It takes longer than it used to to recover from a late night of merriment and on Monday I was still feeling weary. However there was no getting round the fact that the Boden van was in its way and we had been told that we would be the first people to receive the new Boden Winter 2014 range. You will remember that we were holding our party in the village Church as all proceeds will be going towards the appeal to fix the roof. How excited were we when the transit unloaded mystery bag after mystery bag.
A quick tutorial if you are thinking of holding a party. You need a lot of space. Everything arrives in garment bags – each category (i.e.knitwear / dresses etc) has 3 or 4 and each bag has about 10 pieces on hangers all held together with a giant safety pin. You construct the rails (provided by Boden) and then use the safety pins to heave the clothing onto them. You can then at last unzip them and find out what is inside. It took a while to get everything in the right order – the delivery guy just offloads the bags and leaves. You also need to think about changing stations with mirrors, putting posters up, displaying accessories and finding an area for refreshments and taking orders – you need to provide laptops for this. With 7 of us helping, it took about 3 hours to get everything properly arranged.
We had decided to open our doors from 1pm until 8pm to try to cater for everyone. Boden suggests that you try to wear something from the current range if you are hosting so, having had the Cambridge skirt for a while I thought this would be a good time to give it its first outing:
- Next black long sleeve t-shirt
- Boden Cambridge Skirt
- Boden suede knee high boots – past season but similar here
- Boden necklace – past season
This will also explain why I’m wearing black tights and boots with everything else I tried on. A quick word about the skirt, it’s made from brushed cotton which means you can dress it up or down it comes up true to size and I love it. You need to push it down to your hips rather than wear it at the waist which I did when I first tried it and then you get the full effect of the flattering A-line shape and the pockets don’t sit on your tummy!
So, with you guys in mind and having a quick half hour before we opened the doors, I thought I’d try on of some of the new pieces. Just in case you haven’t been reading the blog for long – I’m a standard UK 12 regular in most Boden pieces and I’m 5ft8 (I know – you’d think I would need a long but I seem to have short legs)! As you’ll know if you’ve been to a Boden party, you’re at the mercy of the sizes they provide because, understandably, they try to provide a range so that there is something for everyone.
Boden Winter 2014 range: Partywear
Although I like to think that I’ll need lots of different party dresses for all of the glamorous parties I’ll be going to I have to accept that these days it isn’t the case. I really need something versatile with a bit of sparkle for lunches with friends, Christmas concerts and pantos. The first thing that I spotted on the rail was this Embellished collar jumper. Now it was a size 16 so too big for me but I would definitely choose this over a jumper with a snowman on it. It is lovely quality, sparkly but still understated and you would have many years wear out of it – it simply won’t date. Also, the fact that it is made from merino wool means you shouldn’t get too hot – the perfect jumper for watching a nativity, the last day at work or a pre-Christmas lunch.
Moving on, I have been looking for a sequinned top for drinks parties. I had in mind the sequinned blazer but they had only sent tiny and giant sizes – when I tried them they were cut too short for my liking – probably because I have a long body. So, I moved on to the Perfect party top. I had looked at this in the catalogue but was put off by the fact that there were only striped or ‘daisy jacquard’ options. In my view sequins are enough of a statement – they don’t need pattern as well. However this is the daisy jacquard version and it doesn’t look too bad, in fact it was Mr MC’s favourite of the items I tried although I didn’t tell him the price. This was a size 16 so it would be much more fitted if it were a 12. It was a lovely, heavy weight which meant it didn’t feel as though the sequins would start dropping off in the middle of the evening which so often happens. If it didn’t have the pattern it might have been my Christmas top – but sadly it did.
Now as you know I featured the Zara lace top in my core going out montage last week. I had planned to buy it in Newcastle but was cruelly thwarted by the fact that there wasn’t a store in the city centre so I was keen to try this Luxurious lace top . Again it was too big (a 14 I think, Boden please put some 12s in your party pack) but it was lovely quality. It’s a much lighter lace than Zara’s guipure so isn’t as stiff. I’m undecided as to whether this is a good or a bad thing – in one way it has less impact. However the lining is very silky which means it won’t rumple at the top of your trousers or skirt. It’s also longer than the Zara top and I think it hits at the most flattering point on your hips; the sleeves are cut at exactly the point where your lower arm narrows. I like the fact that the satin is longer than the lace at the bottom and the neckline is very flattering, just skimming the clavicles.
Of all the things I tried, these Lydia trousers were the least successful. It must just be me because they’ve had great reviews online but you can tell that I just wasn’t happy in them. They were a bit too big at a size 14 but for me there was just something about wearing lace trousers that felt weird.
