Get thee to Anthropologie

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Alright, I'm sneaking one in from upstate NY...I have heard the good word, and the good word is that Anthropologie stores are putting their catalog/online returns out on the sales floor. What does this mean? It means that if you have been wanting to try on an item that is not normally available in stores now is a good time to check your store for someone else's return. Apparently not every store is doing this so ymmv (your mileage may vary).

I am unfortunately not anywhere near an Anthro store to verify this. I have also been told that people making gift returns are receiving Anthro gift cards for the amount of their return and that stores are doing their best to accommodate Anthropologiettes without receipts. No major markdowns or sales as of yet but new items have been added to the sale. Initial reports are that Anthro did well during the holiday season.

I have a few Anthro-related gifts to share next week and would love to hear about any Anthro items you received or gave as well! Wishing you a wonderful last week of 2008.

Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Anthropologie sent their warm holiday wishes via email yesterday and I am echoing their thoughts. Our menorah is being lit and our Christmas tree is surrounded by gifts. Happy Holidays of all kinds to you and yours. Wishing you a wonderful and safe New Year's as well. And looking forward to any amazing post-Christmas sales at our favorite stores.

Thank you for supporting this fan blog! I am taking a short holiday break. Posting will resume the weekend of January 3, 2009.

Coming soon: new intimates collection designed by Satine's Jeannie Lee

Thank you to Marta B. who pointed me to this post! Jeannie Lee of Satine (LA) has designed a new intimates collection for Anthropologie. The above was the only photo available of the collection. It goes on sale in January and will retail for between $18-$88.

Below are details from the Women's Wear Daily article via Racked LA:

Owner of Satine — West 3rd Street's go-to boutique for high-end labels such as Alexander Wang, Tsumori Chisato, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Vanessa Bruno — Jeannie Lee's now collabing with Anthropologie to created a collection of intimates, Bocini, hitting the boho-chic stores in January, along with and in-store at Satine.

Ranging from $18-$88 and including an "understated collection of bras, panties and chemises," WWD reports Lee co-owns and co-designed the Bocini line with Virginia Pereira.

The designers were inspired by "'everything Italian,' as well as men’s wear details such as buttons and keyholes with strong vintage references...subtle and flattering cuts in everything from silk to jersey and pointelle cottons, finished with rustic lace trim and embroidered details. Fabrics include striped silk and floral prints in a muted palette of taupe, blush and ivory."

I am excited to see what the collection looks like, though Anthropologie's intimates are normally far too small for me. Hopefully there will be a cover-up or robe in Roxy size.

Whimsy and rhyme between the bind

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Anthropologie is truly a store of curiosities. Like their sister store Urban Outfitters Anthro carries both clothing and home wares. Lately I have noticed an increase in books at Anthro as well. Besides an intriguing selection of cookbooks they've chosen some conversation starter titles that would make great gifts for the avid reader on your list.

How Now? $15
Subtitled '100 ways to celebrate the present moment,'
this book is a mix of the silly, the common sense
and the thought-provoking.

Even now we are inspired by
her wisdom and grace.

Vintage Shoes: $40
A point of inspiration for Anthropologie's
product buyers, perhaps?

Eco-living for the realistic and lazy among us.
Count me in.

A thought process I am familiar with,
even if I don't engage it every day.

When times are tough, shoppers do funny things

I have worked a few retail jobs in my time, so I pity sales associates this time of year. Their stores are busy; their inventory is a mess and shoppers are by now often less than cheery. The ones who close the store often face several extra hours of sorting through messed up tables, racks and dressing rooms.

With the economy taking a rough turn shoppers are also relaxing their morals when it comes to clothing. Last week I was in an Anthro where a woman was trying to get a price adjustment on the Brekka Cardigan (now $70) but her receipt was almost 30 days old. Anthropologie will do price adjustments for up to 14 days which is pretty fair in my opinion. I can certainly empathize with the woman -- she would have saved over $50. But a price adjustment policy of 30 days would kill many retailers.

