These are The Best Clothing Retailers for Women Over 40

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Best Clothing Retailers for Women Over 40 by Wardrobe Oxygen

If you've found that your reliable go-to fashion clothing retailers seem to be too matronly or too juvenile, you're not alone. And you're likely over 40.  There's something about turning 40 where you change so much and your wardrobe doesn't seem to keep up.  You have different priorities, your body changes regardless of diet and exercise, and your lifestyle changes require different needs and different style from your clothing. 

It's a big reason why I created Wardrobe Oxygen.  Our lives and our styles change as we grow and I wanted to be a resource to offer ways to grow your wardrobe with your life. If you like retailers like Ann Taylor, that is totally fine, but you should always have more options. Below, I share my tips for the best clothing retailers for women over 40.

I Think These Are The Best Clothing Retailers for Women Over 40

When compiling this list of the best clothing retailers for women over 40, I thought of the ones that offer chic and stylish fashion clothing that works for a grown woman's body and life.  I don't believe there are rules for what women over 40 should and should not wear; we're grown women who can wear whatever makes us happy. 

However, I have known and connected with many women who are part of the Wardrobe Oxygen community, and from discussing fashion with them it's proven that with age comes fashion wisdom.  We know what silhouettes make us feel confident, what sorts of laundry instructions we're willing to follow and which are too much time or trouble, what fabrics work for our position at work or our weekend hobbies, and how we're looking for clothes and accessories that will last longer than a season. 

The retailers I share below focus on clothes for more polished women, whether they are casual or corporate, higher quality, and styles that are on-trend without being so trendy they will look passé in a year. 

a collage of four looks from Ann Taylor, a great place for women over 40 to shop for apparel and accessories

Ann Taylor

I've found a lot of success recently with Ann Taylor. A favorite in the 2000s, Ann Taylor was purchased by another company and went through some growing pains. However, in the past couple of years, the retailer has returned with good quality and great style for us grown women.

Offering up to size 18, with petite options up to size 16P, and tall options up to size 18T, Ann Taylor is a go-to for career wear, daytime special occasions, and surprisingly great-fitting jeans and quality footwear. Ann Taylor also does a great job incorporating the season's current trends for silhouettes and colors without making pieces feel passe within a year.

four looks in misses and plus sizes from anthropologie


Anthropologie is known for elevated boho style, but I think that categorization is limiting.  Over the years, Anthropologie has put more of a focus on their curated collection of apparel by increasing brands and also increasing sizing up to 3XL.  Unlike many retailers that have separate styles for plus sizes, Anthro offers the same link for Misses, Plus, and when available, Petite and Tall.  They offer fun prints, great color, unique embellishments, and clothing that can move with you. 

Anthropologie is a favorite place for summer clothing – cotton voile tunics, breezy maxi skirts, shift dresses, linen pants, and cool graphic tees that don't look childish.  Come fall and winter, you're sure to find fantastic cardigans and kimonos and dresses that transition from desk to drinks with ease.  While Anthropologie offers eclectic styles, I find the pieces I buy from this retailer are wardrobe favorites for years beyond my more utilitarian closet staples.

a collage of four colorful work-friendly looks from Argent


If you're looking for cool, modern, yet still office-appropriate workwear, Argent is a great place to shop.  Classic suiting with an edge, modern cuts for blazers, and chic separates that go beyond the boardroom to weekends and social situations, Argent offers relaxed and cool sophistication that looks ultra-chic on grown women.

Creating workwear that is vibrant and cool while also being incredibly functional (hello as many pockets as found in a man's suit), Argent is a retailer to watch for any age, but especially for women over 40. Do note Argent only goes up to size 14. If you're new to the brand, check out their Starter Kit where you can try Argent without paying a dime.

four outfits from banana republic a great place to shop when over 40

Banana Republic

Banana Republic has gone through a lot of… personalities over the years and those of us over 40 can remember a lot of them.  Now, Banana Republic is a place for clean, simple yet very chic style.  It's a great place for workwear, but what I love is they have so many pieces, from merino wool sweater to suiting, that are machine washable. 

Banana Republic has been pivoting offering wide range of breezy summer separates like shorts at a comfortable length, t-shirts in gorgeous colors and prints that are opaque and not too fitted, and beautiful below the knee length sundresses styled so you can wear your favorite bra. I love that while they have plenty of neutrals, I can always find great pieces in jewel tones, bright pastels, and primary shades.

And if you haven't visited Banana Republic recently, their size range now goes up to 20 with many styles available in petite and tall.  Here is a link to all my posts where I am wearing and reviewing Banana Republic.

collage of four looks from Boden, a women's apparel brand great for women over 40


Boden is one of my favorite destinations for that special something that completes my wardrobe. While I’ll purchase basics at places like Lands’ End and J. Crew Factory, Boden is where I find a top or dress that is a statement piece, and truly defines my style.

Quirky prints, interesting details, and great quality makes Boden a place you should check out. The thing is, Boden's quirkiness is sophisticated and looks better on grown-up women than those right out of college.

They often have lengths and tall options up to size 20/22, plenty of customer reviews, and stellar customer service. Boden is also a great place for knit tops; they’re one of my favorite places for Breton and other striped tees.

a collage of four looks from Chico's


If you think of Chico's and envision polyester palazzo pants and quirky embroidered tunics, you haven't visited this retailer in a long while.  While Chico's still offers comfortable and creative fashion, the look has streamlined with the trends offering quite chic options in a range of sizes up to 20/22 with many available in petites, tall, and lengths. 

One of the things I like the most about shopping Chico's online is the extensive and detailed customer reviews.  Chico's has a strong fan base and their feedback makes for easier shopping!  Here is a link to all my posts where I am wearing and reviewing Chicos.

a collage of four outfits from garnet hill

Garnet Hill

Garnet Hill is a place I have shopped from for decades. While I first found them when searching for the perfect bed linens, they are now a place I can trust for high-quality stylish yet not trendy fashion. Garnet Hill is not cheap, but its buyers are extremely picky and provide high quality and a very clean aesthetic.

If you love Eileen Fisher, they carry a great selection of this fashion brand. Garnet Hill has plenty of customer reviews and a ton of information not just about the items but the brands they are from so you can be a very educated consumer.

I also like that there are usually several images from a variety of angles and occasionally on different models so you can get a better feel for what you are purchasing. They go up to size 18 and many styles are available with petite and long options. 

collage of four looks from Halsbrook, a retailer of clothing for women over 40


Halsbrook is an online boutique that carefully curates on-trend, but not too trendy fashion specifically for sophisticated, grown women.  Never frumpy or dated, Halsbrook offers elegant clothing that will look chic now and years from now.

Halsbrook offers a range of clothing from different designers like Saint James, APC, Lafayette 148, and Vince so there isn't one specific fit model for the brand; Halsbrook only offers up to size 16. 

a collage of four looks from Hobbs London


A UK-based fashion brand that started in 1981, Hobbs offers modern cuts, feminine tailoring and heritage craftsmanship up to a US size 16 with petite offerings.  A great destination for suiting and dresses for work and social occasions, Hobbs is clothing that will stand the test of time in your wardrobe, making getting dressed easy and chic for many seasons.

a collage of j. crew fashion for women over 40

J. Crew

J. Crew has been around for decades, and while their classic/preppy/with a twist aesthetic has remained, they have moved with the times offering a wide range of modern silhouettes, on-trend colors, quirky prints, and current accessories to update your wardrobe. 

I find J. Crew to be a fantastic destination for suiting, summer basics like shorts and sundresses, and one of my favorite places to find graphic tees for grown women

J. Crew is available up to a size 3XL which is equal to a 24, and many pieces available in tall and petite.  I really appreciate J. Crew's diversity of models, showing women of different ages and shapes.

a collage of four looks from J.Jill a size inclusive fashion brand for women over 40


J.Jill is a company that makes great fashion clothing… but they don't feature it well on their site.  For a brand that offers an extensive size range (Misses, Petite, Tall, and Plus up to 28), they are very limiting with their model diversity making it hard to know how the clothes may hang on a different shape of body.

But the quality is excellent, and the customer reviews on the website help you narrow down purchases.  I have J.Jill pieces that are years old and still look fantastic.  I find their linen to be of great quality and love their knit tops.  Here is a link to all my posts where I wear and review J.Jill

a collage of four looks from womens fashion brand Johnny Was

Johnny Was

Johnny Was offers luxe boho fashion that is right on trend, made from fab fabrics, and makes a statement without looking like the garment is wearing you. These are elegant, luxe, and not cheap pieces that you will enjoy wearing for years.

Gorgeous prints, romantic chiffon overlays, patchwork velvet dusters that glam up your favorite jeans, Johnny Was is a favorite place to find a beautiful dress for work or a day wedding, or a statement piece that will elevate my denim and other closet basics. Johnny Was offers up to size 3X or 26.

