This Week I Love …

Sundance style.

Most of the bloggers I read worship the J.Crew and Anthropologie stylings, and pull looks right from the catalogs. And while I definitely have a pages from both in my inspiration binder, when I try to recreate the outfits I end up looking bizarre. No, really. I have one J.Crew outfit in my binder – a floral blazer over a cardi over a tank with 15 necklaces on top and a pair of cargos. I have all of those things. And when I put them on together, I look like a deranged toddler who has raided her mom’s wardrobe.

Sundance, on the other hand, showcases simple, chic styles that feed my burning desire to be a cowgirl. But not an actual cowgirl, of course, since I have no desire to live in the desert, muck out stalls, or supervise cattle drives. A FASHION cowgirl. With scarves. And lots of silver jewelry.

(No longer available. But totally re-create-able.)
Kylie Jacket
(So close to J.Crew, but somehow more clean, easy, and do-able. Or so I’m telling myself.)
Madeline Dress (no longer available)

I’ve only bought two or three things from the catalog – all on DEEP sale since their regular prices make me laugh in disbelief – but I generally tear out five or six pages from every catalog and file ’em away for outfit inspiration.

Do you get the Sundance Catalog? Like the looks? If not, which catalogs do you find most inspirational in terms of accessible, re-create-able styling?

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38 Responses to “This Week I Love …”

  1. Cynthia

    I do love the Sundance catalog — I think it's very compatible with the way I really dress. I actually have several items from Anthropologie, but I also never style them in the flat out crazy ways I've seen them put together in the catalogs.

    Sadly, I have returned almost every garment I've ordered from Sundance over the years. I had a couple of pairs of pants I kept, and one little wrap blouse that is just lovely (hmm, maybe I'll wear that today). But often their clothes, and even some of their jewelry, feel and look cheap and poorly made to me, and I can rarely justify keeping them at the (exorbitant) price. So pretty in the catalog, so full of fail in real life.

  2. Anonymous

    I like the Sundance catalog. The look is casual and feminine. They are really spendy, though. I have splurged a couple of times and been happy with my purchases. Their items change constantly, so if you really want something, don't wait.

    I also really like Eddie Bauer, but I seem to be in the minority. Maybe they are too suburban-mom for most fashion-conscious people? I think they have darling knit tops with pretty detailing, making a typical shorts-and-a-tshirt outfit a little more interesting.

  3. elle s'ennuie

    I like the Toast lookbooks. Their prices are far out of my range, but they feature simple, fairly basic (but lovely nonetheless) pieces which means you don't need to purchase that very item to recreate the look – you can get the feel of the outfit easily with even thrift store finds.

  4. Alison

    I LOVE the Sundance Catalog. I think some of the looks are a little to feminine for me, but, that easy enough to tweak. I think they are very creative and I do love the boots with dresses.

  5. Syed (dapper kid)

    That last dress is absolutely beautiful! My knowledge of J Crew and Anthropologie is basic to say the least, but these looks seem far more interesting.

  6. La Historiadora de Moda

    I do love chic cowgirl styling myself! I may have been missing out by not drawing on Sundance for inspiration.

    "And when I put them on together, I look like a deranged toddler who has raided her mom's wardrobe." — this sentence just turned my day around. Thank you for that!

  7. Laura

    I very much love Sundance! But I can't spend that kind of money on all the stuff I like! It is great inspiration though!

  8. Cynthia

    I do use Sundance for jewelry inspiration — I've bought jewelry materials with the express intention of re-creating some of their awesome but incredibly expensive pieces. I still regret not getting a beautiful strand of pearls on fine leather they had a couple of years ago and once I get my knotting skills refined I may have to try to recreate that. It was the ultimate "cowgirl" strand of pearls and probably the only way this non-preppie would ever wear pearls.

    For those who like cowgirlery, y'all should look at the Territory Ahead. I've been buying clothes from them for years (mainly during their excellent seasonal clearance sales). I used to like their Isabella Bird catalog for style inspiration, but sadly during the recession they've folded that line. Their stuff mixes well with basics from places like Eddie Bauer and the Gap.

