REVIEWS: Affordable Finds for Casual, Nicer Casual, and Workwear Under $40!

Reviews Affordable Finds for Casual, Nicer Casual, and Workwear Under $40

Reviews Affordable Finds for Casual, Nicer Casual, and Workwear Under $40

Ready for a big round of reviews? I’m reviewing some great spring pieces (and some okay ones…) that are all under $40! Gotta love good, affordable finds. These are all from Banana Republic Factory, Old Navy, and Amazon. These all offer free shipping & free return shipping, at least if your order is $50+ with the first two brands, and if you have Amazon Prime with the last.

If you are new to shopping at Banana Republic Factory or Gap online, you can get free shipping on orders $50+ and free return shipping on all orders if you are signed up with that same rewards program that gives you free shipping at Old Navy. All three of those companies are related, so their rewards program is the same. No need to sign up for anything else if you already have free shipping with Old Navy!

Alright, onto the goods!

(BTW, I said all of the items I’m reviewing today are under $40, but there are a couple of pairs of jeans I shout out to here that are old favorites that are over $40.)

SIZING: I’m 5’6″ and usually S/M or 6 in clothes and 8.5 to 9 in shoes.

 

Banana Republic Factory

Starting with Banana Republic Factory. If you’re not familiar, this is the sister brand to the main Banana Republic, and I like the Factory options much better. They are way more relaxed, which is for sure more my vibe! I’ve done two collaborations with them now, and I REALLY like their stuff. And when they have 50-60% off sales, I am seriously like YELLING to my husband about what a good deal it is because their stuff is good quality! 😂

Anyway, remember, free shipping and free return shipping if you already get that with Old Navy! So don’t be shy about ordering!

 

Work Outfit: white long sleeve top + blue tie waist paper bag pants + tan suede pointed toe flats + white spotted earrings Elevated Nice Casual Outfit: white long sleeve top + medium blue ankle cropped jeans + tan suede pointed toe flats + white spotted earringsElevated Nice Casual Outfit: white long sleeve top + medium blue ankle cropped jeans + tan suede pointed toe flats + white spotted earrings side view

Gathered Neck Crepe Top – size S
If you’re looking for a great, better-than-basic white top that you can wear to work and for nicer casual looks, I really recommend checking this one out! The gathered detail at the neck gives it visual interest and creates an elevated and polished look, but the material is really stretchy and comfortable! The material is fairly thick but it still has a nice drape that makes it easy to wear. I personally think it works best tucked in, whether it’s a full-tuck like I’m doing in the first picture or a loose, partial-tuck like I’m doing in the second picture. Otherwise, it’s a little billowy.

Katie on Instagram asked if it was see-through, and here is how I responded: “It’s not FULLY opaque—(is any white shirt ever fully opaque?) but I would feel 100% comfortable not wearing anything under it as long as I’m wearing a nude-colored bra.” I just put it on and stood in front of a window with the sun shining right on me to test it for you and couldn’t see the outline of my bra from the front. All that said, BRF offers free shipping on orders $50+ and free return shipping on all orders if you’re signed up with the same program that gets you free shipping with Old Navy, so if it doesn’t work out for you, you can return it risk-free.

It comes in 3 colorsHERE. I wear size S, and the fit is nice and relaxed.

BTW, the jeans in the second picture are sooooooooooo SO SO comfy! I’ve had these for over a year now, and while I haven’t shown them much on the blog, they were one of my two go-to pairs in the spring and summer. They are VERY soft. VERY stretchy. And have an elastic waistband. 👏🏽 And they have a straight leg look but are actually a skinny cut around the hips and thighs, so I feel like they’re a great pair if you need a stepping stone to transition from skinny to straight styles. Find them HERE. I wear size 6.

As for the tie-waisted pants, I will review them further below. Look for them in brown!

