Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Affordable Blazers

Belle,

My employer requires me to wear a blazer or jacket every day.  No cardigans.  Just blazers.

I only make an assistant’s salary and finding jackets that I can afford is not easy.  Can you suggest a few stores that sell well made jackets that don’t cost more than $100 or $150?  It would be a big help.

Blessings.

Beyond H&M, Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe, there are a few retailers where I have found blazers that didn’t break the bank and were also well-constructed.  But before we talk about where to find them, let’s talk about what to look for in a blazer.

Cut.  When you put on a blazer, you should see that it has a shape.  It shouldn’t hang lifelessly on the body.  Many blazers need tailoring to look perfect, but there should already be some shape to it.

Fabric.  When buying inexpensive clothes, you run into a lot of synthetic fibers or blend fabrics.  This isn’t necessarily a bad a thing.  It’s all about feel.  Is the fabric pleasant to the touch?  Does it feel smooth and soft or plastic and artificial?  Does it feel thick and substantial or thin and flimsy?

Lining.  I never buy a jacket that isn’t fully lined, and I try to avoid cheap, see-through liners.  A decent quality lining means that care was probably taken with the construction.

Seams.  Look at the hems and seams: do they lay flat or do they pucker?  Is the stitching straight or crooked?  Does the thread look like it’s ready to bust at any moment?  How much extra fabric was left on the other side of the seam?  Be wary of jackets with cheap-looking seams, they can fall apart or wear poorly.

Now, where to find good stuff for cheap-ish prices…

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Mango.  I’ve purchased two blazers at Mango and been very happy with both.  The tuxedo jacket it bought last Christmas has great heft and fabric feel and looks much more expensive than it is.  I often get asked if the jacket is Rag & Bone.

I also like Mango because, unlike The Limited or Banana Republic, their blazers have interesting shapes, details and colors.  This bright pink peplum ($120) could be fun with a navy skirt or grey pants.  The black jacket ($60) has a sleek shape and a cool, notched neckline.

Piperlime.  A few of the stores designers (Tinley Road, MM Couture, Pim + Larkin) offer stylish blazers in the under-$125 price point.  Both of these blazers are from Tinley Road.  The blue Bleeker Blazer is $69 and comes in several fun or basic colors.  The Waverly Collarless Blazer is also $69 and comes in a few colors.  I also like that Piperlime has free shipping and free returns.

Dorothy Perkins.  The selection isn’t quite as good at D. Perkins, but I have found one or two fun jackets there.  I own this striped number (I like it with jeans/red accents and over white dresses.) and wear it when I travel.

The two jackets in this set are classics.  I love the blush longline blazer ($79), and the layered black blazer ($44) has a very unique shape.

Zara.  This is my go-to store for inexpensive jackets.  I own the fuchsia jacket above ($99) in black and wear it constantly.  The sleeves are just puffed enough to be interesting but not so puffed that I look like Anne of Green Gables.  I also like this striped jacket ($129) for the width of the stripe, the neutral palette and the little details on the pockets.  It would look so chic with a black pant or white jean.

Want a few more suggestions?  This Rebecca Minkoff Becky Jacket-knock off from Ann Taylor is $128.  The LOFT also has a fun piped tweed jacket for $98.  And you can sometimes find good things on the J.CREW sale site–like this eyelet blazer for $90.

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    21 comments

  1. ashleigh says:

    Asos also carries some good structured blazers that won’t cost a small fortune. I ordered this McQueen like knock off and was very pleased with fit / cut / quality. https://us.asos.com/ASOS-Tailored-Blazer-With-Power-Shoulders/ws9ih/?iid=1703266&mporgp=L0Fzb3MvQXNvcy1UYWlsb3JlZC1CbGF6ZXItV2l0aC1Qb3dlci1TaG91bGRlcnMvUHJvZC8.

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  2. AB says:

    I know it’s a bit of a cop out to recommend a “discount designer” store for lower-cost clothing, but I would strongly recommend swinging by Nordstrom Rack– I’ve found a number of good quality, fully-lined blazers (especially if you’re looking for jackets as separates, rather than as part of a suit) and have never spent more than $100 on a jacket there. The only downside is that you can never fully anticipate what the selection will be.

