Is there anything more satisfying than finding a wardrobe hero that always garners compliments but didn’t cost a bomb? We think not. While it’s easy to find a designer piece that sings, discovering a hardworking, feel-good item at a lower price point is less straightforward. Fortunately, team ICONS are experts in this very area. We’ve lost count of the times we’ve swapped high-street tips over our desks or hit upon a smart-price gem that’s sparked office-wide applause. And because there’s nothing better than a personal recommendation, we wanted to share our favourite pieces and how we style them. From the wear-over-everything cargo jacket to the trophy denim dress, these are our smart-price wins.
THE DENIM DRESS
“I’ve been on the hunt for a denim dress for a while and couldn’t believe my luck when I found this Mango version. It looks even better in real life and far more expensive than the price tag. The fabric is a beautiful stiff denim and the design details – the puffed sleeves and nipped-in waist – elevate the silhouette. It’s the sort of piece I will never tire of, especially as every time I wear it I get compliments. I’ll wear it with trainers and a trench coat in the day, then style it with a platform heel and big hoop earrings for evening.”
THE LOGO T-SHIRT
“My smart-price treasure is Stella Jean’s logo T-shirt from The Outnet. I bought it a few weeks ago when we had some sunny weather and I needed some fresh white tees. I love the logo T-shirt trend; there’s something nostalgic and ’90s about it. I’m a big fan of Stella Jean’s work, so it’s a great way to show my support for an incredibly talented black fashion designer. I can pair this with pretty much anything – from a statement skirt and heels to smart trousers and a blazer. For spring/summer, I’ll be styling it with wide-leg jeans and my Birkenstocks.”
THE KHAKI JACKET
“I have a few khaki jackets in my wardrobe and reach for them on repeat from spring through to early autumn, so consider them a very smart buy. This style is from Baukjen. I love the drawstring detail on the waist as it helps to give my figure a bit of shape during my second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The colour is key to its versatility because this shade goes with everything, from spring neutrals to bold brights. I’ll be throwing this over all my loose dresses, as well as simple jeans and a white T-shirt with a chunky gold necklace.”
THE WHITE SHIRT
“I designed my very own smart-price treasure – this crisp, cool cotton-poplin shirt. For me, shirts can feel buttoned-up and constrictive, so this has no buttons and a deep V neckline, which is always flattering. The collar and cuffs pop up – and stay popped up – and the relaxed shape with a curved hem means it can be tucked in or left loose. It’s an all-year staple, but I love the freshness in the summer. I’ll wear it with everything from boyfriend jeans and cargo pants to khaki shorts and swishy summer skirts. What could be more of a perfect Wardrobe ICON?”
THE KNITTED VEST
“It took me a little while to get on board with sweater vests, but now that I am, I’m totally sold. I like how they can be layered over everything from a T-shirt to a printed dress and completely switch up a look. This one is from Boden, which is my go-to for smart-price cashmere. It’s super-soft, feels luxurious and wears well without bobbling. The cut of the arms and neck is spot on and the colour is the just-right mid-tone beige to work with all the white, denim and tan in my spring wardrobe. In other words, it’s the perfect light knit.”
“I bought this pair of pleat-front chinos from ARKET, a few weeks before my trip to Italy. After wearing dresses for most of the pandemic, I’m gravitating towards trousers for their practical, versatile appeal. I love the wide-cut leg, which creates a laid-back masculine look. Note the wider waistband; not only is this perfect for tucking tops into, it gives the trousers a more expensive feel. When shopping on the high street, it’s essential to look for elevating details like this, as well as being fastidious about good quality. I’ll wear these throughout the season, with T-shirts, blouses and denim shirts .”
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