Tag Archives: anthropologie

Anthropologie: Mary Style

By Mary

Anthropologie embraces a shabby-chic-country feel inspired with an edge of urban elegance in its line of merchandise, which offers both household and fashion selections. My sister, Kate, was the one who introduced me to their retail chain. Due to living in a more remote location, I’ve never ever seen an actual store with the exception of walking past one Anthropologie storefront in New York City with Colleen last winter.

dress anthro

Obviously seeing a window display that included the same packaging that I use to sell blackberries, plums, and raspberries provided a moment of snide amusement between my little sister and I.


While in Pittsburgh recently, I had the opportunity to actually browse an Anthropology store, and it was an enjoyable experience. The store in itself is a beautiful retail space, and the salespeople couldn’t have been more accommodating to Kate and I as we perused the store in a state of curious merriment that included multitasking when wrangling the energetic Olympia, and distracting Francisco whose main interest seems to be seeking out food at this point in life. This applies to not only when with his mom, but also when within range of anything that he can put his mouth around and chew.

marystuff 065

While I enjoyed the artistic aesthetics of the store, my reflection of their offerings can be summed up in a nutshell, or should I say: an egg carton.

marystuff 047

At Anthropologie they sell ceramic egg cartons that are cute and useless. In my own life, I tear up egg cartons on a daily basis to start my fire. The cartons don’t look cute, but man, are they ever useful in the midst of soot and a cold floor.


The life I lead is not cleanly polished like the effortless presentation that Anthropologie offers. However, I do feel that I am surrounded in beauty, and that I can capture the same quaint glamour that the store markets. This comes from thrift store finds and creating similar styles with my own two hands. This can all be done at a fraction of the prices they set, and with limited materials. All one really needs is an eye for beauty and a heart with appreciation for its goodness, along with an artistic imagination.

Here are a few of my own Anthropologie-like innovations:

These Anthropologie headbands are about $30 worth of fun color and flair.

haedband, anthro

Here we have one of the headbands that I recently made with a bit of elastic and 2 ends of scrap left over from a quilt that Mom and I made for the newest niece.


Anthropologie has great bags. But I do too! And it’s all because I couldn’t bear to part with an ancient piece of fabric that inspired me to find a new purpose for it. I love that this purse has a modern edge to it with the link chain and offers lots of pocket space. Vintage cloth is such fun to find use for!


Anthropologie displayed a lovely rack of aprons when I was in the store.

marystuff 051

But none of them are as interesting to me as this most recent one:


This apron came from a design that I got off of Etsy. The reason I took an interest in the pattern is because it is reversible.


It is so nice to be able to support an entrepreneur by purchasing their design and being able to reuse the pattern as much as desired. I like spending next to nothing on fabric which is something that I tend to collect and love to mix and match as I please once a thought comes to mind.

Much like my two sided apron, I strive to be versatile.  Versatility paired with simple artistic beauty is a needed impression of inspiration, but to each their own. As for myself, well, I am more inclined towards creating it as my own. Olympia however may disagree. That 2-year- old niece of mine was starstruck by a rather lovey hair clip when at the Anthropology store. Oddly enough, the turquoise and beaded accessory ended up coming out of her little pink jacket pocket a few days after having left the store. I am sure she and her Mama will be returning the clip, and perhaps when she is a little older I can teach her how to make her own accessories.

To read more of Kate’s Anthropologie posts:

anthropologie, slatterie style

Inspiration, Expectation: Anthropologie, Spring 2012

anthropologie, slatterie style

by Kate

One of the benefits of living in a densely populated city is that you can walk out your door and keep walking till you come to a fancy store, the kind that exists only as a catalogue that you curl up with near the woodstove in the middle of the winter when you are living on a far flung farm. Granted, it may take an hour to get to said store on foot, which is about what it takes to drive into a real town where I’m from, but unlike my middle sisters I am not a runner. I am a rambling walker, meandering along as I gaze upon the world around me. I love walking in the city for the same reasons I love walking in the country- there is always a new story, new vista, new adventure to see.  A few days ago I bundled up the baby against the bitter chill of early spring, slung her in the sling, and headed out to peruse the wares at Anthropologie.

