I Tried on Everything at Three High-Street Stores You Forgot About

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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 this offshoot shopping column as part of our We Try Before You Buy franchise, which will see me, Joy Montgomery, heading to all your favourite stores to test out new-in pieces IRL. From summer dresses to intriguing new brands, prepare for changing-room selfies aplenty. Is there something you'd like me to cover? Make sure to tweet or Instagram me your requests!

Back in July, I braved the sweaty streets of Oxford Circus to bring you 2018's latest, hot-off-the-press dress styles and witnessed the sheer variety that the Great British high street has to offer right now. With noughties fashion having a moment, I thought this month would be a good chance to travel back in time to the pre-internet era—an age when Brad and Jen were still an item, Apple was still a niche tech brand and your wardrobe consisted of low-slung jeans and crop tops. So I decided to revisit the stores that defined my teens.

Oasis, New Look and French Connection are all brands that I associate with the noughties. Don't get me wrong—I know that many people still count them amongst their high-street faves, but for some reason, they have slipped off my radar in recent years and often been replaced by the likes of Zara, Mango and Arket. I would hazard a guess that many of Who What Wear's readers might feel the same. Thus, it was with an open mind that I ventured into these throwback stores, and you know what? They didn't disappoint. From New Look's menagerie of animal-print pieces to French Connection's excellent selection of separates, I certainly won't be forgoing these stores in the future. Scroll down to see what I found.

New Look

Style Notes: I never thought I would hear myself say the words, "I tried on a snake-print jumpsuit and I loved it," but it happened. Yep, New Look nailed it with this one, offering its own take on this season's animal-print trend with a wide-legged, snake-print number. I think this would look chic with gold jewellery and heels for a statement night-out look.

Style Notes: You can't walk down a street in London this summer without encountering polka dots, so I thought I'd give my own interpretation of the trend with this matching monochromatic ensemble. I've had my eye on this boxy shirt for a while, and it worked wonderfully tucked into these polka-dot culottes. The pants hung nicely, however, they felt a tad cheap due to their stretchy fabric, but they are a bargainous £20, so you get what you pay for.

Style Notes: Another animal-print piece for you. I was happier with the fabric of this shirt, which felt a little more luxe than the polka-dot one. I was also pleased with the fit and loved the way it looked tucked into these wide-leg jeans. I would definitely recommend these jeans if you're looking for a new pair, but they were quite cropped on me (I'm around 5'7"), so they'd be better for petite people.

Style Notes: You might not need it now, but come September a statement blazer will be your go-to for an injection of personality. This New Look tartan number will give a punkish twist to any outfit—from a pair of straight leg jeans to a simple slip dress. 

French Connection

Style Notes: This pinstripe shirt from French Connection gave me all the preppy vibes, but it manages to stay modern with an oversized silhouette. I'm also buying lots of denim at the moment (dresses, skirts, jackets), and this miniskirt will be a great addition to my wardrobe that's trying out noughties style. The two different tones of denim on the skirt work so well together.

Style Notes: How fun are these trousers? They might not be for everyone, but I think they're a great statement-making alternative to traditional tailored varieties. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the fabric felt really expensive and hung nicely, giving a luxe sportswear effect when paired with a slogan tee. All this outfit needs is a pair of statement earrings and heeled sandals.

Style Notes: I wasn't 100% convinced about this colour on me, but I had to include this dark pink denim two-piece because it's so unusually brave for the high street. I enjoyed the slim fit of the jeans, which were perfectly balanced by the roomier silhouette of the jacket. This is a great new-season investment if you've got all your basics sorted.


Style Notes: I was really impressed by Oasis's dress selection, and this printed number was one of the pieces that stood out to me. I wasn't crazy about the lip print, but it was fairly subtle when viewed from a distance, and the thin straps and calf-grazing length made the dress look expensive. This will totally fool people into thinking you're wearing the latest It-dress brand.

Style Notes: Camouflage pieces are sticking around for A/W 18, which is great news, as last year, I wore my camo jacket constantly. In my opinion, oversized is best when it comes to the fit (Oasis has certainly delivered on this front). You can't go wrong pairing a camo jacket with relaxed jeans and a simple white tee.

Style Notes: As previously mentioned, I'm enjoying all the denim at the moment, and a denim dress has been at the top of my wish list. It might not offer the same rigid fabric as more-expensive brands, but I liked that this Oasis dress had a softer silhouette. Also, the thinner fabric will be more pleasant to wear in the heat wave.