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It’s a question I’m getting quite often lately — people who used to love Anthropologie want to know, where else can I shop to find items like the ones I used to love so much at Anthro? This question recently came up in the comments again meaning it’s way past time to cover this important shopping topic in its own dedicated post!
Spoiler alert: there’s no one answer, unfortunately. No one store has taken up the mantle of what Anthropologie used to be. So instead I’ve created this post to be a living document that people can continue contributing to as new stores and online options develop. I’ll start with my suggestions and then community please fill in the gaps with your input in the comments!
I’ve purposely stayed towards the middle market here, leaving off low-end and high-end retailers because I see Anthropologie as squarely in the middle.
Why it reminds me of Anthropologie’s great era: Back in college I used to greatly admire the tucked, darted blouses, perfect silky camis and long pencil skirts Anthropologie carried. I dreamed of working in NYC at a fashion magazine or a prestigious newspaper, dressed like a 50s-era young professional lady typing away at my desk. 2007 was peak blouse, cami and pencil skirt awesomeness at Anthropologie, and I’ve been trying to find a replacement ever since. Banana Republic comes pretty close when their quality is on point. In 2018 Banana made a commitment to quality that’s starting to reflect in the clothing.
Keywords: work ready, long silhouettes, camis, work to weekend
Pros: Banana Republic recently went back to sourcing its wool from Italy, which means super soft merino with longer fibers spun into a quality, lasting cardigan or sweater product. Their modern silhouettes are ideal for working life in the city. On the casual side their jeans are often quite flattering, though often with a surplus amount of stretch. I find cute tops and camis here often. For solid-colored basics, Banana Republic is a solid step above the fast fashion stores. Their suiting shop is a great stop for young women in their first office roles or people who need to own a suit but don’t wear it often.
Banana Republic also does a great job creating a cohesive color palette season after season that translates well from office to casual. And lately, they’ve been putting more of an emphasis on developing fine materials into items that are washable — and actually survive the wash!
Finally, if you are ever in NYC, I HIGHLY recommend going to the 5th Ave Banana Republic store in Flatiron and requesting Jane help you out. She is smart, incredibly capable and helpful for women of all sizes. She is bluntly honest but in a fabulous way — she’ll tell you what looks good on you. She is straightforward when something does not look right. Finally, she’ll help you put together amazing outfits. She is a treasure and Banana Republic is so lucky to have her all these years.
Cons: It’s always a guessing game with fit at Banana Republic. They did away with their most curve-friendly pant fit (the Martin, RIP) and the Sloans have recently become more tapered in the calves, which just so happens to be where I need the room most. Quality can also be iffy — in general, their cotton and merino wool items are safe bets, while the poly-based items are a gamble. Some years quality is great, other years it’s awful.
Why it reminds me of Anthropologie’s great era: A quirky print here, a flattering fit and flare dress there, Boden appeals to the woman who wants a tiny dose of fun in her otherwise proper clothing. With more than a small dose of preppiness you can expect to find exceptional fits, though some items can cross too far into stodginess. Remember when Anthropologie used to put beautiful details on its dresses and cardigans, like grosgrain ribbon and pearlized buttons? Boden recaptures a bit of this understated elegance.
Keywords: Preppy chic, work ready, flattering fit
Pros: Beautiful tailoring on dresses and shirts that leads to a body-skimming fit. Office-appropriate lengths for skirts and dresses. Both petite and tall lengths offered on many items. And now that Nordstrom is carrying Boden’s women’s line, your chances of being able to try on an item pre-purchase have gone up considerably! (If you live near a Nordstrom at least.)
Cons: Boden has a bit of a print problem. Many of them are too large-scale or too far into quirky to feel modern. Boden is primarily online only which makes sizing a challenge, even with the online chat help and great reviews left by customers.
Why it reminds me of Anthropologie’s great era: Have some of Anthropologie’s former designers migrated over to sister brand Free People? I ask this because it seems like Free People is better at being Anthropologie these days than Anthropologie is! It’s true that Free People takes boho to nearly an extreme, but more and more they’ve been stocking cute wrap dresses, delicate detailed blouses and accessories that are killer good…all former hallmarks of Anthropologie. Of course at Free People you can expect all of those things to be 2 or 3 inches shorter. But hey, everything has a trade-off, right?
Keywords: boho, fashion forward, individual
Pros: Free People allows me to indulge my crazy clothing lover side — the side of me that isn’t afraid to wear a huge (faux) fur jacket or rock bright red boots. Is the clothing practical? Hardly, and yet every once in awhile I do find a work-ready item at Free People. My main winners are in their jewelry and bag sections, with intimates not too far behind. Free People has definitely kept my apartment wear sexy for my husband to be!