  9. Anonymous

    I rip out the jewlery pages. Then I try to find similsr things on ETSY.

  10. MarlaD

    I am SO with Cynthia…so pretty in the catalog, so full of fail in real life. Like her too, almost everything I have ordered I have sent back, with the exception of two skirts years ago that I wore out and are long gone. I drool over each new catalog but have to constantly remind myself that the photos are deceiving and after paying the horribly high shipping, I will be disappointed and pay to ship it back. I too have discovered I can find similar at real human prices on Etsy, and just found an approximation of a bracelet I reeeeally wanted for $35instead of $378. I do a ton of online shopping with few disappointments and Sundance just floors me – how can it be so disappointing?

  11. Ekatherina

    OH how refreshing! I personally adore J.Crew but yep – I could never pull of those styles so I just get some basics and occasionally a casual dress from them. This looks so much more relaxed.

  12. Diana

    I hadn't hear about Sundance until you posted it here – looks great, thanks for the inspiration! How do you feel about the quality of the pieces you have gotten from them?

    I totally hear you about J Crew and Anthro… J crew has never done it for me, either the clothes or the catalog. And while I love Anthro and its catalog, and I have lots of things from there, I can never do one of their all-out catalog looks without looking a little bit homeless and crazy.

  13. Keira

    Thank you! I also have major bad luck with recreating JCrew styles, as much as I adore them. I end up looking costumey…

    This is really cool inspiration for classic style πŸ™‚

  14. Laura

    Cynthia: Thanks for the Territory Ahead suggestion! Or should I say Thanks A lot for making me want almost every dress I see on there!! LOL

  15. sarojane

    Thank you for the ideas, I'm in need of some inspiration as I get my fashion 'mojo' back. πŸ™‚ I just went and requested catalogs from J. Crew, Sundance and Toast. Couldn't find anywhere to request a catalog on the (overly?) minimalist Anthropologie site.

  16. gingerR

    I like Eddie Bauer too!

    I was majorly sorry when they closed many retail outlets.

    I have seen The Territory Ahead but never bought anything there. Their photos and color schemes are quite attractive.

  17. rb

    The Sundance is just about the opposite of the look I gravitate toward. I have really been finding the styling in most of the Talbots catalogs inspiring for the last couple of years. I love beautiful fabrics and crisp tailoring.

    I have recently bought some Eileen Fisher items (a line I've bagged on before for being shapeless, but I have always liked the natural fibers.) I'm finding I can style them my way and I like them better than the way they are depicted in her catalogs.

  18. Rubiatonta

    Sundance's clothes don't run big enough for me, but my mom's bought things from them and most of it is tat.

    When they're having a jewelry sale, you can sometimes get pieces at reasonable prices, but I usually just go to Etsy, too.

  19. Emily

    I love looking at the Sundance catalog, but my absolute favorite catalog to look at is Boden. The clothing just feels very fun, modern and wearable and I want to own all of it.

  20. Couture Allure Vintage Fashion

    Sal, how does the sizing run at Sundance? Are they true to size?

  21. tinyjunco

    sundance always seems dowdy to me somehow.

    i've been a big fan of j. peterman and peruvian connection for decades. if sundance prices make you feel faint, peruvian connection's will put you in a coma! but the quality is outstanding and they have pieces you won't find anywhere else, and they have some very good sales. the styling is gorgeous.

  22. Sal

    I agree with those who have said that you don't quite get what you pay for with Sundance clothes. The two skirts I ordered were nice enough, but if I'd paid full price I would have been mightily hacked off. I'm partial to copying the looks using stuff from other vendors, myself! But I do love the styling …

    Couture Allure Vintage Fashion: Sizing runs small! Beware!

  23. Zee

    I don't get the Sundance catalog but I browse their website. They have really cool jewelry too. I've never bought anything because their stuff is just plain too expensive. I just drool at the items I wish I could have.