Collage of four looks from sustainable fashion brand Karen Kane, a great place to shop for women over 40

Karen Kane

A family-owned and run company (yes, Karen Kane is a real person), Karen Kane is an O.G. sustainable fashion brand that is a favorite for its travel-friendly fabrics and boho-inspired California chic style.

A personal favorite for not-so-little black dresses that aren't boring but transcend trends, linen, and wardrobe staples with that little extra something, Karen Kane carries Misses sizes XS/2-XL/16, as well as Petite sizes PXS-XLP, and Plus sizes 0X-22W.

a collage of four looks from Lands' End

Lands' End

While many think of Lands’ End for parkas and fleece, they are also a great destination for women’s fashion. The quality is usually stellar, the price point is reasonable for the construction and fabric, and they have amazing sales. I appreciate the extensive and honest customer reviews that also share the reviewer’s age range (great for gauging whether such adoration is from a college kid or a retiree).

Lands' End offers sizes up to 24/26 and many pieces, including swimwear, comes in petite and tall offerings. Lands' End is also my favorite destination for swimwear that is stylish, classic, and works with a variety of body types (hello cup-sized swimwear, long torso, and mastectomy styles). I have dresses from Lands' End that are a decade old and still look stylish and like new.

The modeling of fashion on their website offers little in understanding the true quality, fit, and drape of their clothing; I find following their Instagram (and those who tag Lands' End on Instagram) to be a great resource when shopping this retailer as it offers photos of people out and about of all ages and shapes in their fashion. Here is a link to all my posts where I wear and review Lands' End fashion.

a collage of four looks from fashion brand M.M.LaFleur


M.M.LaFleur was started by a woman in finance who dreamed of a more practical, inspired wardrobe for herself and all professional women and made it a reality.  Commanding authority without sacrificing style or femininity, this is a line of clothing geared for the workplace but has many separates perfect for weekends and social occasions and has started offering a wide range of athleisure. 

Providing remote styling and fit advice, the brand offers many easy-care and machine-washable pieces. It aims to take the work out of getting dressed each day. The quality is stellar, and many of the pieces have stretch for comfort and moveability. The brand also suggests which pieces are best for petite or tall bodies. 

M.M.LaFleur offers fashion up to size XXL which is close to a US size 18/20; I recommend checking out their detailed size chart before ordering. 

a collage of four looks from the fashion brand Modern Citizen

Modern Citizen

Modern Citizen is an online boutique that offers a collection of clean, modern, and elegant fashion while making an effort to do so in a sustainable manner.

With pieces ranging from what to wear lounging around the home to what to wear to a board meeting or cocktail party, Modern Citizen makes minimalism look chic and attainable. Modern Citizen offers fashion up to size 1X, which is equal to 14/16.

a collage of four looks from Pari Passu, a plus size fashion brand

Pari Passu

Pari Passu is a fashion line created by a woman who worked in apparel and realized how poorly designed plus size fashion was.  She decided to revolutionize the plus size fashion industry by taking the data of thousands of 3D body scans of plus sized American women to create a line based on shape not just size. 

Instead of buying a size 16 which is often graded up from a size 8 mannequin, she created three different dress forms based off the data to achieve better fit.  The clothing is luxe, elevated style in sizes 12 and up.

Designed and manufactured in the New York Garment District, Pari Passu is elegant fashion great for the workplace and more polished occasions. While you will find the best selection on the Pari Passu site, this label can also be found at Dia & Co, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, and Verishop.

a collage of four looks from Quince clothing


Quince is an ethical and sustainable fashion brand of elevated basics. Offering price and labor transparency along with quality materials, Quince is a go-to for wardrobe staples that will last more than a season in regard to quality as well as timeless style.

Offering sizes 00-16, Quince is known for running true to size to slightly small yet still working with, not against a woman's body shape. Quince offers classic styles that can incorporate with a range of personal style aesthetics – camisoles and tanks, knit dresses, cardigans and pullover sweaters, relaxed pants, skirts, bags, and accessories.

Incorporating luxe textiles like cashmere, silk, 100% European linen, and 100% cotton and offering bags and accessories using quality materials like Italian leather and 14K gold, Quince still keeps prices incredibly reasonable. In fact, their prices for such materials rivals other retailers who offer the same in synthetics (hello cashmere under $75!).

You may also like: Quince Clothing Review by an Over 40 Size 14/16 Woman
a collage of four looks from clothing brand Soft Surroundings

Soft Surroundings

This is not your mom's Soft Surroundings. If you think of this brand as quirky tunics and gauze mazi skirts, you haven't visited this retailer in a while. Luxe fabrics, wardrobe staples, and unique yet very wearable pieces make Soft Surroundings a great shopping destination for women over 40 who desire chic yet comfy attire for home, weekend, and the workplace.

Soft Surroundings carries up to size 3X, which is a size 24 with the brand, and offers many pieces with petite and tall options.

a collage of four looks from fashion retailer Talbots


Talbots is one of my favorite fashion retailers, and it’s another clothing store where you can't base the fashion off their poor website styling. If you remember Talbots as the place for chinos with pineapples embroidered on them, they are worth a revisit.

While the brand still has a bit of a preppy classic vibe, there’s a lot of the line that fits a variety of personal styles. From quality knits to figure-flattering dresses, Talbots has a denim line I find extremely flattering and well made and a really stylish activewear/athleisure collection.

I also recommend signing up for Talbots emails as they often have sales and promotions. Talbots is one of the few retailers that not only carries petites, but has most of their pieces in regular, petite, plus, and plus petite.  Here is a link to all the posts where I wear and review Talbots.

a collage of four looks from Tuckernuck


If you love preppy, East Coast vibes with a touch of quirk and color, you should check out Tuckernuck, a family-owned retailer that offers apparel for men and women, as well as homegoods, gifts, and accessories.

Tuckernuck offers their own brand and a few other retailers with the same aesthetic with sizes up to 4XL or 20/22. Shipping is free, and returns are just $5 with a prepaid mailing label.

a collage of four looks from Universal Standard

Universal Standard

Universal Standard is a smaller and newer retailer, but one you should check out.  Offering clothing in sizes 00-40 with some in petites and lengths, they are one of the most inclusive clothing brands out there.  So inclusive, you'll find models of all ages, shapes, and abilities showcasing their style on their website, in newsletters, and social.

Universal Standard excels in elevated wardrobe staples: some of the highest quality t-shirts, great-fitting jeans, dresses for work and for weekend, blazers, pants, outerwear, and loungewear

Predominately solids and from quality fabrics, these are chic pieces that can build the foundation of your wardrobe.  Here is a link to all the posts where I wear and review Universal Standard.

a collage of four looks from White House | Black Market

White House | Black Market

White House | Black Market is another store whose website styling doesn't help envision how the clothing will look on a range of body types. Their sizing is smaller so if you’re cusp-sized, you may find pieces run narrow.

However, they often have some really nice pieces and carry petites and sizes up to 18.  It's a great resource for career fashion clothing, Date night, and social occasion looks, and I find their accessories unique and often the necessary detail to elevate wardrobe basics. 

While the brand originally was two clothing stores, one that had all-white clothing and one that had only black, the stores merged and now carry a variety of colors, prints, and neutrals.

The best clothing retailers for women over 40 by Wardrobe Oxygen

And now I would like to hear from you readers… where are your favorite places to shop that are stylish, flattering, and appropriate for a grown woman? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the best clothing retailers for women over 40!

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  1. I cannot believe how many replies their are to Alison’s post! It shows that the struggle is real, the manufacturers and designers could try harder to please their market, and that we have money to spend and no place to spend it! Alison, any chance you could do a post on good styling vs, bad styling vs blah styling in catalogs and on line? We could learn more about how to actually see things and figure out if they will work. I wish BR would stop trying so hard with the photos–what do those clothes look like???!! and Talbots is just so dull. more, Alison!

    1. I actually got in trouble with one brand when discussing their choice of how they style their photos and pose their models. I don’t think it will change soon, I just keep wearing the clothes and sharing them here and on Instagram so you can get a different perspective. It is so frustrating! Come on brands, keep it simple but also keep it fun!

  2. Talbot’s was one of my favor stores/brands because the quality was exceptional and so were the styles. But the quality is no longer there, as evidenced by reviewers ratings. It has been more than two years since I have purchased anything from Talbot’s.

  3. For us plus size ladies, I’ve found some lovel, great quality pieces at Ulla Popkin and ELOQUII. I have not been that impressed with Talbot’s quality lately, unfortunately.

  4. Your recommendations are spot-on for women over 40! Don’t forget, embracing second-hand fashion or keeping an eye on seasonal sales can be key to both style and saving money on timeless pieces.

    1. I’m with you, Ashley! I’ve found that I can try many different retailers and get a great deal when I shop secondhand. When shopping firsthand, I only shop sales. I also have had very good luck with stylish and very affordable casual and athleisure pieces from Costco. Check it out, you might be surprised by the quality and style. FYI I’m 47 and a size 18-20.

