Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Boden Weekly Review Roundup: Open Discussion and One Review.

Hi, all!

I decided to do today's "open discussion" format because, well, I have one review (that's it!) and there are a ton of questions/comments out there about Boden and I figured I could take today to take care of some of those, all in one place.  So if you have left me a comment that had either a question and/or thought that needs to be discussed, I went ahead and put it here.  Hope that's okay.  Sometime tomorrow I will copy and past the comments back to the appropriate places (reply to the commenters directly at the post where the comment appeared first).

First let's tackle the one review.  :)  (By the way, even though I know that Spring Preview orders will be coming in, I will happily publish any and all clearance item reviews...the items stick around for a long while and you never know who your review might help out!)

Fab Wallet (Tan Leopard).  I was all over this wallet after my Union Jack Patent Leather Wallet (from Boden Fall 2009) gave out on me (the zipper pull broke, however the rest of it still works).  Although I can technically still use the wallet, I decided to find a new wallet from Boden because it did last for two years with continuous use.  (I have just given CW the union jack one and she can make her "purse."  She loves things like that.)

I also decided that since I own the Leopard Tote in the same colorway, it would be nice to have a matching pair, even if the matching only ever happens when I use the tote (I switch between my bags, using one per month, roughly).

The clincher was when the wallet took a second price cut to half the original cost.  I could not justify the original price of $88 since I had decided that a $20 leather wallet from Anthro would be fine for the time being, but when it went on sale the first time, I kept my eyes on it for a few weeks waiting to see if it would come down from the $57 or so it was.  And then it was $44, and I was satisfied that I could reasonably justify that cost for a wallet that I know will last a long time (especially since I have the Anthro wallet as a backup).

The above view is the wallet from the front.  The calf hair and leather are the same as on the Leopard tote, and even a similar shading (even though the tag warns that the coloring can be different from wallet to wallet).

The buckle opens the wallet, with a snap closure.  I love snap closures because that means no zipper pull breakages.  LOL.

Opened up.  The wallet has plenty of card holders, which my union jack wallet had but my Anthro one does not.  The zipper compartment is for coins, etc.

Closed up, you can see that the back of the wallet has a small pocket, perfect for receipts.  Although not many, which helps prevent hoarding.  (This is a good thing for me.)

Fab Wallet
Fab Wallet. The patent leather versions have sold out or are almost sold out. I am surprised by this as I think the animal print versions are far more attractive. But that's just my opinion, obviously.

Okay, onto Open Discussion!

Open Discussion Topic #1 SLOW SHIPPING FROM ENGLAND.

Oh, man, I feel your pain.  Especially in the past month or so...many of my shipments from November through January have been painfully slow arriving from Leicester, which is the city that the Boden shipments originate from.  I have joked that they hired a crew of drunk sailors on a rusty ship to get our spotty parcels to us here in the States to many of my blog friends who have e-mailed me wondering why their packages are. not. here. yet.  I also mention that they may not be using GPS, either, rather old mapping instruments like the ones Christopher Columbus used.  It is no wonder...they must be missing the ports and ending up in Bermuda instead.  ;)

The longest I have had to wait is about 3.5 weeks.  Crazy if you put two and two together.  I live in Virginia, fairly close to the ports at Virginia Beach, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Jersey City (I think that is the NJ city that has the big port near NYC).  Even the slowest cruise ships from England to the USA get here in around 2 weeks.  I know there is so much more to it than that, but it is a little disconcerting to wait that long for a Boden package when similar British companies get their items out a teeny bit faster (for instance, I had a package from Warehouse, another British clothing company, come in one week).

There are multiple reasons to be testy about slow shipping times, but in general, I am okay with them because I love Boden and if the wait is what I have to put up for awesome clothing and accessories, I will wait...

BUT...I feel that many of you will agree with me here...if the shipment is slow AND there is a price drop (on the item you are receiving, often significantly reduced, too) AND the item does not receive a price adjustment from customer service, that can make the slow shipping very painful indeed.

Which leads to Open Discussion Topic #2 PRICE ADJUSTMENTS.

I never even knew there was such a thing like price adjustments until someone came to my blog and told me I could get a price adjustment on an Anthro item I had paid for at full price and a mere week later was half off.  Amazingly, it worked!  The Customer Service was fast, efficient, and super-friendly about it. 

Lo and behold, other companies, including Boden, celebrated this practice, too.  Awesome!

Then, I got bit.  In December I bought two items and then 8 days later, those both were on sale for a SIGNIFICANT amount less, so I immediately wrote to customer service nicely asking for a price adjustment.  One of the items wasn't even with me (yep, the one from England), so I mentioned that in the e-mail.  Umm.  Yeah.  She was polite and friendly, but the CS said "no way, Jose."  She mentioned I could re-buy and return, and that was what I did, but ugh, right around the holidays means that some of my budget would have to go to this double purchase.

(Sidenote: I received the news that my returns are being processed.  Just in time for Christmas purchases.  LOL.  Just kidding, I waited a bit to return, I wanted to make sure the replacements had no major issues first before packing up the originals.)  ;)

Tabitha (whose awesome blog Bourbon and Pearls you must check out) did mention that Price Adjustments are not common at all in the UK, so having read that, I get it...and appreciate that bit of insight.  However, I am putting this out there to all of you...don't expect to receive a price adjustment from Boden the way you would from Anthro or J. Crew...and I am okay with that...

BUT, it does frustrate me because I know many of us have had no problem in the past getting price adjustments from Boden and well after the original purchase (2-3 weeks I have heard from some).  I understand changing policy OR being more of a stickler for the actual rules (it is possible they just bent the rules in the past), but it is hard when you get used to it.

