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If you’ve at any point in your life needed a suit, whether it be for a professional conference or a job interview, you know exactly how hard it is to even find a store that carries more than two options. Men have Men’s Wearhouse, Big and Tall, and most big department stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Sax Fifth Ave carry a specific suiting section just for men. But unless you’re willing spend a fortune on your two-piece suit (and I’m talking well over $500), most women don’t have any luck in department stores or their down-market spinoffs (think Nordstrom Rack or Off-Sax). I know that I didn’t.
Unfortunately, women’s suiting hasn’t exactly caught up with the times when it comes to offering a variety of brands in one location. Instead, we need to go store by store until we find the fit that’s right for us, which can not only be time-consuming but also incredibly frustrating. Luckily, you’ll no longer be going in blind! I’ve compiled a list below of the most reliable stores worth checking out if you’re in the market for a new suit, without breaking your budget.
There were a few things that I considered before selecting these stores, and one of them is the most bang for your buck. These stores may not be the cheapest (in fact, I’m sure they aren’t), but they offer quality pieces that will last you beyond your semesters at school and well into your professional career, provided you buy classic fits and colors and make sure to take care of them. Overall, it’s important to remember that a new suit is an investment, regardless of where you get it.
Most of these stores will also have periodic sales throughout the year that will make buying a suit much more affordable, as I’ll discuss below. It’s not guaranteed when they’ll have them though, so my suggestion would be to go shopping for fit in advance so that you’ll know exactly what size to purchase when those killer sales happen!
And finally, all of these stores sell their suits as separate pieces. This means that, yes, it’ll be a bit more expensive than buying a “set,” but it also means that you’ll be able to mix and match sizes to get your perfect fit with minimal tailoring!
1. Ann Taylor
If you know me at all, you know that Ann Taylor was always going to be at the top of my list. This is by far my favorite store to buy suits from because of the quality, the fit, and the variety of options. I actually own close to three suits from Ann Taylor as well as a multitude of other shirts to go along with them!
The best thing about Ann Taylor is that they don’t just offer a matching skirt and blazer type suit, but instead you can match multiple pieces together! If you’ve ever shopped for a suit before, you know that the most expensive piece of a suit is the blazer (which in some cases can run you almost $200 alone). Ann Taylor will offer multiple options to match your blazer, meaning you’ll be able to get two suit outfits without actually paying for two suits! Not only that, but they have a wide variety of fit options for both skirts and pants. Skirts have petite, curvy, and normal fits, and pants have close to 5 different fits as well.
I have both a navy suit skirt and a navy suit dress that match the navy blazer I purchased from here and they’re some of my favorite pieces. Had they had a pair of skinny leg pants in-store I would have been all over that too, but unfortunately they didn’t that season. I spent a little under $400 for all three pieces of this suit that I bought, which is not bad for how many pieces I got and how much I wear them!
The sales at Ann Taylor, when they have them, are also killer. My first suit I ever purchased from here I purchased online during one of their major sales and ended up paying less than $150 for a wool-blend navy with cream pinstripes skirt suit, which is an absolute steal. It’s definitely worth it to sign up for their email list and know your size in advance so you can get a similar deal!
2. J. Crew and J. Crew Factory
J. Crew has been a longtime staple of mine since I started college and changed my style from a sort of hipster-grunge to a more preppy look, but I didn’t start looking at them for suiting until I began work as a full-time professional. I’ll be the first to admit that the prices are pretty high, higher probably than most college students and recent graduates will want to pay, but you just can’t beat how trendy yet classic all of J. Crew’s items are.
Their business dresses are absolutely killer and they mix classic fabrics with modern style, making them the perfect statement piece to go with a colorful blazer for the workplace. Their full suits, however, is where you can really get creative: they have the standard classic suiting options with a trendy twist, such as an inverted collar, or they have classic styles in bright colors and textures that are sure to leave your coworkers’ jaws dropping.
But if $250 for a blazer isn’t your style (I know that it definitely isn’t mine, at least not yet), you always have the option to check out their more affordable brand, J. Crew Factory. You still get all the trendy and classic styles at more affordable prices without missing out on the great sizing options (for regular, petite, and tall), and you get it without breaking your budget. I just recently bought a killer white blazer on sale from their website, which I adore, and it fits perfectly!
3. Banana Republic
Banana Republic is also an extremely reliable store to shop at for suits with similar price points to Ann Taylor. I’ll be honest, I primarily shop at Banana for their trendy work shirts and for some nice casual t-shirts, but my friends at work swear by their suits and some of them will only go here to shop for them because of their stylish selection.
With a wide selection of classic fits and colors, as well as a variety of interesting patterns and styles, you’re definitely sure to find something that you’ll like here! Banana Republic really ups the ante by pairing classic colors with interesting neutral stitching, such as blue herringbone or navy horizontal pinstripes. Like Ann Taylor and Express, Banana also offers multiple options for bottoms to match to your blazer, depending on the fabric, as well as a few fit options to make sure that you look your best.
The best part about Banana, in my opinion, is that it’s owned by the same company that owns Gap, Athleta, and Old Navy, meaning that you can use one checkout for all four stores and make getting free shipping a breeze! It also means that if you sign up for their credit card, you’ll be able to use points and rewards at any of the four stores. So if you always shop at Old Navy for casual clothes and accessories you can save up your rewards points to use on your suit at Banana.
Express is such a great place for classic styles – in pretty cool colors, too – that won’t break your bank. They have a wide variety of blazer fits and options as well! You can find a boyfriend blazer, a cutaway blazer, and a classic fit all in the same fabric that will match the pant or skirt options you choose, allowing you to really customize your suit choices and get the most bang for your buck.
My favorite thing about express is their trendy blazers – I absolutely adore their boyfriend blazers and this wine-colored one is next on my list to purchase when my next paycheck comes in. And not only do they have the traditional black, grey, and navy colors, but they also have plenty of season specific options that are perfect for spicing up your wardrobe with quality pieces.
Their selection of pants and skirts is pretty insane, too. You’ll be able to find options to match your blazers in a variety of fits so that they perfectly flatter your body, as well as plenty of prints and patterns that are sure to create a statement and give you a pop of style in your regular work wardrobe.
Although they’re one of the cheaper options we’ve discussed thus far, if the price tag is still daunting for you, no worries. Simply sign up for an account, input your address, and periodically you’ll receive amazing coupons for killer deals – such as $25 off $75, $50 off $150, and $75 off $250! You can use them in store and online, and since pretty much every mall in America has an Express, you’ll never miss their sales.
Where’s your favorite place to buy suits and work attire? Let me know in the comments below!