The dress in the front window display reminded me a great deal of the shipwreck dress that my incredibly talented friend Rebecca created for our North Carolina production of Twelfth Night. I am pretty sure that given lots of fabric and old hangars she could create a frock similar to this one.

Anthropologie is a high end retail chain that started here in Pennsylvania back in 1992 and has expanded rapidly. The stores specialize in high class bright bohemian shabby chic elegant and inordinately expensive household items and women’s clothing. The store received a great deal of press a couple years ago when Michelle Obama ordered some of their furniture for the White House. Some decorators were in an uproar at the proletarian nature of this move, but the store is anything but cheap, though presumably more accessible than your average White House furniture dealer. Here is the  bench that awaits customers in the entrance, inviting you to sit down at your peril and quite possibly snap it in two.

Let’s take a closer look at that pricetag, shall we?

Why yes, it is a wooden painted bench from Belgium, circa 1900. Yes, it is $1,300 dollars. Hmmmmn. I have a peeling painted rocking chair from Pittsburgh, circa 1900ish, with very similar (and probably arsenic based) peeling paint on it. Casey threatens to throw it out the window on a regular basis. Perhaps I should see if this high end retailer will take it off my hands?

It was at this point, pondering the bench, when I began to see the store through new eyes. I stepped back outside to view the other window display, a ramshackle weathered grey green structure that looked like it had been designed and implemented by none other than my father.

I kept the parking sign in lest you be led astray and think this was actually a scene from Sweet Ridge Farm. It does look eerily like something my father would build. It reminded me so much of home that from that point on, I made mental notes to have Clare photograph the flawlessly stylish high end anthropologie aspects lurking in plain sight back home at the farm. I think you will agree that the goat shed on the farm is significantly sleeker than the urban version. The sleekness is due entirely to the fact that my brother Robert, and not my father, built it.

Moving inside the store, the rustic rural motif continued with a full sized wheelbarrow- unlabeled and not priced as far as I could see but it looked as though it may have experienced hauling work during the French Revolutioin.

Of course Clare was able to locate a similar scene, minus the candles, out in the still snow covered fields.  Note the artistic nature of the apple trees, which my father has brutally attacked with his spring fervor of pruning. There are few things harder on my parent’s marriage than my father and his love of excessive pruning.

Back inside the tasteful, softly scented, flawlessly decorated interior of the store, I realized that the brilliant and tasteful designers had some serious common ground with my mother when it came to shelving and the kitchen/dining area. Here we have the store:

And here is the far less rickety version created by my farmwife mother. Well, it is less rickety now after Robert came and secured it into the wall. Having a son grow up to be a carpenter really allowed my mother to realize many of her dreams. It just took twenty five years or so.

As for aprons, well, if you saw the post Mary and Colleen did on Sunday baking, you’ll know we’ve got that covered.

The folks at the store had a huge wooden table and bench.

Which also looked strikingly familiar to our Amish built dining room table.

Ah but the store did have some pretty beautiful china, like this

whereupon the resourceful photographer/stylist  Clare brought out our Great Grandmother’s wedding china.

I loved wandering through the sophisticated big city store and viewing it through the prism of my Wisconsin ridgetop home, and to realize that you don’t need to pay two thousand dollars for a beat up cupboard from India in order to have beautiful style in your house. I’d go for the amish built table myself in a heartbeat. I found a great deal of inspiration in Anthropologie, which I think is a significant part of what they peddle- style and inspiration. I also have a newfound level of respect for my mother and her farmhouse decorating style. Who knows- perhaps she will be asked to consult in decorating the White House. I can see my father gleefully hoeing up the lawn to expand the White House garden, or perhaps volunteering to teach them a few lessons about pruning.