My friends who work in retail have also seen an increase in the dreaded buy/wear/return pattern. I admit to being guilty of this in college. I was invited to a fancy ball but had no suitable dress. I bought something in a department store, wore it with the tags on and then returned it. But I was so self-conscious the entire nite that I haven't done it since. This trend is rising again though. Sometimes clothing has clearly been worn when the shopper tries to return it (makeup stains, pills, etc.). All a sales associate can do is point to store policy.

And now with the holidays so close there are the tales of desperation. The thing I hear about the most are shoppers taking someone else's items on hold. A store that shall not be named has a pretty dumb habit of leaving customer holds right behind the register with the names clearly visible. So all a sneaky person has to do is go up to the register, announce that they are the person the item was set aside for and make off with it. Later on the true purchaser arrives only to find their item is long gone. And the store associate is the one who suffers the blame.

So my dears as you wrap up your holiday shopping -- even though you are suffering through crowds a'plenty and lines as far as the eye can see -- remember that the harried sales associate who processes your purchase has been dealing with this for 20 days and nights, for up to 12 hours at a time, and has only a 15-minute and 1-hour break to get away. Be patient, and spread some patience. We will all thank you.

Last minute ideas: stocking stuffers

Monday, December 22, 2008

If you're cruising for last-minute gifts...well you're already too late if you're looking for Hanukkah. But for the rest of the holiday season you've got a few days left to get something for the co-worker you forgot, or the neighbor who surprised you with a little something. Below are a few things I've seen in my search.

For the friend, co-worker or as a stocking stuffer:
Initial Pocket Mirror, $14

For the nature-lover:
Copper Twig Frame, $28

For the holiday-lover:
Fringe 12 Days of Christmas Votive Set, now $50

For the youngin (or young at heart):
A Coloring Book, now $20

All of the above were available in my local store as of this past weekend. If you have seen anything that deserves a mention, please post it in the comments!

The best of what's on sale at Anthropologie: clothing

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Each week, we'll take a look at some cute pieces on sale. Availability and sizing may vary.

AG Angel Cords: now $100

Reviews: Faubourg Mary Janes

Friday, December 19, 2008

Because I work in a neighborhood with cobblestone streets I have been looking for pumps with thicker heels. With the 1940s theme going around the world of fashion lately this has been pretty easy. I love the grey-slate color of the Faubourg Mary Janes ($128) which are by Pink Studio. I also felt like the fringed t-strap was a nice touch.

The heel is very solid (not hollow) and easy to walk on. The arch of the shoe is fairly comfortable. I don't think most women could wear these all day while breaking these in. You'd need driving/walking shoes to pair with these as your work shoes. They're OK to stand in for short periods of time. I used a shoe insert and the comfort level went way up for me. Once the shoe is broken in however it becomes much more comfortable. My biggest issue was that my true size (9) slipped on my foot during the first wearing. Again, the insole helped with this dramatically. You may want to size down a 1/2 size if you order these.

Below is the outfit I rocked the shoes with. Note I am totally cheating this blog's topic because everything except the shoes and Tawny Lawns Bag ($258) (which I don't actually own) are J. Crew.

Casual holiday party wear by roxyturtle

The Mary Janes are very versatile and their neutral tone could be paired with almost any color. The shoes look great against a skirt but you could also pair them with slacks. I wouldn't use these as my weekend shoes or dancing shoes any time soon.

Email: Seeing Red

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Alright Anthropologie faithful -- this is it. Last day for U.S. residents to get free shipping on orders over $200. If you have already taken advantage of this offer I'd love to know what you got! As the holidays draw closer I find the days are flying by. 2008 is almost over...if you can believe it.

And perhaps I am addicted to all things red, because I see several items in the special section that I would love to have! Perhaps the Art Deco Mary Janes ($158) or the Labyrinthine Tee ($48)? There are plenty more beautiful items, including the beloved Armana Jasmine Cardigan ($128).