Cons: My God, Free People is hella expensive for what it is! Never is this more obvious to me than when one of the flash sale sites (i.e. Gilt, Ruelala, etc.) has a Free People sale and the products look so much less appealing to me. If Free People has one strength it’s their online styling team who excels at making the clothing look amazing. In real life though, you’ve got to be more careful. A lot of unfinished hems will continue to unfinish themselves. Some items may not make it through the wash. And in general, some of Free People’s clothing looks quite shopworn after just a few wears.
Make no mistake — I adore this store. But I’ve learned to be very choosy about my purchases here.
Why it reminds me of Anthropologie’s great era: Several of my friends who used to be designers at Anthropologie now work at LOFT. I absolutely see their influence on LOFT’s designs! While LOFT will never be very tailored or fashion forward, it’s funny how their items have lingered in my closet ever-longer in the last few years. I’ve noticed subtle feminine details on their items that leave me feeling happy. They have also had a work specialty shop the last couple of years with excellent options for people on a budget.
Keywords: closet staples, work and weekend, feminine details
Pros: What’s so great about LOFT? They offer fantastic office and casual basics that have a light trendy spin on them. It’s very easy to put together outfits there; if you buy their solid-colored items they’ll be staples for years to come. Their cardigans are often great and they usually have lots of cute skirts and dresses to choose from. Surprisingly, their blazers are also a hit!
Cons: LOFT doesn’t always scale their prints well and sometimes the color story of an item ends up, well, ugly. But mostly the biggest thing to watch for at LOFT is that their tops have no tailoring to fit a wider range of bodies, and this can leave anyone looking like a rectangle.
Why it reminds me of Anthropologie’s great era: There was a time when Anthropologie had so many cute dresses of several different styles that I convinced myself each season that I needed 10 or 12 new dresses. These days…let’s just say Anthro’s selection is less desirable to me. One of the stores picking up the slack in my closet has been Madewell. Madewell has a fantastic, curated, not overwhelming selection of pretty dresses with great prints. They also have lots of gorgeous coordinating items, from their beautiful bags to their serene scarves. Madewell is certainly a bit cooler than Anthropologie to begin with, but even the offbeat girl can find plenty to love here.
Keywords: dresses, accessories, Left Coast Cool
Pros: Without any real fanfare, Madewell has distinguished itself as one of the most body-diverse brands out there. And that means that whether you’re petite or plus size Madewell will have something for you. If you struggle with finding denim that fits, you can’t go wrong visiting a Madewell. They have several different rises, lengths and leg opening styles and their staff is fully trained to help a girl out. They typically lean towards more subdued colors which allows their dresses to truly shine as layering pieces.
Cons: No two ways about it, Madewell can be pricey. Is it worth it? To me, yes. Most of my clothing money goes towards Madewell these days. A savvy and patient shopper can score great deals during promotions or when sale time comes along. However, popular items sell out before they sniff sale.
Probably the biggest problem I have with Madewell right now is that their online styling is iffy at best. I find store visits so helpful to see actual outfits that look coherent and inspire me to put together my own looks. The website? It seems to have a weird obsession with showing everyone’s butt, and their plus size styling needs serious help. The latter of which is really too bad, because the clothing is so flattering on curvy bodies in real life!!
Why it reminds me of Anthropologie’s great era: With a wide range of brands, Nordstrom has plenty of options that appeal to my feminine sensibilities. Like Anthropologie, Nordstrom carries brands including AG Jeans, Sam Edelman, Seychelles, and J Brand, plus other brands I love like Chelsea28, Wayf, 1.state, Rebecca Taylor, Tibi, Theory, Ted Baker, Madewell, Sole Society, J. Crew, and now, Boden! Their in-house brands like 1901 and Halogen often shine too.
Brands like Ted Baker capture the whimsy Anthropologie once had mastered, while brands like Rebecca Taylor capture the softness. Nordstrom’s website is almost the one stop shop to recapture all the things I loved about Anthropologie several years ago. Almost.
Keywords: softness, whimsy, selection
Pros: A huge selection of brands means you’re unlucky to walk away empty-handed. In-store styling events are held often (or you can schedule an appointment with their personal shoppers). You can easily find work, event, or weekend outfits here. There’s tons of styling inspiration in-store and online. Nordstrom’s buyers are very savvy about mixing on-trend pieces with classic staples.
