Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Boden Weekly Review Roundup: Sparkle in the Sale.

Hey, all!  I figured I should finish 2014 with a super sparkly edition of the Boden Weekly Review Roundup, especially considering that the sale entered its second cuts (which are really nice reductions overall) earlier this week.  I apologize for not updating the blog, but I did at least update the sidebar coupons to reflect the new cuts to the sale.  I definitely am springing back to life after a bit of a down December, so I feel a bit more like "me," and ready to get back into what I enjoy doing again.  :-)

UPDATE:  As I was writing this post, Boden was updating their site.  It is a MESS.  Nothing is where it is supposed to be and a lot of items are not showing up in searches.  Well, okay then.  I hope they fix it all up soon since without a fix, a lot of the items in these reviews will not be available to look at.  I guess they have decided to make their site all spring earlier than I thought (see the below paragraph).  Sigh.  

In addition to the further reductions, Boden also has had a "new and now" portion of their site for a few weeks.  These are a lot of newer arrivals (I received one, the wrap dress in the orange print*), but a few of the favorites from the fall and winter stuck around for new life in the spring.  I can tell you that there are no reductions on them right now.  I added a 20% off sidebar coupon below the current sale link and it *does NOT* work right now and will not until the 5th of January.  Hmm.  Well, I guess that is one way to run your business, but those of us who have been shopping with Boden for a (very long) while will know not to buy without a coupon (except in sale time), so I can't imagine any of the "new and now" items actually are selling all that well.

*Not loving it on me, though the print and material are exquisite.  A return, for sure, but I can see others loving it.

What the new date on the promo tells me, though, with near 100% certainty, is that they will likely unveil new arrivals on January 5th, which makes sense.  (Although we could argue about the smartness of unveiling spring items just after Christmas...but Boden isn't alone in this process, they were actually one of the holdouts who used to wait for more seasonable temps before unveiling the new wares.)

Okay, I guess that's it from me, now onto the IRL reviews!

Jewelled Flats.  Size 40.5 or 9 1/4.  I fell in love with these during the preview, but I was really unsure if the 40.5 *now just called 9 1/4* would fit me, but I figured 40 is usually too short and 41 is usually long enough but too wide.  40.5 arrived and they were a touch short but the width was perfect, so I called it a success and carefully repackaged them after.  (Really important to pack them well in their original box since though secured well--at least mine are--if you are not careful, I could see wear and tear loosening up the jewels leading to jewel loss.)

Looking at them from this vantage point, they seem very in your face, but from far away, they look sparkly, but nothing especially over the top.  I think it is because the golden suede body with the golden gems are monochromatic and lend a more subtle appearance to the look.  The black and navy versions are contrast picks, with the jewels bright and light compared to the darker leather of the shoe itself.  I think for me the contrast would be too much, but I have seen them on others and it does look quite nice.

I wore this outfit to Christmas mass and I felt appropriately festive and pretty.  The shoes definitely made me smile.  At one point my brother brought down the kneeler and it nearly crushed the big jewel but I was quick and stopped him before it damaged the shoes.  He felt bad and looked so sorry!  They were fine.  The only jewel, in fact, that came off was at the very back of the shoe on the right one, and it was the tiniest jewel.  The only reason I know there was a jewel there was because it had a thread dangling from the spot where it had been.

I want to warn you, though, jewel loss is not uncommon.  Please visit this BWRR for a friend's experiences with these shoes and how much jewel loss she experienced.

The side view shows a bit more sparkle, but again, nothing excessive.  I really loved how well they paired with the (ancient) Banana Republic dress.  Remember when Banana Republic would have items like this on the regular?

Jewelled Flats
Jewelled Flat.  Stocks are low, but makes sense since the price is really low, too.  If your size pops back and you like the price, you will have to grab it quick since others are likely to love the bling at the reduced price.  (OH, and good luck getting to the page for the jewelled flat, btw, with all the issues Boden's site is having today, you may not get there.  Grrr.  Let me know if you are successful, please!)

Hartland Dress
Hartland Dress.  I wore this to sub a couple of weeks ago.  The stocks are running low in this dress, as well, especially in the super reduced price colors.  (Boden's site is *also* having issues with this one.)

