Tuesday 23rd January 2018
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I can shop anywhere

So in the comments section recently, Carol mentioned that she’d gotten herself a nice white top at Coldwater Creek, and then added,  “I KNOW, I KNOW, you wouldn’t be caught dead there.” To which I say: Carol, you’ve got me all wrong. There is no place of commerce I wouldn’t be caught dead. Seriously, I get excited when the catalogue from the place I order my orthotics arrives in the mail. Coldwater Creek is cake.

I am all over the ethnic-y detailing at the neckline of this tank, for example. I also don’t mind this red sundress, with its happy crochet detailing. And this nice long shirtdress might be cute all belted and toughened up. I won’t lie and say it’s right up my alley, but if I had to pack for a summer weekend with only clothes from Coldwater Creek, I could totally make it happen.

This was pretty easy, but now I’m upping the stakes—it’s Monday and I think we’re probably all in need of a little excitement. Send along a catalogue (or commerce site) that you think I’ll find particularly challenging to shop, and I’ll shop it.  Stump me and it’s possible you’ll win something.

Posted on June 11th, 2012 97 Comments

97 Responses

  1. wren says:

    I ordered some sweatshirts from http://www.countrystorecatalog.com for my mother a few years back, and then the catalog started arriving at my door. Then Women’s Day magazine started showing up in my mailbox too. So be aware: shopping this site also means unwanted copies of Woman’s Day. IS IT WORTH IT? 🙂

    • Lib Aubuchon says:

      Oh snap! You waaay beat me to it. This one is GOLD.

      • Christina says:

        Yeah, what is up with “Soft Surroundings”? I just got it for the first time last week. It was in my mailbox alongside AARP correspondence. Judi Dench’s character in Marigold Hotel probably shops there.

  2. Susan says:

    Ooh I love a challenge. Here you go:


    Western wear. Not the hipster kind, the real deal.

  3. Emily says:

    Where do I start? Chicos, for one. CHICOS.

  4. Aparatchick says:

    Fortunately for you, Vermont Country Store sells things other than clothes. Otherwise, you’d be stumped. Oh, would you be stumped. So let’s see what you can do with this instead: http://www.gypsyrose.com/home.php

  5. Eve says:

    Haha Blackbird, Soft Surroundings is a good oneto try and stump with, but may I also suggest the amazingly awful


    You can buy a panther statue in addition to a rhinestone embroidered pantsuit!

  6. Ann says:

    How about SPF clothing? I keep wanting to find good stuff at Sun Precautions and Coolibar, etc., but it’s a little challenging….one time I bought what I thought might be a cute t-shirt, but when it arrived I realized it was almost identical to a Trader Joe’s uniform shirt and I had to return it!

  7. Ellie says:

    I think I have the blue ribbon. Not a tribal inspired item to be found.

    Life is Good.

  8. daisyj says:

    Challenge accepted!


    Come for the Freedom Basket calendar towels, stay for the extensive selection of dickeys.

    • Eve says:

      I’m almost in tears I’m laughing so much… It’s a sweatshirt, with a kitten AND a jack’o lantern on it. But not just any sweatshirt, a SHORT-SLEEVED sweatshirt!

    • Kristen says:

      Oh, that is truly horrible. You are definitely a contenda’

  9. Viajera says:

    We get a catalog from Notre Dame every year…

    This is fun!

  10. Leslie says:

    No new suggestions, just to second Chico’s. I actually have a pretty cute silk dress from Coldwater Creek that I wear every now and then, and, like you, i think i could probably shop anywhere. But a few months ago I attempted to order a pink blazer from Chico’s as a cheaper knock-off to a J. Crew. It arrived and was just spectacularly awful, from a boxy, oversized cut, to the shoulder pads, to the most revolting shade of grandma coral that you have to look hard to find, in these days when everything coral is so hot. Ugh, back it went despite the fact that it was $30!

  11. Dana Kurtin says:


    For your inner sisterwife.

    • Kristen says:

      Another strong contender with egregious New Age spiritual ick factor.

    • heidi says:

      hahaha you KNOW you love the bookshelf gargoyles and the black crushed velvet polyester floor lengths cloaks. who WOULDN’T?

