How I shop the High Street

Jumper: Arket (last year). Trousers: £59, And Other Stories (they have in a few colours, too). Photographs: Christopher O’Donnell (unless otherwise stated).

I’ve been told I’m ‘quite’ savvy at shopping the High Street and making it look far more considered. Being a Fashion Editor, I suppose I have really honed my editing skills so I thought I’d do a post on how I scour the shops and what I look for in my favourite stores.

ARKET

Knitwear. From the cashmere to the merino wool crew-necks to the slouchy sloppy fisherman’s knits. Arket has the best selection. I also like to look at baby clothes in the sale, plus they have a great range of Veja trainers.

H&M

I look to H&M for a great affordable outfit changer – it’s more fashion-led than most stores so it’s good to look for more fashiony pieces but choose wisely! Personally, I don’t tend to buy trousers from here (although I have one pair of jeans I love!) as the sizing is so different across the board and I rarely buy shoes and bags as they’re not as good quality, so I would look for tops for holiday, dresses and skirts. The Conscious Collection is alwasy worth a look, too.

T-shirt: Sezane (old). Skirt: H&M (old). Trainers: Ash (old).

COS

For me, Cos depends on the seasons, some years it has the perfect summer dresses, other years nothing. But without fail, they do the best, well-cut trousers – my favourite pairs have always been from here (navy wool), they’re dry-clean only but really last. Also great for coats and crisp cotton shirts and tailoring.

UNIQLO

I have always found some gems in Uniqlo – they sell these breton tops all year round, which I have shouted about pretty much since I first started blogging – I still have mine from years ago and it’s such a classic – but I’d probably size up if I were to rebuy for a slouchier fit. I also love their boxy tees (I have this in red stripe which is amongst my most worn). The cashmere is good, although I prefer Gap personally – and you almost always have to look for mens to find the better selection (luckily I like cashmere slouchy). And obviously I have a light down hooded puffa coat that comes with me on most flights!

Breton top: £7.90, Uniqlo. Belt: Asos (old). Trousers: Gap (old).

GAP

I haven’t really worn designer jeans recently, and my favourite pairs have been Gap. I also rate their overiszed cotton shirts (perfect for holidays over a swimsuit or bikini) and 100% cashmere (see my cashmere edit here). Oh, and I bought a gingham high waisted bikini from them last summer which made me feel so confident post-baby so I shall be looking there again this year.

Jumper: Gap (old). Jeans: Gap (old). Shoes: Lucy Williams x Aeyde (old). Bag: Clare V (old). Photograph: Eva K Salvi.

ASOS

I tend to shop on Asos via new in, and then I filter Asos own brand. I look for fashion forward pieces and especially holiday pieces. I must admit I don’t tend to buy as many winter clothes from Asos anymore as it isn’t made from as warm, good quality fabrics. I have found it great for summer dresses or wedding guest outfits when I haven’t wanted to spend a fortune, or for hair slides and hairbands for an affordable ‘quirk’ to add to an outfit. I also found it great when pregnant as it had an offering of maternity clothes other than skinny jeans.

FREE PEOPLE

For a holiday dress, I really have to say you can’t beat Free People. The ‘Love of My Life’ midi is a classic style that works well for breastfeeding, too. Not the cheapest, but they use natural fabrics which breathe in the summer and really last.

Dress: Free People (old).

MANGO

I find myself going to Mango more and more lately, as opposed to Zara. I usually go straight to the shoe department, as they’re made in Spain and usually really well-made and comfortable! I also love their earrings and sunglasses.

AND OTHER STORIES

Also good for accessories and sunglasses, their underwear is lovely (especially if you don’t wear underwired bras, like me) but I would say they do the best day dresses, hands down. I have also lived in the wool blazer I bought a few months ago and have been really impressed with the quality.

Dress: And Other Stories (old). Boots: And Other Stories (old). Photograph: Ella Sadika.

M&S

Marks & Spencer is a weird one, as they always tend to surprise me (plus there is so much to sift through!). From experience, I have always shopped for their cashmere, lightweight coats and shoes (always super comfy). I am possibly the only person that doesn’t really rate their swimwear.

TOPSHOP

I have only just started shopping in Topshop again lately – I look for more easy fashion pieces here – they have some gorgeous printed dresses online curently, and their boilersuits and satin skirts have been a real Instagram success, which is perhaps why it got me looking again. I always look at their shoes when I am instore as they are good value for the quality and design and their denim is also excellent –  I have my eye on the ‘Editor’ jeans – high waisted straight leg.

Boilersuit: Topshop (sold out).

So I think thast just about covers most of the shops I usually go into! Hope that was somewhat useful and it might help you as a guide for what to look out for instore and how to make the browsing easier and quicker (I have no patience scrolling through online shops so this editing process makes it so much easier for me, too!).

30 Comments

  1. Really great post Alex. Tried to share on FB, but get an error message saying this is still in development and I don’t have access?

  2. That was really interesting. I, too, prefer Mango to Zara, but have been unable to buy in Mango recently because they have stopped doing size 14’s (well in all but a few styles). There’s a lovely polka dot midi dress at the moment but the biggest size is 12. It is a style that would really suit a size 14. There are size 14s in the Violeta range, but generally its a more expensive range, and, more importantly, I don’t agree with size 14s being relegated to the plus size range. Also, like you, I prefer real to virtual shopping. I will make an example. Say you are size 14 and 5’9. – if you were scaled down to say 5’3 – you would probably be a size 10 or 12 – its all a case of proportion.
    Having shopped in Mango for many years I am really disappointed with this policy. I went into the shop in Leeds last week, and they said the reason they have done this, they say, is because no one was buying the size 14s! However, the store manager said that it was the most popular size and they have had no end of customers complaining. I have tried writing to Mango but not had any success. You probably aren’t aware of this, they dropped most size 14s 2 years ago. I think as you are probably a size 10 you won’t realise, but I thought you should know. I have been following you on Instagram for ages, and really like your posts.

    1. Oh this is SO interesting and sad to hear, it’s terrible that anyone should have to shop a different selection anyway, they should just cater for everyone. I sadly have no contact with Mango but if I ever do, I will pass your feedback on – and yes, thank you for flagging as shops cater for my size and it’s not as apparent to me but I like to be informed x

  3. Ah this is brilliant Alex! I have always wondered how you shop the highstreet and if you have a system. This is so helpful and I have to agree with what you said about Arket‘s knitwear. It’s so good!

  4. Thank you so much for the guide Alex. I’m always looking for unusual hair slides so hopefully asos has the answer!
    Enjoy NYC and I’m hoping you will have time to visit Everlane store; not far from where you are staying. The store in San Francisco is so busy as there is less choice of clothing stores so it’s practically impossible to try anything on!
    X

    1. I haven’t shopped there for ages, sorry! I was going to mention that I don’t shop there but forgot….as I never go in! I don’t get a nice feel in the stores anymore and the clothes really don’t fit my body that well, personally x

  5. Thanks Alex,
    Your style and advice are always great, and really helpful. I love seeing you in such a diverse range of outfits that really give me inspiration. Enjoy New York and I look forward to hearing what your impressions of Harlem are!

  6. Hi Alex. Great to know where you shop, and what you recommend when we’re all (I hope) trying to shop better and smarter. I’ve had my eye on the free people dress for a while, how is the sizing (dress size and length of the dress)? Thanks, and enjoy NY!

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