Beatrice Dress
Isla Dress
Eliza Coat
Low Heeled Loafer
Beatrice Dress, Isla Dress, Eliza Coat, and Low Heeled Loafer.  I wore these two dresses, coat, and the pair of loafers for my go as a substitute teacher.  Both days required me to be more "dressy" so I chose these two as the best options for the outings.  Beatrice Dress is fully stocked, but good luck getting it in your bag with the site issues, however the Isla Dress and Low Heeled Loafers are definitely low in stock (if not completely out of stock).  That said, popbacks are a regular occurrence so be on the lookout for those items.  The coat seems to still be pretty well stocked.

Embellished Eliza Top
Embellished Eliza Top.  Lou's cost her but a song, and she looks beautiful in it.  Good choice, Lou!  :-)

Sparkle Tee
Sparkle Tee.  Lou chose to get this in navy and the sparkles really dress up the tee. 

Embellished Sweater
Embellished Sweater.  Well, ha, not the Boden version (the photo link is to Boden), but rather the near perfect duplicate from Next.  Lou was near to buying the Boden version but found the Next one instead and for a better price.  My stepmother loves hers (the Boden one) from last year, so I can say if you can get a version, you will likely find yourself reaching for it on the regular.  I can't find the Next version anywhere online, so if you have a link, would you mind sharing?

Okay, I *think* that's it.  If I missed a blog post from you that you have published, do email me or link to it in the comments.  I hope I didn't, but you never know!

Good luck with all the site issues over at Boden.  That place is a hot mess right now.  You hear me, Boden people?  It's a pigsty.  LOL.

If you can get the site to work, the below link will get you to the newly reduced second cuts.  Hopefully.
Shop Boden's Winter Sale with Up to 70% Off EVERYTHING

Friday, December 26, 2014

OOTD/Review: Squirrels in the Hartland.

Just a very quick reminder before I get this post written, Boden has been offering an extra 10% off all sale items for the past few days, and it is set to end tomorrow night (December 27, 2014), so if you wanted to receive the additional amount off, make sure to get those purchases done before it expires.  I have a sidebar link for the 10% off, but I have also included that link at the bottom of this post.  For more information on this sale, go to this post I wrote a few days ago.

Many of you have been asking me to show off the Hartland Dress (here at Boden, the white one is EXTREMELY well-priced with the extra 10% off), but because of a few reasons, I am only able to review it now, but better late than never, I suppose.

This dress is a size 6 Long, and that is actually one of the reasons why I waited so long to show it off to you on me, I simply did not have it in this size.  I originally purchased it in a size 8 Long (that written review is here), but after losing some weight, I discovered the 8 L was ridiculously oversized in my bust and somewhat oversized in my hips, so I knew getting the 6 L would make it work better on my frame.

It was the right choice, ultimately, but it took a long time to get to me.  In fact it wasn't until I got back from our trip to MS that I received it.

Before I move on to the next photo, the pockets are fab.  They are patch pockets, but they work well, and I found I was slipping my hands in them all day, so while my preference is side pockets, these were great!

Boden did a great job with the sewing of this dress.  The squirrels line up perfectly at the seams and through the sleeves.  It would look *off* if they weren't properly laid out, so bravo. 

I find this dress favors those with curves, so if you are more straight up-and-down, you may have a bit of a challenge getting it to fit properly through the bust, waist, and hips.  Because I am straight from bust to waist, my bust area is not filled out at all, even in the smaller size (there is a bit of bagginess from my lack of boobage), but as you can see my bottom fills out the curve in the back of the skirt well.

The dress features a back zip, which is my favorite, as it makes getting in and out of the dress so much easier.

You can also see here how well Boden lined up the squirrels.

The length is awesome, hitting right at my knee.  The sleeve length is odd, I think I would have preferred full-length, but the combo of full-length sleeve and shape of the dress could have read frumpy, so I guess that was why they went 3/4 length instead.

The fabric is super soft, btw, made from a baby cord material.  It also stretches a bit, though the lining doesn't, so it is neither here nor there ultimately regarding stretch.  The lining helps when wearing tights, though, so I will happily give up stretch for ease of wearing with tights in the winter.

The squirrel print is not super obvious until you get up close.  From far away it definitely looks like a geometric print.  It is for sure a perfect teaching dress, especially if you teach younger kids.