  5. Didn’t read every single comment, but it seems no one mentioned Karen Kane. Not a huge selection, but occasionally some very nice pieces. Especially black dresses

  6. Women’s clothing brands have truly upped their game in recent years. The range of options available is mind-boggling, and it’s wonderful to see so much variety to suit every style and occasion. Kudos to these brands for keeping us fashion-forward!

  7. Wow!!! Came for the post that was pinned via pinterest…stayed for ALL the comments full of great new-to-me shops to check out!!! What a great community of women sharing their finds and favorites!

    1. I’m in awe as well. What a great post and resource! I found this site the same way you did, and only after spending 2 hours making notes, did I realized that I could’ve come here and seen them anytime I wanted. Haha
      I’m 56 and shop a few of these shops but never heard of most. I’m so excited to check out the new venues, it’s as if I discovered retail for the first time ever.
      Thank you !

  8. I am over forty and I was looking for “well-made” brands for career women for casual work environments when I found your blog. I love all the details you have offered, the sample pictures of each brand, the additional links, and more. I am bookmarking this and I will be referring this page to my clients. A few of these brands are exactly what I was looking for.

  9. I really find a lot of choices at Loft and Anne Taylor. I am a petite size and they have a good selection.

    1. i wonder when this author actually last bought from either jjill or talbots… because…. much of what i ordered this spring went back to both places. the quality…. oh my. goodness. unbelievable. tacky tacky tacky. i love linen. and jjill has knockout colors … on the cheapest linen… fades fades poorly sewn talbots used to have wonderful linen popovers. no longer … dreadful stitching chest pockets misaligned 4 inches.. unbelievable.true i went to design school.. true i sewed for decades.. but the sewing the finishing on jjill and talbots .. would not pass … in class. not even 8th grade home ec.

      1. I agree. I buy clothing second hand. I’m usually immediately attracted to J Jill. But when I try the clothes on they’re shapeless and poorly made. I haven’t run into problems with Talbots . . . yet. I rarely buy from them anyway.

      2. Agreed! I studied fashion with a design concentration. I shopped JJill for the first time this past spring. I’m 50/50 on the quality. Some things are great others are not a quality that I will purchase again. Things didn’t hold up to washing and wearing. AT has definitely gotten better.

      3. Where have you found the best quality for your dollar, I am frustrated with the quality out there, it seems it just keeps going down. I guess they are trying to keep the prices down, but it isn’t working

      4. Same here. I’m finding JJill sizing is inconsistent. this is a problem since I have to order on line.. I’m an XS Petite and I find their tops are too tight or too loose! Going up a size or down a size doesn’t help. Their pants are consistently too short or too long. On the other hand I do find their clothing is usually well made and good quality materials. After using them for the last few years, I’m seriously considering dropping them because I’m constantly sending clothing back

  10. Really enjoyed your post! I work from home so my attire has been printed t-shirts and jeans (very laid back attire). However, I would like to find nicer clothing for when I need to leave the house. Any recommendations on places that carry nice but casual tops that can be worn with jeans and khakis, and also has casual dresses? Thanks so much!

    1. I second this! I live in HOT, HUMID Florida and struggle with well structured clothing that still breathes…but is meant for a 50 something woman that still wants to have it going on at the neighbors Happy Hour! Help!

      Some things at Tommy Bahama work but usually need to be tailored to truly fit. 5’6 130lbs

  11. I tend to eschew anything that uses age as a basis but I “get it” – style does change with age. These are all great ideas for stylish clothes. But, at my age (well over 40) I need understated quality and preferably Made in USA. Most of these stores are still sourcing from outside the US where folks are not treated fairly, not paid a living wage and with no environmental controls. I just about won’t buy anything made in China. I enjoyed so many of the comments –

      1. There is almost nothing (relatively speaking) in fashion that is not made in China or Vietnam these days. If you actually want to wear clothes NOT made in Asia-I suggest you brew yourself a cup of tea, settle back into a comfy chair and hit Google. Hard. Asking someone who wrote an article such as this, to post clothing not made in China is rude, arrogant, ignorant, xenophobic and extremely small minded. The world is so interconnected. Your small minded and very limited view is very telling. Perhaps you should rethink your attitude toward fashion…

        1. Very harsh answer to a question some of us wish to adhere. Appreciate pulling anyone out of poverty but maybe that starts at home? Or at least countries that like us & work with us? Not political, just common sense.

    1. You might not realize that the standard of living has actually increased dramatically in areas where the garment industry flourishes, pulling many residents out of poverty. Read more about it…I know to US those wages are low, but there are many people that greatly increased their families’ standard of living in these countries.

  12. I’m well past 40 now. I wear a mix of things — Madewell, Gap, Old Navy (just jeans), and the odd item from Varley, Loft/Lou&Grey or Everlane, I’ve been interested in Modern Citizen. Curious, if anyone has tried Quince? I like what their wares and colors look like, but haven’t tried anything yet. I also wish that we had retailers here like UK’s Hush (, that offered simple, well-cut (it seems) but also not dated/older styles and colors and patterns that are tasteful, and not the same 3-5 colors offered at every other label. I stopped shopping at Loft/Lou&Grey, when they removed every store except for a couple within an hour of my location.

    1. If I could afford it, I’d also dabble in labels like Vince, Alex Mill (really like their quality, but I buy only on sale), Cali Dreaming, Emerson, Equipment, Rails. But also, I need brands that provide petite sizing consistently, esp. with jeans and pants.

    2. I have tried Quince and loved it. Good quality at affordable prices. They have luxurious fabrics like silk, linen, cashmere but you won’t break the bank. I highly recommend it.

  13. For a very tight budget, check out Lands End’s Sale. I changed sizes and had nothing to wear, needed current season. I got a whole capsule wardrobe for under $200 at the sale.

    1. absolutely you wont find everything at lands end but you will find killer deals. check often online sales.. supima… down.. fleece. best prices supima t shirts 12 bucks long sleeved buy them a dozen at a time down vests gorgeous 34 dollars and generous sizes,, plus. good prices on flannel bedding. i dont like one thing about lands end now.. they do not tell you fiber content on many items in their catalogs.. because they are synthetics. they do tell you when its cotton or linen.. and its good quality though i have to say.. some of their colorations are bizarre. others lovely..i bought 3 supima wrinkle free shirts this month for little more than one sleazy poor quality linen from… jjill. which of course i sent back for full refund.

  14. You covered every where I shop except for Cabi. I love Cabi suiting pieces and almost always buy a blazer each season. While they can be whimsical I don’t find that they look dated and wear them for years. Did something happen with Cabi that you don’t mention them any more?

    1. cabi is fantasic, I agree. I just made a decision to not share any more retailers that require to be purchased through an consultant or are an MLM. It was something requested by my audience as they can’t shop conveniently. I also started looking at how consultants and reps for these companies advertise their business and it is often hand in hand on their public profiles with dangerous and inaccurate information about health, politics, and people. I have reached out to different companies regarding this and have received different responses, some positive some concerning. So I have just decided until things change to not feature direct sales and MLM companies.

      1. Ahhh, yes, that makes perfect sense. I honestly forget they are an MLM. Thanks for the reply! (I feel special now lol).

      2. MLMs can be problematic. Without mentioning names, some of them seem cult like. No matter how great their clothes or other products might be, their business structure does give me pause.

      3. I had no idea Cabi was an MLM. I bought from them in the past through TJ Maxx. They probably acquired clothing from reps who couldn’t sell their inventory.

  15. There are so many good options here & several that I am already a fan of—J Crew, J Jill, Chicos, Talbots…For me, I try to watch a lot of these places & their emails so that I can catch free shipping offers or good discounts (J Crew’s reward sign up is free & you always get free shipping!). There was a time when I thought J Jill & Chicos were “too old” for me but not anymore! They are like so many others, you just have to find what works with your body & style. J Jill’s clothes can often run a bit boxy or big, so it helps to try on different sizes with them & sometimes the petite fits will help tame a bit of that boxiness. The older I get, the more I want clothing that’s soft & comfortable and not tight or super-fitted.

  16. Thanks for this list…I knew about many of them but there are a few ones on the list that are new to me. I also find a lot of great cabi pieces and inspiration from their designers.
    I do wish that garnet hill would use some mid and plus size models in their catalogs ..

  17. Such a great list — I’m keeping it to refer back to. One small correction, Johnny Was does carry plus sizes. I wear a size 16 but am tall and large chested, so I often order their 1X, if available.

    1. PS. You asked about our favorites. I like Eileen Fisher for classic basics, ordering from the website or a department store or eBay. Then, throw in something interesting — Anthro, Sundance, Etsy, embroidered tops from India via Etsy or Amazon (I like the brand Ayurvastram). I also used to wear a lot of Nic and Zoe, esp their beautiful cardigans, and ordered direct from them. If anyone likes a very artistic, hand-dyed, hand-sewn vibe, I highly recommend Maiwa, a Canadian company with most excellent customer service. Finally, for a special occasion, I like Shibumi, a small UK company I found on Etsy. The exchange rate favored my ordering directly from Shibumi, and the customer service and final embroidered silk jacket could not have been more perfect. If I lived a fancier life, I would frequent Shibumi all the time.

