Before anything makes it into our shopping baskets, we ask ourselves four things: is the cut considered and flattering? Is the attention to detail thoughtful? Is the fabric of beautiful quality? And finally, does it have classic appeal that will stand the test of time? Only if the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ to all of these do we commit to purchasing. High standards? Absolutely! But this is the key to clever shopping. And it doesn’t mean spending a fortune…
Within our roster of go-to brands is a handful of smart-price destinations we’ve come to rely on for specific sartorial essentials. Delivering premium quality with a sweet price tag, these have won a place in our wardrobes because they complement our investment buys, while also making stylish statements of their own (hello Whistles’ prints). From luxe cashmere to spot-on tailoring and our perfect white T-shirt, here are the inexpensive treasures we couldn’t do without.
JOSEPH’S ELEVATED BASICS
Last year Joseph launched its Foundation Collection, and we have been dedicated fans of the elevated, entry-point basics it offers ever since. Think fine merino knits, fit-like-a-glove smart trousers and versatile pleated skirts. As you’d expect, beautiful-quality fabrics and considered cuts come as standard, and make for true wardrobe staples.
J.CREW’S COTTON T-SHIRTS
It goes without saying that the T-shirt is an essential wardrobe staple, adding an edge to tailoring, dressing down sequins, or simply worn with jeans. It’s so important to get the right fit and fabric, which is why we always reach for J.Crew’s cotton tees. Lightweight and breathable without being see-through, these hang beautifully, wash well and give designer counterparts a serious run for their money.
LE SPECS’ CHIC SUNGLASSES
If there’s one smart-price destination that every fashion insider will agree on, it’s Le Specs. The Australian eyewear brand has garnered a cult following thanks to its chic, considered and oh-so flattering shapes that rival designer ones. A summer staple, of course, but don’t forget your sunglasses on bright winter mornings – try a bolder frame or colourway that will look great with your outerwear.
AURORA LONDON’S CLASSIC LEATHER BAGS
Minimal detailing, classic silhouettes, high-quality leather and wearable colourways are what make Aurora London our go-to brand for inexpensive handbags. While the Cara top handle and capacious Lauren tote make for sleek workwear carry-alls, the practical-sized cross-body bags are perfect for daily essentials.
JIGSAW’S TAILORED OUTERWEAR
Finding considered tailoring that doesn’t break the bank is no mean feat, but Jigsaw successfully masters it season after season. Our favourites are premium wool blazers in sharp silhouettes, evening jackets in luxe satin, and classic overcoats in heritage check, camel or navy. When buying boxy styles, size down, so it fits like a glove across your shoulders and arms.
OTIUMBERG’S EVERYDAY JEWELLERY
From hoops and huggies to simple chains and stacking rings, Otiumberg is our choice for chic, understated pieces that form the building blocks of our jewellery collections. Our hero? The Vera gold hoop designed in collaboration with Laura, with its signature flat edge – it comes in two sizes: the everyday mini and the just-perfect large.
COS’ LUXE LEATHER
The true marker of a smart price brand is one that still delivers on quality, and on this front COS never fails. One of our most trusted high-street destinations, the Swedish label continues to impress us with its refined leather offerings, including trousers, bags and footwear. On this season’s wish list is a pair of butter-soft, knee-high black boots that have a walkable kitten heel.
PURE COLLECTION’S EXQUISITE CASHMERE
A beautiful cashmere knit is one of the hardest working pieces in any winter wardrobe. Versatile, warm and chic, it will take you from office to off-duty and back again. The brand we turn to for our cashmere fix is Pure Collection, due to its exquisitely soft yarn and perfectly weighted pieces. Whether we’re pairing the easy Lofty sweatshirt with jeans, or layering the knitted T-shirt under tailoring, these are wear-forever classics we can’t get enough of.
MANGO’S IMPRESSIVE FOOTWEAR
Ever since Laura fell in love with a pair of hot pink mules with bow detailing, Mango has been one of our regular footwear destinations. While our summer wardrobes featured the brand’s minimal slip-on sandals in tan and cream, this season’s impressive boot offering has really caught our eye. Think stacked-heel knee-highs to wear with floral dresses, and clompy stompers to pair with tailoring.
WHISTLES’ TIMELESS PRINTS
Whistles has long been one of our most coveted high-street retailers, not least for its refined prints. Be it a Baroque swirl on a silk top, vintage-inspired florals scattered over dresses, or a clever take on leopard spots, each unique design combines wow-factor with wearability and – most importantly – has timeless appeal, meaning printed purchases will never date.
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