Sunday, January 28, 2007

It's time to call out Anthropologie.

Don't get me wrong. If the nebulous phenomenon that is my fashion aesthetic somehow transformed into an actual clothing store, it would most likely appear as something quite similar to Anthropologie's endless racks of adorable dresses, soft lacy blouses, and vintage-inspired jackets (but not the gothic-themed bedrooms that dominate their furniture section--I prefer my sleeping quarters more Marilyn Monroe than Marilyn Manson). I'm not exaggerating (and really, have I ever exaggerated on this blog?) when I say I want to buy basically every item in the store.

My problem with Anthro (we're close enough friends that I can call it that) is their sale section. My friend Rachel and I made the mistake of entering the store to browse yesterday without having previously procured a massive inheritance or Powerball jackpot. With each flip of a pricetag, our morale sank lower and lower until we were taking turns holding up $60 tanktops, shrieking, "What a deal!" and laughing in the way that people do when it's the only alternative to sobbing uncontrollably. We spent like twenty minutes stroking this dress and wishing that little Wal-Mart smiley face thing would bounce over and knock a number off the price, but the little bastard never came:


Finally, one of us had the brilliant idea to check out the sale section, and we gleefully cantered across the store in hopes of finding impossibly great deals on impossibly cute things.

Yeah, that didn't happen.

Now, I'd love to hear from Anthropologie shoppers in other cities to see if this is a normal practice, but at least in the Portland location, the sale section is seriously a dank, dark room in the very back of the store. It is the most depressing place you will ever visit, unless of course you've spent time in an underground midieval torture chamber. This place so resembled a dungeon that as I was browsing through the hideous sweaters they'd decided to put on condesale (did that work? like, "condescend" combined with "sale." get it? okay that didn't really work...), I half expected an iron door to drop down and angry vikings to appear outside pointing at us and saying things like, "Exterminate them immediately to cure the wretched disease of poverty!" And to make matters worse, the only thing I could afford, even in the sale dungeon, was this horrible bent-up chunky knit headband that still cost like $25.

I must point out that the sale section on anthropologie.com is high-priced but delightful, with semi-good deals (and by "semi-good deals" I mean "still not even near my price range") on impossibly cute things and no angry vikings in sight, and again, I'm not sure if the sale quarantine is a nationwide occurrence or just a Portland issue. But for good measure, if there's an Anthropologie representative reading this, I'll take the above dress in a size 10 for all my trouble. And a size 6 for Rachel too. On the double now, chop chop!

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

RofLcopter!!!@
this blog is sure the tops!

Amy said...

Sadly, all of the Anthropologies in the Dallas area are like this. The only thing I've been able to find in their sale room that's affordable and not hideous is a little stationary set (which, of course, I've used to write like one thank you note in the year or two I've owned it. Not to say that I don't write thank you notes, but really, I have a stationary-buying habit and I need professional help). I have a friend who managed to find an acceptable pair of nice-enough-to-wear-to-the-office pants for $30 once, but I think it was a fluke. It makes me sad.

Anonymous said...

First off, I have loved that dress since I got an email picturing it. I don't wear dresses a lot, but I have an obsession with Antropologie dresses and skirts. Right now I am also in love with the cloudberries dress and ring-around dress.
Second, I am not lucky enough to have an Anthropologie where I live, but the few I have visited in San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson, and Phoenix have the same horrible sale section. Items are either still far too expensive to buy or in odd sizes that I'm not sure people actually wear.

Anonymous said...

This is all too true. I added some sale dresses to my favorites section many moons ago, waiting with baited breath for them to be marked down. I swear to god, three seasons later, dresses that once cost $300 are marked down to $295. Depressing.

Jasmine A said...

I live in Atlanta and I was just shopping there last weekend! I love Anthropologie. Their sale section is a dark room, but it is packed with clothes marked down. As a broke college grad I usually stay away from the actual store, and just fancy them from afar on my computer, but I happened to find two very cute skirts there: one full black one, and one cream colored pleated one. They were $30 and $20. Yay!!

