Recent Fashion Purchases: Boden Edition

Oh Boden, how I love you. You go up past a size 12 and some of your items come in petite and tall. You have stellar customer service – seriously if you’re not sure what size to buy call them, they’re the best and so patient and knowledgeable. Easy shipping and returns and plenty of fun colors and figure-flattering cuts. However, I often end up returning because I love everything so much I forget who I actually am and what body I am in. I recently made some Boden purchases, what was a hit and what was a miss:

boden knit stretch off the shoulder ruched dressOff Shoulder Ruched Dress – Tulip and Navy/Ivory Stripe, 14 and 16 Regular

I first ordered this dress in Tulip (orange) and in a 16. I am not sure why I got a 16, maybe because 14 was sold out, maybe because the reviews say to size up. Anyway, a 16 was too big. It was loose everywhere and went down to mid-calf. But I liked the effect and felt I’d do well with a 14 petite. The color is rich, the knit is nice quality, it’s lined which is hotter but it also smooths everything nicely. The ruching seemed flattering, and I envisioned wearing this with some gold flat sandals (these to be specific) or a pair of sneakers (Adidas Superstars to be specific). So I returned and decided to order a smaller size.

There was no 14 petite available, but I decided to try it in a 14 Regular in Tulip as well as Navy/Ivory Stripe (you know I love me some stripes!). The 14 fit better, but the magic was gone. I still would do better with a petite, but the 14 made me realize the ruching was NOT flattering on my body. It made my lower belly look even lower and more saggy, and the dress is very va-va-voom/Marilyn-esque but in jersey it’s hard to figure out what shoes and where to wear such a dress. They looked stupid with flat sandals and sneakers, and looked try-hard with heels. I think if I was tall and slim the dress would work in the way I wanted it to. But for a woman with curves, it accentuates but makes it more dressy and sexy. Fail.

boden off shoulder ruched topOff Shoulder Ruched Top – Beetle Green, 14

This top is essentially the dress above but cut off at mid-hip.  I was torn over what color to get and decided to go outside my comfort zone with this green color.  Glad I did, it makes me look tan and looks more elegant than orange or stripe and is more interesting than basic black.  The 14 is the right size for me, though if petite was available that may have been a good choice as this if tugged down can be a micro mini.

But I like this top.  A lot.  I wore it with white ankle jeans, my silver cuff and Birkenstocks to a friend's house for dinner.  I like it with denim cutoffs and girlfriend jeans, and it also looks nice with a black jersey swingy midi skirt I have.  The length and ruching makes it adjustable; pull it down for a drop waist with a skirt, or ruch it more and wear with jeans or ankle pants.  This is more versatile and more my personal style than the dress anyway.  Win!

boden denim dressDenim Dress – Indigo Denim, 14 Regular

I didn’t get this dress recently, I bought it months ago but it’s still available and now it’s on sale. I think it’s one of the best fitting denim dresses I have ever tried; you can see it on me in this post and this post. Karl accidentally put it in the dryer and it shrunk in length like ¾” but didn’t shrink anywhere else. I miss that bit of length, I plan on trying to stretch it and line dry the next time I launder it. Win!

boden denim jumpsuitSophia Jumpsuit – 14 Regular

I can’t find the post where one of you recommended I try this jumpsuit. I was looking for a coveralls-esque denim jumpsuit and you helped out (I so trust your recommendations, folks!). Boden seemed like a good place for one that didn’t look too Gasoline Alley but would accommodate my curves.  I ordered it back when I got the denim dress.

This is a weird blue color, sort of drab. It is NOT cut for my body. It fit to the waist, but the crotch was like 3” too low, the calves skin tight, and the elastic waist made the whole thing look like prison garb. Fail.

boden linen v-neck teeV-neck Linen Tee – White, 14 Regular

Boden makes awesome tees, and this one rocks. It has that linen/slub look but it’s not see-through (sure you can tell I’m wearing a bra but unlike many others, you can’t see the straps or the back or definition). The sleeves are super flattering, it has great drape, and it’s so awesome I’m super tempted to buy another in a different color. Do note this is a slouchy/boxy style. This isn’t fitted, it doesn’t skim your curves, it looks cute half-tucked into slim jeans, pants, or shorts or full tucked into a pencil skirt. Win!