And that is what I did that day, I was on day #3 of teaching second-graders, but it was also my first day back after finding out that my friend, W., had killed himself, so it really was a matter of finding something easy to wear, modest enough for school, and cheerful enough to take away some of the sting of losing a good friend.  It worked, sort of, but truth be told (and those of you that have read the last few posts know this), I still majorly struggled to get through the day (and it was a half-day on top of it).  W. loved the outdoors and hiking and the woods, so the squirrels were a bit of a nod to his love for all things nature.  (I wore a tree print cardigan to his funeral, too.)  So that was my day, figuring out how to simply get through the day.

Okay, that's all for now.  I really hope you all are having a lovely Friday.  I love having the kids home with me for vacation (it's a long one this year, too, two weeks total).

Have any of you tried the Hartland and would like to put in your two cents?  Would love to see your comments!

Link to the extra 10% off is below:
Extra 10% Off Sale and Clearance Items + Free Shipping!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Boden: Extra 10% Off Clearance and Sale Items! Yes!

So lucky Lou was able to announce this over at her blog earlier than us here in the United States, where our extra 10% off sale and clearance items didn't start until this morning.  So yay for us finally getting the bonus savings, but double yay (said grudgingly) for the UK citizens who received the bonus savings much earlier.

Everything I randomly placed in my bag over the weekend to try out prices *did* drop by ten percent, so this is a good and working sale, so for anyone looking for just that little bit extra of a discount, this is the one for you.

As per usual, take a look at past Boden Weekly Review Roundups and the last set of reviews (Beatrice Dress, Isla Dress, and the Eliza Coat) for IRL reviews of items that are currently on sale.  :-)

This "additional percentage off" sale ends on December 27, 2014.

Does anyone have any picks?  Would love to read your choices!

The link below takes you to the sale and activates the additional 10% off:
Extra 10% Off Sale and Clearance Items + Free Shipping!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Boden Reviews: Beatrice, Eliza, and Isla.

Today's reviews will be in this order: Beatrice Dress, Eliza Coat, and the Isla Dress.  I purchased the Eliza Coat way back in preview, and reviewed it here when it came to me.  It has only recently gotten chilly enough to justify wearing it, but I have worn it three times this week alone, so yay for that.  :-)  (Still hate cold!)  The Beatrice Dress and the Isla Dress are both very recent purchases, bought when Boden was having a good sale or another (can't remember if it was the dresses sale or if it was the Black Friday sale, I am 100% sure the Isla Dress was purchased during the Black Friday sale, though, since I was only able to buy it after receiving a $50 gift card from my mother- and father-in-law).

I am partially doing these reviews as a way to tip my toes back in the water of blog writing after my recent loss, but also because I know that the big end of season sale has moved into second cuts and I am sure some of you really want to see some of these items on someone already.  ;-)

FWIW, the Beatrice Dress is 60% off (very good price for what you receive), the Isla Dress is a mere 20% off (except the beetroot check which is 40% off), and the Eliza Coat is 30% off (that's a good price, the coat is gorgeous in real life).

Beatrice Dress (here at Boden).  I chose to purchase a 6 Long as it seemed to have enough of a bell to its skirt to make that my choice rather than an 8 Long which I will sometimes purchase if a skirt is more straight on a dress.  I was nearly right, it is a slight bell, but it is definitely not as full as I thought it might be.

Regardless it fits well.  The top half is a touch long in the bodice, but this is the case with nearly every dress I own, so bear that in mind, as most of you are not super short through your torso.

The length on the dress is awesome, though, hitting right where I like my skirts to hit, mid-kneecap.

If you look closely you can see that there are two pleated tucks in the waistband of the skirt.  It's fine, but I would prefer that Boden consider a different application in the future.  They always want to do this, but a lot of women can't wear that well.  I felt the need to stand very straight in order to keep this dress from poufing out.  I think a pretty gather there would be a better choice (where the skirt front is a bit more full at the bottom to compensate for it).  Or if they really want a more straight silhouette, just go with a couple of darts at the waistband.

BTW, no pockets.  Boo!  It is easy enough to add them, but that is for the future. 

The material is amazing, a lovely mid-weight brocade polyester.  The florals are all woven into the fabric, but well done, and even though it comes with a delicate care tag, I didn't feel like I was going to pull the threads out at any point in the evening (I wore it to my kids' Christmas Pageant at the church).

The back features a back zip!  Hurray!  The bodice is fitted, so while I *can* zip it up with a bit of a struggle, it is helpful to have someone else help.  Just letting you all know.

