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High street Hit or Miss Brighton

Drapers returns to Brighton to review its high street womenswear offer for spring, with product ranges and store environments put under the spotlight

The city of Brighton and Hove is a hybrid. Its two universities provide a huge student population, but there has been a recent influx of Londoners moving to the city and commuting to the capital. The resulting property price boom has led to some gentrification and redevelopment, luring chi-chi food chains such as Carluccio's and Wagamama.

But behind a prosperous facade, the impact of interest rate rises is being felt and spending is slowing. When Drapers visited the East Street area, home to Reiss, Jigsaw and Hobbs, there were nine units empty or looking for new tenants.

In Western Road, where most of the multiples are to be found, there is a lot of upheaval that should boost the offer by the end of the year. Marks & Spencer is undergoing a total refit, while Primark is moving to a much larger ex-Littlewoods store and New Look will take over the old Primark unit. These retailers have all suffered in this season's Hit or Miss because of the restrictions imposed by their current stores.

YOUNG FASHION[QQ]]TOPSHOP - WESTERN ROAD

An individual take on the season's key looks makes Topshop the one to beat this summer

LOOKS

Topshop's confidence that shoppers will take the looks it offers and work it into their own style is obvious here. There is no real sense of slavish fashion stories, just lots of great pieces. It's refreshing for a retailer to provide a real point of view about fashion, rather than just ticking off trends. Topshop's edge this season is all about attention to detail, down to the gold lame piping on denim short shorts and the jaunty bows on a 1960s-style cropped cotton swing jacket.

MIX

This is a very mid-season offer, with little high-summer product on offer and fewer dress options than expected. It must be disappointing for the manager, who we overheard telling a colleague that dress sales were up 28% on last year. The retailer's denim offer is a core part of the business, and here it is authoritative and very easy to shop. Jersey is also key for Topshop at this time of year, but the range was confusingly presented and difficult to navigate in this store.

STORE

Located slightly off-pitch at the moment, the shop will benefit later in the year when New Look moves closer. It is airy, well laid out and has perfectly pitched indie rock music playing in the background. Stock densities are just right. Some well-thought-out window displays draw shoppers inside, while the staff are friendly and authoritative on their stock. While Drapers was in-store, staff were being coached on how to put looks together for customers.

VALUE

In Topshop you pay for the extra detail and design difference. Tailored shorts are £28, and a 1970s-inspired high-waisted floral print dress is £40. High-waisted wide-leg jeans are £45 and the retailer's much-hyped playsuit is great value, also at £45. On more basic product, prices are generally in line with the rest of its high street competitors, with ribbed jersey camisoles for £6 and short-sleeved tunic tops for £14.

OASIS - DUKE'S LANE

Oasis looks comfortable in its own skin again after a couple of uneasy seasons

LOOKS

For the first time in two seasons, Oasis doesn't look like a fish out of water. It has backed spring's new silhouettes heavily, with smock tops, dresses and A-line shifts in evidence. Pretty much every trend box is ticked, referencing tailored short shorts and high-waisted trousers. But it's not just working the trends on styles - fabrications are spot on and are good quality. There are no maxi dresses, although the store was expecting a delivery on one style when Drapers visited.

MIX

Oasis is known for its feminine take on trends, but for a store in a very casual seaside town the mix here still feels surprisingly dressy. There is not much workwear in evidence, with the offer instead dominated by tunic tops and glamorous dresses. The few workwear pieces are merchandised in colour stories alongside occasionwear, and there is almost half a wall of swimwear.

STORE

Long established on a corner site near The Lanes, this unusual oval-shaped store was being remerchandised during our visit so things looked a little patchy. But there are some useful mannequins sitting on display tables to teach shoppers how to team this season's black-and-white look with must-have accessories. Only a third of the windows are being used to sell outfits, which is a lost opportunity.

VALUE

A satin bell-sleeved tunic dress is £60 and a sky blue long-sleeved silk smock top is decent value at £40. A glamorous silver grosgrain trench coat at the higher end of the offer is toppy at £90. Mercerised cotton tailored mini-shorts are £30. At the upper end of the offer prices can generally be justified by the fabrication, but prices on more basic product look a little on the high side, with a simple cotton A-line skirt weighing in at £40.

