The Best Stores to Shop for Affordable Clothing


red peasant sleeve top with black pants

Y’all, I love clothes…if you haven’t noticed. But naturally, I don’t love hefty price tags, especially on a college budget. While I am a firm believer that you can shop anywhere if you’re sale savvy, today I wanted to round up some of my favorite stores to score goodies on a regular basis.

affordable shopping JCPenney Francesca's consignment shoppingred patterned shirt with blue infinity scarf

H&M. I think H&M gets a lot of crap…people say the store is too messy and crazy to actually find anything. While that may be true, I’m going to have to break some news to you—being lazy won’t cut it if you’re trying to be a savvy shopper. Yes yes, I know, it actually takes work to shop efficiently and on a budget; try to wrap your head around it now. I personally love H&M because it’s hectic. I like to think of it like a scavenger hunt and every now and again you discover an amazing gem, like this old-fashioned lace blouse.

H&M usually has really good prices, and unlike similar stores like Forever21, my pieces from H&M have stood the test of time. I just wouldn’t recommend shopping online for this store because you can’t feel the materials before purchasing, and that’s how you know if something is made too cheaply. Also, pay close attention to the care labels! Make sure you are washing your pieces on the delicate cycle and line drying them instead of throwing them in the dryer. This is the best way to make your clothes last and has been a very successful method for me.

affordable shopping budget stylered Kate Spade purse black skinny jeansred patterned blouse blue infinity scarf

JCPenney. While H&M is great for trendy, in-style clothing, JCPenney is better for more classic pieces and basics. I think this store also gets a lot of flak. People find it almost…embarrassing to shop at a department store? I’m not exactly sure what it is, but maybe they think it’s for old ladies (which to be fair, part of the store definitely is). Rest assured, at least half of my wardrobe is from Penney’s and people always seem shocked when I tell them a piece is from there. I think the difficult part is finding the right department to shop in. Juniors are too young and mostly ill-fitting clothing, but the women’s section is littered with old lady clothes. The sweet spot is in between—my JCPenney has an area between the work out section and the women’s section that has young adult clothing. Cute, sometimes trendy, very colorful pieces…that’s where I like to hang out. I imagine most stores have a similar section, but it can be difficult to find. One of my favorite brands (that lets me know I’m in the right place) is A.N.A. Their stuff is always suited for a younger customer while still being old enough to fit properly and not have midriff showing. Today’s black skinny jeans are from that brand!

red patterned Francesca's blousered patterned peasant sleeve blousered patterned blouse black jeans red purseaffordable clothing patterned top

Nordstrom Rack. Similar to H&M, you have to work to find something good in this store. When you enter, there are always racks at the front with newer (higher priced) items. The place you want to go is the back…where individual pieces are assorted by size, and it’s kind of a mess. Home sweet home. I realize this kind of “treasure hunting” style shopping is not for everyone, but I swear that’s how I’ve scored some of my best items at low prices. This army green military jacket is one of my most worn pieces to date and I found it on major sale lurking in those crazy racks at the back of the store. You just have to enter stores like Nordstrom Rack and H&M with an open mindset, patience, and ample time…If you’re rushed, then you most certainly will get frustrated. But I promise you, there are gems lurking beneath the surface. Just pull out your magnifying glass and start sifting.

patterned red top and black skinny jeansred patterned blouse

Consignment Shops. I’ll admit, I’m not a thrifter…However, I do love an occasional stop at a consignment shop. These types of stores generally have cleaner, higher-end clothing because people bring them to sell at cheaper prices, as opposed to thrift stores, which are donation-based. One of my favorite frocks, this black Calvin Klein cocktail dress, was from the consignment portion of Piece Unique in downtown Boise. I only paid $50 for it when usually CK dresses are close to $150! Consignment stores are more of a gamble because there really only is one of each item, which means you have to get lucky. But personally, that’s what I find so fun about it—when you finally put on a dress that fits just right then you know it’s meant for you. If you haven’t noticed a theme, though, shopping on a budget requires putting in the effort to search thoroughly. It’s just true ladies; I hate to burst your bubble if you’re not into that.

red patterned blouse and blue scarfaffordable shopping budget style

Francesca’s. Y’all knowww how much I love Francesca’s…at least some of you do because I get crap for it all the time! Francesca’s is one of my favorite stores because they have super stylish items (lots of designer dupes as well) at lower price points than traditional stores like Nordstrom or Dillard’s. I admit that sometimes the fit of Francesca’s pieces can be a little shotty, but I think they’ve gotten better about that (I actually am part of a volunteer survey team to help them improve their store and inventory). Most of the time, the original prices are more than I would like to spend for a trendy piece, but I have had great luck in their discount section in the past. I’m talking two $10 skirts and two $5 dresses (score!). I know this post is meant to be stores where you don’t have to wait to shop sales, but Fran’s is almost always having some sort of promo, so it isn’t difficult to get pieces at discounted prices. I have so many purses, clothing items, and even jewelry from this store. This fun printed shirt in today’s post is from there! I think of it as my “Shakespeare shirt” because the pattern and shape of the sleeves makes me feel like a jester during the Renaissance. I’m weird, I know.

red patterned shirt red purse and black skinniesred patterned shirt black skinnies

Have you ever had major scores at any of these stores? Where do you shop on a regular basis? Let me know in the comments below! I love hearing from you guys and I hope today’s post was helpful in your shopping endeavors.


Miles of smiles,



Patterned Sleeve Blouse: Francesca’s, $25 // Black Skinny Pants: A.N.A. via JCPenney, $25 // Blue Booties: White Mountain via DSW, $42 // Blue Infinity Scarf: hand-me-down // Brown Belt: Cabi Clothing, $76 // Red Kate Spade Purse

4 comments on “The Best Stores to Shop for Affordable Clothing”

    1. Thanks so much Jodie! Well as we’ll be showing on Wednesday, age doesn’t matter. 🙂 And same, I always find the best deals in store!

  1. I actually just bought a pair of olive joggers from the junior’s section at jc Penney! (I’m 43). I usually find my best deals in the clearance section at tjmaxx and is definitely a treasure hunt. Haven’t been to h&m in a while just because there is not one close to me. Just discovered your blog and am really enjoying it. Especially your travel section.

    1. Hi Mireille, thanks so much for the sweet comment! So glad you snagged some joggers for a deal. 🙂 I’m still on the hunt for a pair!

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