The pleated detail on the front does NOT extend to the back, thank goodness.

I hadn't even noticed the back of the sleeve until I was editing these photos, but there is a cuff placket detail back there.  That takes work and care, and that bit of tailoring you rarely see anymore.  I did the same effect on a dress I sewed up recently, and I appreciate that Boden still adds these features.

Beatrice Dress
Beatrice Dress.  Not really selling out in the color I chose, but the other colors appear more popular.

Eliza Coat (here at Boden).  I rarely ever purchase a size 8 in coats from Boden, but this season I had to buy two that size (I usually wear a size 6 in their coats).  I think they narrowed the shoulders and waist on their coats, and normally that is where I am smallest, so keep that in mind if you choose to buy this one.

I think you can tell this is a good fit on me and it is over just the dress and some tights.   I think it is meant to be a traditional ladies coat, one worn out for dressier events, so I don't think the intent was that we should wear it out over thick sweaters and pants.  (I did wear it over a thin sweater, though, no problem.)

Buttoned up you can see how its buttons look.  It does look like I have properly buttoned them up, but they are actually snaps with a fake button front.  I like snaps, but I have read a few reviews where the reviewer questioned the choice.  My son did spend a lot of this week (I taught his class while his teacher is away) popping my buttons at recess (he was "line leader"), but whatever, I just snapped it right back.

Side view you can see the placket and how it features snaps.  The pocket is so pretty, I love the slanted welt detailing.  Those pockets are deep, btw, great for when you absolutely need them to keep your hands warm (definitely the case yesterday).

Back view is very simple and you can see that they chose a raglan sleeve.  The silhouette was very popular in the mid-60s, so I think they made the right choices for the look they wanted to achieve.

Like a dummy I forgot to clip that vent.  I always do that, lol.

Eliza Coat 
Eliza Coat. The Eliza coat is popular, but not selling out.  I think the sizing issue is a big deal.  Remember to size up.

Isla Dress (here at Boden).  Since I already own the Amy Dress (that review here), and this dress is exactly the same but in a woolen check fabric from Moon, I knew that the same size would be the right call for me.  And it was, the 6 L fits the same way the Amy Dress fits, and if I am being very honest, I think the Isla dress may fit me even better!  (The bodice seems less troublesome on this dress, which may ultimately come down to how it was cut in the factory.)

The length is like the Amy Dress and the Beatrice Dress, exactly right for my frame.  Mid-kneecap is my favorite and am thrilled that the Isla dress in this shade popped back in my size over the Thanksgiving weekend when I could get it on a discount and with a gift card in my pocket.  (Yes!)

I had intentions of sewing this up for myself, but after calculating amounts, and adding in the gift card, the type of wool, etc., I knew that the price I paid out of my own pocket was less than making it for myself.  That doesn't mean I don't want to try, but I will save that for next fall and winter.  ;-)

Same side view as I get on the Amy dress, but you can see that the bodice fits me a touch better here on this one.

The checks are nicely aligned, it is difficult to match plaids, especially on the bias and at the side seams (the skirt is placed on the bias).

The sleeves are not 100% aligned on the same plaid, but it doesn't look bad, so I am good.

The back really shows the craftsmanship.  Here you see how the back seam is perfect, with the plaid on either side exactly matching up in the middle.  Bravo, Boden.  There is also a zip there, and that, too, is nearly invisible.

You can tell (kind of) that the lighter stripe is a pale pink, the same shade as the Eliza cot.  The blue is actually more teal in real life, and the grey is a mid-color grey.  All around very beautiful plaid and a bit unusual.

My hubby said I looked like a Catholic school girl.  LOL.  Good thing I was teaching in one yesterday when I wore this.

Love how full this skirt is, and fully lined for protection of the wool fabric and for ease of wear with items like tights.

The wool is very soft to the touch.  I kept stroking it yesterday.  It is not itchy at all.  Definitely consider it if you are wary of wool because of the itch factor.

The shoes, btw, are the Low Heeled Loafer (review here), and suited the occasion of teaching well.  I felt fine in them all day.

Whole ensemble together.  I love this ladylike look.

Isla Dress
Isla Dress.  Very popular.  If your size pops back and you like it, I recommend grabbing it.  This dress sold well this season.

Okay, that's it!  Have any of you tried these items?

The sale banner below says "up to 50% off," but it is actually "up to 60% off."