30 Items From Zara, & Other Stories and COS That Stopped Me in My Tracks


Danielle wearing a Mango skirt and carrying a COS bag.

I’m a very fussy high-street shopper. As someone who has seen trends and It pieces come and go more times than I’ve had hot dinners over the past 15 years I’ve worked in fashion, I don’t like to buy on a whim anymore. The sad, unworn pieces of my past missteps haven’t been in vain, as I’m now a lot more strict with what makes it into my basket. In fact, I’d say the entirety of the Who What Wear UK team are about as picky as can be. We love to shop (and live for it!), but we’re happiest when we’ve invested in something that will see us through the long haul—high street or designer, indie or mass-produced. 

So when it comes to perusing affordable stores, I try to keep the 30-wears principle in mind. Is this something I could envisage wearing over 30 times? Is it not too transient a trend or completely out of my personal-style wheelhouse to look good in my wardrobe for many years to come? The items that I gravitate towards aren’t necessarily the right ones for everybody who will read this story, but by putting them through this rigorous testing filter as well as a full shakedown on fit and feel once they’re in my hands, I’d hope that it helps sift out some of the cheap scraps that are unfortunately all too present when lower price points are involved. 

Right now, I have a passion for & Other Stories, COS and Zara. All look wildly different from each other, but each are delivering interesting pieces that have longevity in mind. COS is the ultimate minimalism Mecca, Stories has that sassy French-girl vibe all wrapped up, and Zara cannot be beaten for statement dresses. Keep scrolling to see the items from Zara, COS and & Other Stories that stopped me in my scrolling tracks…

The colour! The cut! The detail! This has so much going for it.

I’ve already gone on and on about the merits of COS trousers. But really, they are great!

The perfect shirt in the perfect colour—a dreamy buy.

These simple mules will work with countless outfits.

I’ve owned a couple of pairs of red wide-leg trousers over the years, and as specific as that seems, they’ve always come in handy!

This is so sophisticated and understated. I’d wear it with a waist belt, as it’ll suit my 5’1” stature better.

This designer-looking bag has been incredibly popular over the past few months and now comes in this vibrant blue.

Is it weird to be so excited about finding the perfect pair of gold hoops?

Wide-leg jeans are everywhere again, but these look particularly chic with their mid-blue wash and front darts.

The kind of blazer that will stay with your for a lifetime.

It’s just so glorious and back in stock (in a few limited sizes).

If I wore miniskirts, I’d snap this beauty up in an instant. It’s so unique for the high street.

I’ll never turn down a versatile, chic scarf—it has so many uses.

My mind has already turned to autumn, and I’ve been on the hunt for a jumper just like this. Result!

Darker denim shades are coming in strong for autumn/winter, and this pair has the exact kind of crisp, tailored feel I’m looking for.

Longer-line skirts are always an elegant choice, and they’re back in the spotlight for the new season.

This could easily pass as designer.

Okay, wow!

The famous wool blazer is back, and I know for a fact that it wears really well—some editors here have had theirs for three winters or more, and their blazers still look brand new.

When in doubt, just wear a Breton and jeans. It’s a classic look that doesn’t age.

The kind of mid-height heels I just know I’d wear to every party, wedding or event to come.

A stunning colour that suits everyone.

This is actually a bodysuit top that goes with a matching skirt…

…And I’m obsessed!

An adorable dress that works for holidays and formal events with ease.

I’d like to be the kind of woman who needs this for a glam trip.

It’s very hard to tell apart affordable gemstones from more expensive ones like this.

It’s giving ’80s Pucci, and I like it.

I love a pair of ecru jeans but still haven’t met my perfect match—these could be the ones!

Well, this has heaps of potential to be a great chuck-it-all-in bag while still looking very polished.

This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated. Next up, see our guide to the key trends for autumn 2022.

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