Many of us are looking to shop less often and place shopping into the proper perspective in our lives. At the same time, we’re also aiming to find quality items that will stand the test of time. In the comments section of one of my previous posts, some readers shared resources for where they find quality clothing and asked me to share my insights on the topic. I thought that would be a great topic for a post. As I’ve often said, I get some of my best post ideas from readers!
In today’s post, I list some of my favorite locations for finding quality clothing, as well as some additional resources provided by readers. You may also wish to check out the guest post written by frequent commenter Dottie last year, “How to Tell if a Garment is Well-Made.” This article provides a wealth of information to help you determine if clothing pieces will last before you buy them, so I encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already seen it.
Some Information and Caveats About the List Below
The information below is arranged by wardrobe category. In contrast to most of my posts, I’m actually linking to various retailers and brands in this post. I am definitely not encouraging anyone to overshop, but I also know how very hard it can be to find clothes (and accessories) that will stand the test of time – and it’s becoming increasingly difficult.
Please note that the included links are not affiliate links. I will not make any commission if you click on any of the links below; I just want to help provide some guidance to help you shop more wisely. If you want to help support this site, you can either purchase my books or any of the items included on my Resources Page (which is going to be enhanced soon).
Many of the links are to the US-based sites, but I know I have many readers in other countries, too. I would be happy to include separate sections for my UK, Canada, and Australia-based readers, as well any other countries for which information is contributed. Feel free to share international resources in the comments section as desired.
There are some comments and caveats mentioned for the items listed below and you may not agree with all of the recommendations. That’s okay. There will never be 100% consensus with anything, but it’s always nice to have something to go on.
This list is just a starting point. You will notice some missing categories (e.g. plus-size options) and some sparsely populated categories (e.g. purses and jewelry). What I’d really like is for you to add your feedback to the mix in the comments section of this post so that this can be as comprehensive a resource as possible. The more information, the better, so please share away!
T-Shirts and Tanks:
- Eileen Fisher – Often made in the USA from sustainable materials. I don’t have any tees or tanks from this brand yet, but I hope to get some soon. I have a dress and a skirt from Eileen Fisher and I have been very happy with both pieces so far.
- Land’s End – These tees have a nice thick weight and wash well. They are available at a low price point online and in Sear’s stores. I bought a few Land’s End tees late last year and have been happy with them. I have washed them multiple times and they have held up well, but time will tell how well they will last.
- Eddie Bauer – I have bought my t-shirts from this retailer for many years and was always impressed with how well they lasted. The quality has declined somewhat in recent years, but I still feel that they are superior to what I’ve found at many other retailers. The weight of the t-shirts is fairly thick, which is hard to find these days. But I’ve noticed that the tops stretch out more easily than they used to.
- The Gap – I’ve had good luck with their “Favorite Fit” tees. I’ve only purchased the long-sleeved option, but that style is also available in short-sleeved options. Offered in crew-neck and V-neck styles at very reasonable price points.
- Nordstrom Caslon Brand – A lot of my tops are from this brand and I’ve been fairly happy with them. The quality has been a bit more hit-and-miss recently, but I still have decent luck with my Caslon tops.
- Nordstrom Halogen Brand – My feedback about this brand is much the same as for Caslon. I don’t have as many Halogen pieces, but they are a brand I often buy and am satisfied with.
- Chico’s – I haven’t shopped at this store in a long time, but many of the tank tops I’ve had for years are from Chico’s and they have lasted very well. I’m not sure if their quality is still at the same level, but it’s worth a try.
Tops – General:
- Vince Camuto – I have a few tops from this brand and have been very happy with them. I purchased mine at Nordstrom, but they are available at other stores and through their website (to which I have linked).
- Eddie Bauer – If you like waffle-style tops, this is a good place to buy them. I have purchased my casual tops from Eddie Bauer for years and have been impressed with the quality. That said, I’ve started to notice a decline in their quality recently in terms of the thickness and durability of the material. I would still buy tops from Eddie Bauer, though.
