Off The Beaten Path: Like Anthropologie, elsewhere

Anthropologie’s Spring 2014 clothing offerings look more promising by the day. I am still longing for that old Anthro feeling however and it’s led me to seek out other retailers that might fit the bill. This is a topic that I get asked about a lot: where to find clothing like Anthropologie’s old stuff. Inside, details on the 4 dresses you see above and plenty more.

Ted Baker has gone through quite a transformation in the last couple of years, leaning ever more towards feminine styles and catching my eye more frequently during department store strolls. Spring 2014 continues that evolution with several dresses that are on my wishlist. How cute is that bow dress above? Just hoping it’s closer to knee-length on me than on the model.
Beyond what’s shown above I’m enamored with this dress and also this one; not to mention this dress, this one and oh also this one. Much to love right now from Ted Baker London for the otherwise Anthro lover.
More Ted Baker London via: Nordstrom // Bloomingdales // Neiman Marcus 

Probably best to come out and admit that I’ve been more than a little obsessed with French Connection lately. Every swing through Soho has included a stop at their Prince St store, a loyalty usually only reserved for Anthropologie in my book. Why so much love from me? While so many other retailers are focusing on free-flowing, boxy, shapeless frocks this year, French Connection is bucking the trend and instead for Spring 2014 has lots of tailored, structured, beautiful waist-defining dresses. Thank the lord that some retailer is brave enough to buck the trends! 

As a result my wishlist is chock full of FCUK stuff right now. The Florida Bloom Mesh Dress above is probably the least practical of any of those frocks yet it’s the one I want the most. The Belle Garden Structured Dress above is also available under a different name in solid colors, and there’s a similar beaded dress too. It even has a cousin with a less form-fitting skirt! I adore the simple, flattering shape of this dress, love the cheery yellow eyelet of this dress and admire the ditzy florals on this dress and this one, though they both might be too short on my 5’8″ frame. Even this unstructured tunic dress caught my eye due to the beautiful hemline! Lastly, this on-sale French Connection beauty at ASOS would be mine if my size were still available. 
And that’s just the dresses! Well done, FCUK, well done.
More French Connection via: French Connection // Bloomingdales // ASOS // Lord & Taylor // Neiman Marcus // Nordstrom

Depending on the season, I might love Joie’s offerings or I might be completely uninterested. Sometimes their collections hit me and sometimes they miss with me. So far for Spring I’ve loved their return to silk tops and the prints they’ve chosen. In addition to what’s above, this jacquard dress has my name all over it while I’m tempted by this frock and this one.
More Joie via: Bloomingdales // Nordstrom // Saks 5th Ave // Shopbop // CUSP // Piperlime 

I grew up surrounded by Ralph Lauren, especially RL Polos. As a young adult it made me somewhat allergic to the brand. Yet every time I hit the contemporary floor at Saks, I find myself drifting over the Blue Label section. It’s got a Boho/Western theme that can border on the ridiculous at times yet it also has soft, feminine shapes that sometimes hit the mark. 
Much like with Anthro these days, I sometimes wonder who exactly will wear these clothes. One pretty dress is all it takes to draw me in though. RL Blue Label seems to strike me most when it’s close to other brands I love, i.e. this Free People-esque piece or this beautiful skirt that I think was what J.Crew was trying to do with their version
On a related note, Ralph Lauren makes wonderful bikini tops for ladies with a larger chest. Spoken from experience.
More Blue Label via: Ralph Lauren // Saks 5th Ave 

When Tibi was a young brand Anthropologie carried it with a degree of regularity. Not so much these days but in the meantime Tibi has blossomed into one of my favorite brands! A more modern take on delicate sensibilities makes the brand an easy staple in my NYC wardrobe. I do have the same complaint with Tibi as with Anthro that there’s often no waist definition, especially with tops. But whereas Anthro is currently emphasizing squarelike boxy Tibi instead goes for a longer, more rectangular shape that is more flattering on my frame.

Beyond the tops shown above there’s also Tibi’s Ditzy Leopard Cami which I purchased back in early February and just adore! A new black version of the cami was recently released. I’m also digging this dress.

More Tibi via: Saks 5th Ave // Bloomingdales // Shopbop // Tibi // Piperlime // Nordstrom // CUSP // Bergdorf Goodman

Sitting wonderfully in my heart is Temperley London. This is a brand I routinely stalk on websites like the Outnet, Vaunte (if you’d like to join Vaunte please use this EA affiliate link!) and their ilk. I love the ultra-feminine dresses sometimes mixed with an urban styling that’s right up my alley. 
If I had the right occasion, the closet space and unlimited funds all four of the pieces above would be in my closet. As it is, I’m saving my pennies for the Long Ezra Dress. If Anthropologie is looking around for their next high-fashion designer collaboration Alice Temperley gets my vote a zillion times over! (Just don’t make it a London exclusive Anthro, I’d be heartbroken!)

Rounding out the photo spreads in this post is Lela Rose. In my opinion Lela Rose has the best floral prints in the fashion world, hands down. I love the fuller shape of the skirts and of course the reliable knee length. I would rather save up and buy one classic Lela Rose piece than buy 100 tops from discount retailer x — a smaller but more versatile closet is worth it to me. Through my early 20s I could only admire these brands from afar and it’s gratifying to have the option to reach for these brands, even if I don’t actually make the purchase.

In addition to the items above, several of Lela Rose’s dresses are on my radar right now: this watercolor beauty, this fantastic full floor-length skirt, and this bold graphical dress.

More Lela Rose via: Bergdorf Goodman // Neiman Marcus // Shopbop // Nordstrom // Net-A-Porter

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These brands are simply a start. Many brands that Anthropologie does carry (i.e. Nanette Lepore, Tracy Reese, etc.) or brands they’ve collaborated with, for example Timo Weiland, have extensive lines which are well worth checking out in their own rights. Any Anthro lover would find a piece or several to love.

Looking for steals and deals on the brands above? I tend to have good luck stalking sites like Barney’s Warehouse, the Outnet, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off Fifth, etc.  It requires a combination of patience, tenacity, and the willingness to lose out on an item if it doesn’t drop down below a certain price threshold. And of course in NYC most of these brands hold sample sales with varying degrees of shopping success.

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