Catalog Police: Boden Autumn 2014 Edition

I finally open the Boden catalogue after repeated mailings.
I finally open the Boden catalogue after repeated mailings.
I finally open the Boden catalogue.

This is the second Boden catalog I’ve received in a month, which is rather aggressive. I can take a hint: Let’s welcome Boden to Catalog Police, my weekly takedown of mail-order horrors.

First, a little background on the Boden brand, which I’d never heard of until a few weeks ago. (I figured it was a launch or a new J. Crew imprint.) Turns out, Boden got started in the 90s, and the brand’s achieved huge popularity and recognition in the UK market. If you’ve recently received a Boden catalog in the U.S., you’re a target in the brand’s latest strategy: to overtake the lucrative American mail-order market.

Before I dive into my critique, it’s important that to note that I’m likely NOT the typical Boden customer. Historically, the brand has served as a uniform for “yummy mummies” in their 30s or 40s with a pattern obsession that rivals Vera Bradley. The Boden brand is worlds away from my current lifestyle and aspirations.

But judging by Boden’s persistent mailings, their marketing algorithms seem to think I am a primary target. Boden, I accept your challenge.

Halloween just came early: Perfect if you were planning on dressing like a traffic cone. (A CLASSY traffic cone!)
Fashion inspiration straight from the cellblock.

Sigh. I wanted a CHEETAH peacoat, not CHEETO.

(PS: I showed a lot of restraint by not mentioning the overly alert cow in the background.)

Are these skirts or sofa swatches?
Skirts or sofa swatches? Who can say?

How will you spend your discretionary $108? On the neon golf print that’s completely inappropriate for fall? Or the muddy tweed conjured from Mary Poppins’ carpet bag?


Those sad little leather Band-aids affixed to the waistband? Yeah, they can’t fix this bloody mess.

I know I’m being harsh. But before I launch into my final verdict, there’s some good news: Not everything in the Boden catalog was horrific. Here are two looks I liked:

These two Boden outfits are incredibly cute. No joke.
These two Boden outfits are incredibly cute. No joke.

The Oxford-sweater-skirt combo is a classic no-brainer. Meanwhile, the pink dress is incredibly flattering AND it’s machine washable, which is basically a miracle.

But all my goodwill drained when I spotted THIS huge grammatical error on page 57:

Elementary mistake, Sherlock.
Elementary mistake, Sherlock.

I’m hardly a grammar cop, but come ON. The correct usage is “PORE over these pages,” not POUR. (You can check the rules here, here or here.)

Boden, I’m writing you a ticket for zany color selections, poor fabrication and idiotic, easy-to-avoid grammatical errors. You’re lucky you had that pink dress — otherwise, you’d be spending the night in the slammer.

  • Maya Meinert

    Omg, that typo! Automatic fail!
    I started getting these catalogs, too, and I decided to give Boden a try. So I ordered a dress that had some gathering in front, like many of its dresses, and I thought it made me look preggers! So back in the mail it went.

    • TheStylePragmatist

      YIKES! That’s a huge design flaw that signifies an even deeper problem than egregious typos… But I think this also is a nice illustration about brick-and-mortar vs. mail-order shopping. Shopping remotely is certainly more convenient, but when you’re in a physical store, you at least get to touch and feel before making the purchase.