The amazing rise of online clothing stores selling fast fashion — you know, cheap, trendy garments made to be worn one season only — has made it tough to be a budget fashionista. I say that because a budget fashionista is not the gal who buys on price alone.
A true budget fashionista shops for value. You’re more interested in the $50 top you’ll wear 10 times, versus the $20 top you’ll wear once.
So all of those ultra-cheap retailers are cluttering the landscape, tempting us with their low-cost garments that may or may not be wearable in three months. On top of that trend, we’re also dealing with the slow disappearance of brick-and-mortar department stores.
What’s a fashionista to do? To help you navigate these turbulent times, we’ve created the big list of our fav online clothing stores for budget fashionistas.
Best Online Clothing Stores — Top Picks
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The retailers in our ‘top picks’ section earned their spot for consistently strong selection plus reasonable prices.
We especially love ASOS for its specialty collections: ASOS Tall, ASOS Petite and ASOS Maternity.
Dorothy Perkins has been around for nearly 100 years and has a huge retail presence in the UK. The online store carries sizes 2 to 18, and you can also shop by fit: petite, plus, tall and maternity. Styles are classic, so you’ll find lots of versatile pieces in solid colors.
Mango.com has a high-fashion feel to it, without the high-fashion prices. New pieces are usually priced around $50-80, and you can find amazing deals on their sale page. Like Dorothy Perkins, Mango leans towards solid-colored pieces that use interesting cuts and fabric combinations to stand out.
Modcloth describes itself as a vintage fashion store, but you don’t need to own cat-eye sunnies to shop there. Styles are a tad funkier than you’ll find on Dorothy Perkins, but in a good way. If you have a streak of quirky, you’ll love Modcloth. And when you need inspiration, check out the Outfit Photo Gallery.
Nasty Gal is also for the younger (at heart or by the clock), edgier fashionista. This online store carries its own Nasty Gal line, plus designs from Bardot, Glamorous, Jaded London and Love, Courtney by Nasty Gal. Check the sales often for fashion finds under $15.
Rosegal‘s collection is far more down-to-earth than Nasty Gal’s. You’ll find loads of cute daytime wear, like asymmetrical t-shirts, plaid shirts, hoodie dresses and floral shift dresses. While the site is probably most popular with college students, there are garments suitable for older fashionistas as well.
Tobi is a good choice when you need basics that aren’t boring. A good-looking and affordable bomber or a solid-colored top with an interesting neckline, for example. Plus, sign up for Tobi emails and you’ll be in the know about the retailer’s many sales.
Topshop provides a nice shopping experience when you’re in the mood for exploring. Most of the products feature images of the clothes with and without models, which we like. And you can drop by the Topshop blog if you need extra inspiration. The garments themselves are varied in style, but most will have a street-style feel to them.
Uniqlo‘s motto is “simple made better.” The Uniqlo collection is consistent in style and pricing — you’ll find pieces that are very wearable and affordable. From $60 down jackets to $15 bras, pieces in the Uniqlo collection can fill almost any fashion void you have.
For Great Sales
These online clothing stores are a little spendy for everyday purchases, but you can save big by watching for sales.
Ann Taylor is a solid choice for stylish workwear. Right now, you can sign up for emails and save $25 off your first full-price purchase of $75 or more.
Bluefly caters to high-fashion tastes, but oh those sales! When you’re looking for something truly special and a little splurge-y, something that gives you the opportunity to drop a designer name, then Bluefly is your shop.
LOFT of course is Ann Taylor’s little sis and we love it for the same reasons we love Ann Taylor. The collection is classy and wearable. As with Ann Taylor, you can sign up for their emails to save $25.
Express has been a reliable source of fashion for years. Every time I walk into an Express store, I’m sort of shocked by how expensive the pieces are. $80 for a pair of work pants, for example, is a little steep in my book. But then I’ve never been disappointed with the quality of a garment from Express either. Get the best of both worlds by shopping the sales only.
Macys.com cycles through sales and promotions almost constantly. You could sign up for their emails to stay informed, but honestly, that gets to be overwhelming. Instead, make a habit of going to Macys.com first when you know exactly what you need — it’ll only take a minute to see if that perfect piece just happens to be on sale.
Nordstrom has three big sales every year: the Anniversary Sale in July and the Half-Yearly Sale in the spring and fall. Get those on your calendar! That’s when you’ll want to refresh your bras and underwear and seasonal pieces.
Head to Yoox when you need a label to show off. Jil Sander, Marni, Prada and Rochas are a few of the designer names that grace the pages of Yoox.com. These are spendy garments for sure, but sign up for the sale emails and you may snag a great piece at a steep discount.
Zulily works on a unique model, and this impacts you in two ways. One, you have to create an account and sign in to shop. And two, you’ll have to wait two or three weeks to receive your order. But if you’re OK with that, you can score some amazing deals.
New products go on sale every day and you never know what you might find. Right now, I’m eyeing a Michael Kors gray satchel for $160.
The Old Standbys
Forever 21 gets flack, and some of it’s well-deserved. But my two biggest complaints about Forever21 actually don’t apply to the website shopping experience. First, the in-store returns policy is restrictive and, secondly, the store is usually a mess.
Things are different online, though! Online purchases can be returned for exchange, credit or refund within 30 days. And the website doesn’t have to worry about sloppy display tables.
I actually prefer shopping H&M in the store, but the website is still a good resource for basics like tees, camis and tanks.
We can’t leave Target off this list! Target.com has an enormous selection, and we’re often surprised by the goods you can pick up for the price.
The T.J.Maxx website delivers on the “brand name for less” promise perhaps better than the store itself. We love that the site encourages you to pick your size first and then browse options from there. Too bad they can’t organize the stores that way, where all the large-size pieces — skirts, pants, whatever — are grouped in one section.
And About Those Super-Bargain Retailers
There’s also a whole community of ultra-bargain retailers like Romwe, Shein and Dressilyme. We’d put these in the ‘fast fashion’ category. Yes, the prices are unbelievably low. Some of the styles are super cute. But quality and sizing may be inconsistent. Proceed at your own risk.
Bonus! Shopping Helpers
There are times when you see a piece you like, but you don’t know where to get it. Try one of these sites to help you find that piece, or something like it. We regularly use these resources to find garments to feature on the blog. They all allow you to search by price point and other attributes like color, size, etc.
Now it’s your turn to share! Did we miss any of your favorite online clothing stores? Let us know in the comments.
If you liked this post on online fashion retailers, you’ll love our post on stores with free shipping and returns.