Sunday, April 6, 2014

Question for the Community: Is there a new Vera Bradley pattern that is not so atrocious?

Some Retired Patterns...
I'm an avid reader of your blog and consistently find myself returning and searching the archives when I have a question. Typically it's answered fairly quickly, but one answer has yet to arise. While I've read much on the drastic decrease in quality/patterns of Vera Bradley (an opinion with which I wholeheartedly agree) I've yet to come upon a solution. What should one do if in search of a lovely VB bag? Ebay has not turned up much. Perhaps you can guide me toward a new pattern that is not so atrocious. 

Yours,
M., Greenwich, Connecticut

Is the least atrocious new pattern:
  • Julep Tulip (Vera tote example here)?
  • Petal Paisley (Vera tote example here)?
  • Or something else?
...And a Semi-Retired Dog

34 comments:

HipWaldorf said...

Not impressed with Vera for the last 10 years, they have become too trendy in design and color selection which is geared toward the tween, teen and coed market. My last purchases were when they had a black asian design.

If I want an inexpensive printed tote for fun, I would buy a classic Lilly Pulitzer pattern.

Anonymous said...

So sad. Unfortunately, they have strayed from their French Provencal inspired fabric from the past. The fabrics now seem to be channeling psychodelic prints from the 60's. Some color schemes are pretty horrendous. The quality is still there, however. They can be washed and washed. Another thing: they used to make lovely placemats and napkins in all of the prints. They too, did not lose their color when washed.
Someone should direct them to this blog. I'm pretty certain Bean checks it out. They just sent me a survey about sizing compared to other prep purveyors.Maybe if they knew there was a market, they'd go back to some of their old prints.
In any case, you might try resale shops, especially in the Northeast. Then you could launder them if necessary.

Anonymous said...

Petal Paisley--especially if you get the Vera bag and turn it inside out.

Anonymous said...

My two favorite Vera patterns are Nantucket Navy and one that was a pretty bright blue with yellow flowers - very Tuscan looking, though I cannot remember the name. Both are pretty old, and have long been retired. Vera Bradley has also gotten very expensive for a cloth handbag.

I am pretty hard on bags (as a teacher and mom of a toddler boy) so I have gone away from carrying a Vera bag. I now use a monogrammed LL Bean tote, and put my Vera wallet, sunglasses case, and cosmetic bag inside it. Works great and is very durable!

Anonymous said...

Not a fan of the Vera Bradley totes or other large items but love the little eyeglass case for reading glasses - the prints are so bright that it makes it easy to find in your purse. The prints are not obnoxious in tiny amounts.

suzi lazear said...

My daughter is a big fan of the Lili Bell pattern, which is white with a pink and green flower design. The flowers aren't dainty, but it's crisp and perky.

Flo said...

I recently purchased a Vera Bradley bag in the Tutti Fruiti pattern and I really like it--the rest though are just blech. The color combinations are horrid and way too loud for me. Maybe because this pattern was a nice shade of green appealed to me. It's the first new bag I've bought in several years, the patterns seem to go from bad to worse. As for the quality, certain styles seem to still have the same attention to detail, others not so much, so if you buy a newer one, be sure to check it over thoroughly. Quality from one style to another is inconsistent.

You can find some nice unused/tags still on Vera Bradley bags in some of the older prints on Ebay, just be prepared to shell out some bucks for certain patterns. I purchased a used bag just over a year ago via Ebay and to be honest, I couldn't see where it had ever been used, it even still had the silica pack in it. I also found a used/in like new condition bag at the Goodwill, washed it just to make sure it was good and clean. There are some good deals out there in older bags, you just have to keep looking. I would love to see Vera Bradley go back to the prints from the past, these new ones just aren't appealing.

Anonymous said...

My mother LOVES Vera Bradley bags and accessories. While pretty, I prefer less colorful bags than the Vera. If I had to pick one, I'd prefer something with both pink and green. --Holly in PA

Anonymous said...

