Fashion editors are spoilt, and I'm allowed to say that because I am one. Not spoilt because we have heaps of cash to splash on a whim when we just happen to be breezing through Valentino, no. (In fact, fashion salaries are notoriously crap.) But we do get to see these pieces all the time, up close and personal. Once you've felt a really expensive cashmere jumper, handled a full Prada collection, tried on Chanel jewellery and slipped your feet into the most divinely comfortable shoes from The Row, nothing is the same again.
We want luxury, and we want it now (only we need it at a fraction of the price most of the time). Which is why after 12 years of working in the industry, I can post an expensive-looking affordable purchase from a mile off. Your radar has to be so finely tuned that you know how the cut of a sleeve can make something look cheap, or just how much Spandex is too much in a pair of jeans (btw, once you go about 2%, you're basically in jegging territory).
It's my job to know what looks good on a budget—it's for my own wardrobe too. After all, I need to sit side by side with the women who do have oodles to spend on the latest Dior this or Fendi that. I'll save up for special designer investment pieces or cooler finds from contemporary brands at a mid-tier price point, but in general, the holes in my wardrobe need to be filled with wallet-friendly additions that aren't just a one-wear wonder.
So here's where this shopping list comes in. Below, find the under-£100 items I think are worth buying this June. And let me know how you get on (just DM me @hannahalmassi on Instagram).
For some reason, I would like a pink tee, and this one just looks like the perfect shade and fit.
Love a backless dress on holiday, but the classiest ones are always the simplest.
Would you judge me if I told you I've bought three pairs of Teva sandals this year?
Like a party for your ears. Spanish label Bimba always creates the wackiest (read: most brilliant) jewellery on the high street, but it's always a bit more expensive for that reason.
I have a secret soft spot for Boden's shoes. They're well made with comfortable heel heights and are often a bit different, like these slingbacks.
It's a tad Handmaid's Tale (and I don't mind that), but this COS sunhat could easily pass as designer thanks to its sculptural shape.
E8 is Miista's more affordable sister line. It's absolutely cracking. Go check it out.
Many co-ords are skimpy and a bit too sassy for my liking. This one is all kinds of sophisticated and grown-up instead.
Can never have too many scarves, but this Liberty of London print is particularly charming. Wear in your hair, around your neck, tied around your chest…
Shell jewellery is still trending, and I like how Little Mermaid this rope necklace is.
So to buy the whole M&S short suit does admittedly cost more than £100, but I'd be happy with either of these smartly tailored separates.
Shorts always look most sophisticated with mid-to-low heels or flats.
The most expensive-looking crafty skirt on the high street—I promise you this.
A very directional take on nude heels.
Anklets are trending, and I want in.
Loose-fitting silhouettes can often look more elegant than tight-fitting ones, and Monki serves these kind of affordable pieces up by the truckload.
Bodysuits are surprisingly versatile, but you want a decent quality one for comfort. This also has the added bonus of that asymmetric button line, which looks cool done up or undone slightly.
Frivolous? Yes. Fabulous? Absolutely. I'd like a fan very much.
It's the square neckline and subdued yellow colour that make this linen dress look more expensive.
I've got a thing for bohemian bags set against minimalist outfits right now.
Beach, here I come!
Topshop's slip skirts are still very popular, but this bias-cut hanky-hem style takes the idea to the next, more luxe level.
Oh, this? I found it in a cute little place in Bali. (*Cough*)
This kind of blouse silhouette is all over the high street, but super-cheap versions can be a bit mean on the amount of fabric used to puff out those sleeves. This has just the right amount of drama.
I always think brown looks elegant, and this beautifully cut dress from Warehouse really stands out in a sea of cutesy printed things.
See above note regarding bohemian bags (and pretending to pick things up in Bali).
Simple swimsuits are the best swimsuits because no one will ever be able to tell how much you spent on them.
Also, this is made out of recycled fabric, so double hurrah.