Saturday, January 12, 2013

Now, I'm all for creating a certain brand identity and trying to reach a certain demographic.  It makes business sense and artistically, the creative directors and designers can hone in on their visions.  However, Free People has always been one of those brands I've never understood.  I know what they're theoretically trying to portray - clothes for a free spirited, bohemian, young, fit, somewhat rebellious girl.  When I look at the clothes in person, I appreciate the (most likely?) handmade beading and embroidery, and I admire how they can mix and match very clashing textures and prints.  I like the crafted, organic aesthetic and 70's inspiration.  It sticks true to its image, and you can often tell just by a glance that THAT is by Free People.

From the latest Jan. 2013 catalogue.  credit: Free People

However, if you take a step back and think... how do you actually wear this stuff (appropriately) if you aren't in LA or Dublin, or off to a music festival?  I can't decide if I'd look crazier with one eccentric piece mixed in with my normal clothes, or in a whole ensemble.  Despite the often loose fits, how could a curvier person pull most of these things off without looking frumpy?  And is the price really worth the vintage look of pre-dirtied shoes?  If those unauthentic rips tear any more and the fabric flaps around your money is kind of wasted, no?  But then again this stuff sells, so... maybe I'm just not the target audience.

That has always been my dilemma, and I always want to give it a chance.  I walk into the store, feel silly and walk back out.  But the other day, I actually found something I really liked!

A fit and flare, 3/4 sleeve, slightly dipped back dress in a fabric that's in between jersey and ponte.  It falls very nicely and fits - and isn't too short, as many Free People dresses seem to be (and I'm not even all that tall!)  At 60% off, it was worth it.  I suppose as with any collection - even though you might not think that the brand as a whole is your style or price point - you might be able to find a piece that suits you, which is reason enough to give any store a quick comb-through.

EDIT:  I found it online - it's called the Garden Sleeve Embroidered dress :)  I guess I was lucky because it was a little cheaper in stores.

I kid you not, the embroidery caught my eye through the window from the back sales rack while I was outside the store.  In my opinion, this type of floral seems kind of European (although the trend lately has been towards Latin and South American designs.)  It's intricate but subtle, and has a slight sheen to it; it's not something like a bow or a ribbon that you could just sew onto a normal dress.  This sort of unexpected detail is what I love.

They bagged my purchase in a big sling tote instead of a paper shopping bag, which no doubt is included in the ticket price, but hopefully people will end up reusing them.

I now consider Free People a tiny bit un-puzzled in my mind's shopping registry!


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Atlanta/Seattle, United States
What is most interesting is fashion when it's living. I find it inspiring when people dress well - but in their unique interpretation. Searching for people who enjoy having fun with their style and make their own statements. If you want your picture removed, don't hesitate to contact me!
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