Where to Shop for Romantic Clothes and Accessories

Are you drawn to ruffles, tulle, and sumptuous embroidery? Is half of your closet packed with floaty blouses and the other half packed with diaphanous blush-colored midi skirts? Does the mere thought of throwing on a sweatshirt and sneakers make you shudder? If so, you just might be a devotee of romantic style. You can count on Valentino and Pucci to send dreamy dresses and skirts down the runway each season, but loads of romantic staples can be found and bought online or at your beloved local mall. Here's a short list of more affordable shops and brands that cater to fans of soft, feminine, romantic style.

Anthropologie
Anthropologie

Anthropologie is a bit of a genre hodgepodge, but can generally be relied upon to stock floaty blouses, embroidered dresses, floral and other feminine-print scarves and dresses, and shoes fit for fairy princesses. Price points are on the high end of affordable - $60 to $175 in most cases - but frequent sales make items more accessible. If you've got a brick-and-mortar Anthro in your town, sweep the clearance racks for items no longer available online. Some petite and tall sizes are available. More »

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Shop Ruche
Shop Ruche

 Although this store has a physical location near Anaheim, California, most shoppers access offerings online. Ruche caters mainly to young women, so prices are low but hemlines are high. Check those size charts and order with care. Ruche is an especially good resource for airy sweaters, sundresses, feminine skirts, and delicate jewelry. Some clothing styles are available through 3X. More »

Sundance Catalog
Sundance Catalog

Many offerings may feel more on the Boho or Cowgirl side, but take a peek at Sundance's dresses, skirts, and blouses for embellishments and design details that will make any romantic swoon. Price points are high - especially on jewelry and accessories - and for some reason this company insists on preposterous shipping fees. But quality is absolutely top-notch, and most items are unlike anything you'll find at the mall. Blouses are a great place to start with this brand, and in any given season you'll find everything from lacy poet blouses to printed silk pullovers to embroidered knits. Some petite sizes are available. More »

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Garnet Hill
Garnet Hill

Another online shop that offers a variety of styles, Garnet Hill is more likely to offer romantic options in spring and summer. In-house designers create artfully draped knit dresses that can form the backbone of feminine outfits, and warm weather offerings generally include pretty prints. The company's Signature Merino Cardigan is a great staple, and re-done in new patterns each season. Many items are available through size 18. More »

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Francesca's
Francesca's

There seems to be a Francesca's in every mall across America these days, and although the physical shops are a little heavier on accessories the website offers a little of everything. This is another brand whose primary audience is mid-20s and younger, so the lacy halter dresses and pleated skirts may be a little on the short side. (Again, always consult size charts.) The ladylike handbags, pastel-print scarves, and delicate jewelry, on the other hand, will suit romantics of all ages and figure types. More »

Vintage, thrift, eBay, and consignment

If you're not finding what you need in terms of quality, size, or price at these stores, poke around the various used clothing options. Vintage shops are a great place to score romantic maxi dresses and accessories, thrift stores can supply you with jackets and cardigans in muted tones, consignment shops will often have loads of diaphanous blouses, and eBay ... well, eBay has it all. Be open to various resources, and you'll find romantic options wherever you look.