Clothing is having a deja vu moment

left to right: Tuxedo Top ($33, Ann Taylor Loft);
Slub Cotton Shirred Ruffles Tank ($35, J.Crew);
Grey-Tie Top ($78, Anthropologie)

Anthropologie, watch your back. Slowly but surely over the last few seasons I’ve seen several stores creep into your mind share. They’re taking the flowiness and making it their own. Sometimes the ruffles too.

left to right: Scattered Petals Tank ($88, J.Crew);
Trade-Up Tank ($58, Anthropologie); Ruffle Lace Top (now $39, ECI);
Ruffle Front Halter top ($48-$68, ECI);
Cascading Ruffle Shell ($45, Ann Taylor Loft)

Hey, I get it. Romantic is in right now and Anthro has had the secret sauce for awhile now when it comes to soft, ethereal shapes. In this time when many shoppers want comfort it’s nice to see so many pieces that recall a more feminine shape and tone.

What’s weird is to see how many stores and brands are converging right now. Is it recession related? I’m not sure. It’s strange to walk into store after store looking for something unique and instead finding the same trend reinterpreted. Sure there have always been knockoffs and examples of…shall we call it…creative license in terms of ideas. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all.

left to right: Ruffle Tier Tank ($48, Anthropologie);
Pleated Flutter Tank ($35, Ann Taylor Loft);
Chiffon Ruffle Neck Tank Top ($50, Ann Taylor);
Ruffle Tank ($40, Calvin Klein)

It’s weird to have that deja vu feeling; especially in stores that I only go into once every few months. “Haven’t I seen this item before?” is a frequent mental refrain. Sometimes the stores even use the same models. While I’d expect to see this at the discount chain level lately the movement has profilerated up the food chain from mid-level to department store to luxury brand to designer label. Everyone is playing it safe.

left to right: Jabow Top ($165, Vince); Petal Strewn Cami ($38, Anthro);
Solid Cotton Petal Cami ($75, J.Crew); Picot Cami ($258, Tibi)

Is this why Anthropologie strayed so far from the norm in their spring and summer collection? Had they seen this coming and were they trying to branch out themselves? Again I can’t say for sure. But I can say for sure that one of Anthropologie’s biggest appeals for me has been its uniqueness. I am not interested in wearing what everyone else wears. When I buy from big brands I try to wear the items in ways that other people are not.

True that none of these tops are exactly the same but some of the similarities are striking. It is weird how homogenous Fall 2009 looks to be no matter where you shop. I suppose this means you can pick and choose until you find your favorite interpretation. And you can save some money since every store is stocking similar items as the one down the street.

left to right: Bell Flower Top ($118, J.Crew);
Blooming Phlox Tank ($58, Anthropologie);
Tiered Ruffle Halter ($286, Bergdorf)

I hope this is just a temporary thing. Part of the fun of clothes shopping is finding something no one else has. If every store is stocking their spin on the same thing, that’s no fun. The stores are having an identity crisis and we’re just along for the ride.


  1. July 27, 2009 / 2:16 pm

    Roxy, I noticed this in particular back in May, when I saw a shirt at the Limited that was a dead ringer for a Rebecca Beeson shirt I bought at Anthro. Chec out the side-by-side here.I agree that it's a lot of the same out there.

  2. July 28, 2009 / 2:19 pm

    What a fantastic post! Sometimes I cringe when I feel like I own something special like this and see it on everyone, EVERYWHERE. What's a girl to do.

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