20 In Series/ Shopping Tips

The Where I Shop Mini Series: TJ Maxx

TJ Maxx pieces are crucial to this outfit on Brenda Kinsel website

Sharing my TJ Maxx wardrobe finds

If you were taking a guided tour of my closet (it would be a fairly short tour) you’d soon learn that my wardrobe consists of items that have come from many sources. Some of them are:

  • Big department stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s
  • Free standing stores like Ann Taylor, J Crew, Talbots, Lucky Brand, Chico’s
  • Boutiques
  • Discount stores like TJ Maxx or outlet stores that include BCBG, Cole Haan, Ann Taylor
  • Fast fashion stores like H&M and Zara
  • Consignment stores
  • Carlisle trunk shows (clothing that’s not shown in regular stores); other companies like this would be Worth or Doncaster

In this Where I Shop series I’m going to bring you inside my closet to see pieces I wear and love and tell you where they came from. I believe you can find style anywhere at all different price points. I’ll show you how I do it.

First stop in this Where I Shop series: TJ Maxx

This week I wore an outfit to work that reminded me of how much I appreciate a couple of pieces that came from TJ Maxx.

Shopping secrets from TJ Maxx on Brenda Kinsel website

A prized item in my wardrobe came from TJ Maxx

Long time staples

I don’t know if I can honestly tell you how long I’ve had this ruched sleeveless t-shirt from TJ Maxx. It’s got the comfort of a t-shirt knit underneath the sheer layer that sits on top. That flower appliqué design on the side makes that part of my body look more narrow. And the ruching is the best figure flattering tool for those of us with thicker middles than we remember having in our 40s.

This t-shirt is feminine and interesting and one I grab for a lot. Lucky me, I have two of them: one in ivory and one in black.


Zac Posen bag purchased at TJ Maxx on Brenda Kinsel website

Love my structured ladylike Zac Posen bag from TJ Maxx

My handbag for this go-to-work outfit has structure, class, and presence. When I want to feel creative-professional and sophisticated, I grab for this bag. You guessed it; it came from TJ Maxx. It’s a designer bag sold for less.

How to Shop TJ Maxx

I don’t get excited about a big store with tons of random merchandise to comb through so I usually have a plan to look for specific items.

Here are my shopping tips for TJ Maxx as well as some insider info about the store.

  1. Not all TJ Maxx stores are created equally. Some carry higher end, premium designer items while others don’t. Ask the manager if their store carries premium labels. The Petaluma TJ Maxx near me used to carry the premium brands. Now it doesn’t. I’d have to go to the San Rafael store for that.
  2. Also ask the manager which days they get delivery of the premium labels. If you have time to shop discount stores you’ll want to know when the good stuff gets there so you can be there to meet it.
  3. The first departments I go to at TJ Maxx are handbags and jewelry. I wouldn’t have paid full price for this Zac Posen handbag. It was just out of my league so finding it cheaper made it a possibility. I truly love the finish on this bag, the structure of it, the design on the front (isn’t that bow outrageous?) and the secret compartments. I knew it would serve me for years and years. Sold.
  4. Remember that when you’re shopping at discount stores, you’re still spending money. So don’t get mesmerized by the lower prices and buy more than you really need. Keep your wits about you!
  5. TJ Maxx does have a liberal return policy.
  6. Let’s say you’ve discovered you love Vince or Theory clothing and have purchased it before. If you’ve been successful with certain brands, you may want more of that look in your wardrobe. Personally, I love Alexis Bittar jewelry and have a small collection. When I discovered Alexis Bittar was being sold at TJ Maxx, I made a special trip. Adding more pieces to my collection was doable at these prices. I’ve purchased bracelets and earrings there that I wear all the time! You’ll find that to be true of clothing brands too.
  7. I like shopping TJ Maxx for my casual wardrobe, the level of casual that I mostly wear around home; cozy sweaters and flannel shirts.
  8. I look for sleeveless under pieces (like that ruched t-shirt) at TJ Maxx. These are often the items no one sees much of because I wear a jacket or cardigan over it. But it’s an essential wardrobe staple.

TJ Maxx purchases from my closet


Showing a favorite top purchased at TJ Maxx on Brenda Kinsel website

My go-to Asian print top by Laundry came from TJ Maxx

This floral top by Laundry by Shelli Segal is one you’ve probably seen a few times in blog posts already. I was ready to experiment with prints but not ready to really invest in them yet. I fell in love with this Asian floral print and it’s been great!


Shopping for jewelry at TJ Maxx on Brenda Kinsel website

Love my Alexis Bittar earrings purchased at TJ Maxx

Remember how I mentioned I check out the jewelry first? These earrings I’m wearing inside that book are by Alexis Bittar. In fact, if you look at the bangles on my wrist, the one closest to my ring and the third one with the large white stones in it are both by Alexis Bittar and came from TJ Maxx.


Scoring a cashmere sweater and flannel shirt at TJ Maxx on Brenda Kinsel website

TJ Maxx favorite comfy pieces

This grandpa cashmere cardigan on the right came from TJ Maxx. So did the flannel checked shirt. These are comfort clothes for me. Snuggling with my sweetie and watching some TV together while wearing my grandpa cardigan is a peace of heaven for me.

So here ends this portion of the tour of wardrobe items that I wear and love that have come from TJ Maxx.

Do you shop discount stores? Do you ever shop discount stores and end up with things you don’t wear? What are the pros and cons of discount store shopping?



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  • Reply
    September 22, 2016 at 4:34 am

    I love shopping at TJ’s these days
    it’s my go to for gym stuff
    and I find many things in the junior dept too

    • Reply
      September 22, 2016 at 6:41 am

      Thanks for sharing! I love hearing where people go to shop and have success. Good for you, Isabella. And good for us that you shared your tips!

