7 Things I Decided to Buy After Spending a Week in London


(Image credit: @allypayer)

Late January may not be the most spring-like time in London, but I recently found myself there with spring shopping on the mind. I traveled to London (which is undoubtedly one of my favorite cities) to preview heritage British brand Marks & Spencer's spring collection, and that, along with the plethora of cool local girls I encountered, left me with a lengthy wish list of spring items to add to my wardrobe.

For a little backstory, Marks & Spencer (affectionately known as M&S to the locals), dates back to 1884 and has since become a one-stop shop for everything from food to cosmetics to clothing, shoes, and accessories. The brand is wildly popular in the UK, and now that the brand ships all of its classic yet on trend, wallet-friendly fashion items to the U.S., getting the cool London girl look is particularly easy.

Marks & Spencer's S/S 19 collection is filled with breezy midi dresses, relaxed linen suiting, and fresh takes on the classic basics the brand is known and loved for. Upon returning from my week of moonlighting as a British girl, I was left feeling inspired by the way the city's residents so effortlessly look cool and sophisticated at the same time. And to learn a little more about how ways of a stylish British girl (specifically when it comes to spring dressing), I consulted Francesca Zedda, Marks & Spencer's head of trend content and styling (aka an expert on the subject).

Keep scrolling to find out how British girls will be dressing this spring from Zedda herself and shop my picks for each of the seven pieces I'm convinced I need to buy now.

What do you predict will be the top spring trend in London this year?

For spring, re-imagined denim separates—from classic denim silhouettes and wide-legged cropped trousers to skirts and dresses—will be a key look that will also transcend seasons. One silhouette I’m particularly excited about is our denim dress—it’s a lightweight fabric, so it moves beautifully when worn and comes in a cool medium indigo wash that gives it a slightly more casual feel.

Marks & Spencer is the UK market leader in denim on the high street—last year, we sold more than 5.2 million jeans and we’re eager for women to try some new separates for this season as we’re sure they’re going to love them just as much as our essential denim offerings.

Shop My Denim Dress Picks

Any other spring trends that British girls will be most eager to wear this year?

Another trend which we will see is the midi shirtdress. It is one of the most versatile pieces you can have in your wardrobe, and you will find yourself wearing it again and again throughout the season and beyond.

My must-have for spring is the striped midi shirtdress with vertical stripes in a spicy ochre and ivory—the dress comes with a flattering waist tie that can be left loose or slightly tightened to add a more defined shape. As one of the hardest-working pieces in a wardrobe, this dress can also be utilized as a layering piece such as a layered shirt over a plain tee and straight-leg denim or a swimsuit—you can’t go wrong with a style such as this.

How does Marks & Spencer decide which trends to focus on?

For us, the customer is at the heart of everything we do. This season, in particular, the collection is dictated by the modern woman and how she builds her wardrobe, which is why you see casual tailoring, relaxed silhouettes, and classic layering pieces in playful yet contemporary colors and prints.

Shop My Midi Shirtdress Picks

What previous trend(s) do you think British girls will retire this season?

In 2018, we saw a major monochromatic moment, and while this trend isn’t entirely out for the spring 2019 season, we will certainly see it evolve. Pastel suits and tonal separates add an unexpected pop of color to classic silhouettes and make this trend a bit more approachable.

Shop My Pastel Suiting Picks

What do British girls typically wear to the airport in the spring?

When it comes to travel, comfort with a classic sensibility is key. You can’t go wrong with straight-leg jeans paired with a tee or button-down shirt and classic trench. Not only are these pieces comfortable, but they’re versatile enough to be styled into other looks throughout your travels.

Shop My Travel Picks:

Shop More Pieces I'm Buying Post-London


British girls seem to wear skirts almost as much as we American girls wear jeans. I'm officially inspired to stock up on skirts for spring, which I plan on wearing with ankle boots and sweaters when it's cool and square-toe mules and T-shirts when it's warm. 

Proper Trousers:

British girls never underestimate the power of a beautiful pair of trousers, and after seeing this firsthand, I'm officially ready to follow their lead and expand my trouser collection. I feel more British just thinking about it.

This press trip was paid for by Marks & Spencer. Editor's opinions are her own.

Allyson Payer
Senior Editor

Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.