Weekend Wednesday: Where to Shop for “Tough Girl Chic” Clothes

where to shop for tough girl chic clothingI have some mom friends who are really (really) into Lilly Pulitzer and Vineyard Vines type of preppiness — and I thought it might be fun to round up different stores selling “weekend vibe” clothes in different personalities for our ongoing Weekend Wednesdays series. After all, we’ve talked in the past about the weekend you vs. the weekday you — as well as sharing our best tips for upgrading your weekend clothes and cultivating style in general. I tend to associate Lily et al. with the summer months, so we’ll save preppy weekend looks for next spring — and instead let’s start with the weekend vibe of tough girl chic, which has always been one of my preferred options,

Let’s back up a bit, though: As a reminder, there was an old style book I had where the author (CNN style commentator Elsa Klensch) talked about how “[m]any successful businesswomen I know tap into their private visions of themselves and express that inner being in their weekend wear. … On weekends, I want to be softer, more romantic. My fantasy in the summer is to look as though I just stepped out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel wearing Gatsby-style long skirts and gently flowing chiffon scarves.”

So I’ve always had the idea that a bit of separation of your professional and private self is necessary, even healthy as a boundary ritual. “Tough girl chic” (a flawed term, to be sure, but I’m not quite sure what else to call it) has always been one of my preferred weekend vibes, primarily for comfort/ease/flattering but with an edge. The big pros for me are a lot of flat boots and denim, a lot of black (making for an easy capsule wardrobe), a non-fussy aesthetic (perfect for someone who avoids ironing like the plague and is happy when her jeans get new rips), and easy upgrading with concert t-shirts and things like that. Score!

There are a few brands who I think of as selling great tough girl chic clothes if you want to move away from jeans, boots, and graphic tees, so I thought it would be fun to explore some great stores selling “tough girl chic” clothing today.

Readers, do you have a distinct “weekend personality”? Do you like the vibes of tough girl chic or rocker chic — and if so, where do you shop and what do you buy to bring your vision to life? 

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Building Blocks for Tough Girl Chic

Tough Girl Chic with a British Edge: AllSaints

I love AllSaints for a bit of “tough girl chic with a British edge” — I always stop in when I’m near their store in SoHo. In addition to having their own store, the brand is also available at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

Where to Shop for Tough Girl Chic Clothing: AllSaints
Pictured above: one / two / three

Where to Shop for Tough Girl Chic Clothing in Sizes 6–32: Universal Standard

Universal Standard is available in sizes 6–32 and has a new “Fit Liberty” program where, if your size changes within a year of purchase, they’ll send you a new shirt. In addition to having their own store, the brand is also available at Nordstrom & J.Crew.

weekend vibes tough girl chic

Pictured above: one / two / three

(I have top #3 and like it a lot!)

Let’s hear from you, readers: Do you have a “weekend personality” (or personalities!), whether it’s a tough girl or not? Where do you love to shop for weekend clothes? 


  1. I would be super curious to know what the group’s different “weekend” style vibes are. I definitely lean more casual/preppy than rocker chick, myself. :)

    • Equestrian Attorney :

      Same. Jeans, a nice top, and flats, or a pretty dress. I kind of wish I could pull off rocker chic though – maybe I should try!

    • I’m definitely more on the rock and roll side — my arms are covered in tattoos so to a certain extent no matter what I wear, I’m going to look more rock and roll. I actually wish I could get out of my comfort zone and be a little more feminine and dressed up.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        Same. I wear lots of black and gray both at work and on the weekends. Dressing for wedding or baby showers usually necessitates a trip to Target or TJMaxx.

        In my head, I always look streamlined and ready for anything. In reality, I probably just look boring and rushed.

    • Meg March :

      breton tops and jeans and keds all day every (weekend) day.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I recently described my (ideal) weekend style to a friend as “Punk’s Not Dead and Neither Am I.” In reality there isn’t as much makeup as I would like, and generally just not as much anger in my clothing as I would like? “Edge” I guess is the fashiony word for anger.

      I wear an LJ or other moto-type jacket at every opportunity, but usually with some femmy floaty sundress or high waisted jeans and a tank.

      My favorite events to get dressed for are my feminist beerclub meetings. I skew witchy, and wear eye makeup, and feel awesome in the way that seldom happens when I’m dressing ‘for men’. Oooh now I’m excited about what I might wear on Thursday!

  2. I wear jorts and t-shirts all weekend in the summer, so I guess my out of office style is…girl in a country song.

    • Tie that button up gingham shirt just above the waist, Mary Anne!

    • Anonymous :

      Nope, you’re overdressed for that category :)

      Girl in a County Song is wearing a bikini top and cut-off shorts (see the Maddie and Taye song of the same name).

  3. Opinions needed: could this jumpsuit be dressed up enough with accessories to wear to a wedding?

    • What kind of wedding? What time of day and where? It’s a pretty casual looking jumpsuit, I’m afraid.