Cashmere and Other Types of Sweaters:
- Isaac Mizrahi – One reader mentioned that she purchased a few cashmere sweaters from Isaac Mizrahi via QVC. She mentioned that the quality is better than that of sweaters you’d find in department stores at the same price points.
- Everlane – Per several readers, this brand offers good quality cashmere at reasonable prices. They also sell chunky wool sweaters that have earned favorable reviews. They are very transparent about their manufacturing practices and have excellent customer service.
- Men’s Cashmere – Several readers recommended shopping in men’s departments for cashmere sweaters. Men’s sweaters are often made from thicker fabric and are of much higher quality than women’s cashmere, as men buy infrequently and expect their clothes to last. This is an especially good option for women who like a boxier fit or who have more of a “boyish” shape.
- Macy’s Charter Club – A reader touted the low prices for this brand (often on sale) and the fact that the sweaters last well.
Casual Jackets / Outerwear:
- Patagonia – I bought a casual jacket from this brand last year and have worn it multiple times. I’ve been impressed with the quality and durability and would definitely recommend it. Patagonia is known for their ethics and sustainability, as well as their quality clothing. My husband also has a Patagonia jacket that he’s worn into the ground for the past two years, and it still looks great!
- Eddie Bauer – While the quality of Eddie Bauer’s tops may be declining, I haven’t noticed that with their jackets. I am still impressed with how well they are made and how durable they are. I have several casual jackets from Eddie Bauer that I wear on my regular walks and have found them to stand the test of time very well.
Blazers, Moto Jackets, and Similar:
- Nordstrom Caslon Brand – This brand is great for knit blazers and moto jackets. I’ve had some of mine for at least a few years and I’ve been very happy with them. There isn’t a large selection right now, but I suspect that in a month or so, there will be more on offer.
- Nordstrom Halogen Brand – Usually a bit more upscale than Caslon, but the price points are still good. The black moto jacket I bought last year is from Halogen and I think the quality is excellent.
- Nordstrom Bobeau Brand – I believe this is a Nordstrom house brand. If you like drape-style cardigans, this is a good brand to check out. The price points are reasonable and the quality is usually quite good. I have a few pieces from this brand that I’ve been pleased with.
- Nordstrom (general) – There are currently over 300 cardigan options available from Nordstrom in all different colors and styles. I can’t vouch for the quality of all of the linked styles, but I’ve generally been satisfied with the cardigans I’ve purchased at Nordstrom. The brand that I like a lot (other than Bobeau, above) is called Kische, but don’t see any options for that brand listed currently.
- The Limited – I used to shop this brand a lot in my 20’s and 30’s. A store opened in my local mall last year and I purchased a cobalt cardigan that I’ve been quite happy with. Their quality seems to be pretty good overall, so it might be worth checking out.
Pants / Jeans:
- Lucky Brand – My recent jean purchases (in the past year) have been from Lucky Brand. My jeans are too new to attest to their longevity, but my husband buys all of his jeans from Lucky and held up well over the years. They have many different styles and washes, as well as multiple lengths available.
- Eddie Bauer (pants | jeans) – I have bought quite a few pairs of pants and jeans from Eddie Bauer and have been impressed with the quality. While they have traditionally been geared more toward casual and sporty wear, they have branched out in recent years and now offer some dressier and work-appropriate clothing, too. If you are looking for pants in styles other than the current cutting-edge trends, Eddie Bauer is a good place to look, as they have a broad range of selections.
- Gap (pants | jeans) – I haven’t purchased much at The Gap recently, so I can’t attest to their recent quality, but the pants and jeans I’ve bought from them in the past have held up well. They also offer three or four lengths in most of their styles, so Gap is a good retailer to shop if you need either very short or long inseams.
- Not Your Daughter’s Jeans – I have only purchased one pair of jeans from this brand and it’s held up quite well (still in my closet from 2007!). A reader recently mentioned that she was impressed with this brand, too. The reason I haven’t gone back to this brand is that they tend to have a very high rise and that is not my preference. But their jeans include lots of tummy control for those who need it, which is a big reason they are so popular with the over 40 crowd. I linked to the brand site, but Nordstrom also offers a large selection online and in their Point of View department.
