The 19 Best Stores Like Express for Stylish & Affordable Clothes

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It doesn’t take a genius to understand why shoppers who care about style and price might want to find some other clothing stores like Express.

On the one hand, Express has long been a great option for anyone looking for modern, affordable styles that are in line with the latest trends and easy to wear to the office, a party or out to the club.

On the other hand, affordable is the operative word.

While their styles look good and cost little, the trade off is that they’re not the most finely constructed clothes in the world, and they don’t last all that long.

Fortunately, Express is hardly the only game in town (or online, for that matter).

In this post we’ve rounded up nearly two dozen stores similar to Express that offer a wide range of stylish, affordable and well made clothes.


Stylish & Affordable Clothing Stores Like Express

Breaking Down the Best Brands Like Express That Make Great Alternatives

J.Crew

J.Crew jacket

J.Crew is one of those stores like Express, Banana Republic or Ann Taylor that you find in most malls and retail centers across the United States.

The American-based fashion brand actually filed for bankruptcy in the second quarter of 2020 (at the start of the pandemic), but they’ve since recovered and still have plenty of stores, in addition to a well-stocked website.

They carry a wide range of trendy pieces for both men and women in similar styles to what you’ll find at Express.

But J.Crew has a better reputation among the fashion industry because both their pricing and the quality of their merchandise is generally higher.

Check Out J.Crew ➤


J.Crew Factory

J.Crew Factory

J. Crew Factory is a great store if you like the look of J.Crew’s modern designs, but want a more reasonable price point.

Like both Express and the flagship J.Crew store, they carry a wide range of styles, though it’s worth noting that they have a smaller selection in each category.

The good news is that they also offer cheaper prices than the flagship J.Crew store, so Factory is arguably a closer Express competitor.

Check Out J.Crew Factory ➤


Banana Republic

Banana Republic

Another popular choice with a ton of brick and mortar stores, in my opinion Banana Republic is one of the closest Express competitors, and one of the best places to turn if you’re looking for an upgrade.

They sell everything from casual wear like tees and sweaters to formal wear and statement pieces like fur-lined leather jackets.

While the base price tends to be a bit higher, the best thing about BR is that they run sales all the time and their aesthetic is a little more grown up and refined.

So it’s a great choice for young professionals who want to be taken a bit more seriously at the office.

Pro Tip: If you prefer online shopping, signing up for their email list is a great way to score a discount.

Check Out Banana Republic ➤


TopMan

TopMan

Topman and its sister store Topshop, whose target audience is young women, are kind of like UK versions of Express.

They sell super modern new styles that are always hip and of-the-moment, but the quality is quite a bit lower than what you’d get from high-end brands (and even the better retail stores like J.Crew).

They used to have a number of retail shops throughout North America, but they almost went out of business and before being rescued by Asos (a great online store, and another good Express alternative listed below), so now their stuff is only online.

Check Out TopMan ➤


Everlane

Everlane

Everlane is kind of like Express with a conscious.

Like Express and many of the other different stores on this list, they offer a wide range of staple pieces in modern styles at pretty affordable prices.

But they also have a corporate ethos that focuses on sustainability and ethical practices, so you can feel guilt-free while assembling some stylish casual looks.

Check Out Everlane ➤


Madewell

Madewell

Madewell is another member of the J.Crew family, but unlike the previous two mentioned above, Madewell focuses primarily on denim, so it’s a great place to turn if you’re looking for your next favorite jeans.

They carry a wide range of jeans across a variety of cuts, fits and styles, along with a good selection of casual staple pieces that work well with denim.

Check Out Madewell ➤


Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters

If you mostly rely on Express for affordable casual pieces, then Urban Outfitters is a great alternative option.

Unlike Express, Topman and similar stores that only carry their own in-house brand, Urban Outfitters carries a wide range of different brands and designers.

So it’s a good one-stop-shop if you want to find a decent array of options without visiting too many sites or stores.

Check Out Urban Outfitters ➤


boohooMAN

boohooMAN

The men’s arm of online women’s clothing store boohoo, boohooMan is focused on young men with unique style.

They sell modern and fashion-forward pieces that are a the forefront of current trends, all at affordable prices.

Their styles tend to be more up-to-the-minute hip than Express, which focuses more on basics and staples, so it’s a good place to turn if you want to expand your fashion horizons and find something different.

Check Out boohooMAN ➤


H&M

H&M

H&M is another one of those stores like Express that you can find in most malls, though their pieces definitely have a distinct vibe.

H&M is targeted toward fashion enthusiasts who want current trends that are the most up-to-the-minute, so they’re always bringing in different styles and flipping over their inventory.

With H&M the good news is that you’ll look super on-point, but the bad news is that what you’re wearing might not look as hip (or hold up too well) a year from now.

Check Out H&M ➤


Target

Target

As a discount department store, Target is admittedly not the first place that comes to mind when you think of stylish clothes.

But they’ve carved out a real niche for themselves in the affordable fashion space, and with good reason.

