The 10 best places we shop for women's workwear, including our favorite styles from Everlane, J.Crew, and M.M.LaFleur

The 10 best places we shop for women's workwear, including our favorite styles from Everlane, J.Crew, and M.M.LaFleur

February 17, 2021

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  • Workwear isn’t one-size-fits-all, and more workplaces are loosening their idea of office attire.
  • We’ve tested dozens of products from various brands, along with a handful of favorites for workwear. 
  • Below, you’ll find our 10 go-to brands.

The idea of women’s workwear used to be limited to pencil skirts, sensible slacks, and smart stacked heels. But with more and more workplaces loosening their definition of “work-appropriate attire,” the term workwear has grown to encompass a wide range of styles from myriad brands. Sure, you might not be able to show up to the office in a graphic tee and ripped jeans. But today’s workwear definitely allows you to have a little more personal flare, which is a true blessing for anyone who loves dressing up.

At Insider Reviews, we’ve tested hundreds of items from dozens of retailers, and have a handful of favorites that we toss on whenever we’re headed to our offices. From wrap sweaters to keep you warm when the office AC is blasting, to the perfect carry-all that can transition seamlessly to drinks, we’ve rounded up the best items we count as workwear — and exactly where to buy them. 

Read on for the 10 best places to shop for women’s workwear in 2021:

Updated on 2/17/2021 by Maria Del Russo: We overhauled this guide to include more buying options, and added sizing for each retailer. 

Everlane

Everlane may seem too casual for workwear, but the brand is a go-to for foundational basics for any office wardrobe. 

Sizing options: Varies by style, with most clothing options running 00-16. Shoes tend to run small. 

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.

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 and we also love the Day Heel, Day Loafer, and Day Boot. We also ranked the Everlane Day Market Tote the best tote bag you can buy, in case you were in the market for a work bag upgrade. 

What to buy:

Dagne Dover provides stylish workbags that truly carry everything you could need in a day. 

Dagne Dover makes stylish bags with the best internal design hacks for an organized professional life. The Classic Signature Tote 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’ own executive editor Ellen Hoffman also loves the brand’s leather Allyn Tote ($305-$345) for a work bag.

What to buy:

M.M.LaFleur is the name to know for high-end, stylish, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. workwear.

Sizing options: Varies by style, with most pieces ranging from XS-XXL. 

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.

There are also plenty of options for business travelers that feature machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant, packable suiting staples like the Yan Jacket. Ellen Hoffman sweats by the flattering Morandi Sweater ($125) as her go-to “desk sweater.” It’s flattering, versatile, and goes with everything. M.M.LaFleur also makes the ingenious Foster Pant that adjusts for different shoe heights.

What to buy:

Spanx doesn’t just do shapewear well. The brand offers slick basics that transition to evening super easily. 

Sizing options: The brand has its own hosiery sizing guide, so make sure to reference that. All other pieces range from XS-3X.

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. Multiple Insider Reviews team members sweat by the Luxe Leg Mid-Thigh Shaping Tights, which you can score for just $14. 

But the brand’s pants are also great. 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. 

What to buy:

Don’t sleep on J.Crew because of its preppy reputation. You can find bold, bright patterns and colors in pieces that are still work-appropriate. 

Sizing options: Varies by style, with a lot of pieces ranging from 00-24.

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 J.Crew first. 

We love the brand’s preppy-retro blazers, classic-fit button-ups, and fun-but-still-professional prints and patterns.J.Crew’s uniquely well-made desk-to-drinks basics are also clutch. They’re professional without approaching dowdy. The best example of this is the company’s longstanding Regent Blazer — 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.

What to buy:

Multiple reporters recommended Club Monaco as a reliable spot for chic, on-trend pieces appropriate for work and life in general.

Sizing options: Varies by style, with most pieces ranging 00-14. The brand also has petite options available. 

Club Monaco’s clothes can be classified as sophisticated — but not dowdy or overly formal. Dress them up for work, or down for the weekend.

The brand 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.

What to buy:

LA startup DSTLD started by making premium denim, but has since expanded to a huge variety of sleek basics — including leather jackets. 

Sizing options: Varies by style, with most clothing pieces ranging from XS-XL. Denim ranges from 24-32, with some styles offering multiple inseams. 

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.

The brand’s Wool Blanket Maxi Coat is also a budget-friendly on-trend coat in the colder months — and is great for when the office AC is a little too overzealous. If your office dress code allows for leather jackets, this is one of the best affordable, high-end options we’ve found.

What to buy:

For sleek basics that won’t break your budget, look no further than Modern Citizen.

Sizing options: Varies by style, with most options ranging from XS-XL. 

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, including the Robyn Tapered-Leg Trousers — a high-rise waist and straight, tapered leg make for a flattering fit that looks great with literally any top.

The Sterling Short Sleeve Blouse, on the other hand, is an 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 them over jeans for a simple, romantic style.

What to buy:

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 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. And if you need a little help keeping everything in its place, you can also buy the portable Tote Organization Insert that has the organizational pockets that cavernous, minimalist totes do not.

What to buy:

For clothes that are as comfortable for the office as they are WFH, check out Eileen Fisher.

Sizing options: Varies by style, with most options ranging from XXS-XXL.

Eileen Fisher is all about easy dressing. Simple, clean shapes and great fabrics are the ethos of the brand. And thanks to the timeless styles and truly top-notch materials, you can expect them for decades. 

The brand’s wide-legged pants and breezy blouses can be mixed and matched to create your new — surprisingly comfortable — work wardrobe. And since most of these pieces are minimal, and come in a range of complementary hues, all you need is a few to create the ultimate capsule wardrobe. 

What to buy:

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

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