So, as you know, yesterday I went down to the Boden press show to see their Autumn collection. I’ll tell you a bit more about that at the end of this post and show you a few pictures. Before I set off though, I thought I’d better have a look at their site so that I was up to date with their current collection.
There were a few things I hadn’t seen before and I ended up placing an order which I hoped would arrive in time for me to show you the pieces on me but alas they are not here. What I’m noticing about Boden is that they seem to be innovating less. Their current direction seems to be to focus on their core staples. I can only think that the reason behind this is that they are concentrating on expanding their territory into new countries and that they’re therefore producing higher quantities of the pieces they know will sell well.
If I’m right, this is clever commercially because it affords efficiency in terms of fabrics and manufacturing runs. It also entails less risk than introducing untested styles. If you are continually acquiring new customers, it matters less if your existing consumer base is feeling fatigued. It’s a specific (but unusual) retail approach to market and there are arguments for and against it.
On one level, the lack of ‘newness’ meant it was easy for me to go back to the current collection and shop. When I went onto the site, there were pieces that they repeat every year and I know them well. So what did I order?
My Boden order
Well for once I find myself ahead of the holiday game. The high summer collection is in and I know that their linen cowl neck t-shirts will have disappeared by the time I start thinking about holiday clothes. I find these to be suitcase essentials because they work well during the day with shorts but they are also good for dressing up a simple maxi skirt in the evening.
For some reason they didn’t have their usual wide selection of colours though so I ended up just choosing white. Boden linen t-shirts wash well and improve with age, I have some that are 10 years old and are now better than ever.
The thought of holidays led me on to swimwear. We’re going somewhere very hot this year so, because I will spend most of my time in the sea, my daywear will consist largely of bikinis and kaftans. I already have the new navy Seaspray swimsuit that I showed you in this post (don’t forget you can still get 20% off with code CHIC20 until 12th May). So, I ordered this Kaftan to go with it. It will also work well with my favourite blue and white striped bikini that you saw me wearing last year. It’s already on a 4 week wait so if you want one, you’ll need to be quick.
Of course I then wandered on to the rest of the swimwear and ordered this tankini too. I haven’t been able to find a good tankini for years, they can look really frumpy but instinct tells me that because of the colour blocking, this will be a good one. When they work well, tankinis are more flattering than a swimsuit and yet kinder than a bikini. Again there is a 4 week wait for delivery so I can’t review if yet.
I opted for the plain bottoms to go with it because I have no desire to draw attention to that part of my body but there are mix and match patterned options too.
I rate Boden’s shorts really highly and I have both the chino style and what is now called the Richmond from past seasons. I particularly like the Richmond because you can wear them with a t-shirt in the day but then dress them up with a pretty top and espadrilles for evenings. I have a pink pair like these…
…but I have only ever worn them with white tops so I ordered this one. It’s linen so it will be good for high heats and I also thought I could wear it at home (particularly with white jeans) if we have a summer this year.
I thought I’d try these sandals. It’s funny, reading the reviews I can see that a few people are harking back to a particular pair of circle sandals that Boden did years ago. Everyone seems to have worn them until they fell apart, I did too. They’ve never repeated them and these are similar but not the same because the others didn’t have a hard back, just a strap at the ankle.
I then veered back into my old Boden behaviour and added these to my basket without thinking about what I would wear with them. I’ll try them when they arrive – the pink stripe is either going to be a fabulous pop of colour or too restrictive when I look at the tops that I have.
The last thing I ordered was these shoes because I need them to wear with a dress that I will be showing you soon. The d’Orsay cut means that they are more up to date than a classic pointed court and the bright blue will break up the navy that is dominating my wardrobe this season.
There’s 20% off at Boden until tonight (Friday 28th April) and then it goes to 10% over the weekend. Code 2C2Z will also give you free delivery and returns.
One last lovely thing that I couldn’t justify because I have already bought my Hush blush lustre jumper is this:
Worn with a gold necklace and jeans it would be perfect for the British summer.
Hush Summer Launch
That moves me nicely on to Hush who released their Summer collection this week. Thinking about holidays again this would be lovely for evenings or for wearing at the beach.
