Shopping for co-op doesn’t have to feel like a second job. Whether your dress code calls for a crisp two-piece suit or a more laid back feel, you should always look your best at work. However, shopping for a new wardrobe can be a bit overwhelming. The best way to conquer this would be to shop places that allow you to get more bang for your buck. The stores listed are either located in Center City or available online.
Lower price range: The great thing about the stores in this category is the prices! If your co-op is unpaid, these stores will definitely be your favorites. You can purchase a ton of everyday pieces without breaking bank. You can build an entire wardrobe around a closet full of amazing basics; so don’t be afraid to rack up on your everyday pieces. Quick tip: Basics make for great interview outfits and they are the perfect foundation to build your outfit.
1. Buffalo Exchange: Not only can you buy clothes at a great price, you can even trade or sell your clothes and/or accessories for a great price! If you’re looking for vintage pieces, but you can’t get to a thrift store, give Buffalo Exchange a shot. The prices here are far lower than the prices you can find at some of the other stores mentioned in this article.
2. H&M: Besides amazing basics, you can expect amazing deals at H&M. Pick up trendy clothing and grab a couple accessories to finish off your look. I guarantee you’ll find amazing gems you can mix and match and take from day to night.
3. Uniqlo: Think H&M 2.0. Uniqlo offers everyday essentials of amazing quality. The clothes here are definitely meant for your business casual wardrobe. If you want pieces that look crisp and clean, but are still pretty fun and flexible, Uniqlo is a good way to go.
4. Old Navy: In need of some slacks? Old Navy is where you should be looking. The great thing about Old Navy (aside from the prices) is that they offer a range of clothing for a range of body types. Whether you’re petite, tall, or average, they have clothing that will suit you. So don’t worry about not being able to find the perfect pair of dress pants; they’re probably just waiting for you at Old Navy.
5. Nordstrom Rack: If you love Nordstrom, but can’t bring yourself to spend Nordstrom-money, try Nordstrom Rack. Think of it as an outlet store. They offer the designers you may find at Nordstrom, but at ridiculously discounted prices. You can score designer pieces for up to 70% off!
Mid price range: If you’re looking for the same great deals that you can find from the stores in the first category, but slightly better quality clothing; consider these stores. Of course, higher quality requires a higher price, but you’ll still have money left over to buy lunch the next day. From any one of these stores, you won’t go wrong purchasing your denim pieces (if your dress code allows it). You can also find great pieces for office parties or presentation days in this category.
1. New York & Co: Basically anything you find at New York & Co can be worn at the office. They specialize in wear-to-work clothing so, when in doubt, go to New York & Co.
2. ASOS: An irresistible range of trends at reasonable prices is offered at ASOS. The assortment of brands carried by the online retailer assures that there’s something for everyone! It also means that you’ll definitely find something trendy that fits perfectly within your budget. If you’re iffy about ordering clothes for work online, take advantage of the catwalk model videos that are available for almost every piece of clothing and footwear.
3. Zara: If you’re dying for a way to bring the runway to the office while remaining professional, Zara is your best bet! The looks you see on the runway at fashion week will most likely hit the racks at Zara in an inspired form. If you love the pieces but they’re a little too pricey for your budget, don’t miss out on their amazing end of season sales!
4. Express: You don’t have to worry about sifting through a bunch of clothes that look like they’re meant for middle-aged women. Everything at Express is made to settle your worries of looking too old at the office. If you’re going out after work one night, you’re sure to find one outfit that’s appropriate for both.
5. Loft: If your office has a strict, conventional dress code, you don’t have to look frumpy. Loft has a collection of work clothes that are conservative, but still very trendy.
High price range: The stores in this category are the places where you would want to purchase timeless pieces that would last multiple work seasons. From this category, think of purchasing a durable tote bag or an amazing pair of go-to shoes that you can wear every day. Or maybe a warm winter coat that will get you through the brutal Philly winters. However you chose to splurge these stores are best for pieces that you’ll always run back to.
1. GAP: If you want a more uniformed shopping experience, GAP may be well suited for you. In contrast to the other stores that may offer a wide range of clothing, GAP has a more tailored approach. It embodies simplicity by offering plenty basics and few graphics. If you’re looking to stay within a neutral color palette, you won’t have trouble finding great pieces here.
2. Madewell: If you like J. Crew, you’ll probably like Madewell too. The sister store also offers amazing pieces, but they’re less preppy than those at J. Crew. If you’re into a more wearable look and feel that’ll fit in better with your business casual wardrobe, you’ll appreciate the clothes offered at Madewell.
3. J. Crew: You don’t have to have a preppy style to shop at J. Crew. Visit their online Wear-to-Work Shop to find amazing quality basics and professional looking garments. The crisp, timeless pieces are definitely worth the price. However, don’t look to purchase your entire working wardrobe in one shot here unless you’re prepared to drop a couple paychecks.
Department: You can never go wrong with a trip to a department store. You can purchase a full working outfit (outerwear, top, bottom, shoes, and accessories) in just one visit! These two range from mid tier to high end without running into Bloomingdale’s prices.
1. Macy’s: Pretty much a classic, Macy’s probably won’t fail you. You can count on finding digs from the classic designers we all know and have come to love.
2. Nordstrom: Although smaller than Macy’s, Nordstrom still offers an adequate range of clothing and accessories. You can find fun pieces that can still be worn to work. If you’re looking for a way to add a mix of colors and patterns (in moderation) check out their work section. If for some reason the clothing is not best suited for your style or age group, there are other brands available that are targeted toward a younger age group like Topshop and Nordstrom B.P.
Although work can be a daunting experience, shopping for work shouldn’t be. These stores cover budgets on all ends of the spectrum. Even if your dress code requires you to dress conservatively or allows you to dress more casually, you still want to look professional. If you shop at any of these stores, your work-ready wardrobe will not be lacking in any department.