Tuesday, May 2, 2017

L.L. Bean Catalog Has A New Look...


...With a new layout, new size, and new paper stock.  Above all, L.L. Bean wants you to know that every product has been "designed."
This quote just about sums up the catalog.























44 comments:

  1. So when did stretch chinos become classics? Oh silly L.L. Bean. How about selling some products "designed" by Leon.

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  2. I understand evolve or die like the dinosaurs.
    But, no thank you llbean.

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  3. Interesting - I would never have known, since we opt out of most paper catalogs. It was either that or just replace the mailbox with the recycling bin.

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    1. Me too. I love that. I, too, have considered replacing my mailbox with a garbage can.

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  4. This catalogue looks like it came from Patagonia, which is fine, except this is LL Bean. I like the old catalogue and I pretty much only buy bags, rain jackets, bean boots and sweaters. The rest has really declined. They should hire you and get to work.

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  5. They just did the same silly thing with the Dover Saddlery catalog, which looks like a "Vogue" shoot done in a barn. Bean is plainly aiming here at millennial fitness nuts who want "as-if" expedition clothing for preening their cred in Brooklyn Starbucks over their laptops. Personally, I refuse to pay Bean's prices any more. $58 for a flannel shirt, REALLY? I'm someone who actually USES my clothes, indeed I wear them out like Muffy's farmer friends. So, on to E-bay and buy the best of Bean (NWT!) for about the price the stuff should have been to begin with if not paying for pretentious displays of Madison Ave's idea of "cachet." I'd like to see more functional classics and less encouragement of the sloppy "athleisure" look. Ever take your yoga pants through a pricker bush, or duck through some splintery fence rails? Doesn't end well! ;-) And the ticks are the only ones enjoying your calf gap.

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    1. Ah, Greenfield....So glad Muffy brought comments back. Yours always just nail it. Thank you.

      Jacqueline

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    2. Greenfield, I find your comments spot on! Keep it up. I think the Bean product development and marketing crew could benefit from your doses of reality and wit.

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    3. Dover was apparently sold. The end of an era is always sad but they must evolve I suppose. I still trust both Dover (for now) & LLBean but we'll keep an eye on things. With inequality the way it is, it's no wonder they're both going for that top dollar :(
      RR in northern CA.

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  6. Bean is still fine with me - 100% cotton jeans! I do not like any amount of spandex, so most of my clothes are old, but still holding up well. I couldn't care less if they add a marketing catch phrase. And yes, I know I'm showing my age, but I hate the sloppy look and seeing those who refuse to iron and clearly do not have a full-length mirror. You CAN be comfortable and neat! cheers!

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    1. Or how about when not many check their backside in a full length mirror...

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  7. I miss the days when they didn't need so many words in their catalogues because the pictures and the quality of the merchandise spoke for itself.

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    1. Agreed, Michael Rowe. The succinct quality of Bean's traditional prose was exemplary.

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    2. The folks who did the old Whole Earth Catalogue series decades ago claimed to have been inspired by the L.L. Bean catalogue. Sort of.

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  8. Bean has gone the way of Lands' End -- now emphasizing "fashion," with higher prices, more synthetic fabrics, and a push toward "no-iron." Perhaps someone will seize the opportunity to open a retailer (whether online or brick-and-mortar) that sells sturdy, conservative, natural-fiber clothing at reasonable prices. It would be nice to be able to buy a must-iron OCBD exact sleeve- length shirt with most of the quality of a Mercer and Sons shirt, but at perhaps a third of the price.

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  9. Design, design, design, but MADE in China.

    When the Bell begins to toll,
    Lord, have mercy on the soul.

    RIP, LLB

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  10. How long before they dump the fishing and especially the hunting departments. I guess you can be a fashionable fly fisher"man" so that might hang on a while longer but not much fashion in turkey hunting....

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    1. Speaking as an unfashionable fly fisher, the hunting and fishing catalogs are the last refuge of sturdy and conservative goods for which Bean was famous

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  11. Bean's biggest sin with the catalog is changing the typeface. Now they REALLY look like everyone else.

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  12. Well, I don't hate it. I actually kind of like the simplicity of it. I never understand why people get so bothered by the marketing. That's their job! And who doesn't like an entire page of cute dog pics? I'm actually headed to the website right now to look at the linen tunics and I'm looking forward to being "naturally cool" this summer.

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    1. My issue is not the marketing, it's the products. GLH

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  13. I still can't get over the lack of availability to get a pair of loungers (boots) lined in shearling but I can get the 8 inch lace ups in plum, PLUM! Who the heck wants Bean Boots in PLUM? And yet, I'm still faithful to LL Bean.

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  14. They're just a mess anymore. There are no real classics left. They've dumbed down and marketed themselves to the lowest common denominator. --Holly in PA

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  15. It's all about selling to the Millennials and Hipsters. They could care less about selling product to people in the 50s & 60s.

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    1. What's odd is that the older generations are more apt to look at catalogs vs millennials who live digitally.