Shop the Outfits:
Top: Banana Republic Factory (exact—wearing size S)
Tie-Waist Pants: Old Navy (exact—wearing size S)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 6)
Flats: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 9; similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)

 

Casual Outfit: yellow roll sleeve short sleeve tee + light wash distressed boyfriend jeans + white slip-on sneakers + white spotted earringsCasual Outfit: yellow roll sleeve short sleeve tee + light wash distressed boyfriend jeans + white slip-on sneakers + white spotted earrings side view

Timeless Roll-Sleeve T-Shirt – size S
I told you I LOVE this t-shirt! It has great reviews, for good reason. It’s SOOOOOOO comfortable! It’s really, really soft, plus it’s stretchy with a great drape. The sleeves and relaxed fit give it an easygoing vibe, but the material looks WAY better than a lot of other t-shirts. Since the fit is more relaxed through the torso, it may appear boxy at first, the great drape keeps it from looking super boxy once it’s onplus a front-tuck. That always helps define a waist. Note that the length is slightly shorter than average. It comes in 7 colors, including neutrals and fun, bright colors for spring! See them HERE. I wear size S.

Also, these jeans are some of my favorites, and they’re BAAAAAACK in stock! This is the other one of my two go-to jeans from last spring and summer. They are a girlfriend cut, and they are sooooooo SOFT and STRETCHY and comfortable! And yes, you guessed it, with an elastic waistband! I’m wearing them in size 4 but I could easily size down to 2. They run huge! Order two or three sizes to find your best fitNordstrom offers free return shipping on all orders. Find them HERE.

Shop the Outfits:
Top: Banana Republic Factory (exact—wearing size S)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 4)
Shoes: (similar, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)

 

Nicer Elevated Casual Outfit: navy blue top + grey knit moto jacket + medium blue ankle skinny jeans + tan suede flats + white spotted earrings + gold pendant necklace Nicer Elevated Casual Outfit: yellow top + grey knit moto jacket + medium blue ankle skinny jeans + white slip-on sneakers + white spotted earrings + gold pendant necklace

Pique Moto Jacket – size M
I think this jacket is so dang CUTE, and it’s COMFY! The material is knit, not leather or suede or anything like that, so it’s lightweight and STRETCHY. This is a more comfortable and more casual alternative to leather moto jackets that make your outfits look instantly cool! However, after a lot of thought about the realities of whether I’d wear it or not, I decided that I personally wouldn’t actually wear it much, so I didn’t keep it. But, I still am all for it, and if it suits your style and lifestyle, then it’s a great piece to check out! It comes in both grey and black, which you can see HERE.

Shop the Outfits:
Navy Top: Banana Republic Factory (similar, similar)
Jacket: Banana Republic Factory (exact—wearing size M)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 4)
Flats: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 9; similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)

Yellow Top: Banana Republic Factory (exact—wearing size S)
Jacket: Banana Republic Factory (exact—wearing size M)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 4)
White Slip-On Sneakers: (similar, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)

Old Navy

Just a couple from Old Navy. TBH, I ordered a TON of stuff from there and only liked these two items enough to review them. I didn’t even want to bother taking a picture of other things that I didn’t love. 😂

Work Outfit: navy blue sheer sleeve top + brown tie waist paper bag pants + tan suede flats + white spotted earrings + gold pendant necklaceWork Outfit: white long sleeve top + blue tie waist paper bag pants + tan suede flats side view

Old Navy Tie-Waist Pants – size S
Aren’t these cute? I shared these in a recent blog post, so here’s what I said about them: These pants are very lightweight and made of a soft, flowy material. The waistband is fully elastic, though the rest has no stretch. I wouldn’t say the quality is amazing or anything, cuz hi, they’re from Old Navy 😄, but they are pretty comfy nonetheless! And they’re a fun “filler” piece to have in your wardrobe for a little while, and several PMTers have said that they have these pants and love them! They don’t provide a lot of structure or support, so pass if that’s what you’re looking for. Otherwise, they are fun to have to mix up your outfits a bit with the tie-waist. They come in 5 colors and regular, tall, and petite lengths and sizes XS to 4X, HERE. I wear size S.

