How to Shop Talbots

When most shoppers think of Talbots, thoughts of boring grandma separates often come to mind. However, the brand has undergone a major makeover and now, American fashionistas (budget or otherwise) love Talbots for its modern take on timeless style.

Blending tradition and imagination, a woman can create signature looks for work and play at the popular retailer, but to make sure you really get the most out of your next shopping trip, we’ve compiled a few pointers to help you create your dream wardrobe.

1. Start Online
With the price of getting around rising, if you don’t have to leave the house, why bother? Talbots’ easy-to-navigate website has sections for petites, regular sizes and new sites for plus and woman petite sizes. Shoppers looking for the best deal can shop the sale and outlet areas of the site to find low-cost treasures without scouring sale racks in the store. The website even features videos and an online catalog to help you piece outfits together, which totally beats loading up a dressing rooms with dozens of tops.

2. Save here, Splurge There
Yes, Talbots is much more budget-friendly than, say, Diane Von Furstenburg, but it’s no H&M. Retailers such as Talbots specialize in investment pieces, or legacy items, as the brand refers to them. That means you’re going to have to be prepared to drop a little extra on a trench, bag or suit, but remember: it’s the trench, the bag, the suit. Talbots is perfect to building wardrobe basics, but if you’re looking add to your ensembles and not create a foundation, we recommend sticking to the sale items. If you need a great pair of slacks, go ahead and splurge. If you already have a few great ones, check the outlet for extras.

SAVE: Accordian Ruffle V-Neck Tee, $19
SPLURGE: Oxford Pencil Skirt, $99

3. Know What Works for You
You can count on Talbots for classic, flattering looks, but that doesn’t mean everything in the store is going to look fabulous on you. Know what works for you and your shape, and you’ll be sure to get the most for your money with clothes that flatter your figure. Not only does Talbots divide clothes into regular, plus, petite and woman petite sizes, but many items are also classified by fit. With jackets, the Grace fit is designed to flatter every body shape, while the Kate fit defines the waist and the Jackie fit accommodates a larger bust. Before you buy, make sure the garment looks good on you, not just on the hanger.

Grace Fit Aimee Jacket, $179
Jackie Fit Pintuck Jacket, $99

4. Keep Other Expenses in Mind

There’s no point in buying a $90 tunic if you’re going to destroy it in the washing machine. A lot of Talbots’ clothing– even their washed silk silk tops and button-down shirts– can be cleaned at home, but investment pieces like slacks and jackets need to go to the dry cleaner’s. If you’re not willing to make the trip or pay the price, don’t buy the garment. Also, when it comes to wardrobe basics (especially for the office), your clothes will often need tailoring. A little hemming goes a long way, so if you’re on a budget, it’s better to buy sale items and get them tailored than to buy full-price items you’ll wear as-is.

5. Shop the Trends
If you’re going to buy in to trends, do it at Talbots. Nautical stripes may not be huge next spring, but the fit of that a-line dress will look amazing on you for years, and a chic silk top will add flare to your work wardrobe whether blue is the “it” hue or not. Now you understand what they mean by the phrase “modern take on timeless style.”

Shoreline Striped Sash Dres, $189

Hiker Plaid Skirt, $89

6. Pamper Yourself
It’s not just beautiful garments at affordable prices that makes Talbots shoppers feel glamorous. Did you know Talbots can even play personal stylist? Schedule an appointment, and a Talbots fashion consultant will stock your dressing room with selections designed around your needs, shape and personality, then help you as you make selections. The best part: it’s totally free.

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Catherine Brock

Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on, and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Learn more about Catherine.
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