Friday, April 4, 2008

Brooding in/over Boden

If there’s anything I can’t bear, it’s a label. No, not *that* kind—ones like these: “yummy mummy” or MiB—“mums in Boden,” the latter found in the most recent British Vogue. There’s something very patronizing about having to qualify one’s motherhood as either attractive or stylish.

“Mums in Boden” leaves a different aftertaste, though, as if you were a member of a particular club you didn’t know you belonged to.

Do you know Boden? I see it as England’s J Crew, but with an extra dollop of English Eccentric flavor. I love it for my daughters, because it mixes patterns in attractive colors and dresses little girls as—well—little girls, not teenagers.

Boden can be tricky for women, though. The embellished skirts and colorful sweaters are often called “fun,” something I do not want my clothing to be. Smart, yes; dramatic, yes; fun, never. (But please don’t get the idea that I’m a brooding existential; remember: I don’t wear black.)

I do have a few choice Boden pieces: a couple of easy sundresses, two or three cross-over cotton lawn print tops, but now I’m concerned. Is to wear Boden to be a cliché? And with props to Browning’s duke, I choose never to be a cliché.

So what do you think? What “identifies” stylish mums in Canada or the US or Australia or Dublin or Madrid or Paris or South Africa or Hong Kong and everywhere else you lovely readers live?

And what are some labels—ideological or designer—that you avoid?


Iheartfashion said...

I'm similarly conflicted about Boden. I love it for my 6-year old, but as for myself, some of the artsy-craftsy/quirky embellishments are a little too high school art teacher for my taste.

Thumbelina Fashionista said...

I have developed a nasty hatred for Marc Jacobs, and I also avoid Versace for its overt sex appeal. Abercrombie and Fitch also offends me.

kpriss said...

I don't wear maternity clothes. In fact, it's the only dress code I have when pregnant. I'd rather have a big bump in summer time, it's so much easier with the clothes and the matching choices (I have troubles attaching my shoelaces ever since the 6th month of the pregnancies, so flip flops would have been truly wonderful!). I don't have other restrictions (meaning I don't go for a label or the other), I follow my instincts when clothing involved. And I'm not talking big names (I have certainly no means to dress from Versace or anything close to haute fashion), I'm talking average, normal labels, anonymous handcrafted clothes and so on.

And codes (such as strict, smart etc) don't really ring bells for me, I'm not bound by any rule (other than chasing around the kids in the park or carrying them wherever I go) so I can slip in whatever my heart sings me to. (not right now, my last weeks of pregnancy won't allow me to slip easily from the couch to the kitchen, so much for making wardrobe tests..). When pregnant, a woman should dress as woman as she ever was, no difference (except in sizes).

K.Line said...

How strange that Riz mentioned Boden in her comment yesterday!

I have to be honest, I don't know the first thing about Boden. I've never seen it in TO (which doesn't mean it isn't here - have I learned anything from the F21 debacle? - just that I don't know it.)

Having said that, I think what defines a stylish mum is some combo of attitude, individuality and well-fitted, clothing that suits her.

I don't generally gravitate towards the mothers who do it all (which is to say live every moment) just for the betterment of their kids. Of course, one's child(ren) are extremely important and worth investing love and time on, but we are all our own people, and the "mom drone" is not stylish to me. A woman who keeps learning, searching, inquiring - though exhausted, perhaps - after kids go to sleep, is a woman who cares to develop her individualism (the basis of style, for my money).

But, of course, the average mom is smart to do a bit more physical camoflauge than the average child-free young un'. The thing that makes all of those Holt Renfrew mavens so chic is not so much the plastic surgery (:-)) but the insanely beautifully tailored clothing that fits them to a t. This can happen at all price points, I believe. It just takes more effort south of Banana Republic.

Finally, there's no substitute for confidence. When you wear what you wear with attitude, it matters less about what it looks like and more about what you're making everyone else think it looks like. That's my opinion... K

pve design said...

There is a store here with such loud music and such poor lighting that I think I have mistakenly entered a thumping, grinding disco! All the pretty young things love it- trampy long tunic tank tops, and low rising things for gals with no hips. Overtly sexy, not much class. I like class. Discretion advised. "Hollister"
is the hip, hop, happening store.
Call me Ms.Prude

enc said...

I always think I like Boden, but when I try the clothes on, they don't fit me. I'm the wrong shape, or their fit model is the wrong shape. I choose to blame it on the fit model being the wrong shape.

Where I live, the moms wear khaki capris, 'trendy' trainers, and hoodies. BORing. There has to be more than that.

riz said...

I love this paragraph: ...�fun,� something I do not want my clothing to be. Smart, yes; dramatic, yes; fun, never. (But please don�t get the idea that I�m a brooding existential; remember: I don�t wear black.)"

I used to be a 'brooding existential' and feel that there is a special kind of trauma involved in growing out of that. (Hmm, I may write a post on this later) But in any case, I completely agree with the patronization you point out. And I feel that a lot of fashion marketing in American retail is about fun or the more sophisticated version - "leisure"!

In any case, thank you for explaining the Boden phenomena to me. I do agree the timing was so odd re: your post/my query! :)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I experienced it to unfit clothes to my size but there is option to change it from Boden.
I like to buy online and get discounts through Boden Discount Codes that helping to buy cheap rate clothes.