WAREHOUSE - CHURCHILL SQUARE

Tropical florals are just right for the April heatwave

LOOKS

Warehouse has lots of strong tropical and Hawaiian-inspired florals and very few optical prints in this offer, making it look fresh and summery when we visited during the unseasonably fine April weather. The retailer's 1980s-style long jersey strapless tops look like being a bestseller. The store has all the trends, each presented with a very glamorous Warehouse point of view.

MIX

Outfit building is easy in this store thanks to the predominantly casual offer, with just enough glitzy night-time options to provide a varied range. There is only a smattering of workwear and some rather out-of-place occasionwear sitting right at the back of the store. Warehouse has worked well to trade on its utility heritage, with some easy-to-wear combat pants and its own take on playsuits and shorts-and-braces combos.

STORE

This long and fairly narrow shop boasts an up-to-date storefit, featuring metallic wallpaper teamed with open brick walls. But there is a rather odd configuration at the back of the store, with workwear stuck in a side ghetto that is easy to miss.

VALUE

A printed ra-ra-style skirt looks pricey at £30, as do jersey tunics at £40. But the linen-mix high-waisted trousers are better value at £35. A metallic linen coat at £70 with matching dress at £55 is very competitive.

ZARA - CHURCHILL SQUARE

All the design input is here, but prices are creeping up

LOOKS

You name it - every trend is covered here, with key looks including printed and plain tunic dresses, bell-sleeved yoke detail blouses, high-waisted wide-leg trousers and three-tier ruffle-fronted sleeveless dresses. Although many of the prints look like they're straight off the catwalk, some can seem a bit stale against the sunnier, less slavish interpretations at some of Zara's high street competitors.

MIX

The majority of Zara's stock is trend-led and most of the main collection is therefore quite formal and dressy. Some of the traditional southern European colours, such as burnt orange, seem to be more prevalent, probably because they made it to the catwalks this season. However, they may prove less flattering on paler British skin tones.

STORE

This is a well-run store that is generally tidy, with an up-to-date shopfit that looks chic and contemporary. Windows are strong as usual, and it's surprising that the display tables look so tidy, even during our late afternoon visit. Zara's accessories are among the strongest part of the offer in terms of fashion direction, but deserve more dedicated space in store. Shorter customers would have to mount a ladder to examine the handbags.

VALUE

The Basics collection looks much better value for money this season than the rest of the Zara Woman product. Prices seem to be creeping up and there are some quality issues on finishing on the more upscale formal dresses, some at £89, that make you question the value. A simple tabard tunic at £59 looks pricey against its rivals. Having said that, TRF's casual offer is bang on the money, with denim flares at £35.

MISS SELFRIDGE - CHURCHILL SQUARE

Miss S takes the formality out of this season's silhouette and has a little fun with it

LOOKS

Miss Selfridge has taken this season's A-line silhouette and given it a younger, less formal look. The popular tunic shape and length is reworked in an almost country and western style using smocking, with fabrics including cheesecloth and ginghams. Many of the styles are sleeveless to enable the retailer's younger customers to wear the dress and tunic options with a T-shirt underneath.

MIX

It's all about pretty casualwear and neon jerseys this season - think the beach and the street. Short spaghetti-strap smock dresses and long 1980s-inspired jerseys are backed heavily here. Without ignoring the season's trends, Miss Selfridge seems determined to make its offer fun. You can't go far in-store without catching up with the Miss Selfridge heart logo, but it's all very tongue in cheek.

STORE

The Brighton shop is housed in a double-fronted unit with inviting windows. Although it's essentially a simple white box, the fixtures are up to date and the overall store is well put together, with lots of cross-merchandising opportunities. It is also exceptionally tidy for a mid-afternoon visit. Point-of-sale and lifestyle graphics help to explain this season's key looks.

VALUE

Given the age of the core customer, some of the dresses at £50 look far too pricey, as does the denim, with skinny and flared jeans at £35.

RIVER ISLAND - CHURCHILL SQUARE

Digging the disco diva vibe for spring, River Island looks back to the 1980s

LOOKS

There is an emphasis on the early 1980s clubbing diva here, with River Island's tried-and-tested formula of jeans or leggings and a trend-led top. There are fewer options in the 1960s-style shift, smock and tunic-led trend than any other young fashion retailer in the city. Styles are customised for River Island's market, so tailored short shorts have rhinestone details and printed chiffon belts, while a 1960s-style broderie anglaise tunic is sprinkled with silver sequins.