Just for fun

Night Owl Tee casual by roxyturtle

I'm feeling a bit whimsical with the holidays drawing near. This week's Polyvore sets are all about fun. I can hardly wait for the January Anthropologie catalogue. Until then, enjoy!

Urban Outfitters names European COO

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

From the official press release:

Lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters Inc. has appointed Andrew McLean to the newly-created position of chief operating officer for the company's European operating divisions. McLean is coming from Liz Claiborne, where he worked most recently as president of the outlet division. Before that, he was senior director and controller at Gap Inc.

In his new position, which takes effect January 5th, McLean will be responsible for all European shared service operations, including finance, logistics, development and talent acquisition, for the Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters retail brands, as well as wholesale brands Free People and Leifsdottir.

McLean will report to the company's chief executive officer Glen Senk.

"We are delighted that URBN's expansion in the UK and the rest of Europe has been met with so much success" said mr. Senk. "Andrew's significant experience in retail and operations will make him extremely valuable to URBN at this important juncture."

URBN has been building a stronger foundation in Europe in anticipation of future expansion. The company has operated Urban Outfitters stores in Europe for about a decade and has 14 units in the U.K., Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden.

Last year, the company began shipping Anthropologie internationally. In September, James Bidwell was named managing director of Anthropologie Europe, a new position.

I know there are Urban Outfitters stores in Europe but are there Anthropologie stores? If not it certainly sounds like there will be soon. This is exciting news and I hope any new buyers chosen over in Europe will send some of their picks to North America.

Surprise! The Clever & Wily Shift Dress

When I first saw the Clever & Wily Shift ($328) I purred at the cashmere dress's noticeably Audrey Hepburn-like vibe. So simple and yet so chic.

But then I saw the dress from the back.

It took me awhile to decide if I like this rear view or not. I've come to the conclusion that I like it. It doesn't really pose the dangerous 'oops, she has that dress on backwards' situation as a lower-cut back would and it's a relatively understated accent. Then again, I feel that the pleats could have been a bit more -- if they became seams that wrapped around to the front of the dress for instance, creating a petal effect. Instead it almost looks capeish or like a very fancy hood. I could do without the bow but it doesn't detract from the look. I think this would be a nice holiday party dress or great for a winter dinner date.

One thing I can say for sure: this shift would require either an updo or short hair. My hair is currently short enough that I think I would be fine. If my hair were grown out more it would just look like I have a lumpy back (with a bow growing out of it to boot!).

Is the Clever & Wily Shift a hit or miss to you?

In-store: markdowns galore (online too!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Anthropologie appears to be in the total holiday spirit. As jacquelyn noted, their website has been updated with about 50 new sale items and in-store there's plenty more. I stopped by the 5th Ave store on my way back from running errands and the sale section is double normal size.

Of note was that many of the new sale items were recently introduced. For example, the Midnight Theatre Skirt (now $60) just came out in November. Likewise with the Find-the-Limelight tank (now $40). So if you have made any recent purchases, double-check against the sale items. Anthro will happily adjust any purchases made in the last 14 days. (Read the policy at the very bottom of this page.)

Emails: 'Twas the sale before Christmas

In true 12 Days of Christmas fashion Anthropologie is counting down the days before their Free Shipping on domestic orders over $200 expires. The 4 Days Left email extols the wonders of open cardigans while the 3 Days Left email cleverly points out that 'not a creature was stirring except for your mouse.'

Curiously, I am only receiving these emails in one of my accounts. I have two email accounts signed up with Anthropologie -- one that sends catalogues to my work and one that sends them home. The home account is the email I normally place orders with and it is also the account where I received these reminders. I am not sure how Anthro segments their list (or if they segment it all) but I can also attest to being dropped off of Anthro's catalogue mailing list a couple of times as well. Not sure if that is the case with my work email account.