Shop the Outfits:
Navy Top: Banana Republic Factory (similar, similar)

Brown Tie-Waist Pants: Old Navy (exact—wearing size S)
Flats: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 9; similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)

White Top: Banana Republic Factory (exact—wearing size S)
Teal Tie-Waist Pants: Old Navy (exact—wearing size S)
Flats: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 9; similar)

 

Nicer Casual Outfit: beige leopard print tee + medium blue ankle skinny jeans + tan flats + white earrings + gold pendant necklace

Printed Slub T-Shirt – size M
Y’all know I’m a sucker for leopard print, and the tan/white prints (as opposed to super orangey prints) just get me. 😆 I have a sweatshirt with a nearly identical print, but for when it becomes too hot for sweatshirts, this has a place, RIGHT? Haha! Anyway, the tee itself is… well, it’s fine. It’s par for the course with an Old Navy tee. However, up close and in person, I can really tell the difference between this tee and the Banana Republic Factory Timeless Roll-Sleeve Tee in how the material feels, looks, hangs, drapes, etc. (If you want to gain a sharper sense for things like that, you could do a fun exercise and order both to see, since both stores offer free shipping and free return shipping. But also, you might not want to because sometimes ignorance is bliss! 😆) It comes in 6 prints and is available in regular, tall, and petite lengths and sizes XS to 4X. See them all HERE. I wear size M.

I’m personally on the fence with this tee. Like I said, it’s fine, and I really like the print, which is enough for me to keep it. However, I suspect that I may only wear it for a season or two and then not enjoy it as much, which happens with a lot of my Old Navy tees. I think eventually, whether conscious or subconscious, the lack of drape/quality/etc. keeps me from reaching for the tee over time. All that said, if I decide to keep it, I’d just understand that it’d be a $10 “filler” piece that I’d probably only wear for a stint.

Also, I’m deciding between this tee and this sort of similar one from Gap that I feel hangs better. This one is much thicker and not even quite like t-shirt material. It has a boxier cut and is much shorter, so it definitely is trendier given the combination of cut, length, and print. I quite enjoy it, so I may just end up keeping this one and return the Old Navy one. Decisions, decisions! I wear the Gap tee in S. Find it HERE. There is also a black and white striped version HERE. (BTW, I got it during some crazy sale and ended up paying like $5.60 for it!!)

Shop the Outfit:
Top: Old Navy (exact—wearing size M; similar)

Jeans: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 4)
Flats: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 9; similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar—I wear size M)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)

Amazon

And now, skirts and dresses from Amazon! I was looking for some dress options to link for the new 2nd Edition Spring Business Casual Starter Kit Wardrobe Guide and figured I’d order them to try just because I was curious about them. Found some good stuff! Also found some stuff that were close but I didn’t fully love, and I was willing to take pics of those and talk through them, unlike the Old Navy stuff. 😆

Nicer Elevated Casual Outfit for Spring: white tee + beige leopard print skirt + gold t-strap flat sandals + white earrings + gold pendant necklaceNicer Elevated Casual Outfit for Spring: black tee + leopard print skirt + black t-strap flat sandals + white earrings + gold pendant necklace

Amazon Skirts – size M
I shared this skirt last year (in the color “01-red”) and y’all went WILDDDDDDDDD for it! It is probably my personal favorite purchase of 2021, so OF COURSE I had to try it in these prints as well! I LOVE this skirt in general, and I really like these more neutral versions if I don’t feel like being as bright as the red one. 

The material is silky, super lightweight, smooth, and soft against your skin. Very comfy to wear! The waistband is fully elastic, too. All that said, I tried it in the yellow print last year, and while it is also silky, smooth, and lightweight, it wasn’t AS soft as the red print. It wasn’t bad, but just nothing to rave about, whereas my red skirt just delights me every time. That’s just to say that the material for the different prints might be slightly different. But again, the yellow one was still good!

I have worn this dressed up to a dressy casual / nicer gathering. I’ve worn it dressed down to the park in sandals or for any regular casual spring/summer day. I usually don’t like being super overdressed for things, but for some reason I feel okay wearing this for almost anything. It’s just so EASY to wear and move around in!