Dresses and Skirts:
- Nordstrom (dresses | skirts) – The dresses and skirts I’ve bought over the past two years have mostly been from Nordstrom and are primarily maxi length styles. Their longevity is not yet proven, but I have been happy with the quality thus far. Brands that I like at Nordstrom include Bobeau, Max & Mia, and Eliza J.
- Eileen Fisher (dresses | skirts) – About two years ago, I purchased a skirt and a dress from Eileen Fisher. I had heard good things about this brand previously and have been pleased with my two Eileen Fisher items. As mentioned above, Eileen Fisher clothing is often made in the USA and from sustainable materials.
- White House Black Market – Per feedback from several readers, the office wear from this retailer is generally high quality but occasionally misses the mark. Fabrics usually have some sort of interesting texture, so there is still variety despite the limited color palette. Prices can be high, but they often have sales and coupons. Most dresses are lined, but pants usually are not. One reader swears by their dresses, blouses, skirts, jeans, cardigans, and jackets.
- Banana Republic – One reader mentioned that this retailer offers good season-less wool items such as pencil skirts and jackets.
- Gap (GapFit line) – Much of my workout wear is from this brand and I have been happy with it. Sadly, they no longer carry my favorite pant fit, so I’m going to have to find a good alternative once my pants wear out. But I have worn and washed my pants many, many times and they are still holding up well. The tops also seem to be more durable than other workout tops I’ve worn in the past.
- Athleta – This brand offers a wide range of stylish, comfortable, and good quality athletic and casual wear. I don’t have many pieces myself, but plan to look to Athleta for future purchases in this category, as they seem to be a step above what I’ve worn previously. They are also more expensive, but sometimes we get what we pay for.
- Eddie Bauer (tops | pants) – For years, I purchased all of my workout tops from Eddie Bauer (I leaned toward their “favorite fit” V-neck tees). I still buy those tees, but I feel that the quality is not as high as it used to be. However, they have recently launched a new line of workout wear called Motion and I purchased two of the tees (this style). I can’t speak to the longevity as of yet, but I am impressed with the fit and the quick-dry fabric. They also have pants in this new line, but I haven’t tried them. I do like their “Girl on the Go” pants, although I prefer the fit from two years ago to the current version (the current version is a better fit for those with more of a straight figure).
- Old Navy – Two years ago, I purchased two pairs of pants from their active wear category. I have been very happy with these pants and they have lasted through many wearings and washings. I definitely got my money’s worth and would surely replace them if the style were still available. Most of their current styles are very fitted (or have fold-over waistlines, which I don’t like) and I prefer a more relaxed workout pant, but I included this brand on the list as I was impressed with the value for the price.
- Natori (Nordstrom) – This is the brand of bra I’ve been wearing in recent years and I’m very happy with it. I’m sure Natori is available in other places, but I buy my bras from Nordstrom. The styles I like are the Feathers Underwire Contour (apparently a Nordstrom best-seller) and the “Hidden Glamour” Contour Underwire.
- Gap Body – In addition to the Natori bras mentioned above, I also wear the Gap Body t-shirt bras. These bras are reasonably priced and have held up well over the past two years. There are multiple styles and colors available. There aren’t as many size options as for the Natori bras, but the value for the price is good in my opinion.
- Eileen Fisher – Guest poster Terra swears by Eileen Fisher for smart casual wear for her size 2 petite frame. Many of their clothes run large, however, so it’s often a good idea to size down. Sometimes very small, petite women like Terra can be sized out of some styles, but if you can find clothes in this brand that fit you well, you will be impressed with the quality.
- Boy’s Departments – Several readers have mentioned boy’s departments as an excellent place to find classic polo shirts, button-down shirts and similar styles for small, petite women. The boys’ version of some items are often higher quality and less expensive than women’s options.
- Lucky Brand – I mentioned this brand above as my go-to jeans choice. That’s because they offer long (34”) and extra-long (36”) lengths in many of their styles.
