In Discussions, In my closet, Money, Shop Quality Series, Shopping, Style, Wardrobe Help, Women

Stylish Wardrobe: Where to find quality clothes at various price points

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I was asked by a reader and I am working on this list trying to brain dump where and what I shop for the following. I’ll update this post when I can think of more places to buy items.

T-SHIRTS AND TANKS AND LONG-SLEEVED TOPS

  • The Gap makes good basic t-shirts and tanks
  • Banana Republic makes good basic t-shirts and tanks
  • Hanes makes a good tank top too (the boys version)
  • American Apparel also makes a good basic tank and t-shirt
  • Twik the brand from Simon’s in Montreal is super cheap and makes a great long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirt

BLOUSES

  • Sometimes Banana Repubic hits the mark but more often than not I don’t buy much from them because it’s mostly polyester or very cheap silk
  • Ann Taylor seems to have a great range of blouses that look great but I don’t own any
  • Equipment makes a seriously soft and perfect oversized silk blouse, actually all of their silk shirts are of a perfect weight, softness and quality
  • ….but apparently Everlane makes a similar silk blouse for cheaper but I have never tried it so I can’t vouch for them personally
  • Joie makes a great silk blouse apparently but I’ve never tried it

DRESSES

  • Diane von Furstenberg makes a great wrap dress but it’s a little lowcut for many women; I wear a slip underneath just in case and I’m not even close to being busty
  • H&M makes a good wrap dress too, in black mostly and it is quite high quality for the low price
  • Banana Republic makes a great wrap dress called Gemma
  • I also like J. Crew dresses but not for their prices.
  • Target makes a good dress as well in a nice jersey knit, don’t count out their maternity wear line Liz Lange
  • Aritzia also makes nice, simple, silk and other natural fabric dresses. I really like their Sabine cut but haven’t justified paying $200+ for it because I own SO many dresses
  • Anthropologie also makes interesting dresses but they’re a hit and miss for me; I need to see them in person

SKIRTS

  • J. Crew makes a good skirt once in a while but their quality has been dismal as of late
  • Banana Republic makes nice skirts but it’s hard to say because I don’t own any from them and can’t personally vouch
  • I can however say that around the web, the Halogen Pencil Skirt in a jersey ponte knit is well loved by many a fashion blogger and would be worth a try
  • I like vintage or secondhand designer skirts, personally and my favourite black one is a high-waisted Diane von Furstenberg or one I got from Anthropologie in this wild poppy print

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TROUSERS

Pants can vary from $45 to $85 a pair but you don’t need to pay a ton to find a great pant

  • Banana Republic Martin pant is fabulous as well that is bootcut
  • Ann Taylor seems to also have great suits and pants
  • Dynamite makes a good trouser too, they’re not 100% wool or whatever else but for the price point they’re decent

SWEATERS

  • J. Crew made a good cashmere sweater that wasn’t itchy in 2012 but I haven’t tried them on lately
  • Vince makes killer casual sweaters, my favourite is the Circle cardigan of theirs. OMG.

LEATHER JACKETS

The ones I like cost around $500 – $600 per.

  • Mackage from Aritzia makes a decent leather jacket but it’s heavy & everyone owns it
  • Muubaa makes a lighter leather jacket and it’s thin and very supple

TRENCH COATS

  • I’m a snob, I like Burberry trenches; I’ve tried on all the others and don’t like them.

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PANTS

  • Rag and Bone leggings are pants but they feel like leggings. They call them “LEGGINGS” but they’re really pants, not the leggings you’re thinking of where it’s too thin and revealing
  • I also like the Sloan fit from Banana Republic for pants to wear with heels or flats

LEGGINGS

  • Lisse from BareNecessities is a great thick ponte knit legging that you can wear under a tunic
  • Zella leggings are apparently great loungewear leggings too; I have yet to buy a pair but they look good

JEANS

  • Lucky Brand jeans makes a decent pair around $50; I like the Sweet cut, the fabrication is incredibly soft and sturdy; the other cuts are not as nice (I tried the Brooke and the Sofia)
  • Levi’s apparently makes a good jean too but I don’t own a pair from them; you’d have to try them on in person
  • Citizens of Humanity makes a good jean as well but depending on the cut and wash it’s a hit and miss. The Poison skinny high-rise cut is great, soft and wonderful, but their Amber cut was not that great
  • R13 jeans seem to also be a great independent brand that is incredible; can’t really vouch for them

LOUNGEWEAR

  • Skin is a seriously awesome brand for loungewear; they’re pricey but they’re awesome
  • Zella leggings are apparently great loungewear leggings too; I have yet to buy a pair but they look good
  • Twik the brand from Simon’s in Montreal is super cheap and makes a great long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirt

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COATS

  • I’m a sucker for Burberry trenches and Smythe Les Vestes wool coats, because they are so darn well made
  • I’m of the mindset that you buy ONE coat or one style / colour of coat and you don’t try to buy many versions of it
  • If you want a cape or a poncho, Cuyana capes look really nice

SCARVES

  • I like natural fabrics (wool, cotton, silk) and I tend to avoid polyester and other cheaper materials because they don’t seem to hold up as well or look as nice
  • The best cashmere blanket scarves are from White & Warren; pricey but they’re super soft and hold up well. I’ve heard good things about Black Goat Cashmere too but can’t vouch for them
  • Kate Spade makes really nice, fun, light scarves as well