One note is this does shrink in the wash, so I use a steamer to relax and restore the fibers. You have to steam the ENTIRE thing top to bottom to restore the length enough. Just keep that in mind—either plan to steam or take your chances and even size up an extra size and let it shrink and not worry about it. (I haven’t done the latter for this skirt, but I have done it for dresses and tops in the past.)

Another note is that the light khaki leopard print has a short slip/lining built in to keep it from being see-through. The other prints I’ve tried don’t have that nor have they needed it.

This comes in 22 colors and prints and is usually under $30 depending on the size and color. I LOVE this skirt so dang much! Find them HERE. I wear this in size M, which I preferred in its UN-shrunken state. If I sized up more to hedge my bets on it shrinking to a perfect fit, I’d go with size L.

Shop the Outfits:
White Tee: Old Navy (similar, similar)

Beige Spotted Skirt: Amazon (exact—wearing size M)
Gold Sandals: DSW (similarsimilar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar—I wear size M)
Necklace: Nordstrom (exact)

Black Tee: Banana Republic Factory (exact—wearing size S)
Leopard Print Skirt: Amazon (exact—wearing size M)
Black Sandals: Target (similarsimilar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar—I wear size M)
Necklace: Nordstrom (exact)

 

Nice Business Casual Outfit Spring: green knee length long sleeve dress + white earrings + gold pendant necklace + nude heels

Amazon Essentials Satin Dress – size S
First, I think this print is ADORABLE. This dress is really lightweight and made of satin-y material that is smooth, comfortable, and doesn’t cling to lumps and bumps. This type of material can be dressed up a bit, like for work or a slightly dressier event. 

The silhouette is loose and flowy but also has a loose band in the middle which offers a BIT of shape. Just a bit. One thing I don’t love is the length. I have fuller thighs, and this is a little short for my preference. I don’t love where it hits on my thighs, and on a practical level, when I bend, move around, or raise my arm just a little, this gets a little high for my comfort. 

Nice Business Casual Outfit Spring: green knee length long sleeve dress + white earrings + gold pendant necklace + nude heels side view

Eeeek! I’m not a fan at all of how high it comes up when I raise my arms. (Facial expression for effect. 😆)

But as far as material, print, and ease of wear, I like all of that! Even though the material isn’t stretchy, it’s lightweight and silky feeling, so it’s still really comfortable. It also has POCKETS(!!), though the pockets are lower than usual and kind of strange. But, pockets nonetheless. If you’re in the market for a dress that’s not super casual and that can be worn to baby showers, bridal showers, work, or out to see a show, then this is worth checking out to see if the silhouette and fit works on you. And it’s under $30! It comes in 5 prints which are all really cute and solid black and solid navy and sizes XXS to XXL. Check them out HERE! I wear size S.

I want to make this dress work so badly, but unfortunately I just can’t hang with the length. 😭

Shop the Outfit:
Dress: Amazon (exact—wearing size S)
Shoes: Zappos (similar, similar, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar—I wear size M)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)

 

Nice Business Casual Outfit Spring: yellow wrap dress + light denim jacket + white leather earrings + white slide flat sandalsNice Business Casual Outfit Spring: yellow ditsy floral wrap dress + light denim jacket + white leather earrings + white slide flat sandals side view

Amazon Essentials Cap Sleeve Faux-Wrap Dress – size M
This is made of super soft, stretchy, and COMFY material. The faux-wrap on the top is flattering and provides some shape, and it’s a true cross-front, which means you can also breastfeed/nurse in it. (Shout out to all the nursing mamas.) It also has pockets! Though, the pockets hit right at the widest part of my hips, which adds bulk there, so personally I wouldn’t keep this dress. The material is on the thinner side, FYI. It’s a great, comfortable option to try though! It comes in 10 prints and solid colors and is only $24! Check them out HERE. I wear size M. 