MIX

It's pretty much a super-casual or glam going-out vibe. The depth of the offer in combats can only reflect a customer loyalty to this item that goes way beyond any trend. Separate tops and bottoms have been backed more heavily than dresses at this stage in the season, and there's a huge choice of jersey tops to team with the retailer's jeans. The offer is less high summer than some of its competitors.

STORE

This store looks a little tired set against River Island's own high internal standards. It's much more white box than recent stores we have visited. The back fifth of the store is on Sale and messages in the window shout about that wholeheartedly. However, the front of the store is well merchandised and mannequins are used confidently to detail key looks.

VALUE

A green printed cotton smock dress with pockets and button detailing is excellent value against the competition at £30. A sequin star-print 1980s jersey top is £25 - a cheap pick-up purchase for a Saturday night out. Despite the diversity and depth of some categories, pricing is consistent across ranges, with a clear good, better, best structure.

H&M - CHURCHILL SQUARE

Did we catch H&M between deliveries? Where are all the key pieces?

LOOKS

H&M has skipped the more formal approach to the 1960s smock trends. There are a few styles in-store, but H&M has stamped its own mark on them, using more relaxed fabrics with a summery feel. Tailored shorts, tunics and high-waisted cropped trousers are among the key items, but you have to look closely to find them in any depth in Brighton - either the store does not receive the main trend-led styles or availability is simply poor on the day of our visit.

MIX

The mix is heavily weighted towards casualwear, even in the more mature Woman area upstairs. Jersey dominates downstairs and there is more emphasis than expected on its organic denim and cotton range, which should go down well with green shoppers in Brighton.

STORE

It's busy, it's a mess, and it's trading like a train. This store is on a long-established site and has not had a refit in a while. Display tables at the front offer a semblance of order, presenting spaghetti-strap "Sunny Sunday Dresses", but the rest of the store is chaos. However, it doesn't seem to put anyone off.

VALUE

This is the first port of call for the student and teen population of Brighton looking for quirky casual value. H&M has the cheapest short jersey shorts in our review at £5. A long slouchy jersey boob tube is £10, and ra-ra skirts also start at £10. A long-sleeved broderie anglaise tunic is great value at £25 and a silk tunic dress is £40.

PEACOCKS - NORTH STREET

Peacocks capitalises on the early heatwave and makes hay while the sun shines

LOOKS

Monochrome floral shift dresses, cap-sleeve yoked jackets and sky blue parkas are right on the money. A floral sundress with spaghetti straps will keep its mainstream customers happy. The retailer has not ignored the smock trend, but it hasn't gone overboard either.

MIX

Sticking close to its value roots, Peacocks has shoved sundresses and beachwear to the front of the store in a bid to capitalise on the heatwave in Brighton. The mix here is right for the area, with the emphasis on casualwear, and its summer festival range should go down a storm.

STORE

The Brighton branch is fairly new and is one of the retailer's largest. There is a lot of best practice in evidence here, with great use of cross-merchandising and graphics. Fashion advice is provided via stickers such as 'wear over jeans' or 'wear with leggings', which is spot-on for the target market. It's interesting to see how Peacocks has picked up on other retailers' unique material labels and has come up with the Made with Special Love and Care slogan.

VALUE

Tailored shorts represent excellent value at £10. Jersey beach shorts are £3 or two for £6, and Peacocks' cropped Peter Pan-collar jacket is cheaper than New Look's version, ringing in at just £12. However, jersey smocks at £10 look pricey next to Primark, while a shift dress in white or indigo is £16.

WALLIS - CHURCHILL SQUARE

Wallis has embraced brights for spring and will be hoping its customers do the same

LOOKS

Broderie anglaise tunic dresses sit alongside Marimekko-inspired prints in a bold colour palette of yellow, lime green, orange and purple. Wallis is having fun with the new smock silhouettes and is expecting customers to be bold about colour. Let's hope they are, or there will be a lot of lime green joining the custard yellow on the mid-season Sale rail. The retailer is one of the few to have maxi dresses on the shop floor, with two style options on offer.

MIX

The Brighton store is merchandised in colour stories, with solid shades offset by tonal neutrals. About 20% of the offer is made up of prints. Less than a third of the product on offer is directional, with the rest a safer mix of more classic pieces, including wide-leg linen trousers and white jeans, along with detailed items such as crocheted knits.

STORE

This is a modern store with an up-to-date shopfit and a simple but effective window display that showcases key pieces. The visual merchandising is strong, with items often displayed with belts or necklaces showing how to build outfits.

