What is your favorite clothing catalog of all time?

I have an opportunity to be involved in a new clothing catalog and started thinking about those that have been done really well in the past. So, what do you think was good/great/terrific, and why?

I never shopped in it, but of course the J. Peterman catalog was legendary.

I’m not sure what you’re looking for here. I buy many of my clothes from the Newport News catalog, which has many clothes and shoes that fit me well and look good on me. Same with Victoria’s Secret, although I can’t afford it as often.

But I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for. Do you want our opinions on the best-designed catalogs? The most entertaining? The most unusual?

Yeah, I’m interested in it from a creative angle: design, writing, uniqueness, entertainment value, anything that you would evaluate beyond the merchandise itself. Maybe even want to keep them.

The J. Jill catalog. Or rather one issue of it, with a certain red-haired model.

That’s really all I would ever look for in a clothing catalog. Just put her on the cover of all of them.

On second thought, that was a number of years ago so she may no longer look the same.

Forget it, then. Sorry I took up your time. Basically what I’m saying is that nothing you could possibly do other than the clothing itself would get me to care about a clothing catalog. I notice writing and design professionally in all things so I would certainly admire a well-done catalog, but if it didn’t have the clothes I wanted it would hit the recycle bag after the first glance. The J. Peterman catalog worked only as long as the clothing was hot. It didn’t keep the firm from going bankrupt.

First of all, I am a guy who does not buy clothes from catalogs. What is the point? Guys can only wear 6 things anyway that all look pretty much the same no matter where you buy them (long sleeve shirt, polo shirt, t-shirt, jeans, shorts, khakis). Anyway, a catalog that would catch my attention would be one that not only has clothes, but gear interspersed among the pages, like an LL Bean catalog. I like looking at gear (think REI type stuff), even things for activities that I am not interested in. And I am not fooled by stupid junky gear- like that cheap ass emergency car set that they sell in the men’s clothing section of department stores.

Not a particular catalog, but there are a few things that I prefer to see. I like when the clothing is shown on models rather than pictures of just the clothes, so I can see how they’re supposed to fit. There was a catalog I got a while ago (not sure which one, sorry) that added helpful info to the description, like how many inches long a dress or shirt was (so you had a better idea of how it would fit you rather than just super tall models) or that a certain item ran small or large or whatnot, and that was appreciated. I’m nervous about buying clothing I can’t try on, so anything that gives me a better idea of what it’s like in real life was a plus.

If you have a corresponding website, I love how freepeople.com and urbanoutfitters.com show each item in several different angles. Probably not cost efficient in a catalog, tho

Land’s End’s product descriptions make everything sound so wonderful that I want it all despite it not being excessively fashionable. :slight_smile:

There are a few teen clothing “magalogs” (Alloy is one, I think) that intersperse magazine-like articles and fashion tips along with the clothing which make it interesting to read.

Can you say what type of clothing you will be selling?

Victoria’s Secret. The reason - Yasmin Ghauri.

1982 Sears Catalog, women’s underwear section.

The old Banana Republic catalogs when they had a safari feel, before Gap took it over. The catalogs had Peterman-like narratives and artwork and were interesting to read all on their own.

I think it really depends on knowing who will buy the clothes you are selling and what their priorities are. I shop out of the Land’s End, Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, and Chadwick’s catalogs. Chico’s has a real focus on a specific exotic location in each catalog that works for them. They use somewhat older models that look like their customers. Coldwater Creek has a very specific “voice” in their product descriptions that works for their demographic but probably turns off a lot of others. They also mix decor items in with clothes, which probably drives impulse and gift purchases. They don’t use models. Chadwick’s sold me a lot of stuff by making me think it would look on me how it looks on the model. (I’ve learned, I don’t buy from them as much now. She is a 19 year old model. I am … not.) One must for me is to tell me that stuff is machine washable.

I used to love the Tweeds catalogs, in 1988/1989 somewhere around there. I do not believe they stayed in business very long. I just now googled to see if they existed on the net. Didn’t find them, but did find a blog entry about Tweeds clothing…

ETA - I also loved the old Banana Republic catalogs, and these days really like the Athleta catalogs - not so much their website, but definitely the catalogs.

Oh my goodness, it’s got to be International Male. It’s hilarious.







This was the best lately. Granted, it’s not as funny as it used to be, but it still cracks me up.

That is hilarious! Does anyone wear this stuff? Thanks for the links. The underwear section…woah. WOAH.

I’ve always loved the Spiegel catalogs - but I don’t get them anymore - you gotta pay.

Actually, I just ordered the most recent catalog from their website…totally free! I loved it in the good old days…when you ordered the catalog, you got a free purse! For awhile there, every purse I owned was a Spiegel freebie. Anyway, just check out the website for a free catalog.

Being of a larger size and not partial to dressy clothes, I’m partial to the Junonia catalog.

What I like to see are size-appropriate models. I want to see how it’s going to look on me, not on some size-14 Amazon. I don’t expect all models to be size 24, but some happy medium would be good.


I always enjoyed the Ulla Popken catalogue for this reason. Also - astartewoman.com uses correctly sized models.


The Anthropologie catalogs are terrific because they’re so beautifully designed. However, a lot of this has to do with the aesthetics of the clothes themselves rather than purely with the catalog layout. These are really the only catalogs I save and look at later without having something specific in mind I want to buy.

It appears they’ll be selling men’s clothing to start. Mostly casual but higher end. No ties or suits. And some travel/sdventure-type gear. Women’s stuff will follow in a year or two.

I agree wholeheartedly. They were great. Maybe my favorite. I liked it better than Peterman. While the writing in Peterman was terrific, it was all bullshit and didn’t match up with the clothes very well. (Which, by the way, sucked in reality.) The writing was stellar, though,.