  18. My latest online shopping interest is Ministry of Supply ( The brick/mortar store is in Boston. They have great quality, capsules, and fabrics that you can really wear and put to the test. They have classic pieces and not a lot of variety or colors, but I greatly appreciate the blazer I purchased (can go into the washing machine!) and the wrinkle-resistant button down shirts. The blazer looks amazing and is great for travel. As a petite, I can wear their cropped pants and the “oversized” shirt that has 22″ sleeves. I have purchased every color. I also love Universal Standard (US), but they do not do well with petites. This is irritating because it is somewhat contrary to their “fashion for all” philosophy. The petite offerings are extremely limited and tired at US.

  19. I’ve just discovered Kettlewell Colours out of the UK. You can select clothes according to your season (300 different colors). I’m very happy with the quality so far and the shipping is also incredibly fast. Their clothes are produced in small family-run factories.

  20. I adore Karen Scott for most of my everyday go-to clothing. Dresses, tops, pants, capris, Bermuda shorts, etc. Both the knit and woven pieces are quality work, cut right and lovely fit. I’m “fluffy” and short, 5’ 3 1/2” and 170 lbs. and I look quite nice (not dumpy!) in them. They’re cute, comfy, classic and casual, which at my age (65!) matters most to me. They fit properly, and the fabric is thicker (not the modern flimsy, see through, or ragged stuff!). It also washes/dries well and keeps it’s shape. My trick: launder inside out on warm, add 1/2 cup vinegar and the soap, dry on regular (never hot), remove and fold immediately. They last me several years. I never pay full price, I buy everything new with tags on Poshmark from certain sellers (I avoid those who charge too much), for between $8-$15 each, usually bundled with an extra discount of at least 10% off. Has anyone else here tried Karen Scott?

    1. I love Karen Scott. I have not tried to look for them on Poshmark though! Thanks for the idea. I have bought all by stuff at Macy’s (on sale) but I hate that they charge so much for shipping.

  21. Ever hear of Johnny Was? I think their style and price tag are right up your alley given the others you’ve posted on your list. I love their looks, though truthfully I can’t afford any of them even at 40. It’s nice to dream, though!

  22. I need to defend JJill from some of the haters out there. Their Wearever tops are really flattering. I get a lot of compliments when I wear them. Yes, they are pricey. I stock up on them when I can find them on sale. I bought a few at full price, and I have no regrets because I wear them so often.

    1. Great article! Thanks! I used to love cold water creek but they have gone downhill since changing owners. I use llbean, lands end, appleseeds and a British company called Cotton Traders.

  23. Love the article. Being a tall almost 60 year old has it’s challenges when shopping. My at-work attire is not quite business casual to casual. Since the pandemic I’m working from home so I’ve gone to athleisure and casual. With retirement two years away I really don’t want to invest in pieces I won’t get use out of. Our retirement plans are RV travel, camping, casual dining, sightseeing, etc. I read a lot of negative comments about JJill but I love many of their tops and leggings. Many of their tops do seem geared towards a taller figure even in the regular size. I love the Pima tops. I can size down for the leggings but their pants just don’t work for me. Old Navy and Gap work in Talls. I’m falling out of interest with Old Navy as the tops sometimes get a strange shape after washing. I had never bought anything from Chico’s until the pandemic. I’m surprised they had such cute, comfy sweaters and hoodies. I ordered a few and wasn’t disappointed. I’ll confess I do purchase from Amazon. They have options for us tall gals at a great price. I prefer the “super skinny” jeans in Levi’s. Amazon has a nice variety at a decent price. I have purchased tops and cardigans. Length is usually provided and reviews with pictures are helpful. I basically find what works for me varies by retailer. I’m just happy there are more options. When I was a teenager and young adult my only option was Lerners or KMart for jeans. Things have definitely improved for the better.

      1. I had no idea Cabi was an MLM. I bought from them in the past through TJ Maxx. They probably acquired clothing from reps who couldn’t sell their inventory.

  24. I have been looking for sophisticated “sweat pant” outfits that are elegant and comfy. Saw an ad on Facebook for just that last night, got interrupted and can’t find it now nor can I remember the brand. Would really appreciate any suggestions?

  25. I have been looking for sophisticated “sweat pant” outfits that are elegant and comfy. Saw an ad on Facebook for just that last night, got interrupted and can’t find it now nor can I remember the brand. Any suggestions?

    1. @BLOGGER: it’s not about age, it’s about BODY TYPE! I have always shopped Chico’s even when I was 22, you gotta know what to look for. They had artisan stuff back then but no more. Quality gone downhill. I have huge megaboobs that keep growing due to medical condition. My waist remains small. I used to go “YUCK” when I saw those p-actress style women models and was told “you’re just jealous”. Heck NO! I was happy with my B size cup & when it grew to a small C cup, I didn’t worry. This is getting ridiculous! So don’t worry about age, and worry about body and clothing type. I canNOT wear anything jersey because it’s too clingy and my boobs enter the room before Angelina Jolie’s lips do! Woven is all I wear. I can disguise them, of course the waist looks a sack and people wonder why I always float in my tops but they’d be none the wiser. I’d rather appear fat and shapeless than showcase my unwanted feminine shape. 😕
      J.JILL: Horrible quality, DRAB colors, ugly styles, cut a sack, worse than I wear. However, they know how to photograph and showcase their models and pin the extra fabric at back. You should never buy them. Yet foolhardy women pay for what they already got for free: the “dream”, the illusion, the beautiful women photos with the light hitting them right in their JJill ugly clothes. You won’t have the photographer lighting you everywhere you go. Please give up JJILL so they GO UNDER and reconsider what they’re doing. They are capitalist fas cists who care nothing about dumb customers or giving quality as long as those fools keep buying, the will ship you rags not fit to dust under your refrigerator yet fools pay by the hundreds for that garbage rags!

      @Sharon Moore: never heard of SS do you work for them? I’ll search for it now, with 0 hopes or expectancy.

      1. Hysterical but accurate reviews! I was a JJill devotee for year—20 years ago. But their prices continue to climb while their quality has hit bottom. I agree. Stop supporting them. They’ll either up their game or go down for the count.

      2. Soft Surroundings started as a catalog company for “women of a certain age”. The clothes are at best, weird, the fabrics feel like pure polyester. They have opened some shops in malls.

        1. I agree about JJill and Soft Surroundings: many of the tops are not only cheap looking but downright ugly and look like they’re taken off the rack at Walmart. That’s not an exaggeration. And they charge $69.69 and up for one of those hideous short-sleeved items! Passing by a JJill window in a mall is depressing–bland, cheap, ugly stuff on display. I have found some real gems at Soft Surroundings, but a lot of their clothing is also in the JJill-Walmart category. If this is what over-40 women are supposed to aspire to, no thanks.

      3. J Jill has definitely gone downhill. I don’t even like to walk in the store, it’s so depressing. They used to have gorgeous prints and colorful clothing. They must’ve fired a bunch of important people, like designers.

      4. I’m petite and have been successful finding high quality clothes at JJill for reasonable prices. I always have to size down (significantly) but they have quality fabrics, petite sizes, and there’s always a sale with significant markdowns. I’m not a fan of boxy oversized clothes, yet still find great fitting tops and sweaters with interesting necklines, natural fabrics, and sleeve lengths that work for my medium petite frame.

  26. I like certain designers so will shop them direct, but more often on Poshmark and E-bay. Stella Carakasi, Eileen Fisher, Fly London, Joseph Rybiski are my go to searches. Von Maur department stores also have some great, polished looks for women of a certain age. I also really like BeWear brand – but their sizing is quite limited.

  27. Modern Citizen is amazing. Never knew of them before. I’m a straight Chicos-JJill fan, but now will look at expanding my opportunities. Thanks so much for a GREAT post! PS: Bought a suit from Talbot’s last week per your post. I think Talbot’s is going to be a great addition to my wardrobe as well.

  28. Such a great post, and such great comments! It’s so true about the transitions in style, which are hard to describe. I have another two recommendations, both UK retailers. Seasalt Cornwall is great for a low-key, modest/bohemian style, with an extended size range and quality fabrics. If you want ‘Boden but even more stripes’ it’s very good. The site I find myself buying from and wearing is We Are Thought (Thought Clothing). They’re a sustainable brand that I like for their fabric quality and intellectual patterns. I find that I reach for their clothes again and again in my cool-climate area. Their sizing goes up to UK 18 and as a US 18/1x I find their largest sizes work for me. And yes, their shipping is reasonable.

    1. I’m in the UK, 40s size 16 (12 US) and I shop at: Boden (on sale only), M & S (but very patchy quality/sizing), White Stuff on sale and many of my best buys for work have come from Sainsbury’s (a supermarket). They have had great dresses for about £24 and some good summer skirts. Also Uinqlo for merino cardigans and other bits like winter coats.
      I have a pet hate about Next: appalling quality and frumpy styles for comparatively high prices.

