Friday, 19 June 2009

Don't get me started on Boden...

For reasons completely unknown to myself I always seem to have something derogatory to pipe up with whenever anyone mentions Boden.

I've thought about it for a while and can now pinpoint exactly why Boden fills me with such loathing.

It is most definitely not the clothes themselves. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the clothes. They are well made and appear to be of ethical manufacture & good quality. People who purchase Boden because they like the design and colour of the clothes are quite within the bounds of taste. Naturally, like any label from Versace to Levi's - should NEVER be worn head to toe.

My derision of Boden is not based totally on the style of the catalogue either although that is incredibly easy to ridicule. The models are photographed either in style of

1.Off duty nun cycling through the Dordogne to a lesbian assignation; or Stepford wife skipping through a meadow fighting with squirrels for nuts & berries to cook up for children's supper.

From a personal styling viewpoint, neither are particularly aspirational figures for me, or anyone I know.

This brings me to the realisation it is the aggressive and cynical marketing technique that REPULSES me so. Somehow, I have been identified by their oh-so-thorough market research as being right up their demographic strasse, so to speak. Home counties, 2 children, 6 figure household income. Already proven a keen online shopper - Amazon regularly, Net-a-Porter even. Boden, it seems, will not rest until I have given in and bought into their 'lifestyle' and this is why I receive communication via email, brochures in the post, entire catalogues, money-off vouchers - off comes the plastic wrapper and plop, there it goes straight into the recycling.

When I look at the women I know who wear head to toe Boden, I can't help but feel it is because they can be identified by it. "Ooh - is that Boden", also means - you too have been 'chosen' as someone who has the 'taste' and income to be one of 'us'. Or is it 'them'?

It is not just Boden Limited who are after my hitherto elusive first order. Mr Johnny Boden seems to have set himself a direct challenge to entice me to 'the tastefully embroidered bias cut skirt/spotty cardigan dark side' and it is the tone of these 'personal' missives from 'Johnny' that enrages me.

Hi, it's johnny....."
I know you weren't expecting this email. In fact you probably had other things on your mind; your unwritten novel, say, or that last biscuit languishing in the tin. But while I have your attention I'd like to introduce you to the fabulous Boden Summer range, replete with beautifully cut swimming costumes, lightweight cover-ups and dazzlingly good looking accessories.

See what I mean. Hold my hair back while I vomit please and bear in mind I have been receiving such messages for about 6 years now. Give it up 'Johnny'. While I admire your tenacity, I am never going to give in. I may very well be a smug middle-aged, middle-class twat, but unfortunately for your profit forecasts, I don't really want to look like one.


  1. It's not just you, I was a customer of Boden once, if not in a large scale way. But have now been completely put off by the amount of communciation I recieve. Use Toast as your model Johnny! & know that my catalogues too go straight in the bin, not your plan methinks.

  2. Ooh a like minded middle-aged, middle-class twat!

  3. Hi, I love your blog and would love to e-mail you, do you have an address? My e-mail is


  4. Yeah he's stalking me too, the pervert! Toe curling...there's a particular suburb in Manchester (I'll say no names but it begins with a Ch.) that has EXACTLY the same effect on me, for no other reason than "it just does". I start grinding my teeth before I've actually touched down in this place (I have reason to visit from time to time or I would avoid)and it's def. Boden country there though. I think you're very, very right to bring up this bug bear, long may you continue!

  5. Johnny Boden is actually stalking me. I get more emails from him than I do from my husband. And I could frankly care less what Natalia thinks is the most important quality for a man, or whether she prefers a starter or a pudding. AAAAAAND (draws breath) my long-held view us that Boden is the middle-class version of chavs wearing Burberry - it marks you out, from 100 yards away, as someone who owns a Volvo estate, has a holiday home in either St Ives or the Dordogne, and has at some point been to a private view.
    All that said, as long as you keep off the really obvious Boden Trademark Print, some of their stuff is quite nice... (hangs head in shame)

  6. PS Sorry when I said "Natalia" obv I meant the Stepford models whose tastes and interests we are expected to be ravished by...

  7. Oh wow, that is one annoying bit of email spam. More than likely the product of marketing people who can't agree so go with the compromise.

    Only now I feel a bit left out because I haven't been stalked by Boden. Is that because I isn't middle class enough or because they know I would rather die than wear a bias cut skirt? I would probably be quite swayed by the novel/last biscuit in the tin thing, though but then would subsequently hate myself and have to go out and get a tattoo on my labia though..

  9. I've just received a request from Johnny B to pick my "sizeable brain" with ideas for improving his website via an online survey.

    I love these HELPFUL definitions/explanations.

    "Without wanting to patronise, some of these terms might help if you find yourself bewildered by the questions:

    Community area: These are parts of a website, or a separate website, in which customers / users are able to engage with others. Anything from responding to blog posts, to chatting in forums, to areas where you can upload your own content e.g. photos of children - perhaps wearing Mini Boden, videos of making cakes etc.

    Social networking sites: These are sites like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, LinkedIn, where you can make friends and communicate with them.

    Twitter: This is a site which enables you to update your personal status and let your 'followers' see what you're up to e.g. "in the midst of a breakdown" or "throwing a Boden Shopping Party this afternoon - all welcome", and track others doing the same."

    Thanks for asking but I'd rather not participate in your survey Johnny.

    *hits delete button*

  10. love the tone of your blog! so comical xxxx

  11. Hahaha my boden catalogue arrived yesterday - thought you would want to know that Edda's favourite English word is Fantastic & Cintia's most embarrassing phobia is scuba diving.

    And now my life is complete.

  12. I used to be stalked - but since I gave up 'work' to have babies and my husband had a nervous breakdown (noooo connection) and gave up his salary to learn how to live again, my erstwhile best friend Johnnie has completely abandoned me. I wouldn't trust him with a barge-pole, ladies, least of all a 'classic cardi'.

  13. I do not only hate the patronising tone of 'Mr Boden', I find the clothes rather frumpy and unsexy. Fortunately they've given up mailing me (perhaps they checked with my bank...). Sabine x

  14. Ahahahahahahahaha! This post made me laugh out loud! Hilarious. But sadly, I am also not on Johnnie's list. I like to think its because I am too young :)