Open Discussion #3: BODEN SIZING.

I love Boden because I always know what size I wear.  So much better than Anthro and J. Crew, whose sizing has me anywhere from a size 2 on top to a size 10 on bottom.  Heck, I even have a few J. Crew bottoms that are a freaking size 2 or 4 (my 39-40 inch hips beg to differ, you all).  I always have to ask my PS for J. Crew measurements and I always have to go to the Anthro reviews to know what size I should order.  Why can't Anthro and J. Crew do what Boden does which is to publish ACTUAL garment measurements?  I know my personal bust, waist, and hip measurements along with my torso length and inseam length and can translate that into what size I will need in Boden.  And through lots of garments I have learned a thing or two...

In structured dresses with shift shapes, I wear an 8.  In the limited edition, I may even have to go to a 10.

In structured dresses with A-line shapes, I wear a 6.

In jersey dresses (with stretch), I wear a 4 (I go with my bust on this as I hate way too loose bodices in jersey garments, they look messy on me as I have nothing to fill the bust, even while nursing, ugh).

In skirts, I wear a 8 or 10, depending on the style and fabric.  I ALWAYS choose long if available.  I have fairly long legs for my shape.  My dad jokes that I have the legs of someone who is 5'10" and the torso of someone 5'4".

I don't buy Boden pants.  I don't like the higher waist and find many of their styles don't suit me.  I far prefer American brands as the sit lower on the hips and have longer inseams.  Sorry Johnnie!

I wear a size 4 or 6 in Boden tops.

I wear a 6 in Boden knitwear.

I wear a size 40 (9) or 41 (9.5) in Boden shoes.  This is my hardest fit as their styles tend to run wide and long, and I need narrow and long, so I often size down to get the narrower feel and over time the leather stretches to be long enough for me.

I think if you have the time, taking your measurements (or having someone measure you) is worth it.  There is nothing worse than having to wait a really long time for a garment (unless it is from Pittston, PA, God bless you, PA Shipping facility that uses UPS), have it not fit, and then have to return it.  Guh.

If you have a specific need, definitely leave me a comment or e-mail me at dinagideon AT aim DOT com.  I will get back to you, but it may be a day or two.  Pregnant plus toddlers plus lots and lots of errands plus constant need for sleeping on my part has made me a little less "available" than I used to be.  ;)

Open Discussion #4: BODEN ON SALE.

As you can see, I have a 15% off with free shipping and returns code/link running in my sidebar.  This is typical of what Boden will offer early in the season.  They sometimes offer better deals through their e-mails or possibly you will spy a code on someone's facebook page, etc.  They do this to test the market, really.  The 20% code circulating right now works on a lot of items, but not all.  The 15% code works on all Spring items, no exceptions (except fall clearance stuff, natch).

Throughout the season's cycle, there will be MANY MANY offers, some equaling near the amount of Boden on clearance at the end of the season.  For instance if you see me going cuckoo over the "Catch of the Day" or "Look of the Day," there is usually a good reason.  For instance last spring not only were the items in the Catch of the Day reduced by a good 30%, but you could stack your coupons and receive an additional 10% off.  It is awesome when you can do that.  I was able to get quite a few good deals that way.  In fact, I only sort of buy when clearance time comes around.  I have normally gotten items throughout the season at a good enough price and worn it enough that I don't feel compelled to get upset if an item is a few dollars cheaper than it was when I bought it on some pretty good discount a few months prior.

But...the allure of the sale is strong, I agree...especially when second cuts arrive and a lot of items are 50-60% off.  Today I went ahead and ordered a couple of limited edition items that popped back in my (non-pregnant, chortle) sizes and was stoked I got them at 60% off.  Woo!

Spring/Summer sale will occur in late June or early July.  I know this because I was at the pool under the blazing sun when I used my smart phone to publish a blog post specifically telling you all about it last year.

If you are ever unsure of whether you should take the plunge, decide if you will use the item right away and often...OR if the item is looking low stock (pink check mark), go ahead and buy now.  I am clearly going to do that with the two or three maternity items I need.  LOL.  They will be of no use to me in July.  (I hope.  I DESPERATELY hope.)

Open Discussion #5: WHY BODEN?

I can't get enough of...the quality...the prints...the colors...the fabrics...the uniqueness...the care and consideration that Johnnie B. has put into his company...and the fact that I have pieces from years ago that I still wear and still look good and still look good to people who are not me. 

The other day I pulled out a tunic from Spring 2009 and my husband was all, "woo hoo, I love you in that, SO PRETTY."  I am a woman with a 36 inch waistline in the shape of a freaking watermelon, yet he still thought it worked.  Any company that can bring that reaction out of a man in his tenth year of marriage (with two very tiring toddlers and a very irritable pregnant wife to boot) can stay in my life.

And it never fails...if any of the three of us (the kids and me, that is, Mr. Dina has about four clothing items in his closet, including white tennis shoes, shudder) wear any Boden, folks always ask where we got the clothing.  It is never been a problem for me to tell people exactly where and why they should buy from them.

Okay, all, that's it.  :)  For those of you who clued me into your feelings, thoughts, irritations, love, etc. regarding Boden, THANK YOU!  I think I have covered all of the ones that have come up recently, but do share any others that you can think of...

And do share any thoughts you have on the above topics, as well.  :)

Night, night!

P.S. I have a feeling if you are reading this, you have joined the giveaway.  But...just in case...I am having a $25 gift card (Boden, lol) giveaway.  The rules, etc., are at the very bottom of this post.