  29. Oh, how I wish Boden carried their petites in sizes bigger than 10. They would get all of my money! I would say my aesthetic is “quirky preppy.”

  30. I love this list! I forgot all about Garnet Hill. I clicked your link and saved myself $30 on an Eileen Fisher dress. At 56 I find her clothes incredibly comfortable and for some reason her loose designs seem to work with my now straighter and apple-ish figure (thanks to menopot). I only wish she’d offer more colors.

    I like Boden too but they really need to step up with their petite sizing. It looks like some items are now being sold in a 12P but come on Boden, can’t you go up to a 20P. If you offer it in regular sizing you should offer it in petite too. Alison, you’re very knowledgeable about fashion, do you know why a mfg like Boden will make regular and tall pants in sizes 2 – 20/22 but only offer petites in 2-10 (12 if lucky)? I never understood that. I mean, some of us are short and fat, lol.

  31. Check out the UK retailer Toast — it checks a lot of the boxes. While not cheap, they have great sales, and a very affordable North American shipping policy.

  32. I find that being a shade over 40, like you are Alison, presents some challenges and you’ve done a great job of rounding up retailers that have solutions for various sizes and lifestyles.

    I remember when I was about 50, and still wearing Banana, an older woman at work said, “Wait until you’re over 60, you’ll change.” At the time, I was slightly offended. I wasn’t sure if she was saying, I was dressing too young? In the end, I decided to just ignore it.

    Now, I’m a shade over 60 and honestly, my style hasn’t changed much, but my lifestyle has. My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when he was 48 and the last 10 years, things have gotten worse. We moved for financial reasons due to his disability and it’s a different climate. We rarely got very dressed before the pandemic, now, even less. So, yes, things have changed.

    However, I’m still interested in fashion! I don’t buy as much, so I find Banana off my list, not for style reasons, but for me, the quality isn’t there. I have mostly Eileen Fisher, Equipment, and Vince bought on steep markdown or from resales sites. And, of course, some stuff from Universal Standard. Some things from Anthro for the reasons you stated. The brands I have weren’t even on my radar when I was 50. I was all about J. Crew, Banana, GAP, Loft.

    You introduced me to Soma and Colleen Rothschild and have my undying gratitude for both.

    I love your blog for the politics (we agree on almost everything), the story of your life (garden, family, music, friends), your expertise in style and your great sense of humor and playfulness. Thanks Alison!!

    1. I’m sorry about your husband. Mine has a degenerative brain illness as well. But I’m still interested in fashion too – gotta look good even if you have tough days ahead.

  33. What an excellent, informative blog post! Tell me, if you didn’t mention petite sizing in a description, does that mean that the company does not have petite sizing?
    How about Eshakti? I’ve wondered about the brand. It seems like “designing” your own garment would lend itself to be being age-appropriate.

    1. They may but they don’t ensure a large selection. As for eShakti I think it’s a fantastic retailer and have great pieces from there. I didn’t include them because their fashion kind of runs the gamut but if you know your style and they offer it, I think they’re a great choice!

      1. Unfortunately, It seems Eshakti is having significant business trouble. There is some funny business going on. It is so sad and I hope they pull up from the nose dive they seem to be on! I would not recommend them at this time.
        I ordered 5 dresses in early Feb and it said the delivery date would be March 10th. It came and went. I have no shipping info. I emailed and got a “we are very busy and will get back to you in 3-4 business days.” 10 days late NO RESPONSE. I emailed to tell them I have received no response, no dresses, no tracking for shipping and NO RESPONSE. I have ordered, over the years, dozens of dresses. I REALLY hope they are not going out of business or are having big changes. Every time I wear one of their dresses, I get tons of compliments and always give their cards away to potential new customers. I do not know what to do bc I am not even getting a story about bad fabric like others that are on FB and other sites complaining. Just radio silence. I will give it another week and if they do not return my emails, give me a tracking date or the dresses don’t show up, I will challenge the charge on my card and not do business with them again. Im heartbroken at this thought.

    2. Hey,
      I have another solid alternative WearVega. It is a made-to-measure, size-inclusive marketplace and offers customization in all their outfits. They ship internationally and have an awesome collection!

  34. Excellent post – I’m 40, and this list is exactly what I needed! When I was younger, I loved the cutesy prints at Modcloth, but now they just look too young – am I really going to wear a dinosaur print dress? I’m also not ready to dress like Mrs. Roper (although I’m secretly looking forward to a retirement filled with kaftans)!

    I’ve never heard of Halsbrook, but it looks perfect for me. Thanks for adding it to my radar!

    Have you tried Tuckernuck? I adore their stuff (both their own brand and brands they partner with), and particularly like their accessories. The Royal Shirtdress is my summer go-to.

    I’m a very curvy 8/10, 34F, 5’4″ with a long torso (so often sized out of petites), and am having the absolute hardest time finding a pantsuit that doesn’t require extensive tailoring. I’ve taken to wearing dresses and sweater blazers for more formal work occasions (not that I’ve had one since early March) because I can’t find anything to fit. Short of having something custom made, do you have any ideas?

    1. Suiting is SO tough, 99% of the time it needs major tailoring to look really excellent. Did you see this post I had last week? It was answering a suiting question for a curvy woman around your size: the comments are also super helpful.

      And thanks for mentioning Tuckernuck! They haven’t been on my radar because I didn’t think they had extensive enough of a size range, but I see they do offer up to 16 and XXL! It’s a very pretty collection, classic/preppy and some beautiful dresses. I’m sharing a link for any other readers who are curious about this retailer:

  35. This was such a great and helpful post, thank you!!! I’ve re-discovered Banana Republic in recent years – largely based on your comments on the blog. Will need to check out Anthropologie when they re-open as well, most of my t’s are still target level and that’s just not working anymore. I didn’t think they were likely to work, since I’m quite hourglass shaped and shapeless things tend to look really dumpy on me. I second the J. Jill, but there too I like to go to the store and assemble/try it myself. I still struggle with online for anything that I’m not 99% sure I’ll want to keep, like workouts clothes, undergarments, socks, etc. It’s just too hard to predict what will work and I hate the hassle of packing and shipping stuff back. I tend to take 10+ things in the dressing room at a time, multiple times, and try and try because I won’t buy anymore unless I really like it. And I’m more likely to experiment with borderline things if its just a matter of walking twenty feet to the dressing room. That said, I’ve not bought anything except new running shoes since all this started (a newer version of my old pair on Zappos), so not sure how buying clothes will be in the new normal.

    1. Online shopping is difficult, and many stores are opening, but I do think that online will be more and more the norm for clothing shopping as this pandemic isn’t going anywhere and rent is so expensive these days. I’ve come to shop only retailers that I know have easy return policies and that are more consistent with their sizing so I am less likely to do returns. But there is something great about shopping in person that I miss!

  36. I never comment on blog posts, but this post is so good I had to! I’m so tired of seeing the same clothes on all the bloggers, it’s like a uniform! You have shared many unique but classy outfits and I love this list. If I never shop at Loft again it will be too soon. I don’t want to look like everyone else!

    You are now my favorite blogger :).

  37. Thanks for this list — I”m reminded of a scene from Sex and the City, the movie, where Carrie and Miranda are shopping in a drugstore for a Halloween costume for Miranda — Miranda comments that her choices are always “sexy kitten or witch.” I think the same often applies to fashion for older women!

    Will you consider a post on the status of some of the retailers you like? What does their bankruptcy status mean for us, the consumers?

    1. It’s hard to keep up with retailers right now. Filing for Chapter 11 etc doesn’t really affect us as consumers until we find that another company purchases them. Think Dress Barn; they were a place for workwear and now if you see their ads on Facebook it’s sexy boho fashion but with the same name and website. If you noticed a change in quality for Ann Taylor in the past years it is because they ended up being purchased by a company that decided to keep the business more profitable by reducing quality and simplifying manufacturing processes. Retailers like Lane Bryant have been owned by different companies and we’ve hardly noticed a change. It takes a while to see changes, and it rarely means they will shutter in the next few weeks or even months. I will continue to share details in my Weekend Reads when they seem to be at a point where they can affect us as consumers. And stay tuned, more and more retailers will be affected by covid and I expect a year from now that the retail landscape will look drastically different from today!

      1. I used to shop regularly at Ann Taylor and had a TON of cute work appropriate, or not, -wear. They had a great run on 60’s cigarette style cropped pants about 10 years ago. Great fit on my hips. Great prints, good quality, and I got so many compliments. Wasn’t even 40 and I rocked that Ann Taylor! I noticed right away when the quality went down, fit was off, and everything started looking frumpy. Frankly, I find so few places to shop now, including the ones you listed. I don’t like online shopping at all. Banana is also pretty blah. These retailers need to make clothes fun to buy again if they want to stay in biz. I barely buy clothes now because they are so dull. I only regularly go to Anthro, then I find a thing here or there like velvet pants at Loft. Enough with the years of these flittery maternity shirts with ruffles. Next!

