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What to Buy at Express

What to Buy at Express

In the late nineties, I was a carefree sorority girl living my best life. Back then, my biggest challenge was figuring out how to go to a party at night and write a paper due in the morning.

I can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t start my night until after 10pm. The current me would be unrecognizable to my younger self, lol. 

With 90’s trends showing up everywhere, it’s easy to get nostalgic.

It was a simpler time, and I’ll always be grateful I had those years, and thankful there is no documentation of all my shenanigans. 😉

Back then, Express was a staple in my wardrobe. Their inexpensive, trend-focused clothes were perfect for our nights out, or an off campus date. 

One item, in particular, became so popular with my house we called them “sorority pants.”

Sorority pants were a bootcut, low-rise, flat front trouser made of a completely synthetic material that perfectly clung to our backsides. They were indestructible, and we put them to the test three or four times a week.

Paired with mid-drift baring tops (oh, my once flat belly) and heavy boots that looked like tanks, we defined 90s style.

Looking back, I guess you could say it was the first time I embraced the idea of a uniform. 

But just like us, Express has grown up, and I’m here to tell you they are 100% worth checking out this season.

Their pieces are sleek and sophisticated. Ideal if you want to create classic style with a little edge.

For today’s What to Buy at Series, I rounded up my top picks from Express as a former sorority girl, now 40 something-year-old woman who is happily in bed reading by 9:30 at night.

What to Buy at Express

What to buy At Express in January 2022

 

This chic line up looks like a collection you would see hanging in a better department store.

Let’s talk quickly about sizes.

Express runs true to size but go up if you are in between. Their size scale includes an XL which is equivalent to a 16/18 and has select petite options. 

Express is on of the few retailers that has not offered non-stop sales and mark downs over the last few years, so the price is the price.

Inventory is smaller than what it use to be, so popular items will sell out quickly. 

What should you look for? Novelty pieces that will expand and add style to your current basics, dresses, fun tops and accessories. 

Black Coated Modern Straight Pants

 

Express black coated modern straight pants

 

Black Coated Modern Straight Pants, $98 

 

When you create an outfit, it’s important to think about finishes. Coated pants give you the look of leather, that you can easily incorporate into your outfit as texture to add depth. It’s why leather, and leather -like bottoms are so popular right now. 

I love these paired with a cashmere sweater, or blouse (this one from last weeks Nordstrom post would be gorgeous). 

Available in sizes 00 – 18

Wrap Front Peplum Top

Express Wrap Front Peplum Top

Wrap Front Peplum Top, $64 

This sweet top would be great for “going-out.” The sleeves are not totally sheer, but you will see your arm through it.

And the waist has a faux wrap detail that will pull you in and highlight your shape. You need to wear a high-waisted bottom with this because it’s cut short. 

Available in white, pink and blue in sizes XXS -XL.

Oversized Double Breasted Blazer

Express Oversized double breasted Blazer in Coral

Oversized Double Breasted Blazer, $148 

Want to indulge in 90s style but make it current?

You need a blazer, and I am crazy for this double breasted option with exaggerated buttons

Because of the line of the jacket, with its strong shoulder and length, you want to pair this with a slim pant or a legging and keep it buttoned up. 

Available in XXS – XL. 

Puff Shoulder Sweater

Cream Puff Shoulder Sweater

Puff Shoulder Sweater, $88 

The truth is, I’ve never met an ivory sweater I didn’t love. This one has a subtle puff on the sleeve, so if you have narrow shoulders it will bring balance to your shape. Skip if your shoulders are broad. 

Pair with coated black jeans or light wash denim for a modern look. 

For more tips see How to Dress a Triangle Body Shape Here.

Available in ivory and pink, in XXS – XL. 

Hematite Bow Clip

Express Hematite Bow CLip

Hematite Bow Clip, $12 

Just a gorgeous and inexpensive hair clip.

If you have long-ish hair, pull it half up and clip this in for an instant dressy style. 

Cable Knit Sleeve Asymmetrical Tunic Sweater

Cable Knit Sleeve Asymmetrical Tunic Sweater

 

Cable Knit Sleeve Asymmetrical Tunic Sweater, $108 

Tunics are one of the most popular styles we feature, and this one has some extra details that elevate it.