  12. mary says:

    LL Bean!

  13. Alison says:

    I used to play a game as a child that entailed me going through my mother’s catalogues (think Newport News and Chadwicks of Boston) and picking the most fashionable outfit I could find. It was quite a challenge!

  14. Kate says:

    Because I spent hours and hours with these as a teenager…

  15. Adrien says:

    Please to shop for your next swimsuit!


  16. lexi says:

    I am the same way. My mom always jokes that I could find chic rubber rain boots at home depot that would rival any department store find.

    And my vote is for Chicos or Talbots – I just don’t get it. Yuck.
    ♡ Lexi
    FASHION: Glitter & Pearls
    WEDDINGS: Glitter Weddings

  17. Margie says:

    Can’t take it anymore…too funny. Am escaping to the YSL sample sale to try my luck. A different kind of challenge. Will I find something in my price range that doesn’t look like a costume?

  18. Jennifer says:

    I consistently receive the “Sundance” catalog and I don’t remember actually ever ordering from it (that might be a clue)but I make time to sit down and go through it (because I AM a Butch Cassidy afficionado)and always go “really?”. It’s priced beyond the “typical catalog” but I always am asking myself if anyone I know would ever wear something from it. Unless they are 28 and live in the Mexican hills OR live with Robert Redford. Here you go: http://www.sundancecatalog.com.

  19. Rae says:

    I second Mary’s choice: LLBean. And no cheating and choosing from their Signature line! I can’t wait to see what you come up with from any of these catalogs.

    • heidi says:

      Joshua Lyon, the author of Pillhead,had an adorable tote made with-instead of his initials-PILLHEAD on it. SEE, you can TOTALLY make it work.

  20. PhotoGirl says:

    Lane Bryant. And it has to be something that YOU would wear, even though you’re not plus sized. Go on. I dare you.

    And if that is too easy for you, let’s see what you can do with this:


    Happy Shopping! 🙂

  21. Beth Ellen says:

    How about Cabela’s? http://www.cabelas.com/

  22. Leah says:

    This thread is too much fun! I also would like to see what you can do with LL Bean… and yes, Chicos. Teehee!

    • Leah says:

      Holy moses, I didn’t realize J. Peterman was still in existence… so funny. And impossible to read the descriptions without thinking of Seinfeld.

  23. mslewis says:

    Well, I’ve personally learned about some new catalogs! I swear I’ve never heard of some of these. I’m gonna have to take some time and click on some of these links.

    I was going to say Talbots because they USED to be good but now I can’t find anything there. Same with Coldwater Creek. Their tops are always kind of nice but the dresses have gotten a bit tacky and old lady. Never been in Chico’s but I always look in the window and just walk on by.

    My real suggestion would be . . . QVC or HSN!! Watch for one day and just try to find something you can wear. Come on, I double dare you!!

    • PhotoGirl says:

      QVC, maybe, but HSN actually has some good clothes now. I discovered this one night during my routine visit from insomnia. Cost me several hundred dollars. Who knew???

      • mslewis says:

        I admit they both have sizes for everybody, which is wonderful, but I’ve had to send back almost every piece of clothing I’ve ever bought there. Very poor quality.

  24. Kamila says:

    I just almost choked on my tea!
    My suggestions: Wal-Mart.com or JCP/JCPenny

  25. Eve says:

    I love Talbots. Go ahead, sue me, they are reasonable, well-made, carry every size on earth and have this sort of groovy Stepfordwife-esque vibe. I <3 Talbots.

    • mslewis says:

      As I said, Talbots USED TO BE good. I worked there in the early ’00s and bought tons of stuff that I loved. But these days, I have no idea who they are trying to sell to.

  26. Kristen says:

    No one has mentioned Land’s End?! Go ahead, try to find something flattering with that boxy, asexual Midewestern vibe (speaking as a daughter of the Great Midwest myself). Still, I must defer to some of the truly stunningly awful clothing on the sites mentioned before…I had no idea.

