|Best of L.L Bean|
|Quick Take on Five Catalogs|
The best I can say about this catalog is that at least they are being honest and no longer pretending to be something they are not. Instead, what they are completely is “Resort Prep” (which is, of course, an oxymoron). They are unabashedly endorsing the True Prep world (competing for the 45-year old narcissist who wants to look like a 28-year old narcissist), even going as far debuting the "True Prep" Collection by Vineyard Vines (see my review of True Prep here). While the colors are great, the styles are total flash, destined to be dated.
Best item - Coral Lane Cable Sweater
Worst item – One Love Sand Dollar Tee
L.L. Bean has thankfully somewhat toned down their overly stylized look of the last couple of years. Gone are the sweaters with giant anchors, - and not every pair of pants they offer has boot-cut legs.
They have introduced several new styles of khakis (chinos) and although I gave the Andover Chinos a try, I just couldn’t stand the wrinkle-resistant finish and the cut was off (too small in the waist compared to the fullness around the hips and thighs).
The Freeport Chinos caught my eye mostly because of the Glen Green option. And I also keep coming back to the Navy/Pink Anchor Shorts. I will probably give both of those a try, but I am not overly optimistic on the cut.
They have continued their “Back by Popular Demand” theme, which is good. I was happy to see that they re-re-styled (un-re-styled?) their Trail Model Fleece Jacket and Pullover. (Last March I wrote that they should return to the elasticized hem and cuffs to keep the wind out. Now, I read in the product description, they have added “Lycra elastane-bound cuffs and hem seal out cold air.” So I will probably give this a try.) Also, the navy they offer, Bright Navy, is perfect. Having said that, I am not crazy about the princess seams; I find I often reach for a plain, navy fleece jacket.
|The Perfect Pink (the L.L.Bean web site doesn't do the real Pink Berry color justice)|
Best item – Boat and Tote in Pink Berry
Worst item - Portland Cotton Sweater, Empire Crewneck
Lands’ End is a company that I always want to like more than I do. One of my biggest frustrations with their products is with their dyes. While an item can look vivid in the catalog, inevitably when it arrives it is a much duller shade than expected. And the navy they most often offer, True Navy, always looks more like black. (Their Classic Navy, which they offer in their School Uniforms department, is much better.) Materials are often not very substantial, and so I end up owning much less of their products than I would hope. Add to that their bland, uninspired, but unoffensive styles, and there is nothing I want from them this season. The best item looks better in the catalog than online, but I listed it anyway.
Best item - Pattern Merriweather Coat (True Navy)
Worst - Short Sleeve Stretch Mesh Ruffle Polo Shirt
I used to turn to them for a good many basic items for women, as they use so much organic cotton and the vividness of their dyes are virtually unmatched.
I can no longer find some favorite classically styled items And with their Swedish Clogs (favorites of mine), I haven’t cared for the colors that they have offered over the last few years.
|My Navy, White, and Green Hannas|
Best item - Adult Long Johns, Classic Stripe
Worst item – Cropped Sweats
L.L. Bean Signature
Then, of course, there is L.L. Bean Signature. I will let the items speak for themselves.
Best item – Madras Camp Shirt Dress
Worst item – (There is an 11-way tie):
Open Toe Wedge Boot
Sateen Gaucho Pant
Silk Habutai Pullover Top - Birch
Birch Point Boatneck Pullover, Print
Downeaster Sport Canvas Print Bag
Cotton Modal Blouse Tee
Over the Arm Bag
Saltwash Canvas Multi-Color Picnic Bag
Jersey Knit Pant
Camp Shirt Dress Print