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- At Insider Reviews, we test out hundreds of products each year. That volume makes us particularly discerning shoppers in our own lives, especially when it comes to what goes in our closets.
- I asked seven women on the Insider Reviews team to share where they personally shop for workwear, and what they recommend buying from each store.
- Below, you'll find our 20 go-to brands, like M.M.LaFleur, Everlane, and Dagne Dover, plus our favorite styles to buy.
The day that I realized I would spend most of my adult life in workwear is the same day I found myself sweating, rolling bags of ill-fitting blouses, scratchy wool skirts, and too-tight blazers into a donation bin. If you aren't strategic in picking out workwear you actually like, then an alarming percentage of your closet will one day be drab, unflattering, and uncomfortable.
Thankfully, there is no shortage of great places to find the kind of workwear that you'll actually want to wear — the kind that feels and looks good, but also makes you more comfortable at your desk and more confident in your day-to-day life.
I asked the women on the Insider Reviews team to divulge the stores they personally shop at, and what they buy. We see and test hundreds of products every year, which makes us extremely critical shoppers — especially where our own small closets are concerned. Below, we share some of our favorite places to buy women's workwear and a few tips and tricks about what to buy from each brand.
Read on for 20 places we go-to for women's workwear, and what we buy from each:
Everlane is an internet darling, partly thanks to transparent pricing in an industry that has traditionally relied upon markups. We shop here primarily for basics that are above-average in quality and below-average in price. We like Everlane's shoes, leather bags, cotton shirts, and $50 work pants.
Insider Reviews senior reporter Connie Chen calls the $50 work pant the one thing you can't pass up at Everlane, adding, "Fifty dollar work pants is all I need to say. They're comfortable, flattering, and go for double the price elsewhere. You might even want to buy more than one pair since they come in versatile neutrals and cute greens and blues."
In terms of footwear, we typically recommend the Day shoe family, though you'll want to size up a half size for your order. We're unanimously fans of the company's $118 Day Glove (I wear it at least three times per week in the summer) and we also love the Day Heel ($145), Day Loafer ($94), and Day Boot ($236). And, if you're open to knits, the comfort of the Day Glove ReKnit flats ($68) is hard to beat. You can find a review of the flats here.
If it's a business casual office, Everlane's $68 Authentic Stretch Denim is one of our all-time favorite pairs of jeans because they are comfortable and liberating like stretch denim, but feel slightly rough to the touch like true denim. We've happily worn them both to the office and on plane rides.
Everlane's basics rarely disappoint. This extra-fine ribbed pima cotton crew has the perfect thickness and stretch to make it look a little extra flattering and feel nicer than average. I have it in almost every color.
Dagne Dover makes stylish bags with the best internal design hacks for an organized professional life.
The Classic Signature Tote ($245) is our top pick for the best work bag you can buy — and it has earned its spot. Insider Reviews freelancer Erin Mayer compared its specialized pockets to the clown car effect. Inside, there's a neoprene water bottle sleeve, phone pocket, pen holder, padded laptop sleeve, notebook or tablet sleeve, and an interior side pocket — as well as a detachable key holder.
Insider Reviews reporters Connie Chen, Remi Rosmarin, and I all rely upon the brand's Ryan Laptop Bag or Weston Laptop Bag. As Remi put it, "this bag feels like it was designed with every one of my commuter frustrations in mind." They're stylish, hyper-organized, and sleek enough to stay out of the way in a crowded subway car. Both run for $135-$155 depending on the size you select.
M.M.LaFleur is the name to know for high-end, stylish, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. workwear. Most clothes are machine-washable and wrinkle-resistant, and the brand's design hacks are helpful rather than gimmicky — like internal clips to keep bra straps in place and adjustable pant hems for different shoes. Miyako Nakamura, former head designer for Zac Posen, is a master at flattering, easy silhouettes.
Thre are also plenty of options for business travelers that feature machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant, packable suiting staples like the Yan Jacket ($325) and the Doris Dress ($125), the latter which has been treated with an anti-odor finish so you can wear it multiple times before needing to throw it in the wash.
Both Ellen Hoffman and I use the brand's cozy, flattering Morandi Sweater ($265) as our go-to "desk sweater" — even though the price is much more than either of us would typically spend on a sweater. It's flattering, versatile, and goes with everything. According to Ellen who did the math, "If I wear the sweater three times a week for 49 weeks out of the year, it comes out to $1.80 per wear after one year. After two years, its cost per wear drops to $0.90." In the end, it's worth it.
M.M.LaFleur also makes ingenious pants that adjust for different shoe heights: The Foster Pant ($195).
Nordstrom is, unsurprisingly, always a solid one-stop-shop, and it's one we use frequently. It carries a large variety of top brands, including some of our favorite startups, and has a few major sales events, a good rewards program, and a great customer service department. The site will also put together styling suggestions which is helpful for figuring out what goes with what.
Popular online startups like Summersalt, Universal Standard, Dagne Dover (picture 1) and Lively (picture 2) have been available to shop on Nordstrom, with Nordstrom's considerable perks — like free shipping and easy returns.