boden viscose shell topShell Top – Riviera Blue Handkerchief Spot, 14 Regular

As you know from this post, I like this top. It’s a crepey drapey fabric (viscose) and machine washable. I wore it to work with my navy pinstripe ankle pants (tucked) and navy suiting trousers (untucked with a long necklace to weigh it down), to a 40th birthday party on a boat with white ankle jeans and gold flat sandals (untucked), and can see me wearing it in the future with a skirt (tucked). It washes nicely and turns out the same way and it’s lightweight and breezy yet looks professional for work. I expect you'll see it on the blog in the near future.  One thing though, this may run short on taller people. Win!

boden tissue halter top pom pomHalterneck Sun Top – Ivory Bud print, 14

No idea what I was smoking when I ordered this. I was thinking it looked so breezy and cool. I bet it would be but it’s so sheer you can see the bow in the middle of my strapless bra. I wonder if that's why all the positive reviews and model photos are in the darker color combination.  Also, on a short busty woman this wasn't emphasizing the positive.   Fail.

boden wrap maxi dressSleeveless Wrap Maxi Dress – Mimosa Large Swirl, 14

I've toyed with buying this dress for a while but couldn't justify the price.  It's just a jersey wrap maxi, I could find this same dress at Target for $45, right?  Well I finally decided to order it… and it's no Target dress!  This is lined and heavy which gives it gorgeous drape and keeps it from clinging and flying open in the breeze.  The print is really eye-catching and surprisingly flattering.  However, the same old song… it would be better petite.  Length-wise it's fine, it touches the top of my feet so I can wear with flat sandals or a heel.  However, the bodice is a hair long.  Nothing that causes my bra to be on display, but the top blouses a bit over the  belt.  But the pros far outweigh this negative.  Win!

Though I returned about half, I still find this very successful. It helped me know what works and what doesn’t and helped me realize that I do need some casual summer dresses, but they need to be looser and at the knee or higher to work with flat shoes and sneakers. And while I do have a strapless bra that is pretty comfortable, once in the blazing heat and humidity I’m far more comfortable in a standard bra without padding/molded cups. But these purchases have helped me feel more ready for summer!

Heads up, Boden has all dresses 30% off through Thursday!

Shop the Post:

40 Comments

  1. Ginger
    June 15, 2016 / 7:37 pm

    I love their prints! They aren’t cheap but the clothes are well made. Dresses and skirts with linings look better.

  2. Anamarie
    June 15, 2016 / 4:19 pm

    I have wanted that denim button front dress since the first time you featured it. If I’m still thinking about it now, it’s meant to be mine, right? Ordered! Thanks, Allie!

      • Anamarie
        June 22, 2016 / 1:29 pm

        Got my Boden denim dress yesterday! My office is very casual during the summer, so I wore it to work today. I love it! I never heard of Boden before your blog. I wish they would make the same style in black, I need a new black shirtdress. I like the defined waist and the shaping all over the dress.Thanks for featuring this dress!!

        • June 22, 2016 / 1:31 pm

          Awesome, so glad it works for you! Hey never know, maybe they’ll have it in black for fall! 🙂

  3. Kathryn Braun Fenner
    June 15, 2016 / 12:57 pm

    I need to try Boden again–I tried their wrap dresses back when they first started selling in the US, and they didn’t do anything for me, but you have highlighted so many items I like—I will say that the photo of the striped dress looks like someone just yanked it down too far on her–it bunches unflatteringly even on her, and the hemline is also not a great length–on. the. model. Ordinary mortals didn’t have a chance….

    • June 15, 2016 / 3:06 pm

      I too were meh about their wrap dresses, but the maxi one has me reconsidering them. And yes, doesn’t it look like someone deflated her midsection? That’s what it looked like on me. So weird that the dress gets positive reviews, they must all be very tall women!

      • Kathryn Braun Fenner
        June 15, 2016 / 4:15 pm

        The orange one looks so much better–it’s hiked up onto her shoulders more?

        • June 15, 2016 / 4:18 pm

          Maybe though I felt similar with the stripe versus the orange. The orange made me feel like a short squat Marilyn Monroe, the striped one made me look postpartum after delivering quints.