Wish List: December 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Five things I am dreaming of this month...

5. What's that you say?
The Wide-Eyed beanie ($34) is for kids?
Hmph. I might wear it anyway.

4. The Jam Jar cardigan ($298)
is a bit overpriced to me, but
the cashmere is oh-so-soft.

3. Don't believe the photo above --
it doesn't do the Hybrid Perpetual Necklace ($288)

2. The more I see this outfit,
the more I love it. It's the Oblique Pencil Skirt ($88)
and the Baltzer's Bridle Cardigan ($118)

1. The Tawny Lawns Bag ($258) would be
perfect with this outfit from J.Crew
(shoes by Anthro)

What's on your wish list for December?

Email: Days remain

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Anthropologie's latest email is a reminder: if you live in the United States, you have 5 days left to get free standard shipping on your online order of over $200. I personally have taken advantage twice and both orders went very smoothly.

One interesting thing I noticed: my first order was large items and it shipped via UPS. But my second order was pretty small and shipped via USPS. I don't mind either way and this is pretty common for smaller to mid-sized retailers. It was much harder to track the USPS package though; the two statuses were pretty much in transit and delivered.

Have you taken advantage of the free shipping offer? Do you plan to?

Urban Outfitters joins the NASDAQ 100

Congratulations to Urban Outfitters, Inc. which will be joining the NASDAQ-100 Index. According to the Press Release, the company had a market capitalization of $3.6 billion at the time of ranking which is pretty damn impressive!

What does this mean for the end product consumer? A few things. First, Urban Outfitters (and by proxy, Anthropologie) has established itself as a stable, financially solvent company. Its sales, profit and operations overhead are of the level of other well-known retailers. However, this isn't good news when it comes to discounts. Urban's brand strategy is not to discount items, offer coupon codes or send overstock to outlets. As a result, consumers can expect to continue paying a premium for Urban products.

Gorgeous! Standing Magnifying Glass set

Friday, December 12, 2008

I simply adore the old-fashioned look of the Standing Magnifying Glass set ($68-$128). I could see these used in so many ways -- placed at separate angles on a vanity for a vintage backstage dressing room look; in someone creative's office placed askew for inspiration; in a den or library for a functional-looking decor piece.

From the description it sounds like the base is made out of brushed aluminum and it was a great choice to go dark. Had they kept the same color as the brass adjustment fittings it would be too much. The dark color lends an old-world feel to these interesting conversation pieces. The various heights and diameters are playful; they add that little touch of whimsy that Anthropologie always lends to its pieces.

What do you think of the Standing Magnifying Glass set? Would the set find a place in your home?

Email: Presents with presence

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Did you know Christmas is only two weeks away? And Hanukkah is even closer! Kwanzaa's coming up too! So if you are still looking for your gifts, Anthropologie's latest email has some ideas for you. Their gifts with a twist page is a bit light in my opinion. I do like the megaflower votives they have on the page. They would make a great teacher/co-worker gift.

Not sure what to make of...the Soaring Porcine Ring

I'm as much a fan of kitsch as the next person but the Soaring Porcine ring ($178) seems to take it to a whole new level. When pigs fly indeed. Not only is the ring huge (and heavy) but its jewel-encrusted look would put Swarovski to shame.

Part of me thinks the ring is kind of cute and perhaps if it were re-done as a pendant I would wear it. But as a ring I think it's just a little bit too much. On a side note I also saw this ring in Henri Bendel over the weekend for a much higher price. I know many people find Anthropologie's prices to be on the high side so to see this ring marked up by $40 elsewhere was an interesting sight.

What do you think of the Soaring Porcine ring?

Roxy on holiday

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

roxy on holiday by roxyturtle

Unlike many I am a fan of the cold weather. Love snow and the holidays and the cold! But that doesn't mean I can't also dream of escaping somewhere warm where the water is clear and the breeze is the only movement for miles.

