I Tried on Everything at John Lewis, Topshop and Whistles—These 5 Buys Matter

Here at Who What Wear UK, we’re all about delivering the latest and greatest shopping edits, as approved by our team. That’s why we’ve created a new shopping column, The Joy of Shopping, which will see me, Joy Montgomery, heading to all your favourite stores to test out new-in pieces IRL. From summer dresses to the brands you might’ve forgotten about, prepare for changing room selfies aplenty. Is there something you’d like me to cover? Make sure to tweet or Instagram me your requests!

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a little uninspired by my clothes right now. Whether it’s a consequence of the temperamental weather or the fact that I’ve worn my winter clothes to death, all I can say is that every morning I open my wardrobe and it gives me nothing; nada. No matter how hard I try, it just won’t cooperate. To be perfectly honest, I think I’m overwhelmed by choice.

Not to blame Instagram for all my sartorial issues, but I do believe that even the most ardent of fashion lovers can reach a saturation point. Every day we’re bombarded by new trends, fresh influencers to follow, and, of course, style inspiration on tap. Individually, these are great things, but we all have limits on how much we can absorb before we go a little loopy.

So what is the antidote to this existential style crises? It’s simple: It’s time to take a bulldozer to that mounting sense of fashion obligation you’re experiencing (aka the list of trends you feel you should buy into even though they’re not very “you”), strip it back to ground zero and start again—whether that’s mentally or literally. What better time for a wardrobe clear out, anyway?

So with that in mind, for my latest shopping story, I decided to cut through the detritus and handpick the five key pieces from Topshop, John Lewis & Partners and Whistles that I’m building my spring wardrobe on.

These are no ordinary basics. They’re a streamlined edit of pieces that I believe will stand out from the crowd and work bloody hard from spring right through to winter. Scroll down to see and shop the 18 items that will kick-start your spring style.

Style Notes: If you’ve been reading Who What Wear, you’ll know that the elevated trench is the fashion girl’s jacket of choice this spring. The statement sleeves on John Lewis & Partner’s iteration caught my eye, and I think it would look good with everything from dresses to denim. It also comes in a soft, draped fabric, which is much more comfortable than some of the more traditional styles.
Style Notes: Green is this season’s slightly curveball trend, but it’s one of those colours that actually flatters all skin tones. This might sound pedantic, but I’m not a huge fan of how some high-street suits come with tapered trousers, which aren’t always that flattering, so I was overjoyed when I saw this wide-leg John Lewis & Partners pair. Also, the blazer is just the right amount of boxy without being shapeless.
Style Notes: I haven’t thought much about shirtdresses for years now, but there’s something that makes them feel so 2019. This knee-grazing piece is quite minimal, but I think it looks 10 times more stylish when layered over a pair of black culottes. Ideal for the transitional spring weather.
Style Notes: I thought I wouldn’t be seen dead in a neon-pink frock, but here we are. And you know what? I kind of love it. The thing that keeps this dress from feeling too twee is the loose, flowing silhouette and chic neck-tie. It also comes in the most beautiful silky yet weighty fabric. It’s so perfect for formal occasions.
Style Notes: This style might not be for everyone, but I’ve always loved leather’s ability to add an edge to any outfit. I think this shirt would be perfect for layering with other wardrobe basics, and, as you can see here, I’ve kept the rest of my outfit quite simple to avoid fashion overkill. Note that it comes up oversized on the top half but is more fitted around the waist (I’m wearing an 8).
Style Notes: Co-ords are one of my fave new trends, purely because they can be styled in under 30 seconds. This zebra-print two-piece feels fun and fresh after many months of winter beige, and I love the high-end details, such as the wide belt and fine pleating on the skirt. It would look so dreamy with tan sandals in the summer. Shop a similar look below.
Style Notes: Sorry if you’re over the whole ’90s thing, because it isn’t going anywhere. As someone who isn’t mad about miniskirts, this Topshop denim midi felt like a much more grown-up version of the bum-grazing, distressed iterations of the ’90s. Note that it was pretty snug around the hips/thighs, so you might want to size up if you want a looser fit.
Style Notes: The boilersuit has been all over the high street recently, but if you’re looking for something a little more summer-appropriate, then a ’70s-style jumpsuit is the answer. Coming in S/S 19 yellow, this Topshop piece is the best way to show off your new statement long-sleeved tops or fave frou-frou blouses.
Style Notes: There’s so much to love about this Topshop boutique midi skirt, from the light yet luxe silk fabric to the asymmetric cut and clashing retro prints. It is on the expensive side for Topshop, but I reckon it’s totally worth it.
Style Notes: I’m not usually a fan of V-necks, but I’ll make an exception for this midi dress, as the clever waist-cinching fit helps to create a shape for those lacking in the bust area (guilty as charged). This is actually made of linen, so even though it looks like denim, it is super-light and comfortable to wear.
Style Notes: As someone who tends to limit their colour intake, this pairing was a bit of a shock to the system. However, once I had gotten over the general brightness of it all, I enjoyed the high-impact appeal of the red-and-pink colour clash. I’m also into the ’90s vibes of the slogan sweater.
Style Notes: If the high street’s spring collections are anything to go by, linen is set to make a return this season. I’m not so keen on the floaty bohemian dresses that proliferated in 2018, so this year, I’m reaching for tailored pieces such as this Whistles blazer. I’ll pair it with straight-leg jeans now and wide-leg khaki trousers come summer.
Style Notes: I’m sorry, but I simply can’t walk past a retro-print dress without trying it on. Whistles has really nailed the ’70s flower-power look this spring, and this dress is the perfect example of the floaty styles that are proving so popular right now. This is surely a dress that was meant to be worn with round sunnies and platform sandals.
Style Notes: If whimsical floral frocks make you recoil, then a leather midi might be more up your street. Unlike some leather skirts, this Whistles style comes in a waist-whittling A-line silhouette and made with the softest fabric. Wear now with a ribbed roll-neck and boots, and then with a white tee and slides in the warmer months.