And then, purely because it was in a size 12, I tried the Luxurious lace dress. On the hanger it just looked like another lace dress and in fact on seeing it in the catalogue I had thought that the way that the lace stops with a gap of satin before the skirt starts was a bit odd. Bear in mind that as all the reviews say, it comes up small and you definitely need to go up a size if you intend to eat, drink or even sit down. However it is a piece of dressmaking wizardry. The band of satin at the bottom of your ribs conspires to make you look as though you have tiny waist and you become hourglass shaped. It has the same flattering detail at the neckline and sleeves as the luxurious lace top. So that got me thinking that being only £50 more than the top it is a bargain, especially with the 20% off – that makes it only £40 extra (sort of – this is what Mr MC terms female logic). I love this dress more than any other evening dress I have ever tried – and there have been many over the years. Because it has sleeves, you could wear it more often than a strappy or sleeveless one – it would look lovely in a restaurant or even at home on Christmas day so cost per wear…
Now I have a very chic friend who also loved this Luxurious lace dress but in the pewter and navy version below. Sadly she couldn’t try it on because she is tiny and the sample size was big again as below. We debated it long and hard during the day and people were divided. My head understands the navy / pewter choice but my heart remains with the simple black. I really don’t need a dress…at all… but I do love this one. If you are looking for a party dress, don’t linger, I suspect this will sell out fast.
At this point I also want to highlight the Vivian dress . I saw more than 20 ladies of all shapes, sizes and ages try this on during the day (again I couldn’t because the samples were too big/small) but without exception every single woman looked fantastic in it. The sad thing was that many admitted that they knew it looked good but said they wouldn’t have the confidence to wear it and certainly wouldn’t let me take their photo in it. It was so frustrating. It’s gorgeous – buy this one too.
This Hartland dress is not the sort of thing I would normally try I don’t know why, but it was on the rail in a size 12 which at this point was a delight. My family have had mixed opinions about it, Mr MC really likes it but my youngest reacted so strongly against it that he didn’t want to take my photo in it – weird.
I was running out of time at this stage as the doors were open and I was really supposed to be helping people but I have been deliberating longer skirts and really liked the pink version of this Sophia skirt in the catalogue. I grabbed the Grace jumper to try with it but I know it doesn’t really go and I’m looking very much like the me of yore – this is the sort of thing I would have been wearing a couple of years ago. I would just like to say how much I liked the skirt though – it is so relaxing to wear something of this length and it swishes beautifully. I also really liked the jumper but just not with this skirt. If you’re somebody who doesn’t like wearing wool, this is the softest blend of merino and cotton. It’s quite figure hugging – this was a size 10.
Now I have looked at this Slouchy leather bag a few times online but the pictures on the website just don’t do it justice. It is so sparkly. I think it would look gorgeous at the weekend to lift a dressed down outfit with jeans. I just had to show it to you because it was one of the things that really surprised me.
I also loved this Cosy stitch snood. Of course I was influenced by the fact it went so well with what I was wearing but it’s the softest blend of 80% wool and nylon. I haven’t worn a snood since the 80s and I’d forgotten how easy they are to throw on without having to have any great scarf arranging skills. I’m going to buy this but in the sensible navy and grey colour way. Wouldn’t mind the orange for Christmas though if any of my family are reading.
And last, but by far not least, is this Ingrid coat. Only a few times a year does a piece of clothing grab me by the heart strings and this was one of them. I love this coat. I don’t need a coat and I tried it on just by chance but it’s like wearing a hug. It must be something to do with the colour because they also had it in a very sensible charcoal and that did nothing for me but I kept returning to this during the day and every time I bump into someone in the village they keep telling me I have to buy it.
So after my mad try on, it was a busy day of introducing people to Boden. This must be one of the last outposts where there are still a lot of people who have never heard of them. Of course there was a tranche of older ladies who came for a cup of tea and a cake and then went round the rails tutting at the clothes and especially the prices. But there were many more who kindled a new Boden flame. I just hope that the sales have proved to be good because we really need to get the roof fixed soon. It’s been 18 months since the lead was stolen and when it rains the water pours in – whether you’re a Churchgoer or not it’s not very nice when you’re holding a wedding and really depressing during funerals. I’m sure that for such a good cause Boden won’t mind me making the 20% code available to my select readership (Y4W5) – it will be closing this weekend so you’ll have to shop quickly but they will give us a donation for any purchase you make. Please don’t publish it elsewhere though. And please buy the lace dress and the Ingrid coat so that they run out of stock and I can stop thinking about them. Just imagine, you could even wear them together – you’ll look fantastic – trust me!
Let me know if you’ve seen anything Boden this season that is great and I’ve missed. I need to order something less costly than the dress / coat before the code expires because everyone here is asking me what I bought. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.