Cons: There’s a huge selection, and that can feel overwhelming at times! I’m not sure why but Nordstrom did away with the outfits page on its website. I miss it! (This styling page replaces the outfits page.) With so many third party brands Nordstrom is kind of a slave to trends in the same way Anthropologie is, however Nordstrom does a much better job of keeping plenty of timeless classics around.
Why it reminds me of Anthropologie’s great era: High quality. Artisan pieces. Exceptional details. I could be talking about 2009-era Anthropologie…but I’m talking about current day Sundance Catalog! Sundance’s style leans towards mountain chic, which isn’t exactly in Anthro’s wheelhouse but there is some overlap. Remember when Anthropologie used to make lovely intarsia, pointelle and cashmere sweaters? Sundance Catalog has all kinds of lovely sweaters. I also love Sundance’s highly stylized dresses, and their shoe, jewelry and bag selection has tons of goodies.
Keywords: mountain chic, intricate details, long silhouettes
Pros: In general, the quality of Sundance items tend to be exceptional. Occasionally there’s a dud, but isn’t that the case with every brand? The clothing is comfortable and made from high quality materials. My first Sundance Catalog purchase is nearly 10 years old now and still looks new. That’s impressive! You’ll find intriguing details and beautiful patterns among the selection, and most everything is in soft colors that blend well into outfits.
Cons: The prices at Sundance Catalog tend to reflect the bespoke shopping experience they’re going for. I don’t mind this — it helps me truly think through each purchase because it’s more of a commitment than, say, an $8 tee shirt at Old Navy. (No diss to Old Navy; I love them too!) However, because this retailer is almost totally online-only, sizing can be a total guessing game. Be prepared to be patient during the purchasing process here. It’s worth it.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it’s the main middle price range stores I find myself shopping at most these days to fill in the gap left by Anthropologie. Where do you find yourself shopping right now?
Nice start to a list, what a terrific post. I would add Love Sam and Moon River to the list (they're brands I see at Nordstrom Rack that are quite boho).
I have to disagree with you on Banana Republic, though. I used to really enjoy shopping there, but I've found their styles in the past 2-3 years to have become overly simple and not attractive in the least. For example, I don't remember the last time I saw a cute top there. Is there any indication they'll recapture their former elegant, feminine styling going forward?
I think so Guest! I had not bought anything there in the last year at least, but I purchased a bunch of stuff on my last visit! It may depend on your personal style — I loved when they brought Marissa Webb in and was so sad when she left. That kind of clothing is right up my alley. She's still consulting for them and it looks like they're doing a good job of keeping her input while also reintroducing some of the classic stuff a store like BR needs to carry to be successful.
It's early; this is just one season and stuff could continue getting better or go towards worse again. For now, I really like what I see!
Thank you Roxy! I used to love Banana Republic, especially for the petite sizing, but in the last few years I've bought very little there. Their sizing has changed (petite tops too short, boxy, etc.) but their styles are less cute as well. I still like them and hope for better though. I also love White House Black Market. For petites, their sizing is great and they have good quality, cute stuff!
I understand, I have a post in the pipeline about what I'm loving at BR right now that may help illustrate why I've included it here. Agree on White House Black Market. They have really cute stuff! Sadly, they recently closed one of their two NYC stores.
I know, I was so sad to see that (I live in NYC as well). I do like that they participate in shop runner now, so it helps with free returns!
Some of the sustainable fashion brands are making cute stuff. I like mata traders and amour vert. In mall stores I've had good luck with Express and Abercrombie lately. I wrote both of these stores off years ago for being to young but I've found some good stuff recently (I'm 32).
Express has been not-so-secretly fantastic lately! I do wish they'd use more organic materials at their price point. Another brand like that I love is American Eagle, I didn't include them here because they're not very Anthrolike but I do love them! I get Amour Vert catalogues but have not taken the plunge on any of their items.
Thanks for this ….so happy to see you posting again. Was afraid life just got too busy to continue with the blog. Miss it a lot. Anxious to see what others will link to as "Anthro like" clothing…
I have no plans to leave the blog! Yes life is very busy right now and I very much appreciate the community's patience and commitment while I do what I need to do to make it work. 🙂
I just have to let out a squeeee of delight that Nordstroms is carrying Boden!!! Boden is a tricky fit for me, so I've held off on buying from them over the past few seasons. Just got tired of constantly sending things back and having to wait weeks to be refunded. I will start taking my chances with them again now that I can make my returns in a store. Good move, Boden!
I had also totally given up on BR (except for the Olivia Palermo collection last fall)- I will give them another chance.
