Giving Boden a shot

boden lois

I have been curious about Boden for a while, in large part because I know how many of you swear by the British brand. And I can see the appeal: everything is pretty well-priced, the dresses all have grown-up hemlines, and most everything they offer comes in a variety of colors and prints so that if you find a shape that works for you, you can order it in duplicate or triplicate or whatever feels right. And they love a good print, like the one on this lovely red dress.

silk shirt

I am crazy for the floral on this silk shirt.

boden jacket

This embroidered army jacket reminds me of the one from The Great that costs a lot more.

boden skirt

And this denim skirt looks like it could be from APC.

 

boden dress

A perfect, flowy white dress for throwing on all summer long.

boden rain jacket

I dig the toggle closures on this nifty rain jacket.

boden pants

A snappy pair of skinny army green pants.

boden kassidy

I like this dress because it looks like a wrap dress, but lacks the hassle of a wrap dress.

boden marla

This embroidered top could be Nili Lotan.

boden shirtdress

This shirtdress is a perfect work piece, and the red jazzes it up a bit.

boden bag

A perfectly unadorned saddlebag—just how I like them.

boden yellow

Yellow is right on trend, and I am a fan of the matchy-clashy dot print.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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Comments

36 Thoughts on Giving Boden a shot
    Lesley
    4 May 2018
    7:02am

    I love Boden, and wow, I particularly like your picks! I want most of them!

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    Candy
    4 May 2018
    7:50am

    So glad you did this. I’ve frequently looked at Boden, but just wasn’t sure about all those prints. These are some great choices. Nordstrom also has been carrying Boden, including the faux wrap dress.

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    Jen M
    4 May 2018
    8:14am

    I want to like Bowden but have found their cuts and pattern scale to be a little tricky for those of us who skew towards petite. I have bought several pieces over the years but end up never wearing them. The fit is just off for me. And yet I love the look! A lot. I now have to just avert my eyes and immediately recycle the Boden catalog when it comes in or else i’m Back down the rabbit hole of retail regrets. But thanks to this blog I have found Vince jeans and Nili Logan pants, plus Isabel Marant Etoile and those brands have been A+ hits. A little more pricey but I just buy fewer pieces.

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      Beth C.
      7 May 2018
      4:33pm

      Maybe take them to a tailor? If it’s almost-perfect-but-not-quite a good tailor could adjust a hem or a waist and make it something you love. It wouldn’t be as expensive as you might think either.

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    Tami
    4 May 2018
    8:32am

    I recently made my first (and second) Boden purchase. The dress is so perfect for the office, I bought the green one the day the blue one arrived. I wish I could wear them everyday.

    https://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/clearance/womens-dresses/day-dresses/w0079/womens-melissa-ruffle-neck-dress

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    y.k.
    4 May 2018
    9:11am

    Their jersey crinkle shirts are great – i bought a few of them years ago.

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    Tiffany Cain
    4 May 2018
    9:27am

    I love your perspective! Thanks for including this brand— I am always happy with my Boden purchased.

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    Jennifer
    4 May 2018
    9:34am

    I have a complicated relationship with Boden. I love a few of the things I’ve gotten from them (flat t-bar shoes, a few shift dresses), but their fabrics can be tricky. They do a lot of ponte and stretch cotton, which aren’t always the most reliable options for full-day wear. I love their prints but so many of them are on high neckline dresses or tops, and that’s no good for women like me with a lot going on in the bust region. I usually end up ordering a number of things and then returning most of them. But the things I do keep are great.

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      viajera
      4 May 2018
      8:16pm

      I have liked some of the shoes too. Have never bought any.

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        Jennifer
        4 May 2018
        9:13pm

        The heels are just OK (in my experience). The construction just isn’t solid enough for my liking. But the flats are worth a try!

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    DWJ
    4 May 2018
    10:17am

    I love Boden! Their waterproof Mac is hands down the best coat I’ve ever owned. Versatile and it keeps me warm and dry!!