VALUE

A monochrome polyester satin leaf-print dress is £40, sleeveless tunic tops are £20 and polyester viscose capri pants are £30. At the top end of the offer, a grosgrain metallic jacket will set you back £70.

DEBENHAMS - CHURCHILL SQUARE

There is still mileage in Designers at Debenhams, but it needs some wholesale editing

LOOKS

There are plenty of on-trend looks on offer here. The star players are in the Designers at Debenhams section, with old-hander Jasper Conran and relative newcomer Betty Jackson coming up trumps on the trends with a green parka and plenty of smock-style tops. Conran's range includes leaf-print silk tunics and an optical print mac.

MIX

The mix is difficult to read because it can only be judged brand by brand, but generally there is still a lot of casualwear on offer. The Designers offer still has legs, but is badly in need of re-editing. The John Rocha range is so big it has lost focus and runs from edgy to the totally banal. Matthew Williamson's Butterfly collection needs to move on, and the Antoni & Alison range is too small to really have any impact.

STORE

This is a relatively new shop that is inevitably in Blue Cross Sale mode when Drapers visits. The womenswear offer is mostly located on one floor, with Designers at Debenhams scattered between concessions and the occasionwear and casual own brands. There is a woeful lack of mirrors in some areas, but given that the store is on Sale it is generally tidy and well presented.

VALUE

A Betty Jackson Black silk monochrome print top is £55, cut-off capri pants are £45 and a linen smock blouse weighs in at £40. Butterfly by Matthew Williamson is poor value for money, with quality nowhere near the level of the Betty Jackson, Jasper Conran or John Rocha ranges. Pieces also don't seem to change season on season.

DOROTHY PERKINS - WESTERN ROAD

Nothing too outstanding here, but still in touch with the trends

LOOKS

Make sure you wear your sunglasses - Dotty P has gone fluorescent-mad, with loads of longer-length bright jersey tops hitting you as soon as you walk in. The A-line silhouette is handled simply, mainly via jersey and cotton sleeveless smocks, but there are key trend pieces including a Burberry-inspired jewel-embellished top and high-waisted trousers.

MIX

Casualwear is king here, which may be down to the fact that Brighton is essentially a casual-dressing seaside town. Half a wall of the ground floor is dedicated to combat-style trousers and another half is given over to denim and cargo shorts. But workwear on the first floor is also strong, although in a limited number of options, and the petite section also stands out.

STORE

It's a clean, tidy, airy store that is well organised and clearly merchandised, with staff members on hand to greet shoppers as soon as they walk through the door. Casualwear is on the ground floor, with workwear, maternity and petites upstairs. There is a lot of price messaging downstairs, emphasising value and three-for-two offers.

VALUE

Plain jersey smocks are £22, with printed options for £25. Cargo pants are great value at £15, although a cropped jacket with a pleated back similar to one at New Look looks pricey at £25. High-waisted shorts are £20. For women wanting a basic work suit, Dorothy Perkins' tailoring offers clear good value choices across the good, better, best price range.

GEORGE - NORTH STREET

The Brighton clothing standalone showcases the depth of George's fashion offer

LOOKS

George nods to the season's main trends with 1960s-style optical-print scoop-necked tunics in black, white and grey, along with viscose and cotton button-back tunic dresses. Smock tops and tunic shifts are also here, but the strength of the offer is in its casual and classic pieces, with plenty of jersey ruched V-neck and wrapover tops and casual cargo and combat trousers.

MIX

All the George ranges are here, but most of the offer focuses on Essentials and the more upmarket Collection range. The store wisely concentrates on fashion-led product, although it also slips in a range of character printed T-shirts.

STORE

The three-floor store is tidy, but then there's no excuse for a mess seeing as the changing room shuts a whole hour before the shop, which is terrible customer service. Otherwise it's a basic white box with an industrial feel to reflect its supermarket roots, jazzed up with some nice in-store lifestyle pictures.

VALUE

George's Collection range is not cheap against Primark, but it hangs together well and prices stand up against rivals such as M&S. A wrapover printed cotton dress is £25 and a Lurex knit is £16, while a 100% linen trouser suit is phenomenally good value at £28 for the jacket and £22 for the trousers. A cropped Peter Pan-collar jacket looks a bit pricey at £26. A basic machine washable suit is £25 for the jacket and £16 for the trousers.

