My 9 Favorite Women’s Clothing Stores

When you think about your favorite women’s clothing store, how do you like to shop?

Go to the store to see, feel and try on before you buy; or are you happy to buy online, try on at home?

Statistics show that 20-60% of clothing purchased online is returned. Either shoppers are ordering multiples with the idea of returning items that don’t work or they’re unsatisfied with an item once it lands on their doorstep. I believe without the ability to see and touch, we lack that tactile info to decide what will works and what won’t!

After decades of shopping I’ve come to the conclusion I prefer to see it before I buy. I can tell at a glance if an item will fit my shape and height in person. Online it’s a bit of a guessing game.

Lately a lot of styles and sizes are only available online. Since I often buy Petites when offered, I’ll go for an online purchase if that’s the only way to get the size I need.

My favorite women’s clothing stores are where I can find something I want to take home!

Most of these retailers have a good online presence. I’ll go online to find special sizing, items that are only on sale online or to browse to see if it’s worth a trip to the store.

Flexible size and return options are a plus with any retailer!

I like the option to return a piece that doesn’t work to the store, where I can try on another size or find something else that works. Who doesn’t want that immediate gratification of taking home something new?

Some of these retailers do ship outside the US, but be sure to check customs and shipping rates to your country as they can seriously blow your budget.

9 Favorite Women’s Clothing Stores


Athleta’s been my go to for finding stylish travel wear. I like the good quality, wearable materials and flexible sizing for versatile options whether in town, country or on the go. Styles are trend conscious without being overly trendy. In other words they’ll transition from year to year and still look stylish.

Athleta has a liberal return policy “Give-It-A-Workout Guarantee”, alterations in store and a pleasant shopping environment making it one of my favorites. I don’t have the patience to search endlessly so I like that everything is grouped so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for!

To get their sales and offers, sign up for emails. Athleta just started offering international shipping as well. Athleta is part of the Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy group. If you have a store credit card with either brand you gain points with purchases to use across the brands and it’s easy to shop for all their brands conveniently through one website.


If you’re lucky to live close to either Nordstrom or the “Rack”, no explanation is needed.

Hundreds of quality brands grouped in one store by department. The beauty of Nordstrom is you really can’t go wrong, their buyers know what they’re doing. Nordstroms’ shoe department is in a class by itself.

Nordstrom Rack is where you’ll find current or last years styles marked down in a smaller store setting. The Rack caters to mostly mid price range fashion although you’ll find the occasional designer item amongst the racks. Some Racks seem to get better inventory than others.

Expect to find Tahari, Eileen Fisher and more. I gravitate to the Rack for the excellent selection of footwear and jeans. Joe’s Jeans and Kut from the Kloth are two of my favorites – they just seem to fit me better than any other brand (except for Gap)

I appreciate the consistently good customer service at Nordstrom. Alterations are free on full price items. At the Rack or on markdowned items you’ll pay a reasonable fee. Returns are flexible. If you find something online, expect free shipping and returns (or return to a store).

J Crew

I’ve shopped at J Crew for decades. Most larger shopping malls have a store. Back when I was dressing a little preppier than I am now, J Crew was my go to resource. I appreciate the classics and when it comes to their t-shirts and sweaters, you can’t go wrong. 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 off 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. J Crew famously used Lauren Hutton and other icons as models for their catalog, so kudos to them!

Madewell is owned by J Crew. Styles skew to a slightly younger demo, which is fine. I usually go in for their varied selection of good quality  t-shirts. Madewell is also known for their jeans which come in a wide selection of US sizes of 00-14.

TJ Maxx

I’ve shopped here for decades and have to say not all TJs are created equal. The neighborhood drives the selection. You’ll get a much better collection of designer and brand pieces in better neighborhoods. If you’re a hunter, this is the store for you. Some days you’ll find fantastic pieces and other days you’ll walk out empty handed.

In my opinion the pricing is so so. Not always the best considering it’s past season inventory. Finding a unique piece that you wouldn’t find anywhere else is the lure. I found a beautiful Italian wool military style cardigan for under $60. several years ago that still hangs in my closet.

If you’re lucky, you may find a TJ Maxx with The Runway, a stylish section of high end designer clothes within the womens’ department.

Go with patience and be prepared to comb the racks. Return policy is 30 days.

Old Navy/H&M

If you’re looking for inexpensive basics, you can’t go wrong with either of these lower priced retailers. Don’t expect to wear these clothes much more than a season or two. Think shorts for around the house, T shirts, casual accessories, or lounge wear. Although lately I’m loving the sweaters I’m finding at H&M!

Old Navy is my go to for shorts and inexpensive tops and occasionally jeans or cargo pants.

H&M is a retailer I never shopped at in the US but here in the UK I’m finding good priced sweaters, occasionally dresses and casual tees.

Mango | Zara

Two new retailers I’ve discovered in the UK and Europe. Generally a good interpretation of trends with some lovely dresses to be found if you dig online. I’m still loving the olive green trench coat I found in a Mango store in Spain! Zara is a step up from H&M and one more stop to check out when I’m on the hunt. Love their Home store too.

If you’re like me you love to save money on the basics so you can splurge on better quality pieces that make your wardrobe. Shoes and boots for example! I always spend a little more on footwear because it’s worth it and can up the whole look.

A little note about sizing: US and UK women’s clothing is sized very differently! After a lifetime of knowing what US size(s) I could wear, coming to the UK is SO confusing. For example a US size 4 here is supposed to equal a UK size 8. But it’s not. A UK 8 is more like a US 2. Shoe sizes are different as well. A US size 6 is a UK size 4. Then of course there’s European sizing! Be sure to buy where you can return or exchange if you can’t try an item on in person is my advice.

Favorite go to STORES

Have fun shopping and let me know your favorites!