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High Street Dressing Room Diaries

Edited by

One of our most-loved features, Dressing Room Diaries has returned after its pandemic-induced hiatus. We couldn't be more excited to be back on the high street, showcasing our favourite brands and the smart-priced treasured worth taking note of.

It's not easy building a forever wardrobe. We are all too aware that a lack of time, combined with overwhelming choice, can make finding stylish, smart-priced pieces that deliver on longevity feel like mission impossible. So we've done the hard work for you. Armed with a laser-sharp focus and bottle of hand sanitiser, we've visited the high street destinations we truly believe in and handpicked their hero styles. From luxe leather bags to jeans that rival designer iterations, here's our edit.

John Lewis
"Over the last few seasons, John Lewis has honed its sartorial offering, concentrating on everyday pieces that are destined to become staples in your casual wardrobe. Coats are a particularly strong area. The quilted jacket I'm wearing here, which also comes in black, successfully blends stylish design with practical touches: a hood, zip closure, deep pockets. Cashmere jumpers are beautifully made and feel luxurious. I love the olive style I'm wearing in the image above - the perfect non-colour to act as a neutral for prints and denim. I also want to highlight the bag selection which comprises key shapes - totes, cross-bodies, shoulder - crafted in soft leather. The lack of hardware and logos gives styles a chic, understated aesthetic."
"Boden has long been known for great quality, but it feels like the brand's aesthetic has grown-up, shifting away from the bold colours and prints that was once its signature, towards sophisticated, paired-back pieces that would happily sit in a contemporary wardrobe. This knitted dress really stood out for me. The russet shade pairs beautifully with other autumnal tones, and the removable sash means it can be styled belted or worn loose and teamed with trainers or boots. I opted for a size up to give a more relaxed fit and slightly longer length. Also of note are Fair Isle jumpers, which come in unexpected colour ways and give the classic motif a twist. I'd wear them with a pair of flared jeans and the faux-fur lined slides."
"Off-duty pieces with a modern edge is where I feel Mango really excels.These faux leather trousers are the sort of thing I would reach for everyday, styled with trainers and a luxe knit. Although the price-point is low (Under £40) touches such as a matte finish, coated drawstring and functioning side pockets, give them elevation. And I can't tell you how comfortable they are! I also gravitated towards a khaki boilersuit that would respin stomping boots and puffer coats, and chunky gold jewellery to be worn as transforming finishing touches for luxe basics."
& Other Stories
"& Other Stories is where I go for reliable and stylish interpretations of trends that inject fun into your wardrobe, while remaining tasteful.Case in point, the statement collared blouse which is made from pure Aotton and would update both tailored trousers and jeans. The outerwear is also impressive. I've had my eye on a similar Stella McCartney coat for years and this herringbone style is a very good alternative. It's made from lightweight wool, so doesn't feel bulky to wear and can be worn over a jumper without becoming heavy.The cut is oversized, so I sized down for a more fitted look."
"I'm blown away by Reiss. Forget what you thought you knew about it: body-con dresses and formal wear. It has evolved into a destination for relaxed yet polished pieces that are beautifully made and a pleasure to wear. Let's start with this camel coat- I wore the navy iteration in our coat shoot at the beginning of the season and was so impressed with the fit, I wanted to showcase it in the other colourway. These button-fly jeans are a great example of the attention Reiss has paid to its denim; from skinny, to boyfriend, there's a style to suit all. If you haven't shopped here in a while, it's time to make a return."
"Arket is the undisputed champion of smart-priced basics. This is where to go for the best T-shirts, loungewear, roll necks, leather boots and even underwear on the high street. But I have also come to rely on its ability to give classic pieces an unexpected twist. For example, this trouser suit in soft pink gives smart tailoring a new point of view, and will reinvent your workwear wardrobe in a wearable way - just add luxe accessories. Or dress it down with a simple T-shirt and trainers. The jacket has a loose fit, so I found sizing one size down created a sharper silhouette with the trousers. If you already have a black two-piece in your collection, consider adding this."
"Whistles has always been a destination for beautifully quality leather, classic coats and great denim. This mini isn't my usual style, but I was very impressed with the butter-soft feel and A-line fit that hangs just right. I teamed it with the brushed wool coat which is Celine-esque in its simplicity and has functional XL patch pockets. I also want to highlight the boot collection this season which focuses on updated classics and are beautifully made. You know they will be comfortable from the moment you take them out of the box."
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