I suppose we’ll continue the British invasion theme today with a post about Boden. My first introduction to the brand was actually from an off-hand comment made in an article I was reading on TheGuardian.com. The writer wasn’t too keen on the company’s designs and I didn’t think much of it until a few months later I got a catalog from the company in the mail. Its copy focused on how British the company was, which was cute, but maybe a bit overdone.
Despite my initial misgivings, the clothing actually did appeal to me. Woolly skirts and tops with cute patterns (like a telephone print!), what more could I want? So, Boden has won me around, and I now have a few pieces from the company in my closet, mainly the aforementioned telephone patterned blouse and a swishy polka dot blue dress.
One of the big differences between Boden and US retailers like J. Crew or Banana Republic is that its clothing is better made, at least in my opinion. Banana’s full of polyester tops and unlined skirts while J. Crew’s clothing tends to look like it’s about to come to pieces on the hanger, in the store. Boden’s pieces tend to be made of viscose, silk, cotton or wool. The shirts have French seams, the skirts tend to be lined, the tights are a lot thicker and warmer. A lot of Boden’s stuff is washable, which is always a plus.
Another big difference between Boden and similar US stores lies in the number of markdowns and sales. I’d say Boden has fewer big sales than many US stores. How many of us regularly get 40 percent offers or take 40 to 60 percent off of already reduced sale prices offers from certain American companies every single week? While Boden does mark down its clothing, the discounts are usually much smaller, between 10 and 20 percent, or up to 40 percent during a seasonal sale.
That all said, the most recent catalog I got from the company had pretty great deal: 10 percent off orders under $100, 20 percent off orders over $100 and 30 percent off orders over $300, plus a voucher for $10 off. Boden’s prices being what they are, it’s pretty easy to get to $300 and get the 30 percent off, so I figured now was as good a time as any to order. Plus, it’s getting colder here and I was in need of a new hat and gloves. My last hat got eaten by moths and my gloves have started to unravel. I ended up ordering a skirt, sweater, hat, gloves and a two pack of cotton tights.
I’d actually seen both the Terrier Sweater and the British Tweed Mini in blue spot back in July, during the company’s seasonal preview. Won’t those look cute together, I thought to myself, but didn’t order them then. One of the terriers in the sweater is a bright yellow, while the rest of them are tan. The skirt does look a bit gray in the photo, but it’s actually a cloudy light blue. The spots are tan and olive-ish in color.
On to sizing: one of the areas where I think Boden tends to fall down is in terms of sizing. The sweater fits and is comfortable, but I could do with it being a bit more snug in the waist area. Although I’m usually a 4 or 6 in skirts from US brands, I’m in an 8 from Boden and the 8 fits the way those US brands do. It’s supposed to be at the natural waist, but instead is falling somewhere between the waist and the hips. The hips are a bit a loose on me, which isn’t a problem, except for the fact that there are pockets on either side, which add some weight to the look.
Some skirts look better when you tuck the hem of your shirt in. The tweed mini is definitely not that type of skirt. It needs to be worn with a fitted, but untucked top, or else its proportions look all out of line.
Let’s talk about the tweed. What is tweed? It’s a heavy type of wool, usually with flecks of different colors. The tweed Boden uses for its skirts comes from Abraham Moon and Sons, Ltd, which has been making tweed since the 1800s in Yorkshire. It’s good stuff, thick and well made. When I think of tweed, I usually see hounds tooth or plaid, so I like that the dotted pattern on the skirt mixes things up.
One last thing about the “mini” before moving on. Boden’s mini skirts are a bit longer that most. The regular length (which I got) is about 19 inches. A long length (22 inches) wouldn’t be a mini at all, even on a tall person (5’10”) such as myself. Of course, length is determined by both the physical size of the skirt and where it falls on your waist/hips. Since my skirt sits a bit lower than was intended, it appears longer on me. That all said, Boden did introduce an actual mini length of about 17 inches this season. That might be worth a look.
Rounding out my order was stuff I actually needed for winter: gloves, a hat and thick tights. We’ll talk about the tights in another post, because I have a few pairs from different companies to comment on. I ended up getting the Cosy Stitch Gloves and matching hat, in gray/citron. They are both made of a wool/nylon blend, aren’t itchy and seem like they’ll be pretty heavy and warm enough come actual winter. The hat is actually a bit on the huge size – it nearly slips down and covers my eyes, but I think I can make it work.
I’m not really a winter person. Actually, I hate being cold. But, now that I have some warm outdoor accessories, plus a warm skirt and sweater, I think I’ll be able to make it through.