I'm a Fashion Editor in My Mid-20s—These 10 Brands Guarantee Compliments

Kind of Gen Z, kind of not? Sounds like you're in your mid-20s. And you're in good hands because so am I.

I was born in 1997, which means that I technically am Gen Z, but there are some things about that group that I simply don't relate to. At the same time, the term millennial surely doesn't apply to me. Therefore, I've found myself somewhere in between. I love getting to adjust my generation based on my mood, and right now, I have a foot in both camps. This sense of duality has made shopping so much fun. When it comes to shopping, I look for brands that bring life into my wardrobe. Having fun with my clothes is always the priority. The below brands do just that while also guaranteeing me compliments. I've had so many people stop me while I'm wearing them to ask, "Where did you get that?" The answer lies below.

1. Lioness

Finding cool-girl brands that are actually affordable is not easy these days. Discovering Lioness was an amazing revelation that brought so much fun to my wardrobe. I love that I can find classic staples, like this leather jacket, and fun, trendy pieces in the same place. I tell everyone I know to try out this brand.

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A quality blazer under $100? Believe it.

Layer it with this vest and voilà.

I like an oversize blazer that isn't too oversize. This one does it for me.

These are a Who What Wear reader favorite.

2. Staud

There are only a few brands that every Who What Wear editor obsesses over, and Staud is definitely one of them. I remember a time that we all got to preview one of the brand's new collections and were collectively freaking out. The brand simply speaks our fashion love language.

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Wearing this denim skirt to fashion week was definitely a good idea.

It's giving Chanel for under $100.

A ballerinacore dress that we can all get behind.

3. Open Edit

Open Edit is a brand that constantly makes pieces that have me gasping at the price point. It's so accessible without sacrificing quality. Above, I'm wearing a pair of sandals from the brand that I can walk in for miles. While my eyes initially went to its shoe selection, I've since fallen in love with everything else that it makes.

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The perfect sweater for spring days when it's not too hot and not too cold.

Because your classic black trousers should never be uncomfortable.

These are about to be the next affordable It-girl shoes, guaranteed.

4. Vince

A week rarely goes by that I didn't wear something from Vince. It's my destination for wardrobe staples that I'm ready to invest in. This trench coat has been my favorite for years. If I'm calculating its worth based on cost per wear, it's already paid for itself. I've bought others, but none measure up to the greatness that is this one from Vince. The same experience rings true for other items that I've purchased from the brand.

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You deserve to look just as beautiful as the sunset in a dress to match.

I am already thinking of so many outfit ideas just from looking at this.

You can never have too many basics.

These look super comfortable.

5. Sam Edelman

Shoe trends come and go, and I'm always buying into them. I can't watch a trend go viral without trying it for myself. Since shoes tend to be a pricier item, I'm always on the hunt for affordable brands that can allow me to have a large collection. People always ask where I got my shoes from when I'm wearing Sam Edelman.

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I'm here before they sell out, and they will very, very quickly.

Strappy sandals aren't going anywhere.

I am so excited to wear the ballet-flats trend this spring.

6. COS

I remember my first time walking into the COS store. I instantly was furious with myself because of how much I was missing out on. This brand has all the wardrobe staples, plus statement pieces to round them out without being too trendy. Everything in the store is so elevated and chic, so obviously, I'm in love.

Functional and fashionable, I heard that this type of bag is trending hard.

7. Retrofête

One of the beauties of my job is getting to know the people behind some of my favorite brands to wear. The Retrofête team is one of my favorites in the industry, and everything they create is absolutely beautiful. I love a good party or vacation outfit, and the brand has become my go-to for wherever life takes me.

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Leave it to Ohad Seroya, the creative director of the brand, to take a boring basic to the next level.

The dress that has been on everyone, from Taylor Swift to Jennifer Lopez.

Alright, one of my friends needs to get engaged so I can pressure them into buying this dress.

I want to create a packing list for Ibiza. This dress is first on the list.

8. Reformation

At least once a month, I find something from Reformation and need it immediately. Every time I go to its site, I discover something new and fall in love. While most people go to the brand for pretty dresses to wear on vacation and in the summer, I am actually loving its wardrobe staples. These wide-leg pants I got from Reformation are my current favorite.

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My summer go-to look is here, and it comes in both black and white.

I heard this top is viral on TikTok, and now, I'm intrigued.

9. Afrm

Anytime my friends ask me for suggestions on where to shop, I have to tell them about my love for Afrm. If you're someone who is looking to make a statement and wear something exciting, you have to check out this brand. It never fails to surprise me.

I wore this on Valentine's Day and am still in love with it.

10. Something Navy

Something Navy is the perfect brand for people who love elevated staples. It always has a fresh take on the pieces that I'm currently obsessing over. While I live in the brand's oversize button-downs, I'm always exploring the many other things on its site.

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The brand's blazers always sell fast, so I can't believe how lucky I was to find this one on sale.

I've never seen a prettier T-shirt.

And I'll leave you with another basic because I love this brand so much.