Monday, April 16, 2012

Boden or Pretty in Prints

Before I started shopping extensively at J.Crew, I used to buy much more at Boden. I got into Boden after buying Mini Boden during my childrenswear obsession, that I blogged about HERE.

Boden clothes are cheerful and feminine, geared toward stay-at-home moms and weekend wear. It was a nice escape for me, at the time when my Banana Republic/Theory wardrobe was full of trousers, solid button downs and menswear inspired blazers.

I haven't bought anything from Boden in the last year, but they have a lot of cute stuff for spring and summer in the current collection. The items I will share with you are not current, but Boden continues to make certain staples with almost identical cuts and fabrics. I have added links to similar items in current collection, but if you explore the website, you will find even more.

Hotchpotch Top, Similar HERE

UK size 14, Tailored

UK size 12

Crinkle Top,  Size Medium

Similar top in solid  HERE 
Whimsically printed button downs is something that Boden also does very well.

The fit of their shirts is similar to J.Crew. I was always size 12 in Boden tops. They have since switched to US sizing but size 12 falls somewhere in between US size 6 and 8, which worked perfectly for me. I think they currently translate UK size 12 to size 8 US.

Essential shirt in mustard yellow, similar HERE

Essential shirt in red

Essential shirt in red
The essential shirts usually have some details in other fabrics, mustard shirt has pink trim around neck and cuffs, red shirt has brown trim and purple flower print has green trim around the collar and inside of the cuffs in the same print but in green. This is nice touch when you turn your cuffs up.

Other shirts that I was buying in multiples were their crinkle jersey shirts. They are so comfortable, it is basically a t-shirt but cut like a button down.

They usually do them in 3/4 sleeve in the spring and long sleeves in the fall.

Size Medium, 3/4 sleeve

Crinkle Jersey shirt, similar HERE

Long Sleeve Version

You can wear it crinkled or you can iron it

Boden makes great colorful linen tunics, perfect for resort vacations. The print below reminds me of Lily Pulitzer.

Size 12 with hem let down

Perfect summer vacation tunic dress, similar  HERE
And if you need super comfy jersey dress that feels like a nightgown but can also go to a casual office, Boden may just be a place to look:

Size 12, shortened, similar HERE

Comfy like a nightgown but put together
And of course nobody does a playful, feel good, retro print better than Boden. Now, I have to admit that I loved this print but I was not too happy with the fit of the dress. It is cut low and high waisted, more suited to those who are pear shaped. But it works with the cashmere wrap from Banana Republic (very old).

Fun print

Low cut, but OK for vacations

I would say Boden's signature dress fit is fitted in the shoulders and accentuating the chest area, then skimming over the waist and draping slightly a-line around the hips. This works for many shapes and it is one of the most flattering, feminine cuts. 

Boden clothes don't look borrowed from the boys. Their dresses are made for women, not girls. Boden is imo not so great with color, they use color a lot but some of their combinations are jarring. Same goes for prints, some a great and some are just too whimsical or too retro and after a while it may get repetitive, but if you like prints in general, you will should be able to find something you love at Boden.

Last but not least: shoes!

Boden does have some great shoes. Their ballet flats are leather lined, padded an dwith leather soles, They fit me better than J.Crew ballets and they have some great colors. Again, I am size 8.5 in J.Crew heels and 8 in ballet flats but I am always size 39 in Boden (and other Euro shoes).

I like the slightly higher vamp and velvet bows

Padded and leather lined, similar HERE

That's all folks
I own more of each category above, plus skirts, jackets, pants, t-shirts, bags and even coats from Boden. I have been equally happy with fit and quality. Compare to J.Crew, there were very few items that I returned, probably around 10%. Their returns are free most of the time with the code and all shipments come with pre-printed return labels and resealable bags but you have to wait about 10 days for them to be processed. Their site features reviews and their customer service is wonderful in my experience. The shipping time was about one week for me to NJ.

Their prices are similar to J.Crew and they also have some very good discounts and sales. If the colors and prints appeal to you i would recommend them. For deals, promo codes and more up to date reviews check Dina's blog HERE.