PRIMARK - WESTERN ROAD

Primark's basics-led early summer offer lacks fashion vitality

LOOKS

Tunics and smocks are the main looks here, while younger bright neon jerseys and tiny ra-ra skirts to team with leggings also feature strongly. However, our overall impression is that this store on this particular day is not as fashion forward as it could be.

MIX

Prints are offbeat to say the least, particularly the florals, with a lot of tiny flowers rather than the big prints seen elsewhere. The warm weather seems to have come too early for Primark's more trend-led offerings, which may be due in-store later. Jersey tops and shorts and basic spaghetti-strap sundresses have been backed the most heavily.

STORE

This is a bizarre layout, with most of the fashion product one step back from the front of the shop - customers walking into the store are met with a sea of dreary droopy jersey. Primark is relocating to the larger Littlewoods site on the high street later this year and as a result looks very tired. Carpeted areas of the floor are heavily stained and the till area is worn and old fashioned.

VALUE

As usual, Primark's throwaway prices feature across the board. A lilac square-necked viscose smock is £12. A £6 short-sleeved jersey tunic in an array of colour options will sell in droves, despite its lack of hanger appeal. Frill detail cotton viscose cardigans are excellent value at £6, and the wide-brimmed black floppy hat seen all over the high street is just £3 here.

MAINSTREAM

GAP - WESTERN ROAD

A limited colour palette makes this offer look dreary against competitors

LOOKS

If you like beige, white, black, dusty pink or grey, you'll love Gap's summer offer. If not, you're advised to head elsewhere. There are some strong basics here, such as a cotton parka and a rubberised cotton mac, but the retailer has largely ignored the key looks of the season, with only a couple of references to the token smock silhouette. However, its great boy fit and wide-leg linen trousers are redeeming factors.

MIX

Gap has chucked the baby out with the bath water this season, paring the offer down to such a minimal amount of options in such a limited colour palette that it will surely alienate half of its customers. The only respite from the bland palette is provided by a selection of bright basic T-shirts. Linen is the strongest look.

STORE

The Brighton branch boasts the company's standard shopfit. However, Gap's usual high standard of customer service is not in evidence here, with staff difficult to engage. Admittedly we visited at the end of the day, but remerchandising the entire store and moving product from one fixture to another while customers are trying to shop is discouraging and should be done after hours.

VALUE

Ultra-short denim cut-offs must be among the most expensive on the high street at £32. A pair of tailored shorts is £29, a bell-sleeved long linen shirt is £32 and a cropped flared jacket sits alongside M&S pricing at £39. Gap looks pricey against its mainstream rivals, except in the areas where it has the trends right with the boy-fit trousers.

MARKS & SPENCER - WESTERN ROAD

This store is undergoing a refit, so unfortunately provides a poor representation of M&S's offer

LOOKS

Segmentation in M&S is starting to look seamless. While a tiny Limited offer is working the volume silhouette to the more fashion forward, the rest of the high street must be marvelling at how George Davies' Per Una is gaily reselling boho via calf-length frilled and petticoat skirts to its older customers again this season. Autograph and Limited ranges are under-represented because a major store refit restricts the amount of space.

MIX

During the refit M&S has concentrated on covering the basics, so apart from Per Una the emphasis is more on the classic and entry price offer. The real depth is in the classic workwear, linen, jersey and knitwear categories.

STORE

Shoppers can be forgiven for thinking they have stepped back into the 1980s at this store. It is undergoing a much-needed refit, which will finish in September, but at the moment local customers are advised to visit the much-lauded Holmbush store in Shoreham three miles away.

VALUE

Straight tailored pinstripe cotton trousers for £35 from the Limited range must offer some of the best value and quality on the high street. The retailer's tunic and volume dresses and tops are in line with rivals at between £35 and £40. It's the quality-versus-value equation that is impressive, which M&S has got so right over the past couple of years.

NEXT - CHURCHILL SQUARE

Next's Brighton store lacks fashion authority - is this a clothing shop or a branch of Hallmark?

LOOKS

Next has dabbled with optical prints and the tulip silhouette on dresses, and has some smock top options. But the key looks are still ultra-conservative compared with rivals such as M&S and Debenhams. Next is still oh-so wary of fashion and seems to have no confidence with it, so when the retailer does dip into trends it results in bizarre pairings such as a fairly classic shirt-style collar on an empire-line blouse.