They focus on stylish and affordable casual staples, and their aesthetic has a timeless style that gives their pieces staying power.

It’s a good place to turn for affordable pieces of casual attire, which can complement and layer well with some of the higher end pieces in your wardrobe.

Check Out Target ➤


ASOS

ASOS

Asos is an online fashion retailer that sells clothes and accessories from a variety of brands, including their own in-house label.

Asos is based in the UK and definitely has more of a British/European feel to their aeshetic, so it’s a good option if you’re looking to venture away from the standard North American look.

Check Out ASOS ➤


The Gap

The Gap

And speaking of the standard North American look, the Gap is one of the stores that has arguably helped define it over the past 30 years or so.

While their aesthetic may not avant garde, you can’t argue with their formula:

They sell a wide range of clothing in modern styles at affordable prices, all of which is stylish enough to look good, but not so hip that they’ll be obsolete in a year.

Check Out The Gap ➤


Old Navy

Old Navy

Owned by the same parent company as The Gap, Old Navy is kind of the younger sibling of the family (which also owns Banana Republic, arguably the most mature of the bunch).

Like Gap, Old Navy focuses on casual staple pieces, but their aesthetic and target demo skews younger.

While they carry a lot of slim fit stuff nowadays, traditionally I’ve found that Old Navy’s clothes tend to run a little wider, so it’s a good alternative to Express if you find their stuff is a little too slim/tight.

Check Out Old Navy ➤


American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle is another casual retailer that’s focused on a younger demographic.

Whereas Express sells business casual pieces, American Eagle is strictly casual.

It’s a good place to turn for staples like tees, sweatshirts and khakis, the style of which doesn’t change much over time.

Check Out American Eagle ➤


Abercrombie & Fitch

Abercrombie & Fitch

A close competitor of Express and American Eagle, Abercrombie is kind of like a slightly more mature version of AE (emphasis on slightly) that offers a similarly classic look.

Another place to turn for casual staple pieces, they have an all-American aesthetic that’s perfect when you’re looking for something comfortable and casual rather head-turning or super stylish.

Check Out Abercrombie ➤


Aeropostale

Aeropostale

Aeropostale is very much in the same vein as Old Navy and the two stores above.

It’s another staple of malls everywhere and another good place to turn for casual styles like sweaters, tees, henleys and jeans, all at affordable prices.

Check Out Aeropostale ➤


Uniqlo

Uniqlo

Uniqlo is a close Express competitor that applies a Japanese design aesthetic to classic wardrobe staples.

While they offer a similar selection of products as Express, Uniqlo uses pretty high-quality materials, and their stuff tends to hold up better.

I’ve sworn by their merino wool v-neck sweaters for years, and find that even though they’re thin, they’re surprisingly durable.

Check Out Uniqlo ➤


Forever 21

Forever 21

Like American Eagle and Old Navy, Forever 21 is another mall staple that skews younger than stores like Express and Banana Republic, which carry business casual clothes.

But it’s another great place to consider if you’re looking for cheap casual staples and don’t want to pay extra mark up for buying a plain tee from a more “mature” (aka more expensive) brand like Express.

Check Out Forever 21 ➤


Zara

Zara

Zara is the perfect style destination for those who want clothes that look like the high quality designs found on Parisian runways, but cost a helluva a lot less.

Like H&M, Zara’s aesthetic is fashion-forward while its prices are generally lower than stores like Express and J.Crew.

But, also like H&M, you can expect good prices, but not necessarily good quality.

All of Zara’s stuff looks great (their business model is based on having runway knock-offs in their stores as quickly as possible), but most of it won’t last more than a season or two.

Check Out Zara ➤


Shein

Specializing in modern, trendy takes on casual staples, Shein is a great place to turn for pieces that are a little more eye-catching than much of what you’ll find at Express.

It’s also one of the most affordable stores like Express, with prices that are comparable to lower-priced competitors like H&M and Target.

UPDATE:

I used to recommend Shein as a decent place to turn for cheap new items, but last year I learned just how badly they treat their workers.

So, now I don’t recommend you shop there, but do recommend that Shein f*cks right off.


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Banner Photo: Mike Mozart on Flickr
Banner Illustration: Irreverent Gent

About Dave Bowden

Dave Bowden

Founder, Irreverent Gent
Author, Man in Command and Stop Doubting, Start Dating
Writer, Really Wordy Author Bios

Dave Bowden is a style blogger, menswear expert and best-selling author (in Canada—but still!) whose advice on how to look good and live well has been featured in New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Men's Health and more.

When not obsessing over style and self-improvement, he can usually be found spending time with his wonderful wife and two amazing sons, indulging in a hoppy craft beer, or sobbing over the woeful state of Toronto's sports teams.

Check out Dave's Style Story to find out how a chance encounter with his friend's step-dad taught him the value of looking good and living well (don't worry—it's less creepy than it sounds!), or email him at [email protected] if you want to get in touch.

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