Nordstrom also technically owns Trunk Club, a personal styling service that can update your wardrobe with the help of a stylist and the wide offerings available on Nordstrom, with little effort on your part. There's a $25 styling fee, but it's waived if you choose to buy anything they send you.
Tommy John has made best-in-category men's underwear for over a decade. Unsurprisingly, it's been fielding requests for women's underwear since its launch. But, it wasn't until a Facebook post of a woman wearing Tommy John boxer briefs caught co-founder Erin Fujimoto's attention that the company issued its own women's line — and we're extremely glad they did.
There are plenty of good underwear options for women these days that are pretty and extremely comfortable (Everlane and MeUndies come to mind). But, Tommy John makes the best. Its Air styles are the best I own (feather-light, never roll, bunch, or pill), and if they didn't cost $26 each, they're the only ones I'd buy.
The Air "Stay Tucked" Camisole ($24) is another of its best offerings.
Spanx is best-known for their shapewear, and — to nobody's surprise — the same things that make their shapewear great (intuitive design, savvy understanding of women's bodies, and high-end materials) also make the best tights we've tested.
Ellen Hoffman, director of content strategy, calls Spanx her all-time favorite tights: "The Luxe Leg Mid-Thigh Shaping Tights ($28) are a true workhorse in my fall and winter wardrobe since that never rip, never pill, and hold me in in all the right places, without suffocating me in the process. I wear and wash them many, many times throughout the season and am consistently impressed by how well they hold up compared to tights from other brands." You can also find them at Nordstrom.
We tested Spanx's collection of "The Perfect Black Pant" which includes four style iterations of the workwear staple — from flare to skinny. We were most impressed with the machine-washable, smoothing fabric that's flattering but not restrictive and their versatility. Sizing options also include petite, regular, or tall inseams.
J. Crew seems to be hosting a sale every other day — and that's great news for anyone looking to pick up good-quality office basics at a discount. If you're looking for a fresh, leopard pencil skirt or a fitted blazer in Italian wool, you may want to check here first.
We love the brand's preppy-retro blazers, classic-fit button-ups, and fun-but-still-professional prints and patterns.
I'm always surprised by how few people take advantage of J.Crew's uniquely well-made desk-to-drinks basics. They're professional without approaching dowdy. The best example of this is the company's longstanding Regent Blazer ($155) — sleek, stylish, and great dressed down for coffee on a Saturday afternoon or up for a big meeting. Plus, the store seems to be in an eternal 40%-off sale.
MZ Wallace was created by two native New Yorkers looking to make stylish, thoughtfully designed essentials for the modern woman. You'll know them by their signature quilted-nylon bags.
Former Insider Reviews reporter Remi Rosmarin swears by MZ Wallace. "My MZ Wallace tote is my favorite weekday bag. It comes with me from work to the gym to dinners and everything in between. The brand really knows what it's doing when it comes to blending fashion with function, making cute pieces with versatile features like organizational pockets, key ring straps, and detachable pouches."
Multiple reporters recommended Club Monaco as a reliable spot for chic, on-trend pieces appropriate for work and life in general. Its clothes can be classified as sophisticated — but not dowdy or overly formal. Dress them up for work, or down for the weekend.
Club Monaco is especially good for clothes that are cute enough to like wearing every day. This silky '90s-inspired slip skirt is perfect for an easy, flattering staple that can go from desk to drinks.
Pro tip: they have some good ongoing sales, so it's worth checking out the sale section first.Rent the Runway Unlimited Membership
Rent the Runway lets you rent designer clothes so you can have a more versatile, sustainable, and high-end closet. And although the company has discontinued its much-loved unlimited membership, you can still get plenty of designer pieces delivered straight to your door either once, twice, or three times a month.
A Rent the Runway (RTR) membership may be the only subscription — aside from mainstays like Hulu or Amazon Prime — that multiple Insider Reviews reporters have. But depending on which membership level you choose, it might also the most expensive by far. You can see the $4,862 of clothes we rented in a week here.
You have three membership options: You can get four items per month for $89/month, eight items for $135/month, or 16 items for $199/month. Each delivery comes with four items, so you will get clothes either once, twice, or four times each month.
We're willing to pay the high fee because RTR delivers on variety, style, and convenience. They take care of shipping and dry cleaning, and, if you choose the two higher-priced memberships, you get access to a vast selection of high-end clothes you wouldn't be able to afford (or willing to buy) to wear in everyday life.
That means you won't spend 75% of your clothing budget on professional wear or vice versa, only to stress over outfit repeating. It also means you can try trends you wouldn't otherwise be willing to drop cash on. And, as executive editor Ellen Hoffman put it, "I'm actually spending far less on clothes these days" even with the monthly fee.
It's one of the many things we've bought based on a colleague's glowing review.
Point blank, Thirdlove makes the most comfortable everyday bras you can buy. The women-led company offers half-cup sizes, has a great return policy, and recently extended its offerings to 70 sizes. We ranked them the best bra you can buy in the Insider Reviews Buying Guide.
