other Stories' otherwise excellent tailoring section.
6. Trench Coat + Floral Skirt
My Review: The current colour palette at & Other Stories resembles a bowl of sugared almonds. That or the fashion-forward school uniforms from the film Do Revenge. Either way, it's saccharine, pretty and unapologetically spring-like. Coupled with florals, things run the risk of becoming too sweet for my tastes, but I felt that it was important to style up an outfit that truly reflected what I was seeing in the store. Although it hasn't landed online yet, I saw so many people pick up and consider this skirt, and that was my indicator that I should do the same! The print was sweet but really loaned itself to being toughened up with black leather boots. In high summer, I'd see myself pairing it with some black chunky sliders to re-create that juxtaposition for the different seasons. The fit was slightly on the big side, but I didn't feel the need to size down. If you want it to hang just so, I'd stick to your usual. I repurposed the crop top from earlier and finished with—that's right—another & Other Stories trench coat I loved on the shop floor. What can I say? I'm a woman who knows what she likes.
7. Blazer + Jeans
My Review: I practically collect blazers, so I had to sneak one into my try-on. I already own a couple of & Other Stories blazers which have held up well and are typically made from more premium materials, so although they cost a little more than what you might find at other high-street stores, I generally think the price is justifiable. Many of the blazers still felt wintery when I was in the store, but this black number caught my eye. The sharp levels and padded shoulders are fun and serve as a point of difference to any blazers I already own. The material was lovely. Although 100% wool, it didn't feel too thick or wintery, which is ideal seeing as we're heading into the warmer months. The sizing was accurate, and the hemline hit at the perfect point on my lower bum. Though, I imagine it'll still feel like a decent length on someone taller. It's fully lined, and overall, it feels luxurious, which is what you want when you're considering spending three figures on something.
For this look, I also grabbed a pair of the brand's influencer-loved jeans, the Favourite Cut. I own a pair in a size 30 waist and have for years, so I'm glad to see the sizing has remained consistent. If anything, my OG pair is a little too stretchy and can lose its shape after a day or so of wear. This pair felt starchier and firmer. Perhaps it is time I invested in an upgrade.
8. Knitted Dress + Ankle Boots
My Review: Spring might be just around the corner, but there's still a lot of life left in knitted dresses. I've been looking for the perfect option for a while now, and & Other Stories has delivered. This is on the thicker side, but the fabric is so soft it doesn't feel like you're lugging yourself around in it. It's another & Other Stories item with a very generous fit—I'm wearing this dress in a small—so perhaps this one has the potential to be worn by a wider variety of shapes. I always think ribbed-knit dresses look premium, and that's the case here. The little slits to the hem and cuffs were a nice touch and will allow you to showcase pretty footwear and jewellery options easily.