If you prefer white, this is cotton and it’s also lined so there will be no opacity issues. The unfinished hem gives it a contemporary feel and it has pockets too.
I’ve shown you this before but having seen it in real life I just want to remind you of it because it’s lovely and very flattering.
If you prefer shorts that are less fitted than Boden’s, Hush is the place to go. They’re longer, looser, have an elasticated waist and a touch of athleisure. They’re available in navy with red trim or black and yellow.
Like the Cerys dress, you can’t tell how lovely this is from the website photos. It is a silk and cotton mix which makes it expensive but it really caught my eye at the press show. I am dithering over it because I know it is one of those investment pieces that I would wear for years to come. There is something youthful and timeless about it – size down though.
There is also a really good new collection of sunglasses with category 3 lenses. My favourites are this pair, I like the fact that they’ve done a black and grey tortoiseshell. Solid black frames are too harsh for a lot of faces but these are a great solution if you want an alternative to classic tortoiseshell.
It has been a very ordinary week in our house after the excitement of the Blog Awards. We are still deep in revision. This week I have been trying to engage my reluctant reader with his Poetry anthology. It has been testing for both of us is all that I will say – for me because I love poetry, for him because he really doesn’t. However we did achieve a small breakthrough with Ozymandias. Thank you Shelley.
So, the Boden press show. I’m not quite sure what to say to you. It was very small. There were only three or four small racks of clothes. These were the most interesting things that I saw.
It was very marketing led so I couldn’t quiz anyone about design direction or fabric choices as I had hoped to. I did manage to speak to the person who was in charge of blogger engagement so that I could say that the Over 40s were feeling very neglected both as influencers and consumers.
His response was that it was not intentional but that they are very short staffed. He also said that they are, in fact, embracing the older consumer and pointed to the models in the room.
(this shows how tiny the collection on show was – it was the whole thing)
Now alarm bells are starting to ring in my ears. I suspect that there may be a new fad of embracing the very beautiful, grey haired, 60 plus model à la Helen Mirren. They are stunning women and it’s great that they are so visible but they are almost as ‘unrelatable’ as the lovely 20 somethings. A yawning gap appears to be opening up. Where does the intelligent, confident 40 / 50 year old woman who doesn’t want to be relegated to ‘yummy mummy’ status fit in all of this?
I have a feeling that retail marketing departments (which have always been dominated by 20 – 30 somethings) are being told that they need to pay lip service to the older consumer and so they are jumping on to the whole silver fox thing. It is almost becoming a new form of tokenism – a type of ‘greywash.’
I am not just aiming this at Boden, I have seen it at quite a few retailers this season. Hopefully it will expand to include midlife women – let’s just be aware of it for now. In the meantime I will start to challenge it when I see it whilst championing the brands that I know are actively valuing midlifers. They are the ones who are listening to what 40 plus bloggers and their readers have to say and I include Hush, Finery, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Uniqlo, Baukjen, Pure Collection and Hope as leaders of this category.
So looking back at the Boden show, I think they do their core pieces brilliantly. They are also very good at picking up pieces like this red ankle boot (which was Top Shop and &OtherStories big seller for SS17) and bringing it to a more cautious consumer a season later.
(there was obviously a hair on my lens there sorry)
It seems they simply need more staff in their marketing team, particularly in the field of consumer insight. I’ll be interested to hear what you think.
In the meantime I have failed miserably on the photo taking front this week and have only one outfit to show you. I had cabin fever after being cooped up in a meeting that had lasted all morning…and I was wearing the wrong shoes for cobbles!
And with that I’ll leave you. Have a fabulous Bank Holiday weekend if you’re in the UK. Let’s hope the sun shines.
Disclosure: Looking at Boden and Hush is not a sponsored post
Baukjen sample sale here (4 days only)
Woolovers 30% off everything with code STACK30
Seaspray – 20% off exclusive to Midlifechic readers here with code CHIC20 until midnight on Friday 12th May
J Crew – 20% off here with code THANKYOU plus free express delivery
Pure Collection – 30% off here – automatically applied at checkout
Boden – 20% off here (until Friday 28th April, then 10% over the weekend)
White Company 20% off here with code AQ791