Good Quality Everyday Clothing Online
July 9, 2012 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find reasonably-priced basic pieces for women online?

I've recently realized that, while I have a lot of very cute, one-of-a-kind dresses, my wardrobe is currently sorely lacking in the basics department. I could honestly live in jeans and pretty tops/shirts/blouses, but I just don't have enough pieces to mix and match. Thanks to Ask Mefi, I've found great, affordable jeans, but I need more tops, tees, blouses, and cardigans for layering and combining. I'm looking for both solids and prints, and I'm hoping to find items that are reasonably (under $50-ish for a piece is really what I'm aiming for, lower is better).

The rub here is that I also want these pieces to be decent quality and not fall apart after three washes. I have been really displeased with the quality of pieces purchased at LOFT the last few times, and while Old Navy is great for disposable tshirts, I'm hoping for suggestions of a slightly higher quality caliber. (I know that this means I must pay a bit more, but I'm really hoping for a quality-price sweet spot under $50).

So, everyone, where can I buy good-quality basic pieces for a good price online?

(Note: While I did find another question similar to this, it's several years old, so I thought it would be worth a re-ask.)
posted by anonnymoose to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Just wanted to add: I'm looking for both knits and woven blouses/tops.
posted by anonnymoose at 12:07 PM on July 9, 2012

I think you might like Lands End, Eddie Bauer or LL Bean for this sort of thing. They give nice discounts if you buy multiples and they are very good quality items.

Boring as paint, but great for mixing and matching.

I like Land's End for blouses because they're no iron.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:09 PM on July 9, 2012

Jcrew Sales. Seriously. I've been stalking their sales for basics for the past year, and I've gotten a suprisingly large number of t-shirts, button downs and cardigans that fit very well and last for under $20 a piece. (don't pay full price. you'll cry). Even their "whisper" linen weight stuff has lasted several trips through the washing machine (basically until I read the label that you're supposed to hand wash those).

They also do "tall" sizing, which is awesome for those of us who need the extra inch or two in the torso and sleeves.

Additionally, if you ever find yourself near a Uniqlo, their stuff is seriously good quality, but I find it's generally cut a little on the short side- ok with skirts and stuff that sits at your natural waist, but not so good with your average jeans.
posted by larthegreat at 12:11 PM on July 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

No joke, I own about ten of these Merona "Essential" cardigans from Target. The going price online is $15. I usually pick them up when they hit the clearance racks, so $5-$10 or so, and I have a black one and a white one that I've worn for YEARS. Wear each once a week in fall-winter-spring, machine wash/tumble dry, they hold up great. They have a million different colors in the store and change out colors/patterns every season (which is when I stalk the clearance racks) and are perfect for layering over tanks or thin t-shirts.
posted by jabes at 12:16 PM on July 9, 2012

Some of my go-tos for well made, durable casual clothes are Alternative Apparel and Athleta.

For blouses and jackets, I shop J. Jill sales. Also eBay; there are a bunch of overstock sellers who offer clothes from Macy's, Dillard's, etc. at very attractive prices. Searching for the labels you want (I like Ralph Lauren but never want to pay department store prices) can bring up some real bargains on brand new with tags overstocks.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:17 PM on July 9, 2012

The llBean and Eddie Bauer shirts are good quality but they're basically square at this point. If you are slimmer then J Crew or American Apparel might fit better.
posted by fshgrl at 12:27 PM on July 9, 2012 outlet. And the outlet goes another 25-30% off several times a year. I stock up on 5 dollar high quality camis and shirts then.
posted by atomicstone at 1:08 PM on July 9, 2012

Oh and Jcrew is currently having a 30% off everything sale until tonight, so if you want to stock up on some $10 t-shirts, today is a good day. *toddles off to stock up on basics*
posted by larthegreat at 1:10 PM on July 9, 2012

Banana Republic sales and clearance for things on the dressier side of casual. Be careful at their outlet (any outlet these days, actually) as a lot of it is lower quality, but still some gems available if you know what to look for - well made seams, cuts that flatter you, quality material that isn't too thin. To with an idea of what you're looking for - a color family, something to wear to this event, something to match these capri pants (that you're bringing with you!), a tank top, three long sleeve shirts, a brown sweater. Know what you want, however vague.

And seriously, Goodwil and other thrift shops, if you have more time than money. Only look at things you're currently needing. Filter for feel and color, the for quality/wear before looking at tag (size, brand) after you've judged that this is a color and fabric you would wear. Biggest benefit of thrifting is that someone else has probably washed it, so if it is in good shape it probably will stay that way. However, do not fall in love with an awful garment because it has a super fancy designer brand. Then try things on. Same rules for trying on any clothes. Move. Lift your arms. Bend over. Stretch forward. Sit if there is a chair. Squat if there is no chair. If you hear anything like a seam giving out, put it back!

And then, don't stress too much if you get a thing home and discover that you hate it. You spent 8 bucks on the thing. Donate it back!

Super bonus is that you can bring or wear your thrift store finds to the fancier places to match up with brand new clothes.
posted by bilabial at 1:20 PM on July 9, 2012

Also. When thrifting, remember that vanity sizing changes with time! Consider a larger range of sizes, because a size 6 from 10 years ago will not be cut like a 6 from today.
posted by bilabial at 1:22 PM on July 9, 2012

Oh. Online. I'm feeling sheepish. Banana Republic then. Also Dillard's has their own line called Antonio Melani that I like, but it's pricey so watch for clearance.
posted by bilabial at 1:24 PM on July 9, 2012

Nthing Lands End. They regularly have free shipping and 30% off everything specials, and you can return things at Sears stores. I like being able to buy a bunch of stuff to try on at home with my current clothes, and not having to worry about return shipping. Their clothes are nice too--very durable and stylish in a simple, classic way.
posted by apricot at 2:31 PM on July 9, 2012

I'm coming to suggest Everlane, although I haven't bought from them yet, their whole schtick is "luxury items for under $100." They have a bunch of $15 tshirts.
posted by nanhey at 2:34 PM on July 9, 2012

Ann Taylor is vastly better than Loft, and they have the same sales and discounts. I agree with lots of what's posted above, but if you're a pissed off former Loft shopper like me, you might be pleasantly surprised at actual Ann Taylor.

And while I love thrifting, I think it's often not a good way to find basics. It's too random and what tend to end up at thrifts are the special or weird things that never got worn much, not the workhorse t-shirt. My most awesome stuff is thrifted, but it's great to have a mall or online brand you know will fit and hold up in the wash.
posted by crabintheocean at 3:48 PM on July 9, 2012

Most of my basics are Lands End and Uniqlo. Uniqlo stuff is pretty cheap and the fabric/construction is way better than, say, the Gap, which is a close equivalent. I especially like the Land's End Canvas line - it skews more modern than the main line stuff, they have seriously good sales, and it holds up very well in my experience.
posted by SoftRain at 4:16 PM on July 9, 2012

Boden is a bit pricey for your number but they're having a sale right now that should bring prices into your range. If Land's End/LL Bean are oriented toward US preppy, Boden is sort of the British equivalent.
posted by immlass at 7:53 AM on July 10, 2012

« Older You'll get my Gaga when you pry it from my cold...   |   Should I stay or should I go? Now? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.