I'm very fond of the Ribbons pattern. It has a nice navy base and the flowers and "such" aren't horribly obnoxious. I've purchased several pieces in this pattern and I've received many compliments from friends whose opinions I trust. :)

Anonymous said...

I purchased Vera, way back in 1991, at that time it was new to my part of Pennsylvania. The patterns were timeless. What they have out now . . . nah, not for me.
Overall, VB never grabbed my attention, now I totally avoid it. Vera and Longaberger baskets, both need to just.go.away. (IMO, of course) --Linda in PA

Anonymous said...

I just can't get up the nerve to buy a VB. I bought a beautiful navy on white quilted bag in Avignon years ago...it's the only one I love. :)

Anonymous said...

Sadly, all styles and designers do change from year-to-year. The earlier patterns are lovely, but are produced no more. I bought a satchel in Olivia Pink with olive trim this spring and am getting random complements from people wherever I go! "It's so springy," they say. Colors are lovely, design crisp, and bag is well made (I am pretty hard on my bags.)

Karen said...

Vera Bradley has always had a "so bad it's good" quality, but agreed that some are just awful.

Seems like the last 10+ years of Lilly Pulitzer patterns are an even bigger crime. I still have a soft spot for her stuff, but the prints and patterns have gone from chic with a wink to faux painterly and sometimes just ugly.

Does anyone else this way about Lilly? Muffy, do you agree?

mary anne said...

I agree that both VB and Lilly have gone downhill. Their patterns just aren't as pretty as they once were.

If I need any new Vera, I go to eBay. There are still some nice patterns to be found. Nantucket Navy is my favorite.

crunchycon said...

I have my beloved Provincial Red Vera that is starting to wear at the corners and is my summer not-work handbag.

From the newer patterns, I do like Poppy Fields -- NOT as a bag, but as a couple of the little accessory pouches to hold cards, mp3 players - very easy to see in a dark bag.

Alas, Poppy Fields is retired and I have not seen anything I even would like to carry. I wish they'd go back to the French Provincial-type patterns, but I think Vera is trying to be appealing to a younger demographic than the one to which I belong.

Anonymous said...

I own a nice selection of Vera Bradley totes and zip around wallets that have been well taken care of, all purchased new many years ago -- in shades of pink, apple green, pale yellow, red and navy. I'll occasionally find something in a nice old pattern on eBay. However, I've purchased no new Vera patterns for a long time.

Like other companies, I wish they'd get the message that we'd like to see a return of traditional colors and patterns from the past. Over time, the collections have become so hideous and ghastly that they look cheap.

Mary said...

I agree that the Vera Bradley patterns and quality are not what they used to be. I keep searching every season for a new print to love. I do wish they would go back to the more traditional patterns. I recall purchasing a tote shortly after they moved production overseas; the difference in quality was most noticeable in the number of loose threads at the seams.

Anonymous said...

I found a solution that works for me – I make my own! The pattern books are filled with a variety of lovely bags and accessories. Most fabric stores offer a nice selection of pre-quilted material. If you don’t like what you see, any fabric can be quilted so the choices are endless! It is fun to make matching eyeglass cases, change purses, and tissue holders from the scraps. All these items make excellent gifts. I know my friends enjoy these little practical gifts and I’m so pleased when I see them emerge from a friend’s pocket or purse. And if you don’t sew, find someone who does and they can make it for you. Or better yet … learn to sew by making a little eyeglass case. You could be the next Vera Bradley!

Anonymous said...

I've had good luck finding retired new with tags pieces on ebay. I'll look for a seller near Fort Wayne thinking they were picked up at outlet sales. Since they post the retired patterns on the website, they should give us an opportunity to vote on those we would like to see return. Maybe they'll get the hint! cheers!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure who they're marketing to lately. My 68 year old mother loves the current bold, more abstract patterns. My daughter loves the old, more subdued patterns that she gets from her grandmother. I like many of the old patterns too, but still find the occasional new pattern that I like. There was one last year called Priscilla Pink that was a nice pink and green pattern, still bold, but not really abstract or reminiscent of the 60s. They are coming out with a new collection called Inside Out that sounds promising. I am hoping it will feature the smaller patterns they use for the linings as the predominant fabric with the bold pattern on the trim only.