Have you bought anything from Boden?
Do you like their clothes?

Please share, there would be no fun without you!!!


  1. love all this color on you and the dresses fit you so well. i think my favorite is the lilli pulitzer look alike. so pretty. xo janet

    1. thank you Janet, this is my favorite as well!

  2. I love the Pulitzer inspired print the most too. Great pieces. I just started buying last year. So far I only have a few pieces, but I love the prints. Love your blog. Are you in NJ? I lived there for a long time (I'm in the midwest now) in New Brunswick and Morristown. Makes me miss home! Thanks for the post!

    1. Lizzy, yes I am in NJ and I used to live close to New Brunswick too! I am in Bergen county now and I love it here, only thing is there is no shopping on Sunday, but that's probably for the best :)

  3. You have a lovely Boden collection and you definitely know how to wear a print!

    I discovered Boden through DinaGideon's MySuperfluties blog and promptly placed several orders. Unfortunately, Canadians must order from the U.K. site and the duty is ridiculous so I quit ordering and will make do with the pieces I have, although I do visit the store when I'm in London. The silk Pop Spot blouse that I blogged about HERE is my all-time favorite Boden piece and if they brought it back in different colors I might suck up the duty and buy another.

    1. Oh the duties you have to pay are a killer, I sympathize with you... But you do get things like one year of maternity leave so there is a trade off for everything...
      I love that blouse, I should have bought it becasue I have the persimmon skirt as well, it is one of my favorites!

  4. I have a few (older) Boden pieces, but they don't really suit me. A sleeveless dress (too orange), a cap sleeve button down (too cropped), and a corduroy skirt (too long, could hem it). I think I don't carry off the bold prints very well, which is why I lean toward J. Crew for their (usually) quieter styles. I really like a lot of what you posted, though, especially the Lilly Pullitzer-esque tunic/dress, so now you have me thinking about giving them another try.

    1. Boden prints can be too bold for many I think and they are very distinctive. I hemmed a few of my dresses and I like them better after that. On the other hand I only liked the linen tunic after I had the hem let down. I have quite a few items i do not wear because it is not my style anymore but some times i get back to things after few years as well...

  5. I love their Parisian Striped Tees (Spring and Fall versions) and their favourite turtlenecks. I must say these items have held up wonderfully through the years. No holes and no pilling unlike some items bought from a store that shall not be named...

    1. It is funny because Boden is often compared to J.Crew and has similar devoted following in UK and I know a lot of Boden afficionadas are complaining about the quality but I think overall their quality is good and many times better than you know who, especially in knits and t-shirts.

    2. Oh this is so true. I laugh at the thought of Boden's "diminishing" quality. J. Crew could learn a thing or two about proper tailoring, detailing, and sewing from Boden. I have a TON of minor "fixes" I must do on several J. Crew pieces (buttons off, hems unraveling, seams busted and not from being the wrong size, etc.), but maybe, MAYBE one item from Boden that needs a repair? Hmm. Guess who wins the quality contest? Yeah.

  6. Oh, MEMORY LANE. Teehee. I know and love many of the pieces you have here in this fab overview of Boden. :) I never saw the first hotchpotch top, though, which is really pretty. (They are staying away from hotchpotch lately, I get why, but it really is very much a "Boden" thing, and I suspect some of their customers are sad over the move to more simple pieces.)

    I would LOVE to mention this post in tomorrow's roundup, even though the pieces are from prior years. I think there are a ton of folks that would love the trip down memory lane as much as I did.

    BTW, you have reminded me to get my linen tunic out again. It is time for summer!

    1. Hi Dina, if you only think it is interesting at all, I would be honored.
      That linen tunic is great and I cannot wait to wear it again.
      The first hotchpotch top is probably my oldest, that why I got size 14, because I was still figuring out the sizes. I loved those hotchpotch tops and yes, I mourn that they stopped making them, I guess at that time I was fresh from buying Oilily/Room Seven (and of course Mini Boden), maybe that's why I liked it so much.