MIX

Two-thirds of the offer here is casual, ranging from basic jerseys to linen cropped pants, but there is a wall running the length of the store offering suiting and tailored shirts. This store still presents Next very much as a category-led business and there is little or no sign of any of the more trend-led pieces promised by the retailer in its last set of results.

STORE

Next's womenswear offer is situated on the ground floor, with a wall dividing the fashion-led product and workwear from the more casual basics. Stock is densely packed throughout and it is difficult to move around. Drapers hopes the gifts area that runs halfway across one side of the store delivers great sales densities, because it gives the impression that you are in a gift shop rather than a fashion store.

VALUE

Next still delivers on the value equation, particularly on classic pieces and in its workwear offer, where the price architecture on tailoring and shirts is crystal clear and excellent quality at the good, better, best levels. But unlined, almost transparent round-yoked cotton tunic tops at £28 won't go down well with an older customer base.

NEW LOOK - WESTERN ROAD

This small, rather unloved store is a poor example of what New Look has to offer

LOOKS

Black and white printed polyester tunics and pink, orange and red optical viscose prints seem a little stale. It's a shame that the retailer's lovely floral printed sundresses were not in evidence at this store.

MIX

The choice of printed smocks is baffling, with no clear story for customers to follow. It's hard to work out the thinking behind this ranging. Granted, the store is on Sale, but it looks like Drapers visited in between deliveries and was confronted with sloppy seconds.

STORE

This is a small store for New Look and has an awkward mezzanine level selling footwear and accessories, which is almost impossible for the pushchair brigade to navigate. There is a cracked tiled floor and a cash desk that looks as though it was left over from last decade's shopfit. The retailer will be moving units soon, but surely some lifestyle graphics could be used to cover the walls and lift the atmosphere. A coat of paint would not go amiss.

VALUE

Value for money is patchy. A square-neck round-yoke polyester tunic top is £25, while tailored short shorts compare favourably with the rest of the high street at £15. But rows of unappealing jersey smocks, which promise 'stretch to give lasting shape', still look pretty expensive at £22 when compared with Primark's £6 offering. However, a cropped frilled jacket in the Vintage range is excellent value at £15.

BHS - CHURCHILL SQUARE

The retailer's product and store layout are improving, but so much more could be done

LOOKS

Bhs offers a strong monochrome story, which will work well for its mature customer, as will the long linen-look skirts and crocheted cardigans with sequin details. The A-line silhouette has been referenced in a couple of jersey tops and tunics. But there is some bizarre product here, including the T-shirt that references an Islington print works.

MIX

The offer here is still schizophrenic in its presentation, with more dressy pieces sitting alongside striped tailored work shirts and grey trousers. There is also still too much duplication within categories. The retailer's discounting policy is confusing, with some areas highlighted as discounted product and others marked down randomly on the garment label.

STORE

It's not good timing arriving at Bhs during its homewares promotion, which inexplicably means the womenswear floor is littered with pillows and breadbins. There's also a job lot of trolley luggage, which pops up in areas all over the store apropos of nothing. The store feels jammed with too much densely-packed stock. But the product layout and presentation has generally improved, staff are friendly and their till patter is excellent.

VALUE

Crochet edge-to-edge cardigans at £28 look good value against the competition. Jersey tunics are £20, linen-look skirts are £28, and there is a good-value 98% cotton knit with ruched sleeves and empire-line frill for just £20.

10 ESSENTIAL SUMMER LOOKS

1. Cropped swing jackets

A Peter Pan collar and inverted pleat at the back make this an ideal transitional purchase

2. Tailored short shorts

Only for the brave, with a single pleat and turn-up

3. Metallic linen

Generally in bronze or silver on jackets and dresses

4. Glamorous parkas

Often with a metallic sheen as seen at Primark, in loud brights at Zara, or white at River Island

5. Cap-sleeved jersey smock tops

Zero hanger appeal, but looks good on and is an easy way into this season's essential look

6. 1980s-inspired long boob tubes

Seen in almost all of the young fashion outlets, to be worn with leggings or jeans

7. Wide-legged linen trousers

The mainstream multiples' staple of the season

8. Broderie anglaise trapeze shifts

Mainstream stores still have a love affair with this fabric, and niche shops don't want to let go either

9. Tulip-shaped hems

Seen on sleeveless shift dresses at Reiss, and on skirts and even trench coats at Oasis

10. Puffed-sleeve ruffle-front tunics

For those who can't do the short dress look.

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