    • I don’t think it’s terrible, but if you can imagine the pants as a skirt, it would be much more wedding appropriate. In the navy blue unless you know the bridesmaids are wearing navy.

      As-is, it’s more of a smart running around town look, and I’d get it for that purpose because it is cute.

  4. Anonymous :

    My weekend wear is all ath-leisure, and has been since before ath-leisure was a thing. I basically dress as though I may have time to squeeze a run in at any moment. Because I might!

  5. Since I’ve started downgrading worn work clothing to weekend wear, my weekend and weekday looks are getting to be pretty similar. Right now it’s an older work top and cardigan with either jeans or a more casual skirt.

    But my work is not all that formal so it doesn’t look super weird. I’m not downgrading formal dresses and suits to weekend wear.

    One area that is definitely different would be my shoes. I wear low heels for work, weekend shoes are shoes I can walk a mile in – not sneakers, but sandals, strappy flats, or dansko Mary Janes if my foot problems are acting up.

    In cold weather I tend to wear long merino wool sweaters or dresses over leggings.

    • I should mention that I also have a couple of dresses that are weekend only – one linen dress and one t shirt dress – that I would not wear to work. I tend to wear these with repurposed work cardigans.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. We could be twins. I buy casual pants, skirts and a couple of casual dresses, and lots of cute sandals and flats, and mix them with tired work clothes.

  6. Anonymous :

    My weekend look is a less fashiony version of Shana from The Mom Edit. No cropped flares or crazy purses. Lots of cutoffs and half-tucked t-shirts.

  7. 46 with potential identity mismatch :)

    Work Me: BR, BR Factory, a few on-trend H&M/Zara pieces worn conservatively, still rockin’ Logans on my pear self, cardigans and blazers…..works for a national corporate engineering office where edgy is button-downs in a fashion-forward gingham or plaid.
    Weekend Me: Gap/Normcore without the irony; decently on-trend footwear (rare) or momming shoes (typical; old Merrell boots, Teva flip flops, etc.). Kids are 3 and 6….

    Aspirational Work Me: COS, & Other Stories, modern, minimal, Eileen Fisher, drape drape and more drape
    Aspirational Weekend Me: AllSaints, dresses, Sezane

  8. Anonymous :

    My summer weekend look is either a tank dress from madewell or shorts (worn denim or olive green chino) with a plain white or navy v-neck tshirt or tank top.

    Fall weekend look is Rails “flannel” plaid shirts with same shorts or with Joie skinny chino-style pants or skinny jeans. also white/navy v-neck tees remain a staple. I also love Leith dresses for the weekeds.

    I also rock the athleisure because I work out a lot on weekends and do a lot of bike rides, park trips, etc. with my kids.

  9. Weekend wear … hmm, basic B? I really just want to wear t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers on the weekend. FWIW, I don’t find athleisure (especially leggings) all that comfortable.

    • +1. I don’t get how leggings are comfortable. Maybe my kneecaps are too large but I always felt like my legs are choking and my butt is spilling over during the brief period I tried to make them work. I much prefer a looser pair of jeans or, if I’m going somewhere, a wide leg linen pant or trouser cut jeans with either a fitted or deliberately loose cotton top. Jennifer Aniston is the celebrity whose normal style I can actually relate to.

  10. This does describe what I tend to wear on the weekends (lots of black, not so preppy), but I struggle with also wanting clothing that is well-tailored. A lot of the brands that sell rocker chic types stuff also just tend to be drapey and shapeless, which looks great on a certain body type, but I’m a lot more curvy/athletic and drapey clothing just makes me look dumpy. Any ideas for brands to try?

  11. There are lots of different flavours of “edgy” that can be mixed in with almost any style from prep to glam. Ultimately it is a push/pull of masculine & feminine. Here are a few ideas to shake it up…
    Rocker chic: focused on denim and t-shirts, almost any leather jacket, almost any style of boot from western to biker.
    Sleek: think Trinity from the Matrix. Clean lines, contrasting textures, tighter fits. Smooth leather jackets, leather or rubber-like leggings, moto denim. Gunmetal grey, matte silver, black, winter white.
    Vampy: patent leathers, contrast glossy textures with ultra matte like velvet, high heels & boots. Oxblood red, midnight blue-black, deep purple. Black, black and more black.
    Military: mix in camo prints, military jackets, utility pants, safari style, technical fabrics.

    Think beyond black: grey, navy, oxblood, matte or low-sheen metallics.

    • Frozen Peach :

      This is so, so helpful. Genuine thanks and please come be my style advisor because you speak my language.

      • You’re welcome! I was born a fashion moron but have learned a few tricks along the way to help me figure out “style” and what works. Guess all those episodes of What Not To Wear sunk in somewhere!

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