  27. Erika says:

    Vineyard Vines – whale belts and critter clothes galore. Not to mention the boxy cuts, pastels and matching mommy and me wear.

  28. Kathleen Trail says:

    I don’t have a site to rival the ones listed above, but just had to say that each time I read the title of this blog post, I hear it sung to the Reading Rainbow theme song. “I… can shop… ANYWHERE!”


  29. lorimac says:

    Okay, come you women, let’s really take the gloves off here.


    (We might as well get used to it; we will all be shopping here in our 70s!!!)

  30. Cary says:

    Oh, it’s on: http://www.bonworth.com/
    Give it your best shot! I actually helped my friend shop her for her sweet grandmother one Thanksgiving. They have outfits for every holiday occasion, you know.
    No one has mentioned the best part about the hidden gems at Coldwater Creek? Size 6 is an XS!

  31. Eve says:

    The more I look at all this the more I sort of WANT to be the person who shops at these places.

    The women who shop there wear holiday sweatshirts with embroidered kittens that match the holiday.

    The women who shop there probably have scads of weird awesome junk from the skymall catalogue.

    The women who shop there probably call people ” dear” and bake really good pies.

    They go see afternoon matinees and then go eat at buffet restaurants with sneeze guards.

    I’m totally kinda envying them.

    • beth says:

      I’m with Eve. I would LOVE to be that person. Instead of the, oh shit, is this outfit too young for me??

      • Eve says:

        Word. There is something almost badass about just GIVING UP and wearing the short sleeve cat lady sweatshirt and watching Dr Oz and playing bingo and eating butter. It’s like ” advanced style gone wrong” I say we start a cult!

  32. Sheryll says:

    I receive a very colorful catalog that goes by the title ASHRO at my house. Unprovoked since I am not of African American descent, but fascinating nonetheless.

    I concur with Soft Surroundings, which has also showed up on my doorstep unnecessarily since I just turned 40, not 80. Although, there was a pair of cashmere pajamas in there one time that did tempt me.

    Finally, I also recommend CampMor, which I receive because I once ordered a battery-operated fan to attach to the treadmill.

  33. Michelle says:

    J. Jill. The catalog every woman I know inexplicably started receiving after she had a baby:


  34. Carol says:

    I’m thrilled that my Coldwater Creek recommendation didn’t expel me from this wonderful site! Once in a while you can find something great in Talbots…like my black/white stretchy top-wrap dress – fabulous. I use an Hermes scarf to belt it. I don’t see the dress on line anymore, but it’s a keeper.

    • Viajera says:

      That reminds me, I sometimes see some nice designs at White House/Black Market. Maybe the color restrictions mean the designers actually think about the cut?

      Also, there was some catalog that sometimes had decent things – Spiegel I think it is.

      No challenge for Kim though, I’d guess.

    • KimFrance says:

      Carol, why on earth could I expel you? You’ve helped birth the most amusing Girls of a Certain Age comment thread yet!

  35. Eve says:

    This discussion is sort of veering into ageism territory. To be honest, I really, truly don’t care what anyone wears. The cat sweatshirt ladies, the visible thong under jeans at age 55 ladies, the net-a-porter aholics … I think everyone should wear what they feel great in, regardless of age, weight, etc.

    Except 16 year olds in midriff tops. Screw that.

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks for this. This thread went all kinds of mean pretty fast. I smell a strong whiff of what my granny (who bought all her housecoats at Penney’s, the horror, because that was the only store in her town) would call “unjustified self-esteem.”

      Where you buy your clothes does not make you cool, people. It’s what you put in them that counts. And from the snark on this thread, most of you guys don’t sound very cool at all.

      • Eve says:

        And I bet your granny rocked it too.

        I love me some snark as much as the next girl, but I’d rather direct it towards those truly deserving my ire.. Rush Limbsugh, anyone?

        I try super hard not to be judgey about how people look/dress. I fail a lot but I TRY. it probably helps that I don’t live in NYC.

        But all of this is terribly interesting to me, because I DO like fashion but I sorta am sticking around to see if we get to talk about book, movies, politics and food too. Ha!

      • Joa says:

        What I was thinking.