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  16. Having based their image on quality and traditional styling at affordable prices, you would think L.L. Bean would have the wherewithal to stay true to its roots, to continue its long legacy, and to train up a new generation to appreciate its products; ones that aren't compromised. Sadly, it seems they're headed down the same road as other companies that have been mentioned on this blog. While those of us of a certain age still have buying power, the unfortunate fact is that we're being left behind with limited choices of what we once knew to be quality. Having different tastes and styles from the younger generaltions doesn't make us irrelevant. On a broader spectrum, I am puzzled as to why Americans think newer is always better. We tend to latch on to the latest, greatest that comes along only to find that it isn't what it seemed, and often, it's too late. I'm all for progress but not at all costs. I don't see why it's so difficult to uphold what's tried and true with things that last while experimenting with newer options. To me its called common sense.

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    1. Is this the place to complain about the unavailability of a decent frock coat and top hat at reasonable prices?

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  17. LLBean is not a non profit, it is a business. It is to make a profit from whom ever the consumer/buyer is. BUT I hate being left out with a bare min. available if that, and the poor quality

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  18. If you really don't like the catalog, you'll be getting three or four more before the 4th of July and they won't look like that (I expect).

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  19. "Designed" for millenials who like to take selfies.

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    1. Was it just me or the Summer 2017 catalog that arrived had not one model over a coherent age? Or was that just given poor lighting and my worn out bifocals?

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    2. I guess they are focused on the young and restless set. They have the Signature line, so it would seem they could use that to reach the more youthful market.

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  20. OMG. got mine in the mail just yesterday (takes longer to the West Coast). The thing is a book! (Mable, it's alive!)

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  21. The silly thing about that is, from all I hear, millennials have the least buying power; that's why they're still living at home and on their parents' health plans. They shop at Old Navy and WalMart because (a) that's all they can afford and (b) they seem to only ever wear hoodies and gym pants with sneakers. Aiming at them will take Bean to ruin, witness the ongoing run of former "youth-oriented," "hipster" brands that are shuttering their stores if not going bankrupt altogether.

    Perhaps it's time Bean did some real-world market research, asking actual buyers: (1) What do you like? (2) Dislike? (3) Want to see more (or less) of?
    And what is your age, income bracket, region of residence, and occupation? The answers might greatly surprise them . . .

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  22. Since the folks at Bean have access to my email and snail mail addresses for over 40 years, I am on their research data base. I'm told that older adults are more brand loyal and that companies go after millennials to convert them. I own the Bean brand, and other quality brands, therefore I don't spend money on such things. Go to Cupertino, San Fran, Brooklyn and yes, even Boston and you will find plenty of millionaire millenials who spend long days indoors and who crave the outdoorsy look.

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  23. My catalog arrived today and it is not the same one that is pictured here. Every page contains the word "Designed" and is filled with pages of youthful attire on very young models containing little of what I would wear save the patchwork shirt (the shorts are too short). However, the styles are not entirely off-putting compared to sloppy casual looks I often see on the street. It contains none of the Patagonia styled pages that E May 2 @ 7:48 mentioned, the ones we see above. This catalog reminds me of the Lands End Canvas line. Anonymous May 4 @ 1:36 mentioned Bean's Signature line - I haven't seen it in years and didn't know still it existed. (I thought that line was a mistake back in the day.) Makes me wonder about Bean's marketing strategy. I agree with Greenfield that they need to conduct better market research.

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  24. I am still able to find key basics at Bean: cotton oxford cloth shirts that require ironing, pima cotton tee shirts that are nice enough to dress up with pearls and a jacket, tartan flannel shirts that are cozy in the winter, and the all important Bean tote bags that serve so many purposes. Last year, I replaced a lost pair of Bean boots (I keep 2 pairs for rotation), and found them to be just as well made as the remaining pair, which were several years old. I do fear that when these basics need replacing, they will no longer be available, so have taken to buying a spare to store away for the future. This blog once referred this as 'gentle stockpiling'.

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    1. Yes...I am doing the gentle stockpiling as well. Some of the product offerings or lack thereof I don't understand.. such as not having the small totes available in all of the colors (great handbags, especially in the warm months.)

      I wish they would offer the blueberry stoneware (the original one.)

      Also their new computer system really has not been good for the customer... have attempted to place a few orders over the last month, have had to cancel one, possibly a second (still waiting to hear back from their customer service) and the order that actually shipped out was seriously delayed! There are some things in this world that have been constants, including good service from Bean, which is sadly not the case at the current time.

      --EM

      --EM

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  25. When I was looking at some women's clothes, I thought it was the kids pages because the models were so young. I used to keep the current catalog on hand. Now I just scan and toss. I always go on-line to shop. I wear petite clothing and always like Bean for that reason. However, bought a tee shirt with a square neck. The shoulders were too broad and the body too wide. Called Bean and asked if the shoulders and body were scaled smaller in the petites. No the only difference is that the petite t-shirts are shorter. That's just stupid.

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    1. Haven't you heard? Petite is no longer a thing...I am not a big woman and weigh around 110, five foot six. vintage fits but nothing modern!

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    2. You can thank "vanity sizing" for that. Also, I am 5'9" and wear their size 6, however their tall sizes start at size 8!

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  26. Most of us "older" types keep watching Bean because maybe, just maybe, some of the older more well designed "classics" just might one day be re-introduced.

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