Whenever I am home in the United States my mother and I set out on great shopping excursions in which we spend hours searching for just the right items to add to our wardrobes. Sometimes these trips can lead us up and down the entire East Coast. Inevitably we will step into a Talbots and without fail my mom reminds me that for the first fourteen years of my life I referred to this store as “tall boots.” Ok, that was when I was a tomboy and I thought my mother’s obsession with all things fashion was one of the oddest things ever. Surely jeans and t-shirts were the only things anyone needed in their closet, right? If only I could have stayed in that mindset. I would be so much richer now!
When I was sixteen I discovered the joy of expressing yourself through fashion…and I’ve never looked back. I tried everything from goth to hippy chick while attempting to discover who I really was. All the while my mother was the picture of perfection. She was Grace Kelly, Twiggy and Diane Keaton all rolled into one. I would make fun of her for dressing in the “old woman store” that was Talbots and would sit in the corner of the store bored out of my mind as she tried on dress after dress. I wasn’t interested. I wanted to be in the Gap buying jeans that I could shred to pieces or in a Salvation Army searching for vintage rock t-shirts. Oh how young and ignorant I was. If only I had asked her to save a few of those dresses for me to wear later in life.
After living in Italy I got the couture bug and it was bad. I went from loving cheap vintage rags that cost around $1.99 to seeking out couture dresses that could cost as much as $19,999 (see what I mean when I say I would have been a lot richer if I had stayed with jeans and a t-shirt). Obviously, as a college student I couldn’t afford couture so I found what I could in Vintage stores around the world. I sought out more refined and ladylike attire. I idolized Jackie O and Sophia Loren. I wanted to be a sophisticated figure during the day and an Italian sex bomb at night. After graduating from college I was ready to take on this look and live it to the fullest. That was when mom took me back to Talbots. I needed work wear if I was going to make it in the great American workforce.
The clothing was simple. The hemlines were long and covered the knee. The shirts and sweaters showed no mid-drift and the shoes were only mid-sized heels. There was nothing about this store that was anything more or less than perfect middle American woman. I can still remember the first sun dress I bought there. It cost $128. It was sleeveless with a square collar and an a-line skirt. It was a busy rose print that looked like it belonged on a curtain rather than a woman’s body. Let’s remember that fashion then was different than it is now (the world was in love with Laura Ashley then). It would all change and thank goodness so would Talbots! In fact, when I ripped open the latest catalogue I thought I was looking at a more expensive J. Crew catalogue rather than what it was – Talbots! I’ve shared the images below of some of my favourite looks from the new catalogue. In fact, I’ll just go ahead and say that the cover image belongs on the cover of a magazine…that’s how good this catalogue is….(so order one now).
What’s so fabulous about the new look? It actually isn’t that different from the original Talbots concept of keeping looks classic. In fact, I believe their look is now even more classic than before. However, Talbots has evolved. Their prints are limited and when they do appear they are mainly monochromatic. Colour is used very sparingly and mainly in accessories or highlights for an outfit.
I got in touch with the press office at Talbots today and spoke to Meredith Paley and asked her for a statement about the whole new look and she had the following to share:
“Talbot’s is honoring the classics while defining individuality. We returned to the archives to explore the history of the brand and were inspired by what we found. Our mission was to bring back the vibrant spirit similar to the one that Nancy & Rudolf Talbot had in mind when they first opened their store in 1947.
We uncovered a distinct voice – lively and quintessentially charming. Our devoted customer will find that Talbots is no longer about ordinary basics, but truly extraordinary classics. Our new customer will quickly discover that Talbots has evolved. She will find a herringbone shift dress, a smart white shirt, a sophisticated satin trench coat — legacy items re-imagined in new ways. Talbots celebrates its heritage by putting a modern twist on the traditional.
With a diverse size offering and a truly democratic fit, Talbots believes in “Every Woman. Every Size.”
I happily recommend visiting your local Talbots to check out the goods. The clothing is superb and the prices are low. It’s the first shop we will be popping into over the Easter holiday. Look for the Venetian skirts, scarfs and handbags…they are absolutely to die for! Also pick up a few of the monochromatic pieces that have a distinct Chanel feel without the outrageous price tag!