Our We Try Before You Buy series aims to take the stress out of shopping and eliminate the number of post office visits you make each month to return failed online orders. We test new-season buys and styling ideas so you don’t have to. Here, we’re letting you know what is actually worth investing in.
Getting dressed when it’s boiling outside can be frustratingly difficult. You want something that is cool, comfortable and takes seconds to put together, right? Sounds easy, but in reality, this can be like finding in-stock Pimms in a heatwave. Who wants to be hopping in and out of outfits when they could be spending more time outside? British summers can be a very, very small window, so we all know the drill: On days like today, we need to make the absolute most of it.
Our editors have found that the easiest outfits in the summer are co-ords. They might have once been seen as an outfit reserved for Love Island contestants, however, co-ords have had a grown-up makeover this year and can, in fact, work for all dress codes.
We’ve found elegant retro-feel high-waisted skirts and matching blouses from the likes of Topshop, Whistles and Stine Goya. The slip skirt has been a real hero buy in 2019, and lots of brands are offering “Gwyneth Paltrow in the ’90s” looks with matching blouses to pair with them. If you aren’t a skirt person, we’ve also discovered some beautiful trousers-and-top combos that are so comfortable you won’t want to take them off.
“Stine Goya has got to be one of my new Scandi brand faves, and this daisy-print co-ord is evidence of their fun and original approach to wardrobe separates. I like how the femininity of the florals and the full skirt is balanced out by the boxiness of the shirt (my favourite shape of the summer FYI). I think it looks so good with my Velcro sandals. It’s also super comfy and there are so many ways to wear the two pieces on their own, which is a big plus for me.”—Joy Montgomery
“I have the dress version of this Toyshop co-ord, so when I saw it came in a two-piece, I knew I had to try it. It feels super feminine and would be perfect for the 26,000 weddings (I actually have four) I have lined up this year. And you could totally wear the top and skirt separately for a completely different vibe.”—Alyss Bowen
“I’ve seen a couple of editors wearing this Ghost two-piece on Instagram and was pleasantly surprised to discover it looked even better IRL. The slip skirt is the ideal mix of formfitted yet flowy, while the top balances out the slinky proportions with balloon sleeves and a baggier fit. This would be a great alternative to a dress for a wedding, and I can imagine styling it with low heels and layered necklaces. Just note that the top can be quite gapey, so you might need a cami underneath!”—Joy
“This is so pretty! I’ve already been investing in Whistles’ midi skirts lately, as they’re such great quality and a lovely fit, but now that there’s an option with a cute matching top, I think I’ll have to save a few more pennies. This feels so light and easy to wear and could easily work for formal and casual events depending on how you style it up. It’s pretty timeless and could last you for many summers to come.”—Hannah Almassi
“Oh, wow. I wasn’t expecting to love this so much. Although anything metallic Lurex is always a winner for me thanks to my magpie nature, brown isn’t usually my colour of choice. But the moment I put this on I felt, well, fancy. It’s incredibly comfortable thanks to the flowing trousers and elasticated waist and the matching jacket felt soft against my skin. I only have one question: Where and when am I going to host my fabulous cocktail party?”—Elinor Block
“I only own one item of leopard-print clothing, but this Warehouse co-ord is soon to be added to my collection. It’s so easy to throw on with trainers or sandals, and looks cute with the shirt hanging loosely or tied in a knot like all the Instagram girls are doing.”—Alyss
I basically always buy something after every We Try Before You Buy feature, and I think this is my purchase this month. I had thought that this top would be way too cropped for me, however, it sits perfectly with the skirt, only showing a slither of the stomach. I often struggle to find fitted skirts that fit both my waist and British bottom, but the skirt is slightly flared, meaning it wasn’t too tight over my upper legs. I was really impressed with the fit.
“And we have a winner. This is by far the best look I’ve tried on today—I’ve never felt so fabulous. It’s not something I would usually go for (in fact, someone else called it in, but I ended up wearing it), but I’m unexpectedly in love with the knotted crop top and power shoulders, which sit nicely with the full midi skirt. Just what I want to wear for dinner on holiday styled with plenty of chunky gold jewellery. I can also imagine wearing the top with high-waisted jeans.”—Joy
I’ve never been one for boho, so I have to admit that I felt very out of my comfort zone in this pretty floaty set. However, I loved that the tired skirt had a slit which made it feel really cool and flowy, and I loved the floral detailing on the sleeves. This would be perfect for anyone holidaying in destinations like Ibiza or Santorini.
“For anyone who wants to dress modestly, this is a fantastic option. The coverage and generous amount of fabric provided in the blouse and trousers makes for a very demure ensemble, but it’s so lightweight that it is still breezy and easy to wear on a warmer day. I’m 5’1”, and the length offered by both pieces would definitely suit someone quite a bit taller than me.”— Hannah
Next up, see our guide to the key trends for summer 2019.