Sarah said...

A few years ago, an Anthropologie store opened up near where I live. So, I dragged my mom for a day of shopping with the main objective being Anthro. We did the same thing you did, held up pieces and grimaced at the price tag and then we too discovered the sale room. It was more like the sale closet and there was terrible lighting and it looked like it was a really poorly arranged back storage room and I wondered at first if we were supposed to be back there. A snotty sales girl kept hanging around just outside the closet asking in her snotty voice, "Can I help you with anything?" even though we kept saying, "No thanks, just looking." I ended up finding a pair of grandpa-looking pants that are almost plaid and a yellow silk sleeveless top that weren't to terribly pricey, but still. After that experience, no matter how much I love their clothes, I avoid their stores like the plague.

Annie P. said...

"that little Wal-Mart smiley face thing" puahahah...love it!
The anthro sale-section in nyc is exactly as you described it..a dungeon, being in an actual BASEMENT w/ 1 foot wide aisles between racks & dismal lighting. Just the depressing environment to convince me that a $40 t-shirt is too good a deal to pass up.

ambika said...

I recall the sale room at Portland's Anthropologie being very cramped. Plus, the store itself was just so much smaller than the Seattle one. The San Francisco one had the fun feature of the sale room being in the basement with, again, everything crammed into this narrow space.

I like the Seattle Anthropologie because, while it's 2 floors like San Francisco, the sale area is *upstairs* near enormous plate glass windows. It's still a little crowded, but it's bright and open so pretty easy to navigate.

The price thing is something that, like my inability to eat as much Haggen Daaz as I want, I've just come to accept. I try to buy stuff only when it's on sale but yeah, that means the cheapest sale item I've bought is in the $30.00 range. Sucky.

Carissa said...

There's enough things in the sale rooms at the Anthropologie in my area, just never anything in my size. Everything is adorable and affordable, but a size 4 or 12.

la chipie said...

what!!! I thought that was only me that lusted after the whole store, but anyway same for the chicago store and its dark little sale cellar. It got to the point I considered begging for a job to get that nasty 45% off .But I regained just a little hope when I found a 10$ blouse, which made me scream in joy and do a happy dance and get a lot of weird glances but still 10$! I recently been lucky on the site and found several things(like 8) for 15-20 bucks in actual sweaters , blouses and skirts.

la chipie said...

to prove I say the truth http://www.anthropologie.com/jump.jspitemID=10653&itemType=PRODUCT&iSubCat=316&iMainCat=314

the 10$ top!

Wendy said...

The anthropologie sale section in Philly got moved from the windowed, sunny, third floor to the basement. It is a bit cramped, but actually, if you time it right, the selection isn't too bad. And the sale prices on the SAME items are consistently cheaper than the ones online.

platinum blonde said...

i love every single item in that store. i go there literally every day. it is sad. they should totally give me a job...i live there.

it is true that you can get better deals in store you can get than you can online. but, the sales are pure trickery...that is what it is.

i bought a dress there the other day on sale...it was $110 (normally $168). that was dumb, that is not the sale to jump at. however, on the same day they had a ton of things at the rockefeller center store that were marked down for the 50th time...so they were more within my price range. i bought salt & pepper shakers...that isn't exciting or anything, but they were cute & were really REALLY cheap and i thought you should know. :)

Candid Cool said...

live in palm beach, but the sale section isn't in some dark scary place. but every now again u can find a good deal in the store. but i haven't bought anything from anthro yet. i'm more miffed for missing out on the zara sale.

