The Best (And Cheapest) Places To Buy Women's Work Clothes

The Best (And Cheapest) Places To Buy Women's Work Clothes

"Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she'll conquer the world." — Marilyn Monroe

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Remember the good old days when your closet consisted of mostly sundresses, ripped jeans and crop tops? Those were the days that you could away with owning just one pair of dress pants and one blouse, just for special occasions and interviews. However, as you enter the workforce, it's important to build a stylish, professional wardrobe.

As I'm sure you know, it can be hard to do that on a budget! I'm here to share some of my favorite places to find smart clothes at smart prices.

1. Old Navy

Mid-Rise Pixie Full-Length Pants for Women | Old Navy

Shop for this item at oldnavy.gap.com

Old Navy is my favorite place to get pants for work. Their Pixie Pants are truly the best. These pants are skinny, without being skin-tight, and they come in a bunch of fun, yet professional, patterns! Old Navy also has tons of blouses for any style, body type, and climate. The best part is Old Navy constantly has sales and they offer a pick-up in store option to help shoppers save on shipping and avoid returns.

2. ASOS

ASOS is an online British retailer. I LOVE this website. I've gotten everything from bikinis to my wedding veil from this website. It's also a great place to find professional clothes for work! ASOS offers free shipping and returns, and your orders will come rather quickly for coming from another continent. They sell their own brand as well as various American and British brands. You will find many petite, tall, maternity and plus size options on this website.

3. Marshalls/TJ Maxx/Ross

Sure, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Ross aren't known for their online stores, even though many busy women shop on the internet. In fact, Ross and Marshalls don't even give customers the option to shop online. However, the best part of these stores is the chance to hunt for awesome deals! I'm talking Michael Kors and Lilly Pulitzer blouses for $15 and under. Expect to find great deals on designer dresses, tops, pants, blouses, shoes and accessories at any of these retailers.

4. Express Factory Outlet

Shop for this item at express.com

Express is not what I would consider to be a cheap place to shop. However, you'll find great deals at any Express Factory Outlet. Good news- there's 198 Express Factory Outlet locations across the United States! This is another retailer that you'll have to visit in person, but I guarantee it'll be worth it. They usually have a large clearance section that's at least an additional 40% off the lowest ticketed price (but I've seen it go up to 60% off). Their Portofino Shirt, pictured above, is an essential top for any professional woman's wardrobe.

5. Target

Women's Michaela Mid Block Heel Pump Sandals - A New Day™

Shop for this item at target.com

Target has really expanded its clothing options in the past years and they have tons of options for professional wear. My favorite Target clothing brand is called A New Day. They have everything from dress pants to blouses to pantyhose to jewelry to shoes. I'm a sucker for this brand's shoes. I actually own the shoes pictured above in two different colors, taupe (pictured) and periwinkle. I wore the periwinkle ones on my wedding day- they were so comfortable! I wear my taupe ones to work, dinner or the club. The best clothing is multipurpose.

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13 Summer Struggles Only Thick Girls Understand

Chafing. So much chafing.

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Summer is a lovely time. A time of cookouts, swimming, and sunny weather. But if you're a " thick girl," summer sometimes brings more unpleasantries than it does for slimmer women. No matter how beautiful and confident you are in your body, it can bring some struggles.

1. The living hell that is shorts-shopping

Step 1: Find the biggest size the store has.

Step 2: (If you can even get those on): Realize your stomach is being squeezed into the top, your butt is falling out of the back and your thighs are having the life squished out of them.

Step 3: Realize why winter isn't so bad.

2. And dealing with them even after finding a pair that "fits"

Nothing like taking a pair of shorts home you remember fitting you okay in the store and then walking for 45 seconds and pulling them out of your butt or crotch 17 times. Truly a magical experience.

3. And every bathing suit you try on shows more skin than you'd planned

Even the most conservative bathing suit turns into cleavage-city and a non-cheeky set of bottoms turns into a thong. I promise, older people glaring at me in my sexual bathing suit, I didn't mean for this to happen!

4. Chafing. So much chafing.

No better feeling than four minutes into wearing short shorts realizing that your inner thighs are literally tearing themselves apart. Body Glide and baby powder are a thick girl's No. 1 necessity.

5. Loving rompers. Rompers not loving you.

Rompers are made with short and skinny girls in mind. Heaven forbid you're not short, and heaven forbid you're not skinny. Rompers are like a mystical article of clothing that, no matter what, always just barely doesn't fit.

6. Imagining wearing a sundress with a strapless bra and just laughing

Of course, not all thick girls are well-endowed in the boob department, but if you are, you understand how hilarious the thought of you wearing a strapless bra truly is.

7. And bralettes are a thing of fantasy

Once again, bralettes are designed for a very specific body type. One that I do not fall into.

