A cautionary tale: The Anthropologie sweater sale

December 19, 2011

The store Anthropologie does an excellent job of selling an image to its customers. If you shop at Anthropologie, you like to think of yourself as funky-urban, comfy-sophisticated, whimsically haute. You look like you like to shop at resale shops but in actuality you pay nicely for the privilege not to do so. You may also sleep in a king-sized bed in the woods. All this has been illustrated very well by the humor site Anthroparodie.

But the way Anthropologie gets you is that even though their clothes may seem ridiculous and/or overpriced, some of us keep coming back. Just in case that perfect little thing turns up--that interesting dress or skirt that everyone will compliment.  You'll think "Dammit, Anthro! You've done it again. I guess I'll keep going to your store or ordering from the catalogue even though 19 times out of 20 the store will make me feel like a complete idiot." Because that's typically how the store works: whatever looks so delightful on the hanger or in the catalogue will often make you look too fat or too short or too boring to pull off. It feels like a personal failing, like you didn't make it into a special club. "I didn't want to belong to that club anyway," you say bitterly. Even though you keep applying.

I had a stroke of luck a few weeks ago when I ordered from the Anthropologie 50% sweater sale. "I like sweaters," I thought to myself, when I got the email about the sale. "And I like savings!"

I ordered two sweaters after reading the reviews carefully. I was thrilled with the first one, this nice bright pop of color with an interesting but not crazy collar. It makes me look brighter and happier than the usual dark colors I wear this time of year, while the neckline is vaguely 1950's-esque:

Here's a grainy picture I took of it in the ladies' room at the Hopleaf:

But then there was the other sweater. This sweater is almost enough to break my spirit.

In retrospect, I shouldn't have even ordered it in the first place. I'm a short, curvy person who is not meant to dress in dramatic drapes and swirls. But this sweater was on sale, you see. And it was Anthropologie. Since it was Anthropologie, I envisioned myself in an Anthropologie world. I would wear this sweater with leggings and knee high boots to brunch or to coffee. I would be warm and sophisticated. I would look interesting!

WRONG, ZULKEY. The second I pulled the sweater out of the bag and realized that the collar alone drooped down to my bellybutton I knew I had made a poorly-informed choice. The sweater made me look like a witch who was 11 months pregnant and had the added bonus of being too tight in the sleeves, so it cleverly concealed the natural curves of my body while emphasizing my arm fat. It had pockets too, I'm sure for placing all the phone numbers that guys and girls will inevitably be handing to you when you wear this sweater:

I'm really going to  enjoy returning this sweater.

A lot of stores are holding sales this time of year, and so let this story remind you to be strong in the face of savings. Do not take risks. Do not think this is a good time to take on a new look. Your old look was fine! You do not live in the woods. You live in the world. You didn't want to belong to that club anyway.