          • Kathryn Braun Fenner
            June 15, 2016 / 4:19 pm

            Short squat Marilyn has charm….postpartum? naw

  4. June 15, 2016 / 12:20 pm

    I’ve shopped with Boden a few times in the past and I always enjoy looking through their catalogs!!
    I’m not sure I would’ve thought about that ruched top, but after you described it…I might have to indulge! Many of the off the shoulder shirts seems so baggy, and I like that this one isn’t!
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • June 15, 2016 / 3:03 pm

      Oh their catalogs are drool-worthy! And yes, this is nicely fitted, I hope to do some outfit photos with it this weekend if the weather and my schedule plays nice and have it on the blog soon!

  5. Lisa S
    June 15, 2016 / 12:18 pm

    Boden has some of the greatest pants out there (I love the Richmond 7/8 pant and the 7/8 chino) and I love how the Breton tops come in both regular and long-line lengths. I also kvell ceaselessly over their “coatigans” — I have somehow acquired three, in knits ranging from whisper-think silk/cotton to a merino textured number — and those are perfect for transitional weather. Viva la Boden!

    • June 15, 2016 / 3:02 pm

      Other than the Breton tops, I haven’t tried any of these and will sure to consider them when I need such items in my wardrobe. Thanks Lisa!

  6. Lisa Zieger
    June 15, 2016 / 10:36 am

    I love Boden! It’s one of the few companies that produce clothes for grown up women that are still fun and sexy without feeling like I’m trying to be a teenager (I’m 35). Their return policy also nicely takes the edge off ordering online without the luxury of trying things on in person. I went right past that ruched top when I recently placed an order by your review is making me rethink it! Thanks fo much for sharing 🙂

    • June 15, 2016 / 11:49 am

      FYI, it’s not a complete off the shoulder, if you feel comfortable you can wear your standard bra with the straps off the shoulder and the top will hold them in place. This likely works best with a molded cup (this is how I wore it!).

  7. brazenspider
    June 15, 2016 / 10:25 am

    Thanks for this post! I will definitely check out Boden. I recently got an office job after years of being self employed. I’m busty and petite so I always appreciate your comments on those issues in these win/lose posts. Thanks!

  8. LizY
    June 15, 2016 / 10:06 am

    I have a tailor/magician who can take a size-regular garment and turn it into a size-petite for me by taking it up at the shoulders. This adjustment fixes gaping armholes and x-rated necklines. We do this all the time, so maybe you can get your swirl maxi dress fixed if you think it is worth it. I am spoiled for a perfect fit now.

    • Wendy
      June 16, 2016 / 2:46 pm

      Me too! I have the gaping armhole problem. My tailor/magician does a subtle little gather when she takes up the shoulders. I have 5 Lands End Fit and Flares from previous seasons.

  9. Hilary
    June 15, 2016 / 9:25 am

    Have you tried any of the Lands’ End dresses at Sears? I’m not usually a dress person, but I got these recently and love them! http://www.sears.com/lands-end-women-s-fit-and-flare-dress-clothing/p-0000000000000003070600000000000000469341P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1
    http://www.sears.com/lands-end-women-s-plus-size-sleeveless-ponte-sheath/p-00000000000000030706000000000000464496xWP?prdNo=20&blockNo=20&blockType=G20
    I’m a 16/18 with a large bust and I love how these fit (in the regular size, not plus). Looks like they come in petites too. I think I’ll get more colors of the fit & flare style, it’s great for work or casual. And lots of good sale prices right now!

    • June 15, 2016 / 9:28 am

      I have one of these from a previous year in navy and agree how well it fits! To be honest, I haven’t been shopping Lands’ End since the whole Gloria Steinem fiasco but they make great knit dresses for the summer!

      • Nadine
        June 15, 2016 / 11:09 am

        Wait – what? Were you upset about Gloria Steinem’s views on abortion rights for women and this affects your support of Lands End?

