Whenever I have a client who is on a tight budget and is starting their corporate or business casual wardrobe from scratch, we head straight to Express. In fact, regardless of budget, they are a great destination for business casual wear, business formal wear, modern classic trousers, tailored jackets, or suits for women of all ages. It’s hard to believe that a junior store that stocks skimpy club wear also makes good corporate wear, but there you have it. For the price, the fabrications, cut, drape, quality and longevity of these items cannot be beat. It’s great value. 

Express generally makes two cuts of corporate trousers, namely the “Editor” and the “Columnist“. Editors are usually suited to a curvier figure because they are roomier all over. They have a great wide waistband, mid-length rise, and the fabrics are thick. This makes them drape so well. If necessary, a waist adjustment is a small price to pay. Columnists are cut slimmer and straighter and usually suited to a less curvy body type. The waistbands are narrower and the fabric less thick. Both trouser styles have stretch, are available in short, regular and long lengths, and across many colours. The odd pinstripe and check too. They cover sizes 00 to 14, and are machine washable. They run pretty true to size, but smaller than corporate wear from Ann Taylor. The pants retail for $59 to $79, but you can often get them on sale. They were 40% off last week and my client came home with three pairs of Editors. 

Warning: The Editors and Columnists are available in a variety of fabrications and colours. Although the cuts are pretty consistent across the board, I’ve found that different fabrications can slightly alter the fit. 

Once you’ve sorted out which pants fit best, you can find jackets in the same fabric, and occasionally a pencil skirt. And while you’re at Express, you might want to try their Essential Shirts if you’re after a very tailored fit. One caveat: I’ve found that their shirts are not so fab on a full busted figure. 

If you’re doing an interview loop and you don’t have a suit, check out Express. My only wish is that they covered plus sizes. Hopefully they will at some point in the future.