  24. IrishRedRose

    I love the Sundance "look" and whoever selects their clothing is a bit of a sartorial genius. It's one of my favorite looks too; in fact, I could classify it as Anthro Cowgirl lol! as it has the charm of a lot of Anthro clothing in that great western setting. But yeah–the spendyness. I have this beeeg beef w/Robt. Redford–how uncool is it to mark your stuff up THAT much?! I used to work in clothing and I know the wholesale ranges for their items. He's a greedhead, ugh. GREAT looks, though. I tear out their pages a lot too! I do have a couple of sale items from as long as about 15 years ago which I DO still wear, though.

    Loved your description of the J. Crew look–sooo funny!! and true. Their older "look"–classic, simple, elegant–was much better. Their pieces did use to be well made, don't know about now. I like some of their unusual colorways.

    I second the recommendation for Territory Ahead–but yeah, stick to sales. They overcharge. Also, although it can be square and boring, the Norm Thompson catalog has some startlingly standout, gorgeous items and great sales; plus, their goods tend to be TOP quality.

    Anthro catalog looks crack me up–I think they go for "sweetly deranged '30s era maiden auntie", one could call it "Arsenic and Old Lace" chic! πŸ™‚

  25. IrishRedRose

    Oh yes…and Peruvian Connection is AMAZING but DO stalk the SALES. I've only ever bought one item full price but I've worn it for ten years, every winter, repeatedly, and it still looks new–most heartstoppingly gorgeous huge soft sweater jacket ever. You know though, the mother of the mother-daughter team that founded PC died a couple of years ago and it seems like the quality has gotten a bit diluted. They began carrying items made in places other than Peru–kind of cheapie stuff.

  26. Emma at Daily Clothes Fix

    Love that scarf over the printed tee. That's in my inspiration folder now. Thanks, Sal.

  27. Sophie Miriam

    I'd never heard of Sundance, but I just may have to request a catalog….

    Anonymous, I just went into an Eddie Bauer store for the first time last week and bought two shirts and a dress. I like their stuff too. I certainly hope most people don't think it's too mom-ish, as I am only 18 and do not plan on being a mother for a good many years!

  28. WhenSheWasGood

    Crazy cute! I received a copy of the catalog years ago, but then moved and it came to me no more. Thanks for the reminder!

  29. Nancy

    I'm not a cowgirl type myself, but I do own a fabulous brown fleece bathrobe from Sundance. (What can I say? I don't wear pastels or candy-apple red, the most common colors for fleece bathrobes.) I think it cost $125, which almost made me throw up, but I've worn it almost every day for 10 years now and laundered it dozens of times. That's a darned good value.

    Re Peruvian Connection: Gorgeous styling, dreamy location photography, but for a catalog/online retailer they do a terrible job of providing information. I've had to email their CS department more than one to find out what color an item was. And you'll rarely see a back view of a product. At those prices (and high shipping fees), that's just crazy. [/rant]

  30. rb

    re: the Eddie Bauer comments. Eddie Bauer's holding company filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and the Eddie Bauer brand was sold a venture capital company. The new owners reportedly plan to take Eddie Bauer back to its roots as an outdoor sports apparel company. So the regular apparel lines may be a thing of the past for them.

  31. Mindfulranter

    I love the Sundance catalog. Always find inspiration yet get pissed about the price. I bought my "fat" wedding ring..the one I wear when I'm 20 lbs now. And I bought a simple pearl necklace…the one I'm wearing in my profile picture. I love the Western style as I've lived in many wild places over the years.

  32. Jess in NM

    Sundance is my favorite catalog. As a plus-sized gal, I can't recreate many of the looks, but I love them. What I can recreate is the beaded jewelry. I have a whole stash of pages ripped from the catalogs over the last 7 or 8 years that I reference time & time again when making jewelry.