        1. I’m going to check these out. I haven’t heard of many of them. I’m in my mid 50’s and have a closet full of Christopher and Banks and Coldwater Creek clothes I need to find some new places to get quality items. Thanks for the list!

      2. I was shopping today at a large shopping center outside of Chicago, and Ann Taylor and Chicos have left and Loft will leave at the end of the month!

  38. Everyone here seems to forget Neiman March Last Call. They have the most wonderful cashmere sweaters for men and women for around $80.00. I think this must be a loss leader for them as the quality is very good and the styles very current. I’m from Dallas and Neiman Marcus is very expensive but do check out Last Call. I have clothes from there that I just love. Shoes also are a good buy and quality.

  39. If you like niche ethical brands, check out Mijeong Park and SKYE. They have more of a minimalist aesthetic, which I LOVE. They use natural quality fabrics and the clothing quality is great. I love that their stuff doesn’t fall apart after a few washes like most fast fashion brands.

    1. I’ve found I like going back to some old friends, locally owned boutiques. For the most part, I just don’t find the quality/fit/style that I want from big retailers. Banana at one time was luxurious and well-made but no longer. I even don’t care much for Chico’s due to quality to price ratio, and honestly I do find their clothing matronly on my body. The price of clothing is going up for better stuff anyway (as long as you’re not buying fast fashion), so why not go to see the local fashion experts?

  40. In my early 40’s I just wore suits to work, so I was a Nordstrom devotee, or The Rack. Jones of NY used to be my fave brand for petites. But now I am 50, and I no longer work; I am also just able to revamp my wardrobe. I’m now on more of a JC Penney/Macy’s budget, so please give me suggestions on active wear without aging me. I’m a petite, but I’ve gained a great deal of weight in just the last few years. HELP! ISSUES: BUDGET, PETITE/PLUS (actually, I’m not considered plus sized, I’m a standard large).

    1. I will be 67 soon, still work, very active, and confess I’ve become addicted to ebay for clothes! I usually wear Chico’s and Coldwater Creek tops and various pants but favor NYDJ Not Your Daughters Jeans, as they are a bit higher cut. In 3 yrs have only had to return ONE top, and gave away another. Sometimes they accept offers, and luckily have not had any refused. The sellers know how to present, are reasonable, many are retired, clothes have always been great quality. I always get compliments and people don’t seem to believe I get most from ebay. I am also 5’7″ and wear a large as I do merchandising which requires moving, bending a lot, so I prefer a bit more loose.
      Just put in (for example) Chico’s tops L, then filter if you want $$ high>low or vice versa. Filters are very good to use. Good luck!

      1. Yes to eBay! I own an unreasonable number of Boden crop cardigans, all bought on eBay for half the retail price. If you’re willing to search and you can wait for new stuff to get posted, eBay is really worth the extra effort.

      2. Agreed. I’m 57 and have been buying clothes from Ebay for years and won’t stop! I’ve had very few issues on that site as a buyer. I had a lot more problems as a seller. Unless you’re a high volume seller, then the purchaser usually has the advantage. I can’t justify buying anything other than lingerie new.

    2. Hi Missy. Can I offer Old Navy as a suggestion for activewear? I’m petite too (PL or PXL depending) and I’ve got quite a few of their pieces. I’ve had some tanks for about 18 months so far and I’d estimate I wear them about once a week (I have about 8 I’ve got on rotation). My daughter, who also needs petites, swears by their leggings and she uses them as regular everyday clothes sometimes. I know she’s got a few pairs I’ve been washing for at least 2 years now. Prices are good and I think they’ve got an extra 30% off right now.

  41. I can always find something to love at the websites for Dress Barn (because they have a complete line of Jones New York), Banana Republic and Chico’s.

  42. Neiman Marcus online, Net-A-Porter online (pricy but great sales and terrific how they show/sale an entire outfit). In person, Frances Kahn in Richmond and Roanoke, VA. Brooks Brothers in person.

  43. I love Lands End items, but postage to get from US to me in Australia is often almost as much as the items I want to order! So that’s been a bust.

    I have often lusted over Boden pieces on Pinterest, here and on other blogs, but again the problem was going to be postage from US or UK to me in Australia; or heaven forbid I’d have to pay return postage on anything (postage costs here are ludicrous!). So I was ecstatic when Boden Australia arrived with free postage over A$100 and local postal address for returns (so about A$8 as opposed to the A$40+ it would’ve cost me in the past).

    I recently purchased an awesome peacock print shirt and have 2 more shirts (a bicycle print and ‘London’ print) and two Ravanello blouses (one purple, one multi-print) on the way to try. All bought on sale. I’m eyeing off the ponte colourblock dresses (I want both colourways) and hoping I can grab my size when they come on sale… stalking the site until that happens LOL
    I agree that they’re great for statement pieces or something a bit quirky. And as a brand that isn’t well-known here yet I know it’s unlikely I’ll rock up to work in the same look as one of my colleagues – a bonus 😉

  44. Banana Republic really is a train wreck right now; if you read the financial news they’ve been reporting that their problem is that because of the way they order and produce clothing they cannot keep up with the Topshop/HM/Forever 21s because their order-to-floor timeframe is much longer.

    I know a few people have mentioned LL Bean below, but if that’s too “gone fishin'” for your tastes, I’d suggest looking at their LL Bean Signature line. It’s a bit pricier but it reminds me of a mix between Boden and J.Crew. They offer some things that are similar to the normal lines, but cut a bit more fitted and less casual.

    1. I also find that BR photos make it very hard to see what the clothing actually looks like. Talbots, while boring in their styling, at least features the front, back, sides, and details of their clothes. So helpful and important!

  45. I like Nordstrom’s. I do find items at JCP and Kohl’s. And sometimes TJMaxx will have great pieces. I find it hard to find flattering dresses that are the appropriate length (everything seems too short) and isn’t overexposed on top. I feel like I go in cycles shopping certain stores and then shopping in others. I’ve never warmed up to Macy’s (I still miss Hecht’s).
    And I think too it’s about budget. At this age I can afford better quality/brands and need to remember that and shop stores accordingly. I’m trying to focus on purchasing better quality classics rather something that’s ‘ok because it fits’. I haven’t enjoyed shopping in the last few years because clothing quality seems to be lower, costs more expensive, and geared to a younger consumer. I no longer bother with stores that are frequented by such younger consumers (Old Navy, Loft, etc) as I feel like I waste my time searching for the one gem that fits and is made well and I like.

  46. I have some Ann Taylor sweaters that truly flatter, some ponte pants from Chicos with a touch of pleather and brushed nickel rivets that elevate them, (plus long enough 5’10” me to wear without looking like a flood is imminent). NYDJ pontes and jeans that do not have bling, Eileen Fisher (choose silhouettes wisely, and but on eBay–new with tags are plentiful, and they hold up so well that used is fine)
    Totally second Lands’ End.
    Merona at Target makes excellent 100% cotton babyrib tees (the Ultimate) that do not cling, are long enough and don’t wash out, it seems ever.

  47. For day to day work clothing, I shop at Brooks Brothers. It can be a bit preppy/trad but that’s my style anyway so I like it. LLBean for casual stuff.

  48. Talbots is my go-to but I have picked up some great pieces at Boden recently. The key for me there is to size down and purchase the Long (at five feet, nine inches, I love that option!). I do like the return policies for both of these retailers. Plus Talbot sales are ongoing – no reason to ever pay full price. As someone else mentioned, get on the email distribution and, if you can be disciplined, get their charge card for points, free shipping and early notification of sales. On occasion, I make Nordstrom purchases – love their shoe options! Speaking of shoes, do you have experience with Sole Society?

    1. Sole Society and I did a partnership a while ago ( ) and I thought the shoes were cute, and the quality and comfort relative to the price (wore them again here ). These aren’t shoes that will last for years, but I think they have better style than most from Payless. I chose pumps because I hear they run narrow, and that’s really why I haven’t tried more from them. I would totally try them for a cute trend (and from a blogger standpoint they were really nice and great to work with!)

  49. I am 42 years old and work for a fairly conservative financial corporation. Boden is by far one of my favorite places to get dresses and skirts. I have several machine washable pieces that I hang up to dry and they don’t need any pressing. And as someone that is 5’8, I love that I can order a long size and it ends just below the knee for several pieces. Their pieces run slightly large in my opinion, I am often either a 14 or 16, I am a 14 or sometimes even a 12 in Boden pieces, but they have a very accurate size chart and tell you the lengths of their dresses, which I very much appreciate. Because lets face it, the description below the knee or above the knee varies depending on how tall you are!!

