Catharsis: Anthropologie's May Pre-Shop and their recent survey too

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Anthropologie's May preview is all white and features items like the Tania Ruffled Pullover ($118).

Hooooooooooo boy. Is it time for an intervention? That's what I wondered as I perused Anthropologie's May 2017 Journal Pre-Shop page, a page that is all white. It's all white!!

You get Free Shipping on your purchase today too, no code or minimum purchase required. Inside, it's time to talk, Anthro.

The Pleated-Sleeve Sweater Top ($88) is $88 for a glorified tee shirt I guess?? It also comes in yellow...??
Everything is a question for me right now.

I get it -- white signifies summer and nothing is cooler than wearing all white to a summer party, right? Just ask P. Diddy. Or the Governor's Island Pop-Up Dinner (where, ahem, you provide your own dinner). Or Dinner en Blanc. Or countless Hamptons white parties I've attended, which have overtones of nouveau riche and undertones of vague racism, regardless of the ethnicities of the attendees that have always left me feeling kinda squirmy in my dinner seat.

White is cool, you guys. Don't forget it.

I could understand one or two all-white outfits, or a page with them if they all had one pop of color or some kind of fun statement. Instead, this feels odd and off. The weird vibes I get from the pre-shop page almost make me miss the cute items that are there, like the Crochet Mini Dress ($248), which I like but won't be getting because I own last year's version of the white shift, which was much less expensive, or the Eyelet Mock Neck Shell ($78) which has a great chance of ending up in my closet if it's not too short on, ditto the Scalloped Crop Top ($68) or the Evanwood Lace Halter Top ($88) which would be very cute under a spring cardigan or jacket.

I'm also interested in the Fringed Split-Back Sweater Tank ($128), the Pilcro Peplum Denim Jacket ($128) and the Desiree Open-Shoulder Pullover ($128).

The Pilcro Peplum Denim Jacket ($128) looks intriguing both as a jacket and a top.

Then there's this odd trifecta of jackets that aren't really jackets, the Perforated Leather Bomber ($298), the Perforated Leather Moto Jacket ($298) and the cute but totally unreasonable Floral Eyelet Bomber ($158) -- the last of which is not on the pre-shop page. Along with items like the Alina Lace-Up Top ($147) which is nearly $150 for a sheer sweater top (???), I'm baffled. 

Anthropologie sent out two surveys the other day, one about home and one about our clothing shopping habits. The page shown above sums up my sadness about Anthropologie lately. I'm glad they're asking why we're spending less, but I feel like this is a question they've been asking the last two years now, and each season they seem to get further and further away from what their customers actually want in their clothing offerings. So, will our answers even make a difference? I truly hope so.

The last page of the survey was a blank form to share our opinions about the brand. Here is what I said:

"Anthropologie was until recently my favorite store, ever. I would happily spend all of my discretionary income there each month and built a beautiful closet of flattering, well-made clothing, fabulous bags, amazing jewelry and fun shoes. Well, no longer. The designs don't even look or feel like Anthropologie anymore!! Who are you trying to appeal to? Certainly not your current customers. When I do find a design I like, which is rare these days, it often ends up fitting like a sack and is usually online-only so I have to pay a (non-refundable) shipping fee just for the honor of trying it on...after several no-gos, I give up. The stores are no longer inspiring and have way too much non-clothing. Your clothing is TOO BOXY, TOO SHORT and NOT FLATTERING ON MOST WOMEN. Bring back defined waists, seaming and fit details like darts, basketweave panels and wraps. Go back to your catalogues from 2002-2005 and see the joy those pieces had. Notice that 80% of your clothing then was everyday wearable with much fewer special occasion/jet-setting clothes. I may be a jet-setter but I don't dress like one everyday."

I realize now I also forgot to mention that the website is a frustrating user experience, and that I wish Anthropologie would emulate sister brand Free People's FPMe gallery, where you see real customers of all ages, shapes and sizes showing off how they wear each item. (Though the recent condensing of Urban Outfitters' brands tech teams from three to one is clearly showing in poor usability on FP's site too, sigh.)

It's clear to me that Anthropologie no longer thinks in terms of outfits, or even wearing its pieces in more than one look. Everything is a hard, discrete piece with no reason or complement. It's hard to sort through that as a shopper!!

Wondering what Anthropologie items are good right now? I recently rounded up the best picks hiding among their overstuffed selection of sacks here.

What do you think of the May pre-shop page? What did you tell Anthropologie in its survey (or forget to say, that you'd like to say here?) Anthropologie has truly lost its way, and it's breaking my heart.