Shop the Outfit:
Dress: Amazon (exact—wearing size M)
White Sandals:  Target (similar, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar—I wear size M)

 

Nice Business Casual Outfit Spring: purple pink snake print long sleeve dress + gold pendant necklace + nude heelsNice Business Casual Outfit Spring: purple pink snake print long sleeve wrap dress + gold pendant necklace + nude heels side view

HUSKARY V-Neck Faux-Wrap Dress – size M
This is another super comfy dress option that is great for work or for going out. The material is soft and smooth with some stretch, but instead of feeling like a jersey type of dress, it’s a little smoother and thicker, so I feel like it dresses up a bit better and also doesn’t show every lump and bump as much as some jersey dresses do.

The cross-front and waistband provide shape. The cross-front is also real, so if you are a nursing mom, this would work for you. And the dress has pockets. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of where the pockets sit on my hips, and they stuck out to the side as you can see above. Also, for me the chest area was too big, and that was still true even a size down in S. If you have an average to larger sized chest, this might be great for you, though!

It comes in 15 prints and solid colors and is between $25-30 depending on the color and size. So it’s a good, affordable option to at least TRY! You can easily wear it to work or throw on a moto jacket and wear it out somewhere. Check out all the prints and colors HERE. I liked how size M fit best.

Shop the Outfit:
Dress: Amazon (exact—wearing size M)
Shoes: Zappos (similar, similar, similar)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)

 

Nice Business Casual Outfit Spring: tropical leaf print short sleeve knee length dress + nude pumps + white leather earrings

OUGES Short Sleeve V-Neck Dress – size M
This is a great option for work or going out, depending on which print you get and how you style it. Like the one above, the material is soft and smooth with stretch, but instead of feeling like a jersey type of dress, it’s a little smoother and thicker, so I feel like it dresses up a bit better and also doesn’t show every lump and bump as much as some jersey dresses do. It’s really
COMFY to wear but looks nice and polished! Plus, it has POCKETS! The cross-front is real here too, so if you are a breastfeeding mama, this would work. It’s under $34 and comes in 34 prints and colors(!!) and sizes S to 3XL, HERE. I’m wearing size M.

I personally really love the fit of this dress. And I much preferred the placement of the pockets on this one, as they were a little more forward instead of lining up right on the side at my hips. I couldn’t even tell this dress had pockets until I searched for them. While I ordered it just to try it, I am VERY tempted to keep it. However, I don’t think I have any use for it at the moment, so I returned it and will definitely consider ordering it again should I need it. I really like it!

Shop the Outfit:
Dress: Amazon (exact—wearing size M)
Shoes: Zappos (similar, similar, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar—I wear size M)

 

Nice Business Casual Outfit Spring: magenta 3/4 sleeve knee length dress + nude pumps + gold pendant necklace

CHARMYI 3/4 Sleeve Dress – size M
This last dress is yet another great option for work or going out! The material feels very similar to the ones above, comfy, smooth, and with stretch, but the shape is different. This has more of a fit and flare feel, and obviously it has a different neckline. The skirt of it hangs nicely, so it looks really elegant! Note that this one does not have pockets. This comes in 5 beautiful colors and 8 prints and is under $30! Check it out HERE. I’m wearing size M.

Shop the Outfit:
Dress: Amazon (exact—wearing size M)
Shoes: Zappos (similar, similar, similar)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)

That’s it for today! Hope you find some great gems!

 


Wardrobe Staples Styler Mix and Match Clothes in Wardrobe

If you want some more ideas on how to wear different pieces, check out the Wardrobe Staples Styler! Not only will it help you shape up your wardrobe, it’ll provide over 330+ outfit ideas right at your fingertips. 😲 Not to mention it’ll help you build your wardrobe with super versatile pieces AND give you plug-and-wear outfit formulas so that you can mix your favorite pieces with versatile wardrobe staples to create outfits super easily. 😉

Learn all about the Wardrobe Staples Styler HERE so that you can always have something to wear!

(P.S. You can add on the Wardrobe Staples Shopping Guide if you want that extra help shopping for wardrobe staples, too!)

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