Anthropologie recently unveiled their 2009 resort line and I love several pieces (compiled into the Polyvore set above). I can see myself shuffling along the sand and scoping out sea turtles during my Kona excursions.

Anthro's take on swimsuits are quite intriguing. The Santa Monica One-Piece ($278) would never look right on me but I love it. It reminds me of swim troupes. I would argue the top of the swimsuit would make a flattering top on its own, though maybe in a different material.

The best of what's on sale at Anthropologie: clothing

Each week, we'll take a look at some cute pieces on sale. Availability and sizing may vary.

Catharsis: What happens to items that don't sell?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NOTE: This post was written in 2008...hardly up-to-date information. For anyone reading this now...please know that this is not current store policy.

Before I begin, a disclaimer: the following is a policy of MANY retail stores (not just Anthropologie). I debated whether or not to post the following at all. Please note my intention is not to make anyone feel bad about shopping at any store. It is simply to expose some lesser-known practices.

A friend of mine is working at Anthropologie for the holiday season. So far she has loved it -- the people she works with are nice, she gets to hang out at her favorite store all day and she gets a discount. Over the weekend she and I were talking about past season items that we wish stores would carry again so we could buy them (like the Bloom Sweater -- the photo at the top of this post).

Then my friend related some this story. To paraphrase her:
I was on stock and we were clearing out a bunch of sale items that hadn't sold. I asked the manager what I should do with the clothing and she said "destroy it." Destroy it? I asked. Shouldn't we donate it? 'No,' the manager replied, 'we are only allowed to donate certain items. Corporate policy is to destroy everything else.'

I didn't have a choice so I did it. Perfectly good shirts, sweaters and pants got ripped, torn and generally wrecked. It was really depressing! Another associate told me they destroy furniture too -- almost everything that doesn't sell. We couldn't figure out why. Later on another manager told me that Anthro does it to maintain their brand integrity. They don't want their brands at discount stores or anywhere that would cheapen the brand. Nothing is too common and they want to keep it that way.

Another anecdote: I occasionally moonlight as a personal shopper. One time a client was in a very high-end store in SoHo. She found a top that she liked and asked the store how many other locations were carrying the shirt. We found out it was a store exclusive. She then proceeded to grab every shirt off the display table and asked if there were any more in the back. Then she proceeded to buy every single one of the shirts, even ones that were not her size. In total she paid thousands of dollars.

When we left the store I had to ask why she did it. She looked at me and said "I don't want anyone else to have this shirt." She said it as if that was totally normal and almost seemed surprised and angry at me when I recoiled at that idea. We stopped at her apartment so she could pay me. I watched as she threw every extra shirt she had bought into the trash compactor. Shredded to bits.

Unfortunately this mindset is not unique. It is an extreme take but there are people who want to be the only. In many ways I shop at the store because I myself want to be a bit different and find looks that aren't so cookie cutter. Certainly I don't think you or I would take to buying our Anthro out of stock on something to purposely deny others the enjoyment of a shirt, sweater or necklace. But in destroying their extra stock this is effectively what Anthropologie as a brand is doing.

On a very selfish level it's depressing because it means the only way I'd get an item from a past season is if an owner posts it on eBay. Or if I happen to see it in a thrift. I think Anthropologie could keep the items and still convert sales off them. Many high-end stores keep items in storage for years and then re-present them as 'classics.' Just knowing an item is no longer being produced automatically raises its profile and prestige in consumers' minds. And there are always sample sales. But maybe this misses the forest for the trees. Really it's just such a shame that the clothing isn't recycled or donated.

As I said at the top this is the policy for many retail stores. I worked for Pottery Barn one year and at the time they did the same with many of their items. This doesn't stop me from shopping at Anthropologie but I do wish they'd change this policy. I often wondered what happened to their overstock (I was kind of hoping they'd open outlets or something). The truth is often stranger than fiction.

What do you think? Had you ever heard of this type of policy before?