  50. This post literally made me exclaim “it’s not just me!” at lunch, so loudly that I startled the table next to me. Loft has been such a disappointment in recent years. I have two beautiful and exceptionally well made Loft sheath dresses from many years ago that one would think were hundreds of dollars…and now everything is slouchy and skinny and so not made for my curvy 41 year old frame. Boden’s clothes are beautiful and well made but I can’t seem to get my sizing right in them. I keep trying, though. My go to retailers are Lands’ End (I am beginning to suspect half my go to wardrobe is from this retailer alone), Nordstrom, Talbots, Zappos (oh how I love Zappos), Ann Taylor, and Ann Taylor Factory. I have a lot of “sometimes I find a gem” retailers too: Lord and Taylor (I have better luck there than at Macy’s for some reason), Limited (I have two tops from there purchased within the last year and I love them!), Dress Barn (yes, really….keep an open mind and go in, you might be surprised.), Marshalls (as well as some other discounted retailers like Nordstrom Rack, Off 5th Ave, etc.), Garnet Hill, Wilson’s Leather, and Banana Republic (although as of late has been such a disappointment and a train wreck). I rarely have any luck with JCrew, I usually walk in and get irritated with the quality in relation to the price tag. I just cannot with JCP, the stores have a smell. (Is it just me that notices that? I go in there and have to walk right out.) General observations – as I get older I shop more and more online. I also do more research and spend less time actually shopping. Related note: Thank you, Allie, for posts like this and some of your other recent posts. Your site is my first place to do “research”. My new winter coat was a recommendation of yours (leopard print Tahari with a big ass shawl collar, it is fabulous). I was somewhat intimidated by Nordstrom until a few years back when reading your blog gave me the confidence to think that I could go in there and not spend my entire paycheck on two items. Overall, I am now willing to go into higher end stores and look for clothing, partially because I am buying less but better, which oddly enough comes from me reading blogs like this one and a few others (Une Femme d’Un Certain Age, You Look Fab, Blue Collar Red Lipstick, Looks Good from the Back). Phew. Longest comment ever. Clearly I have some thoughts on this topic 😉

    1. And I LOVE your thoughts and this comment, THANK YOU!!

      I thought it was just my local JCP that has that smell! And the lighting is odd, I can’t be in there, it stresses me out. And TBH, I don’t link often to JCP or Macy’s because their websites also stress me out. Shopping is tough as it is, I don’t want my website screaming at me, I want lots of information and photos, and I want my store to be clean, well-lit, and spacious (and I was a visual merchandiser for tiny stores and busy stores and you can create the feeling of space even with a ton of racks and tables if you care/try).

      I just got a maxi dress from Zappos, they’re awesome for clothing when you know what you want. Not the best photos, but to get things so fast and the free shipping and returns balances it out!

      And to make a novel to go with your novel, YES regarding Banana Republic. It used to be my go-to, EVERYTHING I bought from there. Now it’s such a fail (or as you said train wreck LOL). And yes on Dress Barn, I need to visit I actually have one very close to my home. My daughter’s old teacher was always so stylish and each time I asked where she got her dress she’d say Dress Barn!

      1. 1000% agree on Banana! It used to be that 90% of my work wardrobe was from there — but ever since Marissa Webb took over it has been just awful. TRAIN WRECK — EXACTLY!

        I am 46 — tall with long torso and a pear — now that Gap has changed the fit on their Perfect Trouser and J. Crew has discontinued the Hutton trouser, I have no idea where I’m going to get work clothes. Well, trousers/suits at least. I love Boden’s colors and prints, and have 2-3 things from there that I love, but I’ve had to return every single dress because even in Tall sizing, the fit is still far too short-waisted for me — every dress is an Empire waist. It’s a shame their designers don’t realize there is more to Tall sizing than just tacking on a couple of inches on the hem . . . .

        1. Hmm. Posting this just inspired me to run a search on Marissa Webb’s name, and I learned that she’s already out — as of Oct. 2015! I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll steer back to offering at least some professional clothing rather than only so-called “fashion-forward” items . . . that are completely unappealing!

        2. If you like Ann Taylor, Loft and Banana Republic, a great place to find it at a fraction of the cost is actually e-bay, especially for their accessories, like costume jewelry. I always thought of ebay as more for used clothing, but there are a LOT of “new with tags” items there. I bought some Loft earrings current season last month, at 1/3 the price in store on eBay and there was even free shipping! If there is something you see in the store or online that you like, really, you should search for it on e-bay first. Also, here’s a tip – if the ebay seller has no returns, then you can always just return it to the store without the receipt and get a store credit.

      2. I visited my local Banana Republic the other day for the first time in a very, very long while and was pleasantly surprised. Maybe things are looking up!

    2. Yay! It’s not just me. My JCP also is a smelly train wreck. I only shop there when I’m desperate and literally it’s the last option. I had to brave it back in March (just days before quarantine here) and actually found a lovely dress. Alas I never got to wear it. It’s hanging in my closet with tags still attached. I used to love JCP. I thought maybe it’s just the change of city/state but it appears that’s not the case.

  51. Don’t forget about consignment stores, where you can find gently worn (or never worn!) better labels for less than you’d pay for, say, Jones New York. Pricey grownup-lady brands like Lafayette 148 and Escada become very affordable. Heck, I found a silk Akris dress for $60!

  52. I am here to wave the flag for Garnet Hill! I realize cultural snob-types (think NYT Styles section) love to bag on it as the essence of suburbia, but I’ve always been able to find simple, versatile, one-turn-from-classic wardrobe building blocks there — and their clearance sales are amazing. Their cashmere is so soft, light and warm, their shoe collection has both forward-looking and one or two lagging-edge items (for people not ready to abandon a particular trend), and their staples (denim pencil skirts, knit dresses) are long-lasting.

    Also, their customer service is phenomenal. I once returned a coat and gave it a one-star review, and they refunded my shipping costs!

    Sign up for the email promotions — they run 20-40% off on certain product categories fairly often.

  53. I am 52 and I recently discovered Loft and I bought some dress pants in the Julie fit that I love, but like you, everything else is just not quite right for me. I am small, size 2p in pants and small on top also, and the tops are very boxy. I don’t have a Nordstrom store close to me, but a Von Maur department store has opened up near me and I have found some very nice things there, they are kind of expensive though. I also have had some success with Land’s End and LL Bean for sweaters. I am not sure where I am going to shop this year for spring and summer styles though.

    1. The Julie pants are pretty phenomenal. I now feel bad ragging on LOFT because my favorite work pants are from there, but I bought most over a year ago and haven’t needed more. And everything else has been such a fail… I find so many of my spring and summer tops are from Nordstrom – Halogen, Caslon, Vince Camuto and Two by Vince Camuto, and random brands like Leith. I’ve even had some success with Topshop via Nordstrom.

      1. Thank you so much for the recommendations…I just went into the Nordstrom website and took a look at Halogen and Caslon in tops and saw some things I would be interested in…I will have to investigate further.

  54. I loved this post… even though I can’t see myself shopping at any of these stores! I have long wanted The Answer to where to shop at age 45 (and counting), but seeing your answers makes me think that the solution is really style-driven as much as age-driven. That’s a great realization.

  55. Can any of your Canadian readers recommend the best retailers in Canada? None of the retailers mentioned here are found here (or at least, in my corner of the country) apart from Talbots. I’d really appreciate hearing from some expert shopping sisters. Thanks!

  56. I have good luck with Macy’s store-brand pants. They cater to Misses sizes, usually have a lot of different cuts and colors, often with stretch! If I can’t find my size and color at the store it can often be ordered. I stick with the bigger stores at the higher-end malls for the widest range of choice.

    IMO JJill is a poor woman’s Eileen Fisher with flowing tunics and easy fit pieces. I like Eileen Fisher, but I don’t keep my clothes that long as their prices would warrant. For me JJill is a a good place for tops and t-shirts. I feel like they cut their tops for women with big chests and since I have a small chest I size down when in doubt. I would agree that their quality is inconsistent, so read the online reviews before ordering.

      1. Their INC International Concepts pants are great, too. Not sOld only at Macy’s, but that’s where I get mine. Nice ponte stuff. Looks like Sears and Amazon and others sell them too. So yeah, this should be a separate comment, huh?

  57. I used to love Loft and would consistently find a few pieces there that I really wanted every season. However, the last year and a half or so has been very inconsistent for me with them. I don’t know that it’s gotten younger, honestly, I can’t see 20 somethings wanting a lot of what they market but maybe I’m wrong. I think the quality has gone downhill. Sweaters that used to be at least a cotton blend are now poly/acrylic/viscose/pig lips brand. Tees that were substantial and could take wear and tear now easily thin with holes. Accessories that used to pop and make a statement are now more “meh”. Dresses that were adorable and could easily be dressed up or down are knit blend with little detailing. If anything, I think they’ve watered down and cheapened the brand while still keeping about the same price point. That might appeal to younger girls but I’m only 34. I also loved that they used to offer really nice blazers and everything is a poly knit. I don’t want anything with stretch! I want structure. I don’t have a Loft near me but they used to be a must stop whenever I was near one. Now, I could honestly care less. I still check them out online from time to time but’s been months since I’ve purchased from there. Very disappointed in the direction they decided to go. Ann Taylor however has been much improved IMO. They’re still hit and miss on sizing but the styles are more classic with a twist rather than just old and boring.