Kara said...

omg...did you crawl into my brain while i was at the portland anthro the other day?!? you just completely described my whole experience there. you walk in and its like your eyes are dragged in 20 different directions of adorable shirts and the cutest most versatile little dresses so you go bounding over to them, already mentally pairing up shoes and jewelry, and then you see that a little cotton dress is $400. i even inched over to the jewelry sale rack and saw the cutest little necklace with a tiny "K" and a pearl on it, thinking it HAD to be cheap, and it was $48!!! it's so depressing, isn't it? i mean WHO are these girls that can afford to shop there? and the sale area? when i went, it was so crammed with frantic, desperation-in-their-eyes girls that i didn't even try to elbow my way in there.

Anonymous said...

I find that the regular priced items at Anthropologie are priced to kill the average American student with little pocket money. However, during November/December the little Anthropologie Philadelphia flagship that I frequent had incredible sales---with an extra 40% off sale items. I found several of those $300 dresses marked down to $40. Lots of lovely sweaters and shirts marked down to $20-40. It usually happens twice during the massive sale periods and you can find incredible deals. I wonder if this is because it is the flagship store though...

Anonymous said...

Any time I'm in Chicago or St. Louis I try to hit Anthropologie, but I rarely buy anything for the same reasons you list! The sales I've been to are nothing to shout about and the sale room is difficult to navigate. All of the regular priced items are laughably expensive too. I've owned a few pieces from Anthropologie over the years and I've found the quality subpar as well, stuff just doesn't hold up. If you know the brand and it's something other than an exclusive "Anthropologie" line (like Odille), try googling the brand and see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere. Anthropologie tends to jack up the price on some clothing and shoes.

millie said...

wow people are writing a lot. i just wanted to say that usually the sale section there pretty much rocks. it does occastionally have it's dark dungeony days i suppose. but don't we all.

jade said...

I'm having a small but still lovely ANTHROPOLOGIE giveaway tomorrow...so don't miss out!
Jade
www.cravinganthropologie.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

My cousin worked at an Anthropologie in New York City. Sge said it sucked because they made her wear their clothes when she was working, but the pay wasn't nearly good enough that she could really afford them!

LaBelle said...

their sale section in Boston is tiny but somehow my friend Hannah always comes up with headbands and shirts and is like "$30 all together!" and all i find is $50 tights.

Sara said...

I like to describe my relationship with Anthropologie as unrequited love. There's probably not much, if anything, that I could afford at regular price, but it doesn't stop me from looking through the front of the store with the utmost seriousness (like I'm actually going to buy something). As for the sale section, in the downtown Chicago store, it's not too bad because it's actually in an open space near the pricey stuff, but I've never really liked anything I've gotten on sale there. I have a skirt and patterned blouse that I bought over a year ago, that haven't seen the light outside my closet. The prices tags are probably still attached.

Kirsten Spitzner said...

I visit the store in Oakbrook Illinois and alas, it is similar to what you have described. My sis in law and I go there everytime we get a chance in the hopes of finding some magically inexpesive item in their clearance rat hole and never find anything. Back in the clearance area everything is shoved in, half off the hanger and generally unshoppable. Then there's the price tag. I generally feel like I should deserve to have food stamps when I leave that store due to how brokeass poor I feel.
In my two years of ogling the store in person and online I have still yet to purchase anything. I think when I do I will have a party in that items honor.

Anonymous said...

The LA ones have great sale rooms, same with the one in Vegas

Anonymous said...

I work at the Anthropologie at Rockefeller Center in nyc. We have major sales during the fall and summer usually in june. the sale is huge and it takes up an entire floor and you can usually find some fantastic bargains. Even items that are new but we have low stock of we put on sale. The thing is, you usually have to wait for the right time when they put things on sale. Another reason why you might not have been so lucky is because in smaller stores they carry less stock. You can try online though, they often have good stuff online for sale.

Anonymous said...

I've actually found a few decent deals.. I found a pair of pants that were missing a button and I got them to take an extra 10% off the sale price.. they were still like $45, but down from $120. But to find good, cute stuff in the sale section, you have to frequent it several times a week if possible.. obviously, the good stuff goes first..

Anonymous said...

