Over the last 4 years of working with clients and their closets, some strong patterns emerge, specifically regarding buying traps so many fall into, i.e. where women are wasting money. Without a doubt, the under $100 tops from Anthropologie heavily weigh the discard pile.
A disclaimer first. I like Anthropologie. I like that, similar to J.Crew, they have a strong style identity. They have cool and affordable jewelry, great jeans, some interesting shoe options and really terrific statement pieces from their higher end lines. For home décor, their vintage-inspired glassware, boudoir accessories and kitchen and bathroom hardware are fabulous.
That said, be cautious of the bread and butter of their line, the cute/boho/funky tops. For one thing, the quality is just not there. A few washes and the shape is gone, the decorative details (rouching, rosettes, embroidery, or lace) look messy, and your new top appears old and unattractive. You know I’m right. Look at your current collection and ask if any of the pieces resemble how they appeared in the store.
There is another reason why I discourage my clients from buying these types of tops: they are a style shortcut, a way around doing the work necessary to create a great outfit. Since the tops already have a ‘style’, many women simply pair them with jeans and think they have achieved a sufficiently cute look. I encourage my clients to aim much higher, combining at least 3 separate pieces (top, bottom, accessory) and work up to 5, 6, or 7 parts, all in balance.
Why can’t you still incorporate your Anthropologie tops into your 7-piece outfit? That’s simple. Because, as per their appeal in the first place, there are just too many details. When you start adding more and more elements to your outfit, the fundamental pieces must be basic and Anthropologie is anything but. Instead, save the money you would have spent on two or three $60 tops and splurge on one of their higher end pieces.
Finally, I specifically chose the photo above to feature my yellow plaid jacket. It’s from Anthropologie; and it’s evidence that great pieces are available with careful choosing and a bit of splurging.