        • beth says:

          Well, you ladies are right of course. As someone who is in a masters program with all sorts of twenty year olds, I can tell you, it sucks to be the elder. I will definitely keep my agism in check.

  36. WCT says:

    Loved the barage of responses. I think I have shopped at a lot of those places (well, Talbots, JJill, LLbean…) Curretly I am having fun with Gudrunsdottir, a Swedish company. I love the weird look but doubt that many New Yorkers who want to go for the sexy-New-Yorker look would be caught dead. Here is the thing: I don’t care. If I like it, so what?

    I do draw the line at Chiccos and yes, the new Talbot mystifies me too.
    Great blog- creative, smart and funny.

    p.s. I am a New Yorker but when you teach philosophy for a living you get to look as weird as you want.

  37. Mae says:

    How about http://www.titlenine.com — oh no you did NOT just buy a skort.

  38. GT says:

    One of the most fantastic pieces of clothing I *ever found* was purchased at Coldwater Creek: a beautiful, simple, white-white blouse THAT DOESN’T WRINKLE AT ALL. AND it comes in petite as well as TALL sizes. When I travel, I can wash it in the hotel sink, hang it to dry in the shower, and it’s spotless and crisp the next morning. These shirts cost a little more than the average cotton shirts, but are amazing and time-savers.

  39. Kristine says:

    I was going to suggest the FINGERHUT catalog (God, the name alone) but then I saw this dress and thought that maybe dressing only in Fingerhut fashions would be pretty amazing. They also sell Pajama Jeans, AND you can use a monthly payment plan to buy them.


  40. Kristine says:

    OMG – Fingerhut used to be owned by Bain Capital Ventures!


    Do you think Ann Romney wears Fingerhut?

    • heidi says:

      FINGERHUT! you beat me to THAT one, i was wracking my allergy medication fogged brain thinking what the name was of THAT one!!

  41. Eve says:

    Oh and did anyone see this? http://www.salon.com/2012/06/13/cheap_chic_ruined_us/singleton/

    It’s about sustainable fashion and why Target ” fashion” sucks it. I’m gonna get the book!

  42. Alison says:


    My google reader is now targeting me with Coldwater Creek ads. I blame this thread!! Time to clear the cookies.

  43. Katie says:

    Come on, people, have you actually LOOKED at the Talbots website? Tons of cute to be found. Great ladylike flats. The dresses are not *all* great but there are some brights and stripes that would be adorable at summer weddings. http://www.talbots.com/online/browse/category_landing_galleryview.jsp?id=cat80018&section=Regular&howMany=39&rootCategory=cat70008&SORT_PROPERTY=Default&selectedSize=&selectedColor=&selectedColorName=&selectedPrice=&isViewAll=true&conceptIdUnderSale=

    L.L. Bean is easy, too. One word: boots. Specifically, the old school duck boots with the rubber bottom and the leather top can’t be beat. The outerwear has plenty of gems, too. I could buy this vest right now: http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/47351?feat=610-GN1&attrValue_0=Loden

    I think the point of this challenge is to actually take a look at the trees rather than just have a gut reaction to the forest.

  44. Sarah says:

    I couldn’t bring myself to do actual “shopping” on this site, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they carry “100% cotton tummy liners which tuck under the abdominal fold to enhance comfort, absorb perspiration and keep skin healthy.” Who knew!!!!

    “As We Change catalog – Women’s slimming apparel, tummy control swimwear, health & beauty products

    The As We Change catalog understands women’s fashion, health and fitness needs offering a full line of feminine health, beauty products and fashions from tummy control swimwear to slimming undergarments and more.”

    Happy shopping!!!

  45. Danielle says:

    What about Victoria’s Secret … *clothing*? Even in their non-lingerie department, it is totally boob city over there.


  46. Tucson Diva says:

    OK, you asked and now that there are prizes involved, how about this site: http://www.sextoy.com/Lubes-and-Lotions/Edible-Treats/Edible-Wear?cid=385 Gummy crotchless panties? Yikes.

  47. Amanda says:

    How about Cracker Barrell? One time when I was in there they had a jacket that was covered in Mallard Ducks.