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  3. Casey T. says:

    I would definitely recommend checking out LOFT for inexpensive blazers. Most are about $100 full-price, but LOFT has incredible sales and regularly sends out coupons if you offer up your email address. I got a fun, collar-less pink blazer at LOFT last fall for $30 when all my discounts applied! Definitely a great spot to start building your professional wardrobe.

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  4. Mary says:

    Many of them are basic, but I love The Limited blazers. Like LOFT, there are fantastic sales.

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  5. Emily says:

    I pick up professional and classic jackets at thrift stores. Not great for trendy pieces, but the amount of quality for the price can’t be beat. Keep in mind the tips in the post, and make sure the fabric is not faded or stained. The price of a jacket at Goodwill plus dry cleaning is about $20.

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  6. Chiara says:

    Thanks for the tips!
    I don’t know the availability and selection in the US, but I find nice blazers at UC Benetton too. I have one from two years ago, and use it often in the spring. And always find at least one to admire when I walk into their store.

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  7. Erin H says:

    LOFT has a lot of sales, but so do Banana Republic and Ann Taylor. All offer basic, well-fitting blazers and are often 30-40% off. Plus they come in petites (great for me)!

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  8. vivian says:

    You can also get great deals on well constructed blazers at Bluefly. They have sales and specials (like $30 off $200) all the time.

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  9. JKG says:

    Off topic a bit but do you have to wear the jacket at, say, your desk? If so, it’s important to move around in the jacket a lot before buying it to make sure you can type or whatever else you need to do comfortably. I dislike wearing a jacket while typing at my computer, which is 99 percent of my job, out of feeling constricted. You can try Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, too, for blazers.

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  10. Kerrie says:

    Like others, I would highly recommend hitting a thrift store. Nice blazers seem to be fairly easy to find at thrift stores, and you can stick to brands mentioned here.

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  11. Laura says:

    I echo Ann Taylor, Loft, and Banana Republic – sales and coupons often make their jackets quite affordable. Even more budget-friendly are places like Kohls and Target – I’ve found some really great basic options at both places – check the linings and the fabric and make sure they have a decent shape on you. I’ve not had much luck with current blazer silhouettes at my local thrift stores (they’re all the big-shouldered 80s style), but secondhand consignment shops might be a good option.

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  12. Vanessa says:

    Also check Macy’s clearance racks and their sales. I know it’s not a blazer, but I stumbled across an amazing Calvin Klein dress for a steal on the clearance rack

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  13. Lloyd and Wolf says:

    Some of my faves for blazers- Zara, Loft, Aritzia and JCrew.

    March 6, 2013/Reply
  14. heather says:

    Ebay. I have Ann taylor, Talbots and Tahari suit jackets that I bought for $20 or less. Depending on your size you can always find something that works.

    March 7, 2013/Reply
  15. Sarah says:

    I have had great success at Kohl’s, NY&C, and JCP. Good luck.

    March 7, 2013/Reply
  16. GoGoGo says:

    If you happen to be in DC, there’s a thrift store in Mt. Pleasant called Frugalista that might have what you need. (Ecoing Emily and Kerrie.) It’s very inexpensive and there’s lots of professional wear that’s at least age appropriate in style, if not exactly this-season.

    March 7, 2013/Reply
  17. Short & Sweet says:

    I’m always swimming in Zara and Loft blazers. H&M and Forever 21 actually have some well-made ones if you’re smaller.

    March 7, 2013/Reply
  18. Hallie says:

    Second hand stores can have some excellent blazers. Be wary of cheap black blazers that wrinkle or pick up lint easily- have a lint roller on hand or make sure that they’re not already wrinkled on display (H&M especially). Talbots, as matronly as it sounds, actually has some cute, light blazers. For Talbots, Ann Taylor etc, keep an eye out for sales. You can get a nice quality blazer for $40 or less if you time it right! I especially love Ann Taylor for petites.

    March 7, 2013/Reply
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  20. ning says:

    Another thing to look for with the fabric on affordable blazers is wrinkle-ability. It drives me crazy to wear a jacket, only to have the elbows come out creased after I bend my arms- happens more than one might think.
    I’ve had good luck with Piperlime, and my Ann Taylor blazer (gotten on sale) is my interview go-to.

    I also have to disagree with the author on The Limited- I have a great black collarless peplum blazer from there and a navy reverse-collar blazer with a beautiful patterned lining from them, both bought at 40% off.

    March 8, 2013/Reply
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    August 7, 2013/Reply