Not much has been particularly certain over the past year, but one thing we can be sure of is that, after what has arguably felt like the longest winter of all time, spring is finally on the horizon.
Aside from the promise of brighter days and a steady return to social normalcy, the onset of the new season has left us contemplating the future of our wardrobes after months spent loafing in loungewear.
If the thought of figuring out what to buy for spring sends you into a full-blown panic, fear not because the great British has high street has got you covered.
Though we may not have anywhere to wear them just yet, retailers have already started to drop their new collections which are brimming with warm-weather staples such as floaty dresses, throw-on jackets and barely-there sandals.
With so many new and exciting styles and trends to consider, knowing which pieces are worth adding to your shopping basket can be tricky. But that’s where we come in.
To help you decide which items to treat yourself to, we’ve rounded-up our top picks from some of our favourite high street stores including New Look, Asos, Mango and more. Here are the stylish pieces that the IndyBest team will be wearing all season long.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Eva Waite-Taylor (Writer)
Mango babydoll neck cotton shirt: £35.99, Mango.com
Last year saw the emergence of the big-collar trend, and this year it’s supersized – from Gucci and Ganni on the runway to all our favourite influencers on Instagram. After wearing nothing but loungewear for what feels like a lifetime, my wardrobe is in urgent need of an injection of whimsical fun, and that’s exactly what Mango’s shirt is all about. In a bold gingham print, I’m planning on wearing this with my favourite pair of straight-leg jeans (£27.99, Zara.com), and under a cream cardigan (£17.99, Hm.com) when the weather is less than favourable.
Ellie Fry (Deputy editor)
Asos Design haven padded toe thong heeled sandals in lime: £25, Asos.com
Does anything say 12-months-of-wearing-nothing-but-loungewear-in-a-pandemic more than purchasing a pair of lime green toe thong heels ready for lockdown lifting? I think not. But I’ve had these rather polarising sandals in my saved list on Asos for weeks, patiently waiting for my size to return. I’ve seen them styled all over my Instagram feed and couldn’t resist the zesty shade and square toe. No regrets here. I’ll be pairing with light-wash mom jeans, a bodysuit and a hot pink bag once we can go out for drinks in the sunshine.
Eleanor Jones (Executive editor)
New Look black gingham shirred puff sleeve midi dress: £25.99, Newlook.com
I’ve basically lived in joggers and jumpers for the past year, so as the sunshine starts to pop its head back up I’m actually quite excited about the prospect of wearing a dress.
For a neutrals-only kind of shopper like me, this New Look number is a spring shopping dream – the gingham pattern and prairie-inspired silhouette make it seasonally appropriate (and bang on trend), but the monochrome print keeps it firmly in my comfort zone. £30 is a small price to pay to channel my inner influencer – I’ll be styling it with trainers or my trusty Birkenstock eva sandals (£35, Birkenstock.com) for my first rule-of-six picnic.
Sarah Young (Writer)
H&M calf-length skirt: £19.99, Hm.com
While some trends come and go, the satin slip skirt has stuck around long enough to become a bona fide wardrobe staple. Striking the perfect balance between laidback and polished, the perfect one can work for almost any occasion, whether that’s socially distanced drinks in the garden, a wedding or picnic in the park, and I think I might have just found it. This calf-length number is designed with a pretty blue and yellow floral pattern that I think will pair nicely with a white T-shirt and trainers by day and a camisole top and heels by night. It’s also a great transitional style that you’ll be able to wear from spring through to winter (when paired with boots, of course), and back around again.
Lois Borny (Freelance)
Mango women’s squared frame sunglasses in vanilla: £19.99, Mango.com
Fun in the sun isn’t too far off, and after spending many a hot day in an awkward squint, I’m determined to find a good pair of sunnies. This has always been a bit of a palava for me – I don’t suit big lenses, and any hint of a rounded rim looks so ridiculous I can’t look in the mirror without snorting with laughter. But these square-frame shades from Mango – zingy 1970s-style colour palette and all – really caught my eye, and they don’t rely on size for impact. With 100 per cent UV protection, they actually do what they’re supposed to. The pink-tinged lenses aren’t too intense either, so you can whip them out at the faintest ray of sunshine – perfect for those flakey springtime rays.
Louise Whitbread (Freelance)
When freedom finally arrives after over a year stuck indoors, I’ve decided that in a bid to ensure my wardrobe is full of quality pieces that will stand the test of time, I’ll be saving up and investing in items that I won’t need to bin after a year of sitting in the back of my closet.
I’m a huge fan of Grenson, owning three pairs of its famous nanette chunky boots, and they’re my pride and joy, so this spring I’m going to be treating myself to this pair of trainers. These suede high-tops have a platform sole for a bit of extra height and are perfect to wear with jeans, a white t-shirt and layers of gold jewellery. Pre-pandemic I lived in trainers and post-lockdown I expect I’ll be doing the same, so they’ll get lots of wear. While I have hopes of wearing heels to make up for living in leggings, I’ll always go back to a comfortable shoe.
Damson Madder workout leggings: £45, Asos.com
In January I started the Couch to 5K app, purely out of boredom. Now into the last two weeks of the programme, for the first time ever I’m actually enjoying running. Heading into spring, I’m hoping to keep up a regular routine of heading out two or three times a week. I’ve got tired of my same old plain black leggings, however, and am constantly on the lookout for pretty workout gear. This mauve-coloured style caught my eye for its fun colour, simple design and thick waistband that should stop them rolling down mid-jog. I also love that they’re made from plastic bottles and textile waste, saving on water and greenhouse emissions.
Suzie McCracken (Senior production journalist)
Look, I KNOW. But stay with me: I just bought some Keen uneek sandals ahead of spring and I absolutely adore them. They might be on the “senior on a cruise” end of the ugly shoe trend, but you can absolutely convince people that they are so bad that they’re good – I’ve done it.
Also, your feet are in a state after living in slippers for a year, and you need a supportive sole to ease your way back into footwear. These bad boys are an absolute dream: I’ve never felt so stable in my life.
They are also the perfect pre-summer sandal as they have more coverage than your average strappy number, and they look interesting when paired with a matching or contrasting sock. I’ve seen people rock a white pair with beige socks underneath and I similarly plan to experiment with my black ones.
Finally, they’re perfect for park-based socialising as they’ll allow you to spring across still-boggy lawn towards the municipal loos. Honestly, what could be more glamorous?
For more style inspiration, read our guide to the best Breton tops for spring and beyond
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.