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Where to Shop for Conference Attire

By: Emmy Martin and Alex Johnson

Where should I buy outfits for conference? How can business attire actually be cute? 

These are common questions that North Carolina YMCA Youth and Government delegates ask each other as they prepare for conference. Since NC Y&G’s dress code may be outside some people’s realm of fashion expertise, we have curated a list of the best stores to shop.

Well Made Classics

First up are the brands that offer high quality classics. Stores such as J. Crew, Banana Republic, and Everlane are all great options. 

J. Crew and Banana Republic carry tailored pieces like blazers and knee-length dresses that are classic but still stylish. While they may be on the more expensive side, both stores offer impressive sales year-round.  

Additionally, Everlane, a primarily online store, is noted for its basics, as well as their sleek work shoes. 

Affordable Basics 

If you are looking for more affordable staple pieces, try Loft, Anne Taylor, Gap, TJ Maxx, Uniqlo, and even a thrift or consignment shop. 

Loft, as well as its sister store Anne Taylor, offers a wide variety of dresses and skirts that attract those drawn to pretty prints and feminine designs. 

Gap, perhaps a surprise to many delegates, sells almost every business essential, from their vast array of work pants to plaid blazers. 

 If you are looking for a one-stop shop for clothes, shoes, and even purses, TJ Maxx or Marshalls is your place. They have high-quality professional clothes at more affordable prices.

Another store dedicated to curating quality clothes at low price points is Uniqlo. Similar to Everlane, they offer mainly basics that make a good base for any wardrobe.

Thrift stores and consignment shops are some of the best places to find gems for NC Y&G. You can find sustainable and even luxury clothing at very low prices. In addition, thrift stores are key places to find outfits for the Saturday Night Live themes.

Trendy Statements 

While classic pieces are important, many delegates want business outfits that are on-trend. H&M, Zara, ASOS, and Mango cater to those who like pieces that stand out or are different from the typical business attire. Furthermore, many delegates like to mix statement pieces with basics from one of the brands mentioned in previous sections of this article. 

H&M and Zara both have affordable business clothes with modern twists, like boyfriend blazers or silk skirts. 

If you are looking for a dress for the Governor’s Gala or business attire that makes a statement, try ASOS. They are an online brand that offers clothing geared towards the fashion-forward.

Similar to ASOS, is Mango. They are best known for their tailored pants and flowy blouses. You can dress their work pants up or down, so delegates will be able to use them after the conference.