Personally, the super-soft 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra ($55) is the first time (other than my experience with the more casual True & Co Racerback ($58) that I've felt excited to put on a bra. It's smooth under T-shirts, comes in six skin-tone adjacent colors, and is so comfortable I feel real gratitude for it during transatlantic airplane rides.
LA startup DSTLD started by making premium denim under $100. It has since expanded to a huge variety of sleek basics — including leather jackets.
Insider Reviews senior editor Jada Wong recommends DSTLD for high-quality jeans that won't cost you $200 per pair: "DSTLD has really nice classic styles that can pass for work pants, and don't let the low price point fool you in thinking that it's not high-quality. They're just as good, if not better, than ones that have cost me $200." A pair of high-waisted skinny jeans will probably cost you $85-$95 instead.
I also rely on the brand's $180 Wool Blanket Maxi Coat as a budget-friendly on-trend coat in the colder months.
If your office dress code allows for leather jackets, this is the best affordable, high-end option I've found.
Modern Citizen's neutral pieces make it easy to build a chic, minimalist wardrobe without spending a fortune. The site also lets you search by occasion to quickly find what you're looking for. Go to the "Work" tab to find a curated selection of pieces that'll look great in or out of the office.
A high-rise waist and straight, tapered leg make for a flattering fit that looks great with literally any top.
This airy blouse with pleated detailing and a V-neck is a great basic you'll wear all the time. Tuck into trousers for a more formal look or wear over jeans for a simple, romantic style.
Cuyana makes stylish, high-end leather bags and basics for reasonable prices.
Insider Reviews senior editor Jada Wong prefers Cuyana or Madewell for leather work bags since they can take the daily beatings of your life while lugging around a laptop, book, makeup bag, and workout clothes.
The Work Satchel ($398) has a laptop sleeve to fit both a 13-inch and 15-inch computer, a zipper pocket, and an adjustable crossbody strap. It'll also age well, making a $400+ price tag a little easier to justify.
You can also buy the portable Tote Organization Insert ($95) that has the organizational pockets that cavernous, minimalist totes do not.
Eileen Fisher is all about easy dressing. Simple, clean shapes and great fabrics are the ethos of the brand. The clothes are a bit pricy, but thanks to the timeless styles and truly top-notch materials, you can expect them for decades.
A simple collared dress that can be worn on its own in the summer or layered over pants as a tunic for cooler months.
A great pair of pants that fit like a glove and can be thrown in the wash for easy cleaning. Pair these with any item from The System collection for an effortlessly chic, office-appropriate look.
An upgrade from your everyday t-shirt, this simple shell is a great basic for your work wardrobe. The jersey is comfortable and substantial making it a great piece for layering or wearing on its own.
Insider Reviews senior editor Jada Wong says that Banana Republic is one of the best foolproof workwear stores.
Jada swears by the brand's basic black pants: "I stock up on basic black pants at LOFT or Banana Republic whenever I can. They're just so versatile and chic! They're also a no-brainer on dreary-eyed mornings."
Madewell is responsible for some of the best jeans on the internet, and the rest of its styles include everything you'd wear with a great pair of jeans — like boots, tees, and keep-forever bags.
These Madewell jeans are like a slightly thinner and more moldable version of Everlane's Authentic Stretch denim, though no less flattering. They look great on, and they're never uncomfortable to wear. Madewell is also one of few quality denim options that offer a high enough high-rise for tall people (nine-inch or 10-inch).
Insider Reviews senior editor Jada Wong says she's bought a pair of Madewell booties every fall for the past five years, "not because I needed to, but because I want to."
The classics are about $178-$298 and season-less. Plus most feature chunky two-inch heels, so they're walkable enough that you don't need to bring in a separate pair of shoes to commute to work in.
Commando's main selling point is that its line of tights has a patented, raw-cut waistband that won't dig into your skin.
Commando's raw-cut waistbands mean the Ultimate Opaque Control Top Tights ($38) are one of very few that don't give me a bizarre stomach ache while wearing. They're more expensive than a $10 pair from Uniqlo (which freelance editor Jada Wong recommends) but they're worth the extra cost to me. I can wear them comfortably all day, and they've far outlived cheaper pairs I own.
Old Navy is the go-to for cheap basics that don't require a heavy compromise on material or style. In fact, content producer Francesca Rea says about 90% of her closet come from Old Navy.
Uniqlo has a few solid collections to shop — including its Wear to Work collection and its collaborations. Multiple Insider Reviews reporters placed Uniqlo as one of their first stops for restocking basics like tights and tops, as well as stocking up on its effective HeatTech for winter.
In the winter, you'd be hard-pressed to find better innerwear than the HeatTech collection — clothes that generate heat from your body. As Insider Reviews senior editor Jada Wong says, "In the winter, I have a foundation layer of all-Uniqlo-everything underneath my outfit. Can they make a HeatTech onesie already?"