New arrivals: YMMV (your mileage may vary)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Starting at top left, moving clockwise: Emerald Wicklow Dress ($158),  
Shirt The Issue Dress ($118), Crossing The Stripes Dress ($228),
Across The Land Dress ($138, review here), Magnified Corolla Dress ($168), 
Work-In-Progress Dress ($168), Garden Party Dress ($168), 
River Fish Dress ($298).

It was a true clash of styles yesterday in the roxy household. I had a few friends over during the day who were helping me to plan a party this weekend. During a break we surfed over to Anthropologie's website to ogle the new arrivals. The reaction among my friends ranged from, "I love it!" to "I hate it!" Take that as my disclaimer that everything I'm about to say is subjective and your feelings may not match mine.

The new catalogue is online, and it's only 29 pages. It's mostly accessories. And what little clothing lies within is not what I was hoping for at all. Contrast this to last year, when I was so excited about January's new arrivals! Last year seemed very spring-transitional and this year smacks of resortwear. Is that Anthro's customer base?

My reaction upon seeing the arrivals? Visible disappointment. This mostly lands with the dresses, which I keep looking at in hopes of finding a few I like from the latest crop of new additions. My issue lies with the dress shapes. I see draped and loose and flowy but I see very little that's work-to-eve appropriate. I see lots of party dresses but few work items. And as a 20-something, I have to admit that a lot of this looks matronly to me.

I don't expect any brand to stay still. So it doesn't bother me that Anthropologie isn't releasing the same styles it did in 2007 or 2008. What does bother me is that the effort here seems to be towards trying to incorporate trends into Anthropologie's sphere. Why? I'm not sure. Anthropologie has always been at its best when it offers unique designs from the voice within. I see echoes of other designers here and I don't like it. Perhaps I've been too liberal with my praise when Anthro reinterprets a designer item. My goal wasn't to make Anthropologie's entire line that way!

Where are the Maeve tank dresses? Where are the Floreat sleeved dresses? I'd even take the stunning Moulinette Soeurs designs that don't fit. I see no Ric Rac, very little Moth and just a smattering of Fei. I look above and I see Tory Burch, I see Tibi, I see Diane von Furstenberg, I see Rebecca Taylor. What I don't see is Anthropologie.

Starting at top left, moving clockwise: Sidestepping Dress ($138),  
Silken Stitches Dress ($168), Vortex Dress ($328), Pom Flower Shift ($158), 
Sing Sweetly Party Dress ($148), Blurred Shapes Dress ($168).

The dresses I do like have mostly been out for a few weeks now. (I'll have reviews of the Pom Flower Shift ($158) and Sing Sweetly Party Dress ($148) as part of a dress set tonite.) Unfortunately half the dresses I like are also strapless, which makes them OK for parties but not OK for work. These designs are more of what I'm used to, but only the shape of the Sidestepping Dress ($138) and the Pom Flower Shift ($158 look like familiar Anthro structures to me.

Perhaps my issue is more that I'm not a fan of the 50s, 70s and 80s shapes at work here. I prefer structure and tailoring in my pieces, with the occasional flowy thrown in. This is mostly flowy and not really my style. I am happy to see longer dresses than last year. I am happy to see bold prints and delicate whimsy. I guess I was just expecting more of it.

Some other new arrivals that caught my eye...

Beautiful left coast bohemian, but this look makes my east coast eye tick.

Wrinkled Grandpa Cardigan ($78) with Flutter Sleeve Tunic ($88).
Much more my style but more casual than I'm looking for.
How many other stores carry a cardigan just like this?

Who is the person wearing this, and where are they going?

This one is by Tracy Reese, but reminds me of Prada's spring line from 2009.
I love the color but I'd never wear this.

Hello, 2011 Aniseed Skirt...

The Impressionists Chemise ($68)
We have a winner! But it's a chemise, not a true dress.

What do you think of Anthro's new arrivals?