Help me locate a dress from Boden
June 12, 2012 6:16 AM   Subscribe

Sartorial emergency! I accidentally put my wife's new summer dress in the dryer, and it shrunk. (D'oh!) I would like to buy her a replacement, but the online store says that her size/color is out of stock ...

So, I am an idiot who does not know how to read laundry tags. I accept this. But my wife really likes this dress and I feel terrible about having messed it up, and I would like to replace it if I can.

The trouble is that this dress, in her size and preferred color, is listed as out of stock by Boden, the manufacturer. Frantic googling turns up no other sites selling this dress; they all just link back to Boden's site.

I'm wondering if anyone knows any way to circumvent the "all sold out" message on Boden's website. I don't know what this method might be; I know this is a long shot, but it's worth a try, as I feel awful about this. Bribing a Boden employee? Commissioning a knock-off? Back-alley warehouse transactions? I'm open to anything.

Maybe there are brick-and-mortar Boden stores? (I'm in NYC.) I have no idea. Anything, really, will work.

The dress in question is Boden's blue "weekender" dress, size 6-regular. Here's a link to it on Boden's site.

Any help or creative ideas are extremely welcome.
posted by Dr. Wu to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'd try calling customer service just to see if they have any--I once got a dress from them in a size I needed that was out of stock online, but they had a few returns in the warehouse. It's worth a shot.
posted by leesh at 6:19 AM on June 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

Have you tried calling their customer service line? It is possible they have available inventory that is not on the website (for a number of reasons). I would do that first and expect that they can direct you down the best path.
posted by tommccabe at 6:19 AM on June 12, 2012

I think your next step is to try calling them, but it doesn't bode well.

You might ta to her about buying the size 8 and getting it tailored to fit.

Otherwise, she gets to buy a new, alternate, dress or two.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 6:26 AM on June 12, 2012

You want the site. Was the dress BLUE, or "Blue herringbone"? Because they're showing 6R available in blue herringbone, low stock.

This is assuming she bought it in American sizes to start, which I think is a good bet.

Even if hers was blue-blue, I'd buy the herringbone and you can return it if it doesn't work -- it IS clearly selling out.
posted by endless_forms at 6:26 AM on June 12, 2012

Darnit, that was wrong. But you still will be wanting to call the USA customer service first.
posted by endless_forms at 6:29 AM on June 12, 2012

Just got off the phone with a nice customer service rep, and she's going to try to help me, but right now, Boden's system is down, so it'll be a while.

endless_forms, I just looked on Boden's USA site, but don't see that the Blue Herringbone is available. For me, on that page, I see that the "Sand"-colored dress is available (in low stock), but not the blue.

Please, keep 'em coming. I'd like to get out of the doghouse.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:30 AM on June 12, 2012

Customer Service reps can be really helpful - even if the dress is completely sold out, sometimes a few more will come in from the manufacturer, or be returned by people who ordered the wrong size. They can often put a hold out for you so if one unexpectedly comes in, you'll be notified.
posted by Mchelly at 6:31 AM on June 12, 2012

In the meantime, buy the blue size 8 and the sand size 6! If she loves this dress, she will love it in another color.
posted by valeries at 6:35 AM on June 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

I sometimes see their clothes on ebay. You can set up an alert to notify you if one is listed.
posted by katieanne at 6:44 AM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

lots of great ideas here, take them all, but to your original question, Boden is a company that designs and sells their own stuff, so no, no other store will carry their items. eBay is a possibility (although unlikely if it's new this season), but no other primary merchant.
posted by acm at 6:56 AM on June 12, 2012

Nthing eBay as your best possible fallback position.

Failing that, Wikipedia has a list of countries with no formal extradition treaty with the United States.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:03 AM on June 12, 2012 [15 favorites]

Ha! I always wanted to visit Mongolia! Maybe now I'll just do it permanently.

Good ideas here. I'll set up an ebay alert, though I'll wait first for the customer service rep to get back to me.

Apparently, Boden has no physical stores in the US -- only in the UK. If any brave and extremely kind UK MeFites have a Boden store nearby, I will compensate you generously if you purchase that dress and send it to me.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:47 AM on June 12, 2012

There are two UK-based stores, and I happen to live near one. I don't see it in stock at the UK site, but if you give their Hanger Green store a call and they have one, I might be able to help out (it's sort of on my way home). Make sure you give them the UK size (I think it's a 10.) I think there's another store but I don't live anywhere near that one. UK customer services are 0844 873 0000, it's 3.30pm here so you have time to ring them and then maybe ring the shop before the end of office hours at 5pm.