The braided sleeve detail kicks it up a notch and the asymmetrical hem adds style and helps elongate the line of your body.  Pair with leggings and boots. 

Available in ivory, black and red in XXS – XL. 

Express Faux Wrap Top Midi Sweater Dress

Faux Wrap Top Midi Sweater Dress, $44 

This dress reminds me of a classic Donna Karen style, that sits slightly off the shoulder, and hugs your curves. It’s sexy without showing anything. 

On Sale for only $44, ideal for a dress up date night – something we all probably need right about now. 

Available in black and red, in petite and regular sizes in XS – XL. 

Contrast Trim Cardigan

Express Contrast Trim Cardigan in camel and black

Contrast Trim Cardigan, $98 

Black and camel is a striking combination. This contrast trim cardigan can go anywhere, form the office with a traditional black trouser, to the coated black pants featured above. 

This is not a cardigan you layer over something, instead, you keep it buttoned and wear it as a top. 

Available in XXS – XL. Is fitted to the body, size up. 

Super High Waisted Ripped Curvy Mom Jeans

Express Super High Waisted Ripped Curvy Mom Jeans

Super High Waisted Ripped Curvy Mom Jeans, $88 

Personally, I love a distressed jean. They add a bit of contrast to an outfit, especially when paired with more classic, tailored pieces.

These high waisted jeans are in a modern light wash, with a frayed hem that will hit at your ankle. 

Available in sizes 00 – 18.

Jewel Stone Drop Earrings

Express Multicolor Jewel Stone Drop Earrings

Jewel Stone Drop Earrings, $24

Long drop earrings are a big trend right now. If you want to try it, these are only $24 and will brighten any look. 

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What to Buy at Express

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Mara

Monday 10th of January 2022

Can you explain the trend of high-waisted jeans, and at the same time, ankle pants? I only just found your site and my fashion aesthetic is clearly old (think "What Not To Wear"). I almost understand the light wash denim, but the two extremes of high waist and short ankle just have me confused. Who is supposed to look good or keep warm in these style this winter? I can't find anything new that is mid-rise or full-length. (Thank goodness for ThreadUp and Poshmark!) I'm 47, 5'4" tall, and short-waisted. I straddle the line between regular and petite, so sometimes a regular length pant will help with the ankle issue, but nothing saves me from a high waisted pant. Can you help me understand what I'm missing?

Mara

Tuesday 11th of January 2022

@Megan Kristel, thank you! It does help. I guess I'm disappointed that many retailers have ONLY the trends available in the store, and not a larger variety. I'm old-fashioned in that I prefer to try on before buying. Admittedly, I shop for myself quite infrequently, but I just lost 40 lbs (yay!) and so I have been in stores more lately, looking to find my new size in various brands. I haven't loved what I saw, including at Ann Taylor. But knowing that this is the current trend, I guess I have to dig a little deeper.

Megan Kristel

Monday 10th of January 2022

So, a couple things. Items like light washed or high rise/ankle length jeans are created to provide variety in silhouettes and styles. They are trend focused rather than classic, wardrobe builders - but, paired with wardrobe builders they can create fun, modern looks.

You're not missing anything, these items may just not be your style or work in your life.

Would I wear an ankle length jeans walking around a cold city?

No, but I would wear it with heels and sleek blazer if I was going to a party or on a girls trip somewhere. Having fun with fashion isn't necessarily practical.

If you're looking for more traditionally cut trousers specifically, and you are between regular and petite, we feature a lot of options Ann Taylor and Banana Republic that are all mid-rise and full length.

I hope that helps :)

Kacie

Monday 24th of May 2021

I was a sorority girl in the very early 2000s and I know EXACTLY which pants you're referencing. We also LIVED for Express' sister store, The Limited, for going out tops and dresses. Ah, to be young again. :)

Megan Kristel

Monday 24th of May 2021

Yes! The Limited - loved it too!

Randi

Monday 24th of May 2021

I recently popped into Express and was quite impressed with their collection! I saw A lot of very nice looking neutral pieces as well as pops of color that I loved. Thank you so much for your input and ideas.

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