When you think about the women’s clothing stores where you shop, what makes them special?
Is it how the store makes you feel when you’re shopping or how the clothes make you feel when you wear them?
My favorite women’s clothing stores are a little of both. Great atmosphere and vibe that stock items I can’t wait to take home!
Just so you know some of these retailers ship outside the US. Be sure to check customs and shipping rates to your country otherwise those costs can seriously blow your budget! I prefer to shop in store if possible – but sometimes we have to shop online for extra sizes and options don’t we?
9 Favorite Women’s Clothing Stores
Athleta’s one of my go tos for stylish travel wear. I appreciate the good quality, wearable materials and find they’re easy to wear in town, country or on the go. Styles are trend conscious without being overly trendy if you know what I mean.
Athleta has a liberal 60 day return policy, plus alterations in store and a pleasant shopping experience. I’m not the most patient shopper, so I appreciate that similar products are grouped which makes it easier to browse!
For sales and offers, sign up for emails. Athleta just started offering international shipping. Because it’s part of the Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy group, your store credit card with all brands gains you points with purchases. Plus it’s easy to shop all their brands through one website and combine items to get free shipping.
If you’re lucky to live close to either Nordstrom or the “Rack”, no explanation is needed.
Nordstrom offers hundreds of quality brands grouped by department. The beauty of Nordstrom is you really can’t go wrong because their buyers know what they’re doing. The Nordstrom shoe department is in a class by itself.
Customer service is consistently good at Nordstrom. Alterations are free on full price items. Use their styling service to find your perfect look. Here’s the scoop on personal styling services too. Free shipping? Yes please.
3. Nordstrom Rack
Nordstrom Rack is where you’ll find current or last years styles from Nordstrom, marked down. The Rack caters to mostly mid price range fashion with the occasional designer item hiding amongst the racks (if you’re lucky!) I’ve noticed some Racks seem to get better inventory than others and it all depends on your local market. When I travel I love to check out new Racks!
Expect to find Tahari, Eileen Fisher and more. I gravitate to the Rack for footwear and jeans like Joe’s Jeans and Kut from the Kloth – two of my favorites. They just seem to fit me better than any other brand (except Gaps)
At the Rack you’ll pay a reasonable fee for alterations. Shipping is free over $89. and $9.95 under $89.
4. J. Crew
I appreciate the classics you find at J.Crew and love their t-shirts and sweaters especially. The pendulum has swung and I’m happy to say their re-interpretations of classic is spot on.
I still love to find basic T’s on the sale rack. Mostly cotton, good color options and well made for the price point. Love the indigo dye options but then I’m a fan of blue. J Crew also carries a nice selection of hair accessories and affordable costume jewelry.
I always know what I’m getting with J Crew, so shopping online isn’t a problem. Returns or exchanges can be made in store.
Madewell is owned by J. Crew and I find that styles skew to a slightly younger demo, which is fine. Again I go for their good quality t-shirts, bags and accessories.
Madewell is also known for their jeans which come in a wide selection of US sizes of 00-14.
6. TJ Maxx
I’ve shopped at TJ’s for decades! Keep in mind all TJs aren’t created equal. The neighborhood drives the selection just as it does with Nordstrom Rack. You’ll find a better collection of designer and brand pieces in better neighborhoods. If you’re a hunter, TJ is the store for you. Just be prepared. Some days you’ll find fantastic pieces and other days you’ll walk out empty handed!
In my opinion the pricing is so so and considering it’s past season inventory, sometimes on the high side. Finding a unique piece that you wouldn’t find anywhere else is the lure. I did find a beautiful Italian wool military style cardigan for under $60. several years ago but haven’t turned up any treasures recently.
If you’re lucky, you may find a TJ Maxx with The Runway, a stylish section of high end designer clothes within the women’s department.
Go with patience and be prepared to comb the racks. Return policy is 30 days.
7. Old Navy
If you’re looking for inexpensive basics, you can’t go wrong with this lower priced retailer. Don’t expect to wear these clothes much more than a season or two.
Old Navy is my go to for shorts, inexpensive tops, lounge wear and stretch pants like their Stevie pants. For some reason all Gap lines, including Athleta, Banana Republic and ON just seem to fit me off the rack, especially the pants and jeans. The fact they offer multiple lengths for petites or talls is a big plus!
Two favorite retailers I’ve discovered in the UK and Europe are Mango and Zara. Mid range pricing and they do collabs with designer brands. You’ll find a good interpretation of trends with some lovely dresses to be found if you dig online. Try the Zara jeans. Don’t miss their homeware stores for good quality linens.
I’m still loving the olive green trench coat I found in a Mango store in Spain!
If you’re like me you love to save money on the basics to splurge on better quality pieces that lift your wardrobe. Shoes and boots for example. I always spend a little more on footwear and bags because they make a look, don’t they?
9. DSW Shoes
This is usually my first stop if I’m looking for a particular shoe at a good price. They don’t carry the extensive selection they did before the pandemic in my opinion but DSW is still worth a look if you don’t have a good shoe store nearby.
Don’t forget to browse the racks at the back of the store for out of season bargains. I found a pair of leather waterproof Blondo boots that I still wear at a snip!
A little note about sizing: If you’re shopping in the US you know what size you are. If you’re an American in the UK or Europe you’ll be confused as I was. US and UK women’s clothing is sized very differently!
After a lifetime of knowing what US size(s) I could wear, shopping in Europe is SO confusing. For example a US 4 is supposed to equal a UK 8. But it doesn’t. A UK 8 is more like a US 2. Perhaps they vanity size in the US?
Shoe sizes are different too. A US size 6 is a UK size 4. Then of course there’s European sizing where a US size 6 or 6 1/2 is 37.
If you’re traveling to the UK and Europe and want to go shopping keep this in mind. If you live in the US, once you get to know how your favorite retailer sizes their clothes, you can buy online to get your size whether it’s petite or tall.
Favorite go to STORES
- Nordstrom Rack
- Banana Republic
- Eddie Bauer
- J. Crew
- Old Navy
- DSW shoes
Have fun shopping and let me know if you find a favorite!