Of all these, I think Sundance has the Anthro vibe most – at least where sweaters, tops and jewelry are concerned. And I totally agree that their boot section ROCKS. That is the first place I head to when they do their 40% off sale, and I've scored some amazing finds.
To this list I would add Johnny Was and Peruvian Connection. They are both pricey, but those are the companies whose catalogues have me drooling right now. Also Joie. Things I can't afford except on steep discount (or second hand), but aesthetically they are hitting the mark.
I'd forgotten about the Olivia Palermo stuff for Banana Republic! So I take it back, I have made a purchase there within the last year.
There is a Peruvian Connection store on the Upper West Side and I drool over their stuff! Ideal for long, cold, harsh city Winters.
I was going to recommend Peruvian Connection, as well. I ordered a couple of skirts from them and have been really pleased with them.
I am so envious of you folks who can fit into Sundance and Johnny Was. I miss the boho side of Anthro's aesthetic 🙁 I'm not *that* skinny but my body type is small-framed petite rectangle and I really need to wear flowy stuff in the right proportions. I am way sized out of XS at Johnny Was and looking at Sundance's size chart I'm not inspired to risk it. (I'm wearing XXS more and more at Anthro these days, even though I haven't lost any weight from high school when I needed a size 4 in their fitted dresses.)
Great post. I’m mostly shopping Nordstrom and Madewell with some loft so totally agree with your picks
Recently I've mostly been shopping at American Eagle and Nordstrom, with Madewell and LOFT not too far behind. Overall however my clothing spending is way down. Fashion is taking such an unflattering turn…the NYFW runways were pretty depressing last week.
I love Johnny Was.
I still need to look into this brand more, I don't know much about them.
They have 2 NYC locations – looks like they just got one in Boston too. Yay!
Ohhhh guess I must go in for a visit!
Roxy – I’m so glad you’re not planning on quitting the blog anytime soon! It’s okay to take breaks when you need to, but you’ve given me so much great guidance over the years!
I want to love Madewell but I mostly wear a lot of dresses and I have a long torso and an hourglass figure. Most of their dresses with a fitted waist end up looking like an empire waist on me. I wish Madewell carried tall sizes! I’m only 5’8” but tall sized dresses work better on me.
I also love Loft for work items, Nordstrom for shoes and 50% of my clothing, and Gap for pjs, underwear, and workout clothes (love their high waisted blackout leggings!). I just want a go-to place for cute, funky casual dresses that can hold up longer than one season.
So interesting Fancy Catsup! The problem you cite at Madewell is a big part of the problem I'm having at Anthropologie right now! And I have a short torso!! I do agree that tall sizes in dresses would be fab at Madewell — their dresses are nearly always an inch away from being work-appropriate for me.
Love this post, Roxy! At the risk of inspiring some ire, I would actually add Goop label to the list. I know, I know…Goop is so…Goop. But I recently bought the cutest sweatshirt there with a little ruffled puff shoulder that's so old-school Anthro. Their prices overall are a bit ridic, but their in-house line is often more affordable. The quality of the item I bought is fantastic. It's a beautiful French terry, very well constructed. If she was more affordable, I'd add Ulla Johnson as well, whose stuff is to die for and so reminiscent of the old Anthro vibe. But it's very expensive. Another great store for work stuff that's surprisingly affordable is Massimo Dutti, which I just recently discovered. Beautiful knits, pants, and coats. Thanks for starting this sharing chain!
Ulla Johnson's stuff (and some other brands on Shopbop) is unbelievably pretty. But as you said… it's just out of the price range for most of us. I'm not seeing that kind of *pretty* clothing at more affordable prices right now.
Goop? GOOP??! lolololol ok I'm sorry but I had to. That said, I will give them a look (with a serious side-eye of course).
Agreed on Ulla Johnson. Maggie Marilyn, Chloe, Joie, Smythe, Reiss, Sézane, Derek Lam 10 Crosby, Parker, Karen Walker and probably more brands I'm forgetting are the higher end lines I tend to target.
Veronica Beard is getting my high end money these days. For me (straight build), her clothes fit fantastic and they are classic with a twist.
I love Veronica Beard's designs! However I find that she's not very curve-friendly. I'm sure her stuff looks great on you Shari!!
Thanks for the reminder that Boden is at Nordstrom. I always love their catalogs, but have never pulled the trigger.
You're welcome! I'm hoping that Nordstrom keeps increasing the amount of Boden in-store — right now by me the selection is light, but if I don't mind driving a few hours I can find good stuff. Also, Boden does a warehouse sale in NYC at least twice a year. Are you still in the Philly area? I think they do one around there too!