        • June 15, 2016 / 11:46 am

          I am a big Steinem supporter and was excited that they featured her. I am angry that they didn’t stand by their decision and removed it all including the fundraising for the ERA because of backlash from pro-life supporters. I wrote a huge post about this when it happened and decided to not share it because I couldn’t write it concisely and eloquently. Lands’ End core customer is businesses and private schools. They have a large board of very successful experienced individuals. Choosing to feature Steinem likely went through several meetings and knowing the ramifications, making a conscious decision to have this viewpoint and stance (which I support). To go through all that and then have religious schools and pro-lifers boycott them (which they HAD to have expected), and then apologize, it was pretty unprofessional and offensive to me as a woman, a feminist, pro-choice, and a longtime Lands’ End shopper and promoter on this site. So I have decided at least for now to not peruse their site, wear or suggest their products on here. My readers have the right to believe whatever they wish and shop anywhere they desire, I don’t wish to offend or push my politics, but I will vote with my wallet and my links. 🙂

          • Cherise
            June 15, 2016 / 11:55 am

            Yasss queen, this is why I love your blog. I am so disappointed in Land’s End. I’m also boycotting them.

          • Nadine
            June 15, 2016 / 12:10 pm

            Thank you so much for clarifying, Allie. I agree 100%. I was worried you meant something else entirely! Thank you for taking the time to respond.

          • Kathryn Braun Fenner
            June 15, 2016 / 1:02 pm

            I agree with you on the Gloria Steinem debacle, but I do give them credit for trying in the first place. I’ve gotten a bit weary of boycotting businesses for political reasons: there are so few whose politics I do agree with, and finding clothes that fit and flatter is so difficult when you are tall and cusp-sized

          • June 15, 2016 / 1:14 pm

            I hear you with that, and did halt my boycott when shopping for swimwear and couldn’t find anything. But this has helped me expand my options and find other retailers to feature and not just rely on them!

          • Hilary
            June 15, 2016 / 2:07 pm

            Oh my, I didn’t realize that! I just happened to be near a Sears with a large Lands’ End selection and discovered these dresses. Disappointing to hear what they did. I’ll think long and hard about further purchases from them. Thanks for the info!
            It’s really disappointing because the company I work for purchases logo clothing (not tons, but more than one shirt a year) from LE. Also, years ago they chose some of our employees for their business clothing catalog…it was a neat experience (as HR Manager I got to go with them to the photoshoot in Chicago). What a bummer.

          • Hilary
            June 15, 2016 / 2:14 pm

            Also, this *would* be my first comment on your blog, lol! Not trying to stir anything up, just clueless about the issue 🙂

          • June 15, 2016 / 3:01 pm

            Oh no it’s all good! I’m glad to be able to inform, and I am also glad you found perfect dresses for the summer. I wear my navy one on a regular basis, and even when Gwynnie Bee had LE, I rented the dress in other colors too!

            It’s super cool your employees were part of the shoot and you got to go. I have loved LE for many many years, as I write this I’m looking at one of their totes, their beach towels are the BEST, and I have a lot of clothes from there for me, Karl, and Emerson. I agree it is a bummer 🙁

          • Charlene
            June 15, 2016 / 6:12 pm

            Can’t stand Gloria Steinem, never could, was (mildly) offended when they featured her. So I’m of course not joining any boycott of Lands End. Unfortunately, they just don’t seem to have anything I want right now.
            But I still love you, Allie. Never miss a post.

          • June 18, 2016 / 10:27 pm

            And I love you too Charlene and love a woman who isn’t afraid to share her thoughts! ❤️

  10. Patricia
    June 15, 2016 / 8:38 am

    Love these posts! To me (retired) it seems like a lot of work to order everything online and have it shipped, but in view of your busy life (job, mommy, blogger, wife, girl scout leader) it makes sense. If I actually needed clothes, I’d certainly look at Boden. Is it also sold in stores?

    • June 15, 2016 / 8:42 am

      No shops in the US, it’s a UK company. I actually think it takes less time, especially since I often go to a mall and can’t find my size. I shop on my lunch hour and often while writing blog posts and finding links for them. I get home from work, take the bags upstairs, try while changing out of my work clothes and if they’re an instant fail I drop them back into the bag or box. I confirm the rest on the weekend or when I have time, and I drop them off for the UPS or USPS in the basement of my office building. I even have a box in my home office of shipping supplies and have packing tape at home and my office so I can quickly ship back. Have it down to a science! 🙂

      • Kathryn Braun Fenner
        June 15, 2016 / 12:59 pm

        Yeah, I’m with you on the less time thing. Returns have become so easy–no more waiting in line at the post office! Unless you are an “average” size–smaller straight sizes, average height, online is way easier!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.