    1. I think Ann Taylor has done a really good job with the “classics with a twist”. I especially love their moto inspired stuff, it’s professional enough to wear to work but also looks like you are hip and pay attention to fashion.

    2. I’ve loved LOFT for years. I only buy their clothing via Ebay and other second hand stores. I went into LOFT a month ago and was not impressed at all. It left me wondering why the stuff I find second hand is so well-made. Now, I know, their newest merchandise can’t compare to the old stuff. In the future, I’m probably not going to buy so much LOFT second hand either. It’s a shame because I’m a size 4 petite and that’s the main brand that gets my size right.

  58. I like Anthropologie and I even find some things at Forever 21 and Torrid on the rare occasion that are fun but appropriate (and I am 51)!

    1. The only thing I hate about Anthro – well, two things actually… Are that EVERYTHING is cropped when it comes to tops, which means my long torso can barely wear any of the shirts, and that they offer so little in Plus sizes, and even when something IS available in plus size, it seems like it’s usually the least interesting color or objectively worst print. Really frustrating.

      But when Anthro works, it WORKS.

  59. love land’s end, and talbots for classic pieces. i would add ralph lauren and chico’s to the list. they both have great belts which i adore, but they also have some interesting and quirky pieces as well as tried-and-true classics. and, i can typically find a few pieces i love at CAbi.

    1. I love these brands as well! I LOVE Ralph Lauren (I work in a dept store that sells it, so temptation is everywhere!) but tend to stay away with it because it has many well documented un-ethical practices.

      1. i lived overseas for many years, in several of the countries that the U.S. shifted their manufacturing plants to for a better bottom line profit. i have a different perspective on this than most.

        1. It’s definitely a very hidden topic in the United States!!!! Ignorance seems to be bliss for most of us in this area 🙂 I am trying to be more eco-conscience with my buying power, but boy is it tough!!!!

  60. I LOVE Evine and QVC. LOVE LOVE LOVE their montly payment plans….no interest/no credit cards. Plus have really nice brands like Liz Claiborne NY and Kate and Mallory and a good return policy. Almost everything is sized S-3X.

      1. Both QVC and EVINE give you 30 days from the date of delivery to return. I have never had any problems returning. QVC (I’m not sure about EVINE) also sells “as is” products (could be a previous return, floor sample, minor MINOR defect, etc) for a huge discount and the return policy for these items is the same! This is great because I never want to order “final sale” items that are non-returnable.

  61. I like Loft a lot, but I’m also 26 so I am kind of the target audience :). Though as a cusp size (14-16), I’ve also had trouble with Loft these past few seasons because shapeless, boxy stuff just doesn’t look good on me. I still have success with their dress pants though, and they fit my budget better than comparable stuff from Ann Taylor, though I just recently bought my first big-girl suit from AT.

  62. I also LOVE the bathing suits from Boden. They are a little pricey, but incredibly flattering, and when I joined our community pool last year, it was great knowing I had a couple of suits on hand that were neighbor/mom appropriate, but still sexy and fun.

  63. I’ll second your shout-out to Lands End – I have wool (or tweed) work pants that I got 6 years ago that are still the pair I reach for twice a week all winter, and they still look great. Worth every penny. I dislike the fabric they use for their tshirts, but will highly recommend their cashmere v-neck sweaters (worn for 4 years and running, still looks brand new… and came with extra thread so I was able to fix the moth hole I got on a sleeve).

    And I’m glad I’m not the only one to think JCrew has inconsistent quality. I have a blazer from there that I love, but for all that my husband LOVES their tshirts, the women’s tshirts are incredibly unimpressive, especially for the price. Also anything merino, men’s OR women’s, isn’t even worth the rock-bottom sale price and gets holes within 2 wears.

  64. I used to love LOFT but their cuts seem to be very narrow these days – not good for those with a big bust and hips. I haven’t even walked into one of their stores in ages.

  65. Your influence caused me to give Nordstrom a chance a couple of years ago – I also had the impression that it was too expensive. Some of my favorite clothing and accessories now come from there! I shop online because of the ability to search/filter and because I find department stores overwhelming. I also like that their website will tell you if a particular item is available in stores (including the one near you). If I’m on the fence about an item, I sometimes buy it anyway because their returns are so easy and free! Their return policy has given me a lot of freedom to try multiple sizes/styles that I wouldn’t have considered. I agree with your recommendation on Halogen.

    I’d also like to say that your last several posts have been especially interesting and fun! Happy new year!

    1. Aww thanks Anamarie! I’ve had a lot less time to blog lately, so these posts have been a bit more “old school” of me slapping them together on lunch break and early in the morning. I also am just not feeling like a “pro blogger” lately. I’m EXHAUSTED. Work is busy, my personal life is busy, and I am just sick of hustling. Sure, the money is great, but my life is much more than being an internet personality and I want to do less on the computer and more IRL. So posts may not be as often, but I hope they’re more real (with the occasional sponsored in there because a gal’s gotta pay for new shoes!). <3

      1. What an honest, open-hearted comment, Allie. FWIW, I’ve also really enjoyed the most recent post. I haven’t commented in years, but they’ve brought me out of the lurk.

      2. Well, I can second her comment – even if trying to juggle two jobs is tiring, the last few posts have been some of my favorites of the last two or three months!

      3. Your latest posts have been more interesting and stimulating than other bloggers I follow. The reason I read yours daily instead of theirs occasionally is that you are never shilling – you report your true experience and that authenticity is hard to find!

  66. Boden is my love-hate brand. I LOOOOVE the prints, and the styling, but it seems like so often their clothes shrink like crazy in the wash (I definitely tell everyone to make sure they wash on cold and hang or line-dry EVERYTHING or it will be three inches shorter after that first wash). Sometimes the silohuettes just don’t work. Boden endlessly frustrates me and yet, when I find the right article of clothing, it’s just absolutely perfect and I wear it all the time.

    Their new longer-length variations on some of their bestselling items is bringing me back to Boden, really – I can finally get the kind of length I need for their Breton to feel comfortable!

    Lands End I love, except that the T-shirts are inevitably just a wee bit too short. I tend to just order in Tall. That’s my favorite thing about Lands End – the variations in length that are available (Petite, REgular, Tall) for SO MANY items.

    I think my issue with Loft is really just that within the last threeish years or so, it feels like everything lost its shape. It’s all just shapeless, baggy, sack shirts they call “slouchy” but I find shapeless.

    1. I have some things in Boden I WISH would shrink! Their tees are more generously fit, and I sometimes forget and order too big. I have a tank there I have washed in hot, hot dryer, but it stays true. But in general, I do wash everything from most everywhere in cold and line dry – better for the garments in general (and then Karl does laundry and I end up giving my cashmere sweaters to Emerson… sigh…).

      Lands’ End tees do run short; can’t believe I never thought of purchasing them in tall!

      And with LOFT, they obviously made a conscious decision to be drastically different from Ann Taylor. And then the company was purchased and I think that also changed their quality and aesthetic. I just think the “slouchy” look with the occasional crop or skinny is a very specific look and one that is on its way out unless you’re on a college campus.

      1. I saw Emerson’s new cashmere sweater-dress on Instagram! If it makes you feel any better, she looks very fabulous in it.

        The Lands End secret is totally buying it in tall. It doesn’t change the arm length all that much, but adds a couple of inches to the torso. Sometimes they look just a bit TOO long on me at that point, but I prefer too much coverage to not enough. Their “layering” tees they’re selling now are a little longer as a baseline.

        Oh yeah, LOFT is totally marketing to Ann Taylor’s college-aged daughter. They always have, but their quality used to be good enough that I could always find good work clothes there. Now things wear out after like two wears, or they’re so shapeless, or every sweater is so thin it’s nearly see-through. Sigh. Ah, well. I guess the quality-drop is basically inevitable.

      2. I recently discovered a product called “UnShrinkit” –
        It is designed to unshrink sweaters by loosening the tight wool fibers, and I can say that it saved two of mine. One was 100% merino and the other was a wool/cotton blend. It appears to be on sale right now. The bottle treats up to 4 sweaters.
        I’m about to go buy a couple of extra bottles to keep on-hand. One never knows when there’s gonna be a dryer mishap and you’re gonna need to Unshrinkit.

  67. Chiming in to say WH/BM is great for tall women. Their tees are consistently two inches longer in the body than the average.

  68. So I’m basically waiting until I can afford Boden because it’s a little too expensive for me and then once I get there, I AM BUYING EVERY PAIR OF SHOES THEY OFFER!

    The Adored Life

    1. I know, right? Their shoes are ah-may-zing! I stalk Poshmark and Etsy where I have found a lot of Boden for less. They also have great sales. But the quality and fit is so good they’re really worth the price. I have Boden pieces a decade old that still look stylish and are in great condition!

    2. Be sure to sign up for their email list. They have sales all the time, and often you can get discounts off clearance prices, as well. Unless you’re after a super-hot seller, there’s no reason to pay full price. Just wait a few days for the next sale.

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