Thanks so much for this post. I miss the old Anthro and can sometimes find what I am looking for on EBay. Your suggestions are very helpful.
Yup eBay, Poshmark, etc. can sometimes yield great Anthro finds!
This is definitely something I’ve been asking myself and it sounds like there really isn’t anything comparable to Anthro of yesteryear. I’ll be interested to see your lost on BR – I have found things there I like but the quality really isn’t there, and the materials usually aren’t natural fibers.
Madewell has been going that way for me too. Over the years, I’ve always pleasantly surprised to find some real gems at Madewell. Like office appropriate dresses made of cotton and silk and beautifully embroidered tops. But they’re starting to go the way of everyone else with lots of poly, viscose, and rayon.
I’ve been turning to loca boutiques that carry indie brands and up and coming designers. I enjoy the natural fibers and beautiful designs but, one pays the price for it!
I guess I have not been paying close enough attention to the material content at Madewell! It seems like brands in general can't resist the temptation of poly and rayon — it's depressing.
You know what? All this disappointment in fabric and style from Anthropologie and all the rest has had the result of making me satisfied with what I have in my closet, and only filling in when needed. My bank account is much fatter and I have much more free time now that I'm not running back to Anthro every week to return my online purchases. Too much work with too little gratification.
That is so true Lou!! It just makes shopping life a little less fun, that's what I miss. But you are so right on.
The thing is, Roxy, and the retailers will figure this out in about 5 years – people LIKE shopping in person. They like to see things, to touch things, to hold them up to the light, feel their weight, try them on. Online shopping might be the cheapest way in the short run, but in the long run I bet they find that they do better with a brick and mortar store. Real physical locations draw people in. Real physical locations create a repeat customer. I so miss the experience of hitting a good Anthro with my best friend or sister. Online shopping is just a chore.
I totally agree Lou, great points!! In fact it seems retailers are already realizing this — many online-only retailers are entering the brick & mortar world. The main challenge is that more and more it's only chains and large companies with stores which shuts out most innovation. We need to have a world in balance where mom and pop stores can also thrive.
OT: The children's wear section is interesting.
What are you liking in the children's section gladmama? I do see some really cute gift ideas, but I'm not loving the clothing.
Remember the gorgeous handmade children's stuff from Liamolly that Anthropologie used to carry? By comparison the current stuff looks very Gap Baby. And there is nothing wrong with Gap Baby, but there is something very wrong with Gap Baby-esque at Anthropologie for 4 times the price.
A request to Roxy: could you write a post about your wedding? I’d be interested to learn about the wedding dress, colors, flowers, invitations and all of the other wedding details. It’s been over a decade since I walked down the aisle, so I can live vicariously.
YES!! I am going to do a multi-part series starting in January that will show how Alexander and I set a budget, why we decided to have a long engagement (over a year), how we picked our venue, challenges we've faced and all the fun stuff too.
Omg yesss! It’s been 12 years and 2 kids for me! Back when I got married I always wished Anthro and FP had wedding dresses and accessories! I ended up finding a great vintagey layered lace Badgley Mischka gown that I adore. But I’m definitely feeling the wedding pangs again! I can wait to see what you choose Roxy! How exciting!
Well, Roxy, my non-shopping declaration didn't last long! 🙂 Johnny Was is my newest favorite, post-Anthropologie's wrong turn down a bad street. Now my second new favorite is Sundance. I just got their new catalog and love their stuff. I also have to mention that I am newly in love with Madewell's candles. They are amazing and not so over-the-top-intense like Anthro's. They made one last year called "Cabin" that i burned non stop till it ran out. So this kind of thing is the upside of a brand letting you down. You get to give your business to others that you might have neglected. In my case this is what has happened and I'm kind of into it.
Once a shopper probably always a shopper! I too go through phases…for instance I love Fall and tend to do tons of shopping this time of year, whereas over the Summer I shop much less. As long as it's in balance and in budget it's all good Lou. =)
I'm going to stop by Johnny Was this week.
I'm interested to hear what you think about Johnny Was – and yes, shopping is fun!
I’m originally from SoCal, so I love Johnny Was! (On sale, of course!) I also love Raga for great trophy jackets and Tolani for blouses and jackets. Hemant and Nandita rocks it with great dresses and blouses. But I also lean much more heavily towards bohemian than girly or vintage. I also still love Free People, but like Roxy said…wash with care! All of my FP things go in lingerie bags on the handwash cycle.