Finding stores that are a good balance between cute and trendy and professional and adult can be difficult. We all want clothes that represent who we are and make us feel confident, regardless of occasion. What’s even more difficult is finding stores that give us options for weekday and weekend wear that’s affordable. Luckily these are the best stores that are perfect for twenty somethings to shop that aren’t Forever 21.
1. J. Crew Factory
A fellow twenty something once told me, “I’ve never met anyone other than you that shops at J.Crew.” And when I asked her why she said it was because it’s so expensive, which yes, it is. Although I absolutely love J.Crew, I tend to shop at J.Crew Factory, for many reasons. First J. Crew Factory is literally J.Crew but everything is always on some promotion ranging from 40%-60% off on average. Although many people think that this is just work wear, they have some of the best jeans and casual clothing. This is probably where all of my most worn clothes are from, I have a preppier style and they match that style really well. But that doesn’t mean they don’t carry cute and on trend styles for twenty somethings. Their affordability and high quality are what makes them one of the best stores to shop at. They also offer student and teacher discounts which makes it even more affordable for anyone still in school or anyone who needs good teacher clothes.
This is my go to for formal wear. They have stunning dresses for any occasion. Shopping here is super easy and you can filter it by occasion or color for dresses. They also have some other really cute clothes, but I find that their dresses are the most affordable formal dresses out there. They also cater to more of a college age group, with formal dresses that won’t make you look like the mother of the bride or a kid going to homecoming. Open back, deep plunges, off the shoulder and high slits, these dresses have a little more of a youth vibe to them so you’ll feel sophisticated and sexy.
3. Abercrombie and Fitch
Abercrombie has really stepped it up since it’s overly cologned days of walking the mall and smelling them five stores down. They’ve also become more affordable as they years have gone on, always hosting various promotions and now having a more gratifying rewards program, they’re perfect for any clothing need. They’ve always been famous for their jeans, which are some of my absolute favorites, but they have dresses, skirts and blouses that are not to be overlooked. They also have higher quality than most stores, so even if you do have to pay a bit more, that product you’re getting will last you much longer. They definitely know what’s on trend and really capitalize on that so you’ll always have the perfect outfit for date night or going out.
Express is one of the more expensive stores on this list, but the product they offer is why its one of the best stores for twenty somethings. They have a really good mix of workwear and weekend wear, from suits in fun patterns to make you stand out in a meeting to jumpsuits with an open back for your next vacation. They almost always have an extensive selection in clearance, so if you’re willing to dig, you can find some cheaper options. But like anything, you really get what you pay for, so if you’re getting something more expensive, make sure it’s something that is versatile and you can wear over and over again. Spending hundreds of dollars on a dress you’ll wear to one wedding and never again, verses black dress pants you’ll wear to work once a week makes the world of a difference. Their stuff is also super cute and on trend, so if you’re okay with splurging a bit, they may be perfect for you.
ASOS is my favorite online store, even more so than Lulu’s, not hate I still love Lulu’s. ASOS is my favorite for many reasons, I find it just as affordable as Lulu’s but I think they have a wider selection and they also offer more swing options. Pretty much everything they have also comes in petite and plus size. For a 5’2 girl like myself, this is a lifesaver when buying pants, or maxi dresses. I almost always have to get pants hemmed but when I order from ASOS I don’t have to worry about that since I can order it in petite. Their style is more of a California vibes, they offer tons of streetwear clothing and more of grunge looks verses office looks. So you’ll want to look here for special occasion clothing, not your everyday wear. They have clothing perfect for concerts but also formal wear for weddings. Browsing on here is a never ending cycle because there’s just so much stuff, so if you’re shopping for a specific occasion, use the filters to help find that you’re looking for faster.
Other than J.Crew, Target is probably my most shopped store for clothes. Target truly has everything you could imagine, and clothing for pretty much any occasion other than formal. Their clothing is always on trend and always extremely affordable. But is anyone even surprised that Target offers so much for clothing since it offers us basically anything we could ever imagine. I have a very serious problem when I go into Target, that I can’t leave without getting something from the clothing department. Their tee shirts always have the cutest sayings and one can never own too many tee shirts. Their workwear is some of the most affordable and practical. Why wear dress pants when you can wear leggings that look like dress pants? We love you Target.
Francesca’s is the best store for when you want something more feminine and dressy than what Forever 21 or H&M have to offer. Their clothing here is more unique and boutiquey but offers chain store prices verses really expensive boutique prices. They also offer student discounts and different money saving promotions throughout their stores. Their clothing is a bit more boho and country chic but not they still offer pieces that will suit anyones style. They’re a good mix of preppy and pretty meets country and southern belle. Some of my most standout clothing pieces are from here, and they also try to cater to a more college age girl, so they have a really wide variety of pieces making them an ideal store for twenty somethings.
H&M to me is basically one step up from Forever 21, where you can get some of the most bizarre clothing you’ll ever see, but there’s also some really great hidden gems. They have everything from club wear to country club wear. They’re also more affordable than most chain retailers, but their quality is hit or miss. If you really look at something before you buy it, you won’t have to worry about it ripping or wearing away after a few washes. You can usually tell what’s going to last longer, so if its something you think looks a little cheaper made, don’t invest a whole bunch of money into it and just try and take care of it as best as you can. But even with a few items that are a it cheaper in quality, overall they have a really great selection and are super affordable.
9. T.J. Maxx
I have never been one to shop at stores like this, with racks of unorganized chaos. I need something that is visually appealing where you see the same item in several sizes infant of you. T.J. Maxx is the only store of its kind that I will make an exception for. I am really bad at shopping at T.J. Maxx because of the set up, but I think that out of all the department brands at low prices stores, they are the easiest to shop, you just need a little more patience and a sharp eye. You won’t be able to walk in find a dress and see it in every size it comes in, you have to sift through racks with labels indicating the section then than size, but every time I’ve come to T.J. Maxx, I’ve always left with multiple items all at an incredibly affordable price. They have so many brand names and it’s the only time I can actually afford any of them.Their selection is huge, they have really good formal wear, casual and athletic wear. Grab a coffee and a friend before coming here so you can really sift through to make sure you don’t miss any hidden gems.
10. Old Navy
As a kid my mom would always take my to Old Navy when I needed clothes and to this day when I need some essential clothing item I go to Old Navy first. Now they have a smaller selection when it comes to cute going out clothes, but any essential you need for cheap Old Navy is your answer. Jeans, leggings, solid tees, cute sundresses, work pants, they are the answer for essentials that you wear daily but they’re so much cheaper here than you’ll find in most other stores. Now, they’re not my go to for going out or nicer clothing, but they always have some good surprises and they are the perfect place for causal clothing on a budget, which for any twenty something, that makes this one of the best stores.
Which stores are your go to for shopping? Comment below which one is your favorite and if we missed any!
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MARIA HEHMAN IS A GRADUATE OF THOMAS MORE COLLEGE, WHERE SHE OBTAINED A BACHELOR'S OF ARTS IN ENGLISH, WITH AN EMPHASIS IN CREATIVE WRITING. SHE WORKS AS A MANAGER IN RETAIL AND DOES FREELANCE WRITING IN HER SPARE TIME. HER WRITING TOPIC WITH SOCIETY19 VARY, BUT FASHION IS HER GREATEST INTEREST. YOU CAN FIND HER MOST DAYS DRINKING ENTIRELY TOO MUCH COFFEE WHILE WATCHING HER FAVORITE SHOW, FRIENDS.