Anonymous said...

http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Sisters-Style-All-American-Preppy/dp/0847842177

Just wanted to check on the accuracy, authenticity, and interest in this book -- any reviews from this esteemed group of commenters?

Muffy, I hope one day you publish a book of all these comments,,,the wit, cleverness and insight is unparalleled in our time. Thank you.

scotmiss said...

I have Priscilla Pink pieces from the recent past and really like the pattern. I do turn my tote inside out though; you lose some room, but it is easier on the eyes. You also have to remove the bottom support, but it works fine. cheers!

JSL said...

Only now that I no longer have access to Vera designs are they putting out any patterns that I actually like! There are several current patterns that I would happily wear and, I think, enjoy for some time: Julep Tulip, Fanfare, Citron, and Blue Bayou all appeal to me. Petal Paisley does not. For several years VB has been trotting out the same tired jewel tones, so I'm pleased to see so many fresh colors.

I also liked the Summer Cottage print from a year or two ago and would happily have purchased more pieces had it not been retired so quickly. The pink and brown Imperial Toile was also a favorite.

My first ever piece of Vera was a traveling jewelry case in Nantucket Navy, purchased from a very snooty salesperson at a little store in Wellesley, MA (I took my admittedly modest business to E. A. Davis after that experience, where they always treated me graciously even though I was clearly a student). That was a beautiful pattern, and I keep the case out on the dresser where I can see enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

A resale shop near me has old VB. I snatch them up when I can.

Hearthstone Farms said...

I thought Vera Bradley bags were inexpensive knock-offs of Pierre Deux bags. Sadly Pierre Deux has gone out of business.

Anonymous said...

@Hearthstone Farms: I thought the exact same thing. I was sorry to see Pierre Deux go.

Julia

Jennifer said...

Count me as another fan of Nantucket Navy. It was my first VB pattern and still by far my favorite. I do have some pieces in Twirly Bird Navy, but that was retired very quickly. I've also noticed a decrease in quality, and find it hard to justify paying the increasingly outrageous prices for VB products.

Joan Dirtuptomyelbows said...

I loathe the newer Vera Bradley designs and patterns. They're missing the target; and the target is mature women.

Michael Rowe said...

It's probably just me, but Vera Bradley bags always struck me as what oven mitts would look like if some Proven├žal cook on LSD had a nightmare in some peaty, herb-sceneted, overheated kitchen in Aix and woke up screaming.

Anonymous said...

Not only has Vera Bradley decreased in quality and design (though not in price), it's no longer made in the US. I refuse to pay top-tier prices for an inferior, foreign made product.

Bebe said...

@ Michael Rowe,

Your comment gave me a flash of John Belushi on SNL doing Julia Child in VB oven mitts. Thanks kindly for the chuckle!

Anonymous said...

Trying to identify the ones in your photos.

1. Katherine
2. Pink Pansy?
3. Nantucket Navy
4. Apple Green
5. ??
6. Maison Blue?
7. Delft
8. Royal
9. Petal Pink
10. Greenfield
11. Marigold?
12. Hope
13. Citrus

How did I do?

TDP said...

@Anonymous 8:14 - Impressively well!!

5. Bermuda Pink

9. Pinwheel Pink

11. Hope

12. Petal Pink

SAHM4Islam said...

@TDP Firstly thank you for your beautiful blog. I've enjoy reading it. I have a Vera wallet from the Fall 2003 era. I'd put it away for years but this post made me decide to pull it out again. Do you know what is the safest way to clean an older Vera Wallet? Are the wallets from 2003 machine or hand washable or suitable only for spot cleaning?