PURSES

  • I like really unusual, independent logo-free bags and Etsy would be a good place to start if you don’t have a chance to just wander around in an urban city and hunt for one
  • Cuyana makes a great beautiful leather tote that is simple and I’m currently lusting after one
  • Vegan leather bags are SOMETIMES great from Mat & Nat but are a hit and miss as of late; some of them look terrible and very plasticky (from their latest line anyway)
  • Roots makes a nice looking leather bag as well
  • I have leather bags from a brand called Aridzia Bross as well and it is simple, logo-free and awesome but I got that in Paris
  • Longchamp makes a great simple nylon tote and it is almost indestructible – I use it for EVERYTHING. I know the price point is high for it, and the leather version is like $400 but it’s an incredible bag
  • My favourite work bag is a vintage Cole Haan laptop bag and for heavy duty shopping I like my Cornelia Guest vegan wool bag (fits everything!)

HEELS

  • Cole Haan seems to make a great heel that has Nike technology in it; I haven’t tried it yet though
  • Manolo Blahnik from the past is a fantastic brand but you have to find a reasonable heel height for you (3″ is my max) and the leather has to be soft and supple (kidskin)
  • Louboutins are very comfortable as a stacked platform in a lower heel, I don’t wear super high heels
  • I’m partial to L.K. Bennett for heels and flats as well (word to the wise: anything with any kind of a heel, buy half a size smaller; anything that is FLAT, buy your actual size)

FLATS

  • I have yet to find a great ballet flat but I’ve heard good things about Lanvin and am trying to justify a pair (I can’t yet)
  • B.P. Moveover flats seem to also hit the mark for a lot of people but I haven’t tried them yet so I can’t say

BOOTS (RAIN AND LEATHER)

  • Aigle makes a very comfortable, awesome rainboot called Miss Juliette in a Satin finish and I own it
  • Frye makes great casual boots and I love their Melissa version although I am eying another pair from them in a grey
  • Aquatalia makes a great dress boot that has a solid tread and is almost indestructible, but they’re pricey (although worth it, could double as a rainboot in my opinion)
  • Nine West made a good dress boot circa 2002 but I haven’t bought one from them lately
  • Ecco made a good dress and casual boot in 2008 but I haven’t bought from them as of late

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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20 Comments

  1. kabir

    Where do you reccommend I buy quality and inexpensive athletic wear?

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Those two words kind of don’t go together for me 🙂 Quality (while not always true) means you will have to pay more for the clothing itself.

      I myself wear a top and cropped pants from Nike. I haven’t purchased from anywhere else other than Lululemon but not lately as that brand has also had production and quality issues.

      Honestly, nothing beats going into a store and just touching everything. Check how thick the fabric is. Read reviews online of Lululemon or Nike items. Touch everything.

      One place I can recommend is Nordstrom for perhaps the brand Zella. I hear a lot of raves about them online.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  2. Tania

    I haven’t tried any of the button down blouses from Everlane yet but I have bought quite a few of their Ts – excellent quality and fit. I do want one of their Petra totes eventually. They skip the middle man and don’t have brick and mortar so their prices are a good value (not cheap but excellent quality).

    Reply
  3. Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents

    Aah, this is perfect and exactly what I needed. (Note: I used *all* my self-restraint not to write that sentence in ALL CAPS.)

    Reply
  4. Alicia

    I really like my Lucky Brand Jeans, but man I must be missing out… Mine have always been much closer to $100 than $50. 🙂 good list… I’m headed ove to Kate Spade to drool over scarves.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I wait for the 40% off sale

      Reply
  5. sarah

    Lanvin is definitely worth the money. I bought mine from a flash sale site for $300. Everlane makes a pretty good silk blouse. I would love to see a post on no logo bags too.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’m going to have to buy a pair of Lanvins if I can stomach it. $300USD is a lot of money for me when converted into CAD…

      Reply
  6. Midori

    I learned something new today. Can you do a post for purses with no logos? 😀 I would like to see your picks!

    Reply
  7. Yetunde

    Very helpful. I second the Gap tees.

    I’ve also been very happy with pants from Express (90% of the pants I’ve owned in the last 10 years have been from Express).

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I don’t think we have Express here in Canada 🙁

      Reply
      1. Yetunde

        @save. spend. splurge.: Oh yes we do. I live in Calgary and we have an Express in every major mall. They get 2 bonus points: one for online orders that ship to Canada & two for their prices being marked the same value as US prices. With the way the canadian dollar has fallen against the USD, I really appreciate that built in 20% off 🙂

        Reply
        1. save. spend. splurge.

          !! I am going to try them out.

          Reply
  8. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

    This was a very helpful brain dump! I usually stick to tee shirts and jeans, but I’m inspired now to mix it up (I put that book from a while back on hold at the library)

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      You’ll be inspired.

      Reply
  9. Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way

    I’m a big fan of pants, t-shirts and blouse. It’s just very seldom that I wear whole dress, but all these tips are really perfect!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      The dress is my favourite outfit..

      Reply

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