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.
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 for 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… It’s slightly soul-destroying when it’s 34 degrees for the foreseeable future, but those mannequins are also a beacon of hope, reminding us how even on the gloomiest day, we’re inevitably headed for breezy fabrics and 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’m 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 or cruelty-free beauty or giving back to local communities. In the Venn diagram where cheerful spring buys overlap with mindful purchases, the 25 items below all exist in the overlap––which is to say, they’re doubling down on the feel-good buzz.
The measurements of this truly excellent 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’ve been torturing myself looking at swimwear since December. Ganni’s new swim 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 this range is made from 100% recycled polyester, plus Ganni “climate compensates” to cover the cost of making each garment’s carbon footprint neutral. Just continue to send me all the links to non-make-up 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 the price tag. Feel good about the animal-friendly vegan formula, and the fact that one 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 in when you travel. I dare you to find me a happier shade of yellow. This is ‘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. 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. I’m personally scoring this take on spring shirting a 10/10 for its thoughtful cinching and dramatic neckline. (Dramatic collars are becoming a whole thing). This find makes me especially happy because I’ve seemingly spent my whole adult life looking for a chill denim jacket that feels more put-together than your standard (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. Happy days. I love a big, chunky signet ring, and the 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. This relaxed-fit blazer is my answer to spring suiting. You can feel good about the vegan leather, especially since Nanushka’s is invariably an ultra-soft, buttery delight. I invite you to wear it over a ribbed white racerback tank and your choice of… …the matching wrap skirt, or… …or these glorious, high-rise, straight-leg pants. Just add barely-there floss sandals. Speaking of sandals, 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 I’ve always found her footwear to be incredible quality. Racerback tanks always feel effortless and are a staple in my spring/summer wardrobe, whether I’m wearing then with high-waist trousers or layering under a slip dress. Kowtow is supremely transparent with every possible detail of their productions and supply chain, from the ingredients in their dyes, to the sprays and seeds used on the farms where their cotton is grown. They also offer complimentary repairs to extend the life of their garments, so you’ll feel good for even longer. I’ve been a devotee of Dr Hauschka’s Translucent Bronzing Tint ever since my sister gifted me 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 mixes with moisturizer to gently fake a happy, spring-ready glow. 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 around conserving water and making minimal impact in product, also working with independent family-run mills. This fresh minty green is such a good take on a mellow pastel for this spring––and see what I mean about edging it up with black denim? I love really luxe, relaxed tailoring, and discovering eco-conscious ‘Clean Silk’ at Everlane means also getting the transparency of being able to click through to see the exact factory where a garment was made. 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. Spring is the perfect time for a white sneaker refresh. Veja, the Parisian brand loved by Megan 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. This feels like the next iteration of the leopard-print skirt that took over Instagram in 2018––only a little more elevated. Amongst all of Reformation’s massive efforts to put sustainability front and center (they’ve been carbon neutral since 2015), I love the simplicity of this handy guide they 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, it’s 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 love Meadowlark. I have several of their 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). 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. The three-piece suit is apparently having a moment in womenswear, which means vests are going to come out and play this spring. A matching pleated short is almost too cute to handle–as a bonus, this set is 100% eco-friendly linen. I can’t wait for it to be warm enough to wear outfits 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. 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 their global business partners responsible for everything from labor practices to material sourcing. Up next: 25 Things That Make Up My Official L.A.-Girl Wardrobe