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. I also agree with the comment on Mango sizing – in shop I never find any 16s…..I avoid them despite loving their stuff as I think they aim at a particular clientele; no place for 16 I reckon! It’s disappointing…bizarrely Zara used to be the same I think, but now you can find larger sizes online and their packing for delivery and returns policy is brilliant – no need to encounter the terrible customer care!

  2. I’ve only recently found your blog and just wanted to say that I’m really enjoying reading it! I also have a one year old and am continually trying to live our life and update our house on a limited budget and I am finding your blog and Instagram really relatable. Thanks for sharing! xx

  3. Yours is the only blog I still read ! You’re also one of my top 5 favourite Instagrams . . I absolutely love it , home stuff , fashion stuff , Peggy stuff [ I’m a mummy too , not that I just love Peggy stuff 😋 ] You know what I get out of your blog , ‘how’ or ‘help with ‘ styling outfits , I mean I can dress myself but it’s nice to get inspiration . . I don’t often have the opportunity to get exactly what you are wearing , I’m in Australia and different seasons or shipping location etc , but I get very inspired by your outfits and and I wear what I already have ‘that’ way or decide yes I do actually need another striped T-shirt [ 😉 ] That’s why I love your blog , and that’s why it truly is “ The Frugality “ to me . . Thank you A . . xx

  4. LOVE the Free People dress! Looks like a summer staple, but wondering about how it would work on a larger bust… It looks quite low, so could be obscene – what do you think?? Is it the same as the one you’re wearing in your photo? Thanks!

    1. It’s slightly different to the one in the photo, I wore a feeding bra with it last summer and although you could see it slightly, it didn’t bother me too much – I’d go braless these days but there’s not much to see ! x

  5. You’re a woman after my own heart! Clothes are all about how you wear them rather than the price label. Obviously you have to pick the “right” pieces for your life and body shape, but confidence in your own style goes a long way.
    I love the shops you mentioned above – on my way to visit Arket right now ( wish they had more stores)

  6. Thanks Alex, that was really helpful. There is so much choice out there it’s possible to get a little bewildered so good to have a personal recommendation. Totally with Gemma and will also keep for reference. Agree about Marks, have virtually given up shopping there these days but, like you, two of my favourite coats are from Marks. x
    PS Best to get chickenpox young then it’s out of the way. Hard at the time though.

  7. I love this post! I’m currently on a year long ban where I can’t buy anything brand new, only pre-owned. This post has given me some great outfit inspiration. Thank you! x

  8. Fab article as always Alex! Do you find it harder to shop now you’re a mum? I find (since having children and none of them nap anymore) I have very small windows of time in which to try and shop (in real life) so this article is going to be super helpful to me! Thanks!

    1. For sure! I am in town on appts so I can run around then but to be honest, I am mostly cramming in so much work due to lack of childcare that I rarely get time for this anyway! I do a lot of online shopping and still use these rules x

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