Your other option is to try the Mumsnet forum ( and post on the Style and Beauty forum. Boden is a bit of a leitmotif on there and there might be someone who bought one in the sale and didn't want to wear it. (I'm not a mum, or, um, a net, but I like the snarkiness on a couple of the non-child centred boards there.)

Also, there are a lot of Boden resellers on eBay - they have 'village sales' in affluent rural towns and some people buy up unworn stock to sell on. Again, search for the style first and then check it's the right size as they'll be listed in British sizes.
posted by mippy at 7:48 AM on June 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

(Thanks a lot for this, as I have now bought the dress for myself)

Much great advice about the customer service people, eBay resellers (I see two Weekender dresses on, wrong sizes and colours, but definitely worth a 'saved search')...

I wanted to second buying the next size up and taking it for alterations, but, er, if the dress is that prone to shrinkage, one wonders if an 8 would not turn into a 6 in the dryer. You can find little bits of advice on this on-line (see esp. blogs/forums for petite women). Washing and then drying while taking out and checking every five to ten minutes works for me...

The dress has been pressed post-disaster, yes? Sometimes that will help things recover a bit from dryer accidents.
posted by kmennie at 9:01 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I never tumble-dry any of my clothing, so I'm not sure if it's reversible, but I have managed to stretch out a jumper that was accidentally machine-washed once by wetting and reshaping, so kmennie's advice could be worth a go.
posted by mippy at 9:11 AM on June 12, 2012

My spouse put my favorite Boden dress through the dryer and I was pissed.

But I tried it on and while it isn't its original shape, it is still OKAY.
posted by k8t at 9:12 AM on June 12, 2012

See what customer service can do for you. I love Boden and I once ordered a skirt that allegedly had an 8 week backorder, and then received it a week later. Another time I wanted to return one piece for a size that was out of stock, so they put me on a "waiting list" for the size I wanted and two days later a customer service rep called to tell me someone had returned the size I needed and that they were overnighting it to me. Boden customer service is really great, and just work with them (once their system is back up!) to figure it all out.
posted by olinerd at 9:13 AM on June 12, 2012

Try hand washing it with hair conditioner. Laybit out on a drying rack and perhaps gently stretch it as it dries.
posted by HMSSM at 9:30 AM on June 12, 2012

I hope you bought the two I suggested above, because now they're sold out! I wonder how many people bought the dress after seeing your post!
posted by valeries at 11:18 AM on June 12, 2012

Hi again. Thanks for all the responses, and sorry for the delay. Con Edison was doing some electrical work in the building, so I couldn't get online for a few hours.

I got a call back from the service rep at Boden, who delivered bad news and good news.

The bad news is that the dress is really and truly out of stock. So I will set up an ebay alert, as suggested.

The good news was that she fairly insisted that Boden refund the cost of the dress. I tried to tell them that this was no fault of theirs, and that a refund was unnecessary, but they were having none of it. (They're even paying for the postage to ship the dress back to them!)

So while I still don't have (and may not be able to reacquire) this specific dress, I at least now have about $100 credit at Boden, which my wife will appreciate.

Three lessons learned:
1. Spouses of the world, hear my call: Read the fucking tags before laundering your spouse's clothing.
2. Boden has figured out this "customer service" thing.
3. Writing about an attractive, in-demand item on a popular website may have unintended effects on product supply.

I'm just about to belatedly email mippy to take him or her up on his or her extremely kind offer to check if this dress is availabe in the nearby Boden store. If anyone else has any leads on this dress - which I'd still like to purchase - I'm all ears.

posted by Dr. Wu at 11:50 AM on June 12, 2012 [11 favorites]

One more suggestion - if "sand" is in stock, could you buy that and dye it blue? Dying clothes is quite easy, even I can do it.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 2:23 PM on June 12, 2012

I've not purchased from Boden, but I've heard that things to come back into stock on occassion due to returns, etc. So I wouldn't give up just yet, if your wife still really wants *that* dress I'd be watching the boden site like a hawk.
posted by snowymorninblues at 2:55 PM on June 12, 2012

Sounds like you've got it wrapped up, but FWIW, here's how I'd begin to dig myself out of the doghouse:

1. Apologize profusely.
2. At the earliest opportunity, take her out for a nice lunch or dinner, and then take her shopping for another dress that, while not exactly what she might have wanted, she still likes. Make a date of it. Try to enjoy the shopping part, or at least be a good sport. :)
3. After she's found a dress, tell her how awesome she looks in it, and suggest she pick out a pair of shoes to go with her new dress.
4. Secretly make plans to order an exact replacement copy of the ruined dress, and surprise her with it totally out of the blue, sometime later.
posted by xedrik at 3:04 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

xedrik, will you marry me?
posted by k8t at 6:29 PM on June 12, 2012

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