  33. angeline

    I've never even heard of Sundance before but I love these looks…simple, stylin', and totally wearable. I absolutely feel you on the cowgirl dreams…my inner Texan (I was born there) yearns for a good pair of boots to pair with a floaty dress. I don't receive any clothing catalogs, but draw inspiration from all over…mainly other blogs, Vogue, and Vanity Fair. Needless to say the last two are harder to recreate, but hey, it's all about personal interpretation, right? πŸ™‚

  34. Leona

    I adore using catalogs, often digital but on occasion paper-based, for stylistic inspiration. I have a fairly sizeable folder on my computer that contains a plethora of pictures upon pictures of outfits that I find inspirational in some way. Though my favorite source is, of course, fashion bloggers, due to their wildly varied styles and innovative ways to use everyday items, but I also have a rather large collection of images swiped from retailers as well.

    I've only just discovered the Sundance Catalog myself, deciding to finally give it a look-through on account of this post. From what I've seen, however, I have to say that I'm fond; though the pieces themselves are ridiculously priced, the outfits are colorful, casual, and unique. I'm especially fond of the ones that feature the Artist's Cardigan and the Boyfriend Jacket, but also like the Gazebo Dress, Legends Ribbed Scoopneck, and Shelter Cove Skirt. I think they're rather lovely, and probably reasonably replicable, as well.

    Personally, I've never been too into the stylings of J.Crew or Anthropologie. When I go on the hunt for inspiration, I tend to find myself drawn to Lands' End and Lands' End Canvas, Eddie Bauer, Boden, and Yesstyle. Lands' End and Lands' End Canvas publishes some wonderfully simple, casual looks; Eddie Bauer catalogs are full of easy, nicely detailed pieces; Boden is positively bursting with charm and femininity. Yesstyle, an online retailer specializing in offering Asian fashion to the foreign audience, has a pretty large and diverse selection, but with some exploring I've found some really lovely, feminine brands that serve as my primary source of my inspiration.

    Long post is long! πŸ˜€

  35. lizajane

    I love Sundance. I have one dress and several pieces of jewelry from their catalog– all gifts from mainly mom and husband. I have a hard spending that much on myself.
    My absolute favorite catalog is Garnet Hill though they can be pricey, too. They usually have pretty good sales. I like the things in Boden, too.

  36. Sonja

    heehee! Their prices totally make me laugh too. But I do love their stuff. I totally drool over the jewelry. But I'd have to find it on seriously deep discount before I could ever buy a piece. ack! πŸ™‚

  37. lyrebirdgully

    Thanks Elle s'ennuie, for introducing me to the TOAST catalogue – I'd never heard of them before. Much more my style, and I was entranced with the exquisitely photographed images of the looks in action.
    I have to admit that a lot of the appeal of the TOAST catalogue comes from the use of models with SHORT HAIR (like me!). In modelling, the norm seems to be long blonde hair. In many cases, it's not that easy to imagine myself looking good in what a very tall woman with a waterfall of long hair has got on. Where a total look is concerned,I find that some clothing styles just don't seem to work with my short straight dark brown hair, and I have learnt to avoid them. A long time ago I had my naturally straight hair permed into curls, and while I liked the result well enough, I was somewhat disconcerted to find that every outfit I owned suddenly looked wrong on the new curly me.

    I suspect that selecting clothes that harmonise with one's chosen hairstyle is something that most women do – though it could be a fairly unconscious process, i.e. looks are discarded on the basis that they are "just not me". Lace trimming is an example of a no-no look for me – I like it, but I never wear it, as it looks weird with my hairstyle.
    Are some styles equally tricky to wear for those with say, curly hair, like yourself? Sal, do you ever say "no" to a look because it doesn't work with your hairstyle? could this be the subject of a post?

  38. Eliza

    I'm a fan of Peruvian Connection as well. I have two dresses and a hat (fedora) from them, and I wear them all the time. I try to buy one piece from them a year, but lots of their looks are easy to reproduce using thrift store finds.
    P.S. I like Eileen Fisher clothing as well, but never look at their catolog for inspiration. I have a black dress from eigth grade which still works miracles. The trick with E.F. is to always pick the most fitted pieces, and buy the smallest sizes. There are some elegant (chic!) pieces in there if you can get away from the casual yoga look which the catolog always seems to emphasize.