8. Feeling like you need to constantly defend yourself for dressing like you want to

There are so many posts and tweets and just general ideals that people have that certain sized women can't wear certain clothing. You shouldn't feel the need to defend yourself for wearing a cute crop top or a bikini, but you will.

9. And always feeling looked at when you're rocking your swimsuit

Yes, I see your judging eyes, and yes, they are making me feel like shit. It doesn't matter how confident you are in your body, people looking at you like you just killed somebody just because you're wearing something typically made for smaller women doesn't make you feel good.

10. Did I mention chafing?

I just felt like something so horrible couldn't just be mentioned once.

11. Online shopping for cute summer outfits and then none of them fitting you correctly

There's always the dreaded "one-size-fits-all" for plus-size women. As if there's just one way to be plus-size. No matter how much they promise online that it'll fit well, it won't.

12. Seeing tiny girls complaining about losing their "summer bodies"

So many tweets talking about choosing food over a summer body. So many profile pictures of traditionally skinny women. I'm not saying that thick girls are the only ones who can complain about their summer bodies, and thick girls do not have a monopoly one not feeling confident in their bodies. But it is hard to see those posts knowing that those women would be glorified in their swimwear while you'd be gawked at.

13. The "you go girl!" comments on your oh-so-brave bikini photos

Compliments are nice, and positive comments while wearing a bikini go a long way. But the dreaded "you go girl" comment just seems so condescending. Just treat me like anyone else you'd see wearing a bikini. I promise, I'd like to feel like that.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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The Faces And Future Of Sustainability In The Fashion Industry

The science is unanimous: climate change is real, and it's only getting worse.

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While the conversation surrounding climate change is often plagued by alarmist statements and perilous precautions, there is a practical and hopeful narrative that can be found in its solutions. As much finger pointing as society likes to do, the causes of climate change would take all ten fingers and more to point out the root issues. One of the culprits that hit closest to home is the fashion industry. As an aspiring design major, I've been directly faced with the reality of the industry's harmful habits. Quick turnaround, high demand, and evolving expectations make the production environment very complex to navigate at the least.

Although the fashion industry caters to just about 7 billion people, it doesn't excuse companies, brands, and labels from producing at the expense of our world. Despite the long-held attitude of indifference towards its side-effects; as of late, climate science has left no choice for the industry but to change course. The science has made it evident that we've run out of time to be apathetic; action must be taken, and it must be taken now.

Enter the side of the climate change conversation that's introduced a variety of initiatives to promote change. Whether it's recycling ocean plastic into tennis shoes like Adidas, using up waste fabrics from larger companies like Zero Waste Daniel, or Kate Hudson's Happy x Nature, which has been developed from sustainable materials, the fashion industry is venturing into a greener future.

Adidas first announced its plans to create a sneaker from recycled ocean plastic in 2015, "Parley for the Oceans." Since the release of their first tennis shoe four years ago, they sold 5 million pairs in 2018, and they're aiming to turn out 11 million pairs in 2019. Ocean plastic is a huge threat to marine life, and it's not enough to just stockpile it in a landfill. Adidas's product development team cleverly provided a solution for at least some of that plastic. What's great about the shoe, too, is that it retails right around the price point of most of their other styles at around $130.

Alongside Adidas's recycling, Zero Waste Daniel, a designer based in Brooklyn, NY, has made it his mission to use excess fabric scraps from the industry in his own designs. Using a number of techniques, Daniel combines these remnants into new fabrics, fashions them into appliqués or mosaics, or creates whole garments. Alarmingly enough, it's reported that about 21 billion pounds of waste textiles are going to the dump from the US alone. By gathering up the leftovers from other companies, his products are helping to prevent the wastes from continuing to end up in landfills.

Although not made from reused fabrics, Kate Hudson's latest fashion venture, Happy x Nature, is produced solely from sustainable materials. The fibers of the fabrics are made from recyclables like plastic bottles, and the packaging is stated to be biodegradable. Not only is the new line eco-friendly, but it's also relatively affordable with prices ranging from $45 to $150. Let me tell you, Hudson really knocked it out of the park with this concept. I've browsed through the pieces and have fallen in love with the majority. The pieces are seriously adorable and so trendy, but the biggest seller is that I can feel good about purchasing them.

While recycling ocean plastic and sourcing waste fabrics are important strides in the right direction, consumers play an enormous role in this issue. For any of these initiatives to work, there must be consumer demand at the other end of the product. Companies and brands need to see potential consumers for greener products in order to place such products on the market. As such, as consumers, we should reevaluate our own shopping habits in regards to the apparel industry. We must take accountability for how much we purchase, how often we purchase, and how we manage the clothes after we've bought them. Our demands as customers must also align with the push for greener production and shopping patterns.

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