25 Spring Items That Put a Smile on My Face

best spring fashion and beauty



Most Wanted is a weekly series in which one Who What Wear team member or friend of the brand will share the top 25 fashion and beauty finds on their current wish list.

It’s finally late February. In New York, that’s the time of year when mannequins in floral dresses appear optimistically in store windows, looking very lost. It reminds me of being at JFK the Friday before Christmas when you’re hustling to your gate wearing the giant coat that didn’t fit in your suitcase, and then you pass by the last few people boarding a flight leaving for Mexico… Slightly soul-destroying, but those mannequins are also a beacon of hope, reminding us how even on the gloomiest day, we’re inevitably headed for breezy fabrics, pastel-colored sandals, and all the other things guaranteed to put me in a good mood.

Spring just has a feel-good quality baked right in, and that’s inspired this new-season most-wanted list in more ways than one. While I’ve yet to discover a brand that’s truly “sustainable,” I’ve definitely found plenty making positive moves, whether it’s a commitment to responsibly sourced materials, cruelty-free or mindful beauty products, or giving back to local communities. In the Venn diagram of cheerful spring buys and mindful purchases, the 25 items below all exist somewhere in the overlap—which is to say, they’re doubling down on the feel-good buzz.

The measurements of this particularly polished bamboo-handled tote suggest that it will perfectly fit my laptop and is therefore primed to brighten up my work schlep from March through September. Better yet, it’s handmade in Brazil by local communities that are employed by Nannacay (which, by the way, means “brotherhood of women”).

Feeling very good about this happy hibiscus print and the elegant low back of this Matteau dress. I saw a friend of a friend in Sydney wearing it on Instagram and crept through her feed to track it down. And yes, I feel good about that because this is definitely what I’ll be wearing to one of the more casual wedding-related events I have for some friends’ nuptials later this summer. I also feel good that it’s machine washable, as I’m making an effort to buy fewer “dry-clean only” pieces.

I'm never not eyeing vintage-inspired gold jewelry. Missoma (the Instagram-favorite jewelry brand you've likely spotted on Gigi Hadid and Margot Robbie) is always a treasure trove, and I currently can't choose between these excellent earrings and this arguably even-more excellent necklace. The feel-good component: the demi-fine brand responsibly sources all their stones and metals, working with suppliers and factories that are regularly audited, and still comes in at a price point that encourages layering and multiple ear piercings. Plus, in April, the brand is launching a new Chain Reaction collection that's inspired by positive change: how one moment can set off a chain of kindness. Happy days.

I really tried to avoid the hype, but Supergoop! became my favorite sunscreen last summer and now it's time to restock. This handbag-friendly SPF 50 feels so absurdly nice on your skin—almost like a primer—and doesn't go on white, feel greasy, or smell like sunscreen, so it's no big surprise it's such a best seller. Supergoop! prides itself on clean ingredients, and also has a great initiative called Ounce by Ounce, where they provide complimentary sunscreen to any pre-K and K classroom in America that requests it with the goal of helping kids build the good habit of wearing sun protection every day. (And if you didn't know Walmart has a mindful beauty section, you do now.)

This relaxed-fit blazer is my answer to spring suiting. You can feel good about the vegan leather, especially since Nanushka’s is invariably ultrasoft and buttery delight. I invite you to wear it over a ribbed white racerback tank and your choice of…

Just continue to send me all the links to non-makeup makeup that makes you look glowy and dewy (versus shiny and glittery). I’m very eager to try this new beauty offering from Gucci, especially given the ultra-friendly price tag. Feel good about the animal-friendly vegan formula and the fact that once you’ve used it all up, you’re left with a highly covetable, very reusable little pink Gucci pot that’s perfect for popping your earrings into while traveling.

I dare you to find me a happier shade of yellow. This '90s-inspired dress is made of recycled polyester and is further proof that Maggie Marilyn’s designs always meet me right where I like my dresses to be on the modern-versus-pretty spectrum. As a Kiwi, I always feel good wearing New Zealand designers, but I feel particularly good in anything by Maggie because I know I’m supporting the most delightful human who is really, truly doing her best to make fashion as mindful and transparent as humanly possible. Check out her "Progress Not Perfection" philosophy here.

Speaking of labels I love from home! Racerback tanks, like this one from Kowtow, always feel effortless and are a staple in my spring/summer wardrobe, whether I’m wearing them with high-waisted trousers or layering them under a slip dress. Kowtow is supremely transparent with every possible detail of their productions and supply chain, from the ingredients in its dyes to the sprays and seeds used on the farms where their cotton is grown. The brand also offers complimentary repairs to extend the life of their garments, so you’ll feel good for even longer.

Sandal-wise, I’m still feeling really good about a square toe and even better about all this gold hardware. Stella McCartney has been a leader in cruelty-free fashion for as long as I can remember, and her footwear is always investment-worthy.