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      ljchicago
      4 May 2018
      12:28pm

      I agree wholeheartedly. I have tons of clothing from Boden and not only is the Rainy Day Mac the best thing I’ve ever purchased from there, but one of my best clothing purchases EVER. I live in Chicago and a few years ago we had a relatively mild winter. I wore that coat every single day. Sometimes they make it without the fleece lining – but be sure to get one with the lining.

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        MNL
        7 May 2018
        12:56pm

        I love mine too! I had a navy one with a great red pattern for years and people always complimented me on it. It finally wore out and I replaced it with a navy one with a dog pattern. It’s so fun and it makes rainy days not so bad….

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    Mandy
    4 May 2018
    10:30am

    Boden also carries Tall sizes! Their clothes tend to run long and slim … which is a good thing for me.

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    Mimi
    4 May 2018
    10:47am

    This goes for yesterday’s tee shirt post too – my kingdom for an elbow-length sleeve. I still get away with wearing sleeveless, but I find that a short sleeve that hits at the wrong place can spotlight any upper arm crepiness. Who needs that? My favorite is a snug sleeve that stops at the elbow, as on the faux wrap dress. Love it in the solid navy and even though I’m 5’6″, I’d order the Long cause I like skirts to stop just below the calf. My sister has ordered from Boden and liked what she bought but said it took a very long time for her stuff to arrive. And she lives in Manhattan.

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      marjorie
      7 May 2018
      9:17pm

      YESSSSS it takes FOR – EVER to ship!! And I am with you on EITHER sleeveless OR elbow-length, tho not for upper-arm-shame reasons (I have fat upper arms that will not be hidden by fabric or no-fabric) — I just dislike the look of a short sleeve (on me) for some reason.

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    Lynn in Tucson
    4 May 2018
    11:45am

    I have yet to keep anything that I’ve ordered from Boden – I’m just not their body type. IME, their sizes are all over the place, necklines that look fine on models have an impractical plunge, and their vicose-heavy fabric is just too darn warm for the Southwest.

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    Mae
    4 May 2018
    11:48am

    Reminds me of Talbot’s. Clothes for the Volvo station wagon set.

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      ljchicago
      4 May 2018
      12:31pm

      So I guess I should trade in my Toyota Sienna minivan for a Volvo wagon.

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        Caroline
        4 May 2018
        1:05pm

        No third row in the Volvo;-)!!!

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          Ljchicago
          4 May 2018
          1:49pm

          Third row was a requirement when we bought our current car.

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    Caroline
    4 May 2018
    12:35pm

    I almost really like boden..but not quite
    Looks good in the pics but the cuts just tend to skew too Mumsy for my taste. Not my desired goal 😉
    That said the first dress is pretty and some of there shoes do the trick!

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    Lisa S.
    4 May 2018
    12:36pm

    I’ve ordered from Boden in the past but their quality seems to be following the same regrettable trend as a lot of mainstream brands: lousy fabric and iffy tailoring. I generally take very good care of my clothing, but two separate sweaters I bought in 2016 developed huge holes in the underarm area after a year, and their t-shirts barely last 18 months.

    By contrast, an embroidered skirt I bought there in 2004 during the height of THAT embellish-all-the-basics phase is still going strong, and a waxed cotton moto jacket I got in 2006 lasted me seven years before I got tired of it. (And it’s one piece I regret giving away.)

    I would love to love these guys again but they’re basically every other retailer in terms of cutting quality to pump out cheap goods.

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      Dana D
      4 May 2018
      12:50pm

      Fast fashion (including all) is poorly-made and almost always in a sweat shop.

      I don’t mind if folks know that they are purchasing fast fashion and do it with the knowledge that the items won’t last long and that people were likely harmed in the manufacturing process.

      I do tire of complaints when we expect the stuff we buy cheaply to be anything other than what it it.