  • Reply
    Susan Young
    September 22, 2016 at 7:44 am

    I think your comment about keeping your wits about you is a good one as I’ve been swayed by low prices in the past and ended up with items that aren’t the best. Other discount store finds include Calvin Klein bras which fit me and which are often not carried in regular retail stores in my size (32D) and, as you pointed out, if you know a brand fits you, then that’s a great thing to find in a discount store. Great tips! Thanks so much.

    • Reply
      September 22, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Susan, yes, I agree with you. That is the biggest tip of all in that post. I’ve seen it happen! And that’s one reason I really appreciate their generous return policy. That way if you get lost in a cloud of “aren’t these prices amazing!” and come home with stuff you realize you won’t wear, you have time to fix that mistake! How great that you find your brand of bras and in the size you need! Thanks for your share!

  • Reply
    Diane Feldon
    September 22, 2016 at 8:44 am

    You nailed it once again, Brenda! TJMaxx/Marshall’s are my go-to for handbags for sure. I cannot walk by TJ’s jewelry without looking, even if I don’t always buy. They used to carry petites, but no longer, so my clothing options are limited, but I, too, find workout attire there. I shop for my husband there, too. He wears custom made suits and shirts for work, but for casual shirts and furnishings – socks, underwear – TJ/Marshall’s fills the bill. Style is where you find it, be it a discount store or custom design. Thank you for promoting that concept!

    • Reply
      September 22, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Love hearing about your TJ Maxx/Marshall finds! And I realize I should have added Marshall’s in this category. I remember shopping with my then college student daughter in San Diego. She wanted to go to Marshall’s for things. I ended up “killing time” while she was shopping. She was my image consultant for the day and encouraged me to try some things on. I bought some very useful casual pieces there and an Elie Tahari puffy coat that I wear all the time when I go to Minnesota or NY in the winter time. I got to the cash register and was stunned by the number on the receipt. Had I shopped at my normal places, I’d have been able to get two things for that price, not twelve. Telling you this, Diane, I realize Erin gets the credit for getting me to consider these stores for items. Thank you Diane and thank you Erin!!!

  • Reply
    Lisa White
    September 22, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Love this idea….very informative!

    • Reply
      September 22, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      You’re such a good shopper. You could probably teach all of us a thing or two!

      • Reply
        Lisa White
        September 25, 2016 at 4:52 pm

        I shop online 95% of the time. This gives me time to think about a purchase. I may be drawn to it immediately…particularly if it is on sale, but I have learned to take a step back. STYLEBOOK is an app I use to document my wardrobe. It is not a small wardrobe, but I do update it and remove pieces each season.

        If I see an item that raised my pulse rate, I will drop it in my e-cart. Then, I draw a quick picture of how I think the piece will look on me. I then search my “closet” on my iPad STYLEBOOK APP to see if I already have the piece and/or find the piece that will complete the outfit according to my drawing.

        If I have a piece like it….then more thinking is required….(or if I do not have anything that will go with it.). I must come up with a reason why the piece I like is unique. I write down what it is exactly that I like about it and why it is not like anything I have already. Perhaps, it is a new shape or style that I have not seen before, perhaps it is a fabric or pattern I really wanted to introduce into my wardrobe, or I want to expand a capsule with another piece (i.e…..dress….kimono….pants) I recently did this with “dark florals”. I had ZERO florals in my wardrobe…

        I weigh the price, shipping, cost. If it is too expensive….I wait out the season and see if it is still there in may size with a reduced price.

        You are a master of walking though an actual boutique. That requires fast thinking and a photographic memory. I find that very difficult to do well….which is why you are an outstanding stylist!

        • Reply
          September 26, 2016 at 2:34 pm

          It’s so great to hear about your process! Thank you so much. You have patience and clarity and really reason things out. Good for you!! You have a system and you work it!

  • Reply
    Bess Nathan Rice
    September 22, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    That time that I ran into EK a TJMax, and she gave me the go ahead on a bag that I love! It needs a little repair on the strap, so it is not in service now, but I still love it, made in Italy, never seen anyone else with it.
    Handbags are great there!

    • Reply
      September 22, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      I know! That was great. EK leads the way!

  • Reply
    Barbara Kraus
    September 23, 2016 at 12:19 am

    I haven’t been having much luck lately finding clothes in my size at TJMaxx. However, at Nordstrom, I drooled over a Longchamp ‘Large Le Pliage Neo’ Nylon Tote for a few years, but I couldn’t justify it. One day I found it at a much better price in the color I wanted at TJMaxx. I just wore it yesterday.

    • Reply
      September 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      Wow, isn’t that fun when the wait is worth it! Good for you, Barbara!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Great suggestions. Could you please tell me where you got the great shoes? What make are they? Thanks.

    • Reply
      September 23, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      Hi Tina, the shoes in the top pictures came from http://junctionshoes.com in San Anselmo. The label is Summit.
      The ones in the pictures later in the post, the sandals are by Cotelac and I bought them on Fillmore Street in SF.
      Thanks for noticing!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    TJ’s carries amazing Made in Italy bags at good prices
    I haven’t got any yet as I have a $50 cutoff there
    You should check them out

    • Reply
      September 25, 2016 at 8:06 am

      I always head straight to handbags when I go to TJ Maxx because there can be some great finds there. You’re so right! Thanks for the reminder, Isabella!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2017 at 6:47 am

    I love T.J. Maxx for designer pieces. In Minnesota the designers are far and few. If you find them grab them.

  • Reply
    December 30, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    My favorite gym pants were found at TJ Max. The brand is RBX. If I can’t find them there now, I order them from Amazon.

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