to shop / not your mother’s talbots

I’ve never shopped at Talbots before in my life, until this past December. The evilness of reading blogs (mine included) is that you find new things to spend money on. Talbots has always had a pretty “old” image. Even older than Ann Taylor, pre-transformation. The lovely Julianne Moore has been heading their ad campaign and I love Julianne, so Talbots, your marketing worked on me.

Talbots quality is good. I would rank it overall above Ann Taylor, but only above J.Crew for leather accessories. I like J.Crew, especially when they source wool from the same factory as Loro Piana, but their shoes have yet to impress me and their calfhair animal belt was too mangly this season.

Some observations about Talbots:

  • Accessories are age-agnostic. If the clothing doesn’t work for you, accessories most likely will. The quality of their shoes is substantial. There is even a pair that looked rather Prada (many seasons ago). Refer to the bottom pic. A word of caution, their flats run wider than usual. I also got an $12 zebra calfhair belt, but after thinking through it for a while, I passed the deal on to my coworker because I already have a leopard one. And it is a dark brown scheme, a color I rarely wear.
  • Pretty good pricing. Sometimes there are codes to make it even more fantastic, so you are looking at 70%+ off. I’m not sure how anybody shops here for full-price. They fulfill orders from online and store, but once in a while, they may cancel something on you. They also like final sale pricing. If you’re lucky, use a % off code right before they go to the final sale pricing.
  • Links break. Don’t bother bookmarking because I don’t think they work. Use the search box. My favorite search words are: leopard, double, silk, leather, lace, seasonless, and feather. (I can’t believe lace is #4 either.)
  • Petite is your best friend. I am 5’3″ the last time I checked and I don’t wear petite all the time, but I definitely need to go petite for 90% of Talbots clothing. I’ve tried on a silk pencil skirt, a double wool top, and two coats so far. The coats ran large and long, even for petites, so size down 1+ sizes. The silk pencil skirt and double wool top ran true to size.
  • Tailor. If something is 75% off and of good quality, I don’t mind spending money at a tailor to make the length perfect.
  • Need a suit? I’ve never tried on their suits, but there are some extensive reviews online if you google. Their seasonless wool collection looks nice. I am curious how it compares to J.Crew’s super 120s line, which is my favorite. I don’t need any more suits, so I will not be looking into this further…
  • Stay away from Talbots outlet stores. I was in an outlet mall and went into a Talbots store… and walked right back out.

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