I love a big, chunky signet ring, and bright green jade just feels like spring to me. This particular '80s-inspired design from Loren Stewart was locally made in the U.S. from recycled gold vermeil.

So Farfetch has partnered with an agency called Good on You to help us all understand the items on their site that score well against a range of ethical criteria. This take on spring shirting by Mara Hoffman makes the cut, and I’m personally scoring it a 10/10 for its thoughtful details that add up to an easy, polished vibe.

I know people get excited about white jeans for spring, but I personally love black denim to add a little edge to all those cheery spring tops. Everyone’s been loving the cropped Ribcage Levi’s but they’re too short on me, so I have high hopes for this wide-leg style. Speaking of hopeful, Levi’s now makes half their products (including these jeans) with new production techniques that have helped them save almost 2 billion liters of water, and recycle even more.

I’ve been torturing myself looking at swimwear since December. Ganni’s new swin range is as cool as you’d expect, and I’m into wearing this muted fluoro-green number with high-waisted trousers when there’s no pool in sight. The feel-good bonus is that it's made from 92% recycled polyester and 8% elastane, plus Ganni “climate compensates” to cover the cost of making each garment’s carbon footprint neutral.

This fresh minty green is such a good take on a mellow pastel for spring—and see what I mean about edging it up with black denim? I love really luxe, relaxed tailoring, and purchasing from Everlane's eco-conscious Clean Silk line means also getting the transparency of being able to click through to see the exact factory where a garment was made.

I love Meadowlark. I have several of its pieces (including this ring and these earrings) and can personally vouch for them being wonderful humans who work with conflict-free stones and reclaimed diamonds. I’m very excited to finally shed the turtleneck I feel like I’ve been wearing for three months straight and layer up my gold chains again (ideally, starring this one).

This feels like the next iteration of the leopard-print skirt that took over Instagram in 2018––only a little more elevated. Among all of Reformation’s massive efforts to put sustainability front and center (it’s been carbon neutral since 2015), I love the simplicity of this handy guide it created to help teach you how to care for your clothes in a more energy-efficient way.

Actually, while we’re here, let’s give Reformation one more shout-out with these white pleated jeans. Especially styled up like this, they’re a happy reminder that feeling spring doesn’t have to mean pastels and florals. I actually just remembered what it feels like to sit outside at a restaurant for dinner in the middle of summer, AND I CAN’T WAIT.

I’ve been a devotee of Dr. Hauschka’s Translucent Bronzing Tint ever since my sister gifted me with some years ago, but I’m thinking of mixing it up with these Drunk Elephant Sunshine Drops. And yes, it’s mainly because the brand supports the International Elephant Foundation. (I do not apologize for how much I love elephants). I find a tiny drop is perfect to counteract how ultra-white some face sunscreen goes on, and mixed with moisturizer, it fakes a happy, spring-ready glow.

This find makes me especially happy because I’ve seemingly spent my whole adult life looking for a chill denim jacket that feels put together (so I can appear chill yet put together by association). This handsome guy was designed in Stockholm using sustainably sourced material and still manages to come in under $100.

Spring is the perfect time for a white sneaker refresh. Veja, the Parisian brand loved by Meghan Markle that makes eco-friendly footwear out of Brazil, has been touted as the world’s most-sustainable sneaker. They use materials like wild rubber purchased directly from the local communities, reportedly preserving 120,000 hectares of the Amazon in the process.

The three-piece suit is apparently having a moment in womenswear, which means vests are going to come out and play this spring. Matching pleated shorts are almost too cute to handle. As a bonus, this set is 100% eco-friendly linen.

These faux-patent leather jeans make me so happy. They manage to be pretty major and super chill at the same time, which is exactly what I’m looking for in pants right now. Simon Miller’s become known for sustainability efforts in terms of conserving water and minimally impacting product, while also working with independent family-run mills.

When I finally get to experience the joy of going to get a pedicure and walking home in flip-flops, then I’ll know it’s truly spring. I can’t remember the last time I painted my nails, so I’m excited to find some poppy new colors. Ella + Mila is my go-to for locally made, animal-friendly polish that free of the seven major nasties.

I can barely cope with this Mara Hoffman dress. Aside from feeling good about the custom print and those amazing sleeves, the brand prioritizes natural and recycled materials, supports artisan groups in developing countries, and is committed to holding its global business partners responsible for everything from labor practices to material sourcing.

Okay, this makes 26, but I just can’t wait for it to be warm enough to wear pants like this to work (because I’m truly at my happiest at work when I’m wearing what are basically office-friendly pajamas). These light-weight printed pants are made from a plant-based material called Lyocell and come from Mother of Pearl’s sustainable No Frills line.