Anthropology. I love to study it in college. Anthropologie love to look at it in college. It is beautiful, but its not made for normal people. The items possess super powers which no mere mortal can attain. That said, I sometimes found a good deal on the rare occasion that I was smiled upon by god, but most of the time its not so good. You go in happy and leave sad. Its not right. I love the style the jewelry the clothing but everything is mucho dinero. I found this butterfly necklace with turquoise beads and it was 52 bucks! I knew it was a dinky little necklace and I still bought it! and guess what? It broke two days later. It jus goes to show that the price may be high but the quality isnt always there!

DAINTYCROCHETBYALY said...

omg!!! you had made me laugh so much!!! lol!!

Anonymous said...

Next time you are in Carmel Cali you will be pleasantly surprised with their sale area. It is in the corner but not so far that you feel like an outkast.
I got 4 shirts for $100!

Anonymous said...

i too, am in love with that store, though i have gotten relatively lucky there. i got 3 cotton dresses for $10 each, and a bag marked downed from $120 to $20. the only bad thing about this is that whenever i go to anthropologie, i look for these impossible prices, and come out depressed.

eedots said...

I have good news! I used to frequent the Anthropolgie in Denver, sadly I had to leave Denver and move to the midwest where there is no Anthropologie. :O(

But it was always a great experience for this girl-on-a-budget. I would save up and once a year I would spend about $200 on some nice item...usually a cute dress. But I would often find bargains in the clearance area which was NOT in a dungeon area. They have racks...uncomfortbaly close together...they did seem to have some investment in making it somewhat uncomfortable...but really, it wasn't bad at all! And I find it a fabulous place to grab cheap odds and ends to fill my china cabinet in a way that it looks like I've acquired antiques. Also, very cute affordable aprons and cloth placemats/napkins. Their jewelry is a little chinsy...but overall, I miss my ANTHROPOLOGIE!!!!

World Changer Seeking Adventure said...

I am in the Indianapolis area & even here (including the Cincinnati/Chicago area that i have been to) the sales are depressing.

WHAT KIND OF SALE is $300 to 198??

i love their clothes...but it's ridculous to spend that much.

A sale is something like $298 to $39.95.

what are you going to do?

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found someone who so wholeheartedly agrees!

I own four things from anthropologie (and have loved them for four years.) It's pathetic. Two of them I stalked online for months, and finally bought on sale (tops for 49.95....le sigh), and I found a top on sale in store.

The sale area of the store, however, is just a sad little dank corner for rejects! I will, though, marvel at the ONE fabulous find I got at this store - a wide leg, gorgeous navy trouser. I thought the pricetag said 99.95, because it was written very sloppily and that seemed about par for an anthro find, but I asked just in case. I managed, in all my glory, to exit the store after purchasing a gorgeous pair of trousers for $9.95. Seriously.

Anthropologie makes me want to sob uncontrollably most of the time, though. My friend used to work there in college, but even her 40% discount (which she couldn't use on sale items, surprise surprise) wasn't even that exciting..

I'm just depressed talking about this. It sucks not being able to own things from your favorite store!

Anonymous said...

New York - SOHO Manhattan. It was love at first sight when I walked into this store, but I quickly choked after seeing the prices on some of these clothes. It's funny when you're browsing through the racks and finding $100-300 pieces and when you find that $70 camisole you swear it's a great deal. He, he, he, oh well.

Anonymous said...

I also have this same problem the only thing i can do at anthropologie is take the 50$ "loungewear" chemises and wear them as a dress. No one ever notices the difference!

Christina said...

Who ever wrote this is hilarious, and I couldn't agree more.

Kristen said...

My aunt introduced me to Anthro (Atlanta, GA) during a summer visit where I promptly dropped $500 on clothes, bedding, and decorative items for my new house! It was worth it because I got a lot of unique pieces that people are always asking me about. But, I totally understand the laments above and on a teacher's salary, I too can only buy from the sale section. It could be one of the best retailers out there for 23-34 age range but the prices will make you cry.

