Where to Shop When You’re In Your 30’s

May 13, 2013

Kate Spade quote

Last week, two things happened that made me feel old. First, I turned 31 (eeek!). And then later in the week, my friend sent around an email that read: I think I’ve hit an all time lowI want to buy something from Coldwater Creek.

After dying with laugher, it hit me. Where does a 30-something-year-old shop?! My friends and I are certainly not feeling Forever 21 anymore and my beloved junior’s section at Nordstrom has been making me feel ancient. Crop tops? — I have a stomach! Neon everything? — I have a full time office job!

So where do budget-conscious women shop when we’ve outgrown Forever 21 or Wet Seal but are still too young for Talbots or Coldwater Creek? (note: both are great retailers, just not right for me… yet).

I decided to pull together a list of retailers for those of us 30+. Each brand hits all three of my criteria: age appropriate, affordable, and [most importantly] cute. Just because I’ve said goodbye to my 20’s does not mean I’m saying goodbye to looking fashionable!

And please share your favorite “over 30” retailers in the comments section!

Where to Shop When You're in Your 30's

Where to Shop: Garnet Hill Retro Cap-Sleeve Knit Dress ($68); JCrew Factory 5” Oxford Chino Short ($32); Piperlime Pim & Larkin Striped Mini Skirt ($54); Ann Taylor Laser Cut Lace Ponte Top ($49); ideeliAnthropologie  Pompom Hem Tunic ($78); The Limited Exact Stretch Ankle Zip Pants ($69); Boden Napoli Dress ($76).

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Leave a comment


  1. I totally LOL’ed at the Coldwater Creek thing because I have totally looked through that and my mom’s Lands End catalogs and totally thought some of the things are cute. It’s not that we are getting older, the companies are just getting more fashionable! But for real, this is a great list and I agree with all of them (esp. Ann Taylor, but only the sales/outlets!)

    • Haha, I’m glad I’m not alone here! Great point — I agree that some retailers are getting trendier. Trendy is great!… but I also need classics. It’s all about balance!

  2. Mindy Portnoy

     /  May 13, 2013

    ooh…that line about “Talbot’s” was a dagger, as I can be found on their website regularly! Misook is the best, but maybe not thrifty enough. But you can all ignore this, as I am 61, and you have many years before you until then. Just know that we “oldsters” out here haven’t given up yet!

  3. Marlene

     /  May 13, 2013

    I love Boden and am always checking for their sales. I’m thrifty, too. Piperlime is new to me. I plan to check it out. Time for ‘big girl’ clothes!

    • Boden has such cute patterns. And Piperlime is great because they have a huge selection! Sort by price though so you don’t waste time looking at their pricier items.

  4. Rebecca

     /  May 14, 2013

    This made me laugh. Between buying my entire summer wardrobe last year from Lands End and actually considering accepting my mom’s offer to take me to Chico’s, this article was much needed!

    I’ve been loving Target, Anthropologie and Banana Republic (petites!) this year. Also, though this might not be SMT appropriate (both in style or cost), Patagonia has some really cute dresses that travel well. xo

    • Great tip on Patagonia. I have some travel things from REI and Athleta. All great places to shop as long as you ignore the oversized fleeces and what not :)

  5. Sandy

     /  May 20, 2013

    I feel no shame about wearing clothes from “older” brands. I’m 23 years old. Coldwater Creek, Talbots, Lands’ End….it’s all fair game. They all have cute stuff if you’re willing to dig around a bit. And as an added bonus, you can bring Mom along and both find stuff you like. :-)

    On a semi-related note: just today, I saw a 60ish-year-old lady at the supermarket wearing a pink chevron-striped Lucky Brand t-shirt that I also have. She definitely pulled it off, perhaps better than I did!

    • Too funny! That woman is proof that there really are no rules in fashion (which is a reason I love it so much!). Thanks for commenting!

  6. I walk in to some shops and feel ancien,t but I’m only 33! Having said that, if you can see past the crop tops and crazily bright neon it’s still possible to find some great things to mix in with the more classic items – you just have to be in the mood to rummage…and maybe go when it’s quiet so not faced with 20yr olds giving the ‘why are you in here?’ look :) It’s such a shame I don’t live in the US as you’ve picked some great stores there. I LOVE Anthropology !

  7. I’ll soon be 34 and I still shop in the same shops as I did when I was 20.. :D Just that now there is ebay and those, but to be honest, I buy almost the same stuff I would have bought by then.. :D I also buy a lot of vintage.
    I just came to think that I must look funny.. but it’s okay ;)

  8. Great post! First, I adore that Kate Spade quote. Too freakin’ cute! :) Second, I love the motivation for this post. It can be a challenge to learn to adapt your style and evolve over the years, this is the perfect littl reminder. e

  9. Ha! Sometimes when I’m overhearing 18 year-olds in Forever 21 I think: I’m getting wayyyy too old for this store. Thanks for the ideas, as long as I never sneak out of a Christopher Banks with an armful of clothes I think my 30 year-old self is doing okay!

  10. Nice stuff up there!!! congrats on IFB !!!

  11. AJ

     /  August 18, 2013

    Thank you for this post! I am a month away from my 30th and I’ve been trying to figure out how to make sure my style stays me but is also mature. I am all about J.Crew and Factory, The Limited, and LOFT. I need to check out Piperlime and Anthro more!


  12. Thanks so much for this post! While I’m not quite 30 yet, I’m getting there, and this question has been on my mind -where do I shop next? The last thing I want is to start dressing too old.

    I love the stores you picked out -genius! They’re still super cool and young, but not too young.

  13. Christina

     /  January 14, 2014

    My favorite is Polo by Ralph Lauren and I love shoe shopping at Ross. I also found some cute fitted khaki pants at Target.

  14. Jennifer

     /  April 11, 2014

    Too funny! I’m 38 and finding the same problem. I have found myself on the Coldwater Creek site many times while looking for gifts for my mother (who’s in her 60s). What just pushed me over the edge was being on JJill’s site, finding a pair of pants and the reviews were all by 60+ age group. I’ve always loved Loft but even their clothes are getting very boxy the last couple of years. Yes I’m close to 40 but I still have a decent figure and not ready to start wearing paper bags ;-)

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