- Eddie Bauer – This retailer also offers tall (usually 36” inseam) for many of their pants and jeans options. They also offer tall versions of many of their top and outerwear styles.
- Gap – Another good resource for tall clothing. Gap offers a wide range of options for tall women in pants, tops, dresses, skirts, shorts, and outerwear.
- LOFT – One tall reader mentioned that she really likes Loft’s pants options, particularly their tall curvy jeans.
- Clark’s – I have quite a few pairs of shoes from Clarks, particularly sandals and boots. Some of these shoes have been in my closet for years and have stood up to many wearings. Clarks has many different styles and I have found their shoes to be comfortable on my fussy feet.
- Ecco – Another brand I really like is the Danish brand, Ecco. I have boots, sandals, and walking shoes from this brand and have been happy with them. They are a great choice for staple shoes in basic styles.
- Naot – A comfort brand made in Israel. I only have one pair of Naot shoes, but they have been in my closet for several years and have held up very well. My mom also has a few pairs of Naots and is very pleased with them.
- Attilio Giusti Leombroni (AGL) – This brand is known for their cap-toe ballet flats that are a Nordstrom best-seller. After years of coveting these shoes, I finally brought a pair into my closet a little over a year ago. I’ve been impressed with the quality, comfort, and style of these shoes. They are definitely pricey, but I feel they are worth it.
- Sofft – I currently only have one pair of Sofft shoes, but I have worn this brand quite a bit over the years and would recommend it. They are known for being a comfort brand, but they also offer a lot of stylish options in varying heel heights and colors.
- Ziera – I have two pairs of Ziera shoes (black caged sandals, metallic flats). Both are relatively new, so I can’t yet attest to their longevity. But I can say that these shoes are comfortable upon their first wearing and appear to be of superior quality. Ziera is made in New Zealand, so they may be plentiful in both that country and in Australia. I haven’t seen this brand much yet in the US, but they are available online.
- Van Eli – One reader swears by this brand for flats with arch support (she has “fussy feet” like me).
- Geoxx – The same reader who recommended Van Eli also touted the virtues of Geoxx flats with arch support.
- Sam Edelman – This brand was mentioned as being a good option for boots, but they also offer lots of great styles of ballet flats and sandals.
- Men’s Shoes – A great option for women who are looking for classic shoe styles like oxfords, brogues, boat shoes, and loafers. Most women generally wear a full size smaller in men’s shoes than their usual women’s size (e.g. a woman who wears a size 9 would take a men’s size 8).
Handbags / Purses:
- Brighton – Many of my purses are from Brighton and I’ve been very impressed with the quality. They also offer a refurbishing service for all bags purchased in their stores. Once a year, you can bring in your bag to have it cleaned free of charge. I’ve used this service a few times and have been pleased to have a like-new bag returned to me!
- Coach – I haven’t purchased Coach bags recently, but they used to be a go-to brand for me and I know many other women swear by them. I will likely look to this brand again for my next handbag, as I want to vary things up a bit from the Brighton bags.
Accessories / Jewelry:
- Brighton – I also like Brighton’s jewelry and have mostly been impressed with their quality. I say “mostly” because I did have an issue with one bracelet (I lost it when the fastener came undone), but for the most part, I’ve been happy with the jewelry pieces I’ve purchased at Brighton. This brand is a good option for those who love silver and two-toned metallic jewelry. They also offer great belts, sunglasses (I have a pair and love them), wallets, key fobs, and eyeglass holders.
- Men’s Departments – Several readers mentioned men’s departments as being a great option for scarves (including cashmere), hats, gloves, belts, etc. The offerings are often of much higher quality than the women’s equivalents. As one example, a reader wrote that the thickness of the cashmere scarves and gloves she purchased in a men’s department was twice that of the comparable women’s options (and the prices were lower, too).
- Linda’s Stuff – An eBay seller that offers quality clothing options, free shipping, and returns. One reader swears by this option.
- The Real Real – Online designer consignment (designer clothing at much lower prices)
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