We love high-street stores for their affordable prices that allow us to try out new trends without major commitment. But in addition to of-the-moment wares, these shops often produce great staples you can wear for multiple seasons. Instead of piling your cart with mediocre pieces that may never see the light of day, shop smart and learn how to choose elevated options. Ahead, six crucial questions to ask yourself before you purchase.
This is probably the most important factor in determining whether something is worth buying. When shopping at affordable stores, opt for materials that look and feel luxe. Satins and silks tend to look more expensive, but make sure they aren't too shiny. In general, if it feels synthetic, rough or just plain tacky, you're better off without it.
Elevated: Zara Masculine Coat, $129.
Many cheap brands skimp on proper fit, resulting in poor proportions and inconsistent sizing. When you try on the piece, make sure it fits in the shoulders, bust, waist, hips and arms. If you have to spend extra money for hemming and alterations, it's not worth it.
Elevated: Topshop Split Midi Skirt, $85.
Details are important. These extras can give an average piece polish. Look for zippers made from metal instead of plastic, buttons that are covered with fabric, additional fastenings like hook-and-eye details to help the clothing lie flat, stitching in the same color as the fabric, and lining in sheer pieces.
Elevated: Warehouse Frill-Hem Trousers, $98.
Well-made prints cost a lot and look best on high-quality fabrics, which makes them a tricky area for high-street brands. Opt instead for solid-colored items or simple, traditional prints such as stripes or gingham. If you're really itching to buy a print, avoid chiffon and go for cotton, linen or jacquard fabrics instead.
Elevated: Madewell High-Rise Gingham Skinny Crop Jean $80.
Before you finalize your order or stand in the cashier line, do a ruthless edit. Affordable prices can often make us go mad and pile our basket with every piece under the sun. But it's doubtful that so many items truly satisfy the aforementioned qualifications of fabric, fit and detail. Remember, a tightly edited wardrobe results in a more refined reflection of your aesthetic and a collection of genuinely flattering wares.
Elevated: H&M Off-The-Shoulder Blouse, $40.
Most of us exclusively shop online, but sometimes seeing clothes on your screen only translates so well. If you're iffy about how it looks and the fit is questionable, get yourself to the brick-and-mortar location to try it on and feel the texture in person.
Elevated: Forever 21 Contemporary Satin Culottes, $25.