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.
It’s been exciting to see how Topshop has evolved since being bought out by ASOS in 2021. One of the biggest changes has been the expansion of sizing. It has been six months since Topshop finally became available in plus sizes, and it’s clear that the brand is trying to fill a gap in the market. Its pieces feel more grown-up, cleaner and more premium than much of what is currently on offer over size 18, and it feels as though this new iteration of Topshop is going to be the place I go for good wardrobe basics and statement pieces.
As soon as the extended size range launched last September, I bought its bold orange faux-leather trench coat. I was won over by the super-soft and extremely realistic faux leather, and it’s been my main winter coat ever since. After this impressive start, I’ve been looking forward to seeing what styles it would have in store for us this spring. Excitingly, Who What Wear have called upon me to try out a wide selection of new Topshop pieces as part of this season’s Great Try-On. Read on for my Topshop test-drive as a size 24.
1. STRAIGHT-LEG JEANS + BIKER JACKET
My Review: Since Topshop always was the place for high-street denim, I thought it was a must that I tried out a pair of the brand’s Curve jeans. The Kort is a straight-fit, super-high-rise, 100% cotton jeans style without any stretch. At first, they felt tight to fasten, but I know they will give over time as they are worn in. I might be tempted to try on a size up still to see if they fit around my stomach area better, as I imagine these wouldn’t be very comfortable to sit in. I do, however, love how high these come up on my waist, and I love the fit of the legs.
It feels like Topshop is currently trying to elevate the basics, and here’s another piece that many would consider an essential in any wardrobe: the biker jacket. The faux leather feels soft and incredibly realistic, while the hardware feels suitably chunky and sturdy. There are four functioning pockets, including this little popper one on the front which I found to be the perfect spot for your bank card if you’re running out without a bag. I really would recommend this jacket, as it’s a great piece you could just chuck on and go.
2. FLORAL MAXI DRESS
My Review: When I picked out this maxi dress to try, I had wedding guests in mind. I thought the blurry floral could be an edgier update to the classic floral prints we often see in spring styles. When I took this piece out of the packaging, the first thing that struck me was the lovely quality of the fabric. This dress is 100% viscose, which gives the garment a gorgeous drape and nice weighty quality. The dress feels lovely to wear, and I love the design. However, there are aspects of the fit that I feel need tweaking. I would prefer the neckline to be slightly higher, and I felt the seam under the bust could have been a little lower to accommodate my fuller bust. I love the slit in the skirt, which I feel was cut to just the right height to feel sexy without the worry that you might show more than you want to.
3. TRENCH COAT + BLACK SATIN MAXI DRESS
My Review: Although I rarely wear black, I can feel it creeping back into my wardrobe this year. Alongside a few of my colour-loving friends, I am leaning back into the dark side. I really think this might be the first black dress to reenter my wardrobe in years! As soon as I saw this dress, it stood out to me as an exciting piece to see in plus-size. I like its nod to sportswear and its clean aesthetic. I think someone with minimalist style would adore this, but it would work equally well for someone who likes to layer more. I would pair this with a colourful or printed high-neck top underneath and leave the zip undone.
The trench is another great version of a classic. It’s not usually something I would wear, but again, it is something I’m thinking I need in my wardrobe after trying it on! I love the fit of this coat, which leaves plenty of room to wear a jumper underneath. The longline length gives it a more premium look, and I love that it feels full of fabric. The brand hasn't scrimped on the size of the collar or the volume in the back storm flap either.
4. PINK SHIRT + FLARED BLUE TROUSERS
My Review: A crisp cotton shirt will always be welcome in my wardrobe, and as I’m a lover of pink, this felt like a perfect combo. The extra-large cuffs and double-breast pockets add a twist to a classic oversized shirt, and this is a good style to try if you struggle with shirts being tight around your hips/stomach area. The open back would give you the ease to move around and sit down comfortably without needing to undo the bottom few buttons like I often need to. This shirt is also available in a white cotton.
Next, flares! I absolutely love flared trousers, but it can be difficult to find a flare that is exaggerated enough to suit my plus-size frame. The extreme flare of these trousers absolutely ticks that box. I love the quality of the fabric, and the colour truly is incredible in person. They fasten at the side, which can be a little awkward to use, but it does give the front a smooth clean look. At 5’11”, I love the length of these on me, but this would likely mean that you would need to take these up if you’re shorter than 5’8”. This shape is also available in black, which I think would be a brilliant basic to have in your wardrobe if you prefer neutrals.
5. BIAS-CUT MAXI SKIRT + LACE LONG-SLEEVED TOP
My Review: There has been a resurgence of maxi skirts in all formats, and the bias cut is one of the key styles of the moment. Topshop Curve has this particular skirt available in six plain colours and one print. It’s such an easy style to wear due to the elasticated waist and the natural stretch that bias-cut fabric gives to a garment. I would pair this with an oversized jumper and T-shirt for a grungier daytime feel or a lace top like the above if I wanted to take it to an evening look. This fabric is thicker than many bias skirts I have tried in the past, which means it hangs really well and has a more luxe feel. Topshop design team, if you’re reading this, I would love to see this shape in a classic leopard print next!
This is a perfect top for layering. I love the neckline and the ruched details that add more interest to this sheer long-sleeved top. I would wear this on its own, over a cami top, underneath a slip dress or with a blazer—it really is such a good building block for an outfit.
6. STRIPED MINIDRESS
My Review: I love knitted dresses! They are comfortable, easy and perfect if you tend to float between sizes. I’m always drawn to a high neck, and I think that paired with the long, flared sleeves creates a silhouette that is just fabulous. I think this would look great layered over a pair of flared trousers or worn underneath a waistcoat. This dress has loads of stretch and feels lovely to wear, but I am slightly put off by the diagonal seam through the waist. I also really wish we (plus-size people) had been given the option of the lime-green striped midi knit dress, too, like in the Topshop core range. You know me—I like a bit of colour.
7. CHUNKY LOAFERS
My Review: I’m always on the hunt for wide-fit shoes, and I’m impressed with the Topshop offering. These chunky loafers feel nice and sturdy, and I love the patent croc texture. After a day of walking around London in them, I was surprised by how easy they were to wear for the first time—no plasters needed, hurrah! I get the feeling that I’ll wear these daily, as they basically go with everything in my wardrobe.