      I respect that Kim attempts to appeal to an audience with a wide range of values and budgets.

      But I feel a huge need for us to be rational when discussing fashion purchases.

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        Adrien
        4 May 2018
        4:23pm

        Is Boden really “fast fashion” though? Their price point on the higher end of big brands – I don’t consider $180 dress to be fast fashion.

        It’s a shame about the quality drop, though. Boden is known for quality and longevity.

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        marjorie
        7 May 2018
        1:06pm

        Yeah, for me a $180 dress is a splurge. Not everyone can afford ultra-high-end clothing (which is also not always either well-made or sustainable, btw)…and it’s not “rational” (what an amusingly judgmental word!) to buy clothing on credit when one has financial limits. It’s unfortunate that we live in a culture that has promoted living beyond one’s means, and unfortunate when people are unable to view other people’s fashion decisions with compassion. Even more amusing: Boden is actually pretty transparent about its ethical policies, which are solid compared to most other brands.

        https://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/help/our-ethical-policy

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          Darcy
          7 May 2018
          3:45pm

          Thanks for the link to the ethics page, Marjorie. I wish I had more fluency in what it all means; so much ‘greenwashing’ out there. Maybe that could be a blog topic, Kim? Which efforts and certifications (if that’s the word) are meaningful, versus which are just marketing?

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    Kathi
    4 May 2018
    4:10pm

    Love the sleeve length on the faux wrap dress.

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    Lorange
    4 May 2018
    7:10pm

    Boden dresses and skirts often have pockets, and are often machine washable. Two more points toward their popularity.

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    Gables girl
    4 May 2018
    8:25pm

    The white dress is giving me life. It’s lined!

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    Moi
    4 May 2018
    11:12pm

    Many years ago I bought a Boden jersey faux wrap dress in a fun purple grey and mustard print. Very flattering v neck and bodice. Not too plungy but not too conservative either. Similar in shape to the red patterned one shown here. Loved it, wore the heck out of it, wish I hadn’t inadvertently left it behind in a hotel room during vacation. Never ordered from Boden again, but I’m tempted to get this dress because those sleeves are perfect!

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      marjorie
      7 May 2018
      1:07pm

      “left behind in a hotel room” is like a 6-word tragedy here.

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    Traci
    5 May 2018
    12:23am

    I have been consistently happy with my Boden purchases over the years. I especially like their jean skirts and unique sweaters. Also, I’m tall and I’m pleased that most of their skirts are also available in long.

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    marjorie
    7 May 2018
    1:14pm

    FWIW, many Boden pieces fit smaller plus sizes. I’m a 16-18 and have a handful of Boden dresses and cardigans. (For me, the jersey is great; the rayon dresses are not, and I don’t like wool because I am a delicate flower, but my British friends are fans.) I bought one pair of shoes — a pair of slingback flats — and wasn’t thrilled with the quality for the price. I think I’d be wary about shoes in general; I see the reviews on the current Leah Jeweled Flats (which are in that yummy yellow that is also giving me life) are really bad.

    I do like that Boden runs reviews; further points for Johnny Boden’s thoughtful, personal apology after the company produced a little boy’s t-shirt with a big gun on it and customers were not pleased.

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    Darcy
    7 May 2018
    3:20pm

    My thing with Boden is that when I see their clothes in consignment shops, the quality usually looks pretty poor. Like they don’t hold up for long. (even though they photograph splendidly. Speaking of their catalogues here)

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    Lo
    7 May 2018
    7:46pm

    In my experience, Boden clothes looked cute in the photos but the quality was bad and the sizing ran really large, even when using the suggested sizes on their charts. The V-necks and wrap dresses ended a full inch below my bust, and I’m busty, so extra fabric isn’t usually a problem. The fabric was much cheaper than the photos suggested, and it took five months to get a refund from them. I’d only buy from them if I could try the items on in person and see the quality up front. I’ll never purchase online from them again.

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