I remember a huge sale going on at the Atlanta store in late June/early July. I've heard they do 2 big sales a year: after Christmas and this summer sale. I live in Memphis,TN - definitely no Anthro here, which I like because your clothing is a bit more anonymous and hasn't had it's identity stolen by 10 other people from work or your social circle.
Anyway, this means I have to shop online for most everything I purchase from Anthro. I only buy from the sale section online unless it is for a special occasion or a special treat. The shipping costs were a nightmare until a recent trip into the store in Chicago got me an Anthro card. Apparently, you must apply for one at a store and cannot do this online. It's like a promo card, not a credit card - thank goodness!! If you link your Anthro card to your online account you can sometimes get free shipping (I also think you get a discount during the month of your birthday.) This promo is currently going on until Sept. '09! I can usually find my sizes online, though you have to be careful because so many of their clothes are by different designers that your size in one may not be the same in another's. Also, the items go fast online so if there is something you really love, get it asap. The shipping is fast, and I have never had any problems with returns, damages, etc. The things we do as women to look good! :)

Ms. Overproof said...

The Anthro in Greenvale,NY is not as bad, I mean Ive gotten theory pants from the sale rack for $10!!!! and I get great deals on candles and dresses, but maybe its like you said, my great deal is anything under $100 and since I can afford to pay full price and just wont for anything else in the store outside of the jewelry soaps, kitchen stuff and candles

Anonymous said...

Ok girls here is the scoop. I worked for Anthropologie for over 5 years, and the Sales work like this. All clothing Markdowns happen Tuesday morning. All Home Markdowns happen on Wednesdays. They always rotate, 1 week Clothing then the next week Home. The 1st markdown goes from Regular price to half off! Then based on how it sells it will go to half off the sale price. Ex. $249 item will go to $129.99 then to $79.99, after that is when the big deals hit! If you can time the sales right you can get things from $39.99 to $9.99!!! Now these items will be slim pickings, however your persistence will pay off!
EVERYTHING WILL EVENTUALLY GO TO $9.99!!! This process is over a 3-5 month time period. After that the items go to donation, for company tax deduction. Thats the inside scoop:)

Anonymous said...

To their credit, most of my Anthropologie articles of clothing are still my wardrobe staples, & most complimented pieces...over 3 YEARS later!

That being said, the only reason I have several Anthropologie treasures are because I worked at one for a year. This also explains why I haven't bought a single Anthro item since I quit in 2007, haha. Granted, 40% off $300 is still over $150, so it's not like I was a walking Anthro mannequin. I mostly just saved up to afford the more expensive & higher quality things like dresses, coats, & shoes. I went to Urban Outfitters to buy the transient trendy stuff, since my discount made UO prices on par with Forever21 & Target.

Logically, investing in Anthro pieces makes sense (barring the ridiculously over-priced basics & loungewear). I mean, considering how long they've lasted & how frequently I wear them, my Anthro pieces technically have been better deals than the piles of short-lived & poor quality clothes I've gone through.

Prices aside, there's just something special about lovely Anthro things. Yeah, I practically paid for them in blood...serving the bitchy OC housewives who frequented my store. But I have the dress you pictured in your blog, and even bad retail memories can't eclipse the magical omgifeellikeZooeyDeschanel aura that comes with wearing it.

Easier said than done, I know. Because 3 years later, I still can't stomach buying Anthro at full price. Ho hum.

Anonymous said...

Yup - Seattle's sale rack is always (almost purposely) difficult to get around in, the clothes are still expensive, even when marked down. The last time I bought something there, I spent 126 bucks for some pants and I get them home. Made in China. Now I don't something being made in China, I just know that all of what I paid was pure profit for them. shopruche.com has some stuff, but again nto nearly as nice.

by Ambrosia and Epiphany said...

Love Anthropologie, sales are sometimes better on line though - the store sales prices are not for people looking for sales. Oh well New Yorkers are used to paying through the nose.

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