Shopping with experts: Johnnie B

Jonnie B
When the ‘the new teen collection for those aged 10 years and up’, Johnnie B, popped through our door this week, I thought who better to ask about a range aimed at teens, than the teens themselves.

I had a quick flick and thought they had got it just right, the perfect combination of clean cut classics versus fun fashion, with that washed and worn look, that’s so ‘now’. Perfect for Ollie and Tilly from the Boden family. But would my discerning teens like it?

While both aspire to Abbercrombie, only teen daughter is a fan of Jack Wills, as teen son is into cool skate and street labels and brands, I have never heard of. He also likes very expensive clothes, is fond of shopping in Brick Lane and has a whole list of obscure shops in the East Village and Queens he wants to visit when we go to New York this summer. In short he is a discerning shopper, who knows his clothes and is ever so slightly cynical about ‘non-brands trying to be brands’. He also doesn’t like the ‘posh kid’ profile of Jack Wills. Although I keep telling him he isn’t exactly a chav and would easily get a Saturday job in there (think of the girls)!

While the range seemed to tick all the required teen boxes to me. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the lack of branding. Of course the Johnnie B designers are completely right not to brand the t shirts and sweatshirts, as that would be beyond naff, but the one thing Hollister, Abbercrombie and Jack Wills do have, is branding, boy do they have branding. In fact in my very middleagedmum way (and I’m sure you are the same) I have often been heard to loudly exclaim (and you have to be loud in Abbercrombie), ‘I am NOT paying that much, for what is essentially a logo’!!

First point scored to Boden, as you are not actually paying that much for a logo, because there aren’t any and the prices are considerably cheaper than the rival labels. Plus as a confirmed Boden fan, I know the quality is excellent.

So middleagedmum is loving it so far, but what about the actual people who are supposed to be wearing it?

I choose my moment (straight after dinner, having bought chocolate) and settle on the sofa for some quality time and bring out the catalogue.

Teen daughter likes almost all of it, particularly the bottoms. Some of the tops and dresses are a bit too ‘young’ in her opinion, as at 14 she is keen to look older, rather than younger. She thinks its ‘a bit like Jack Wills, but Jack Wills have more things, like wrist bands and stuff.’ I think she meant accessories, perfume and the like! She really liked the pyjama bottoms and the white dress, which she wanted me to buy her. She was a little less impressed when I told her it was Boden, but hadn’t actually realised (which is a plus point for Boden), so the styling and catalogue design clearly works. But, she said it wouldn’t put her off, ‘as the clothes are nice, really nice’.

Teen son also didn’t catch onto the fact it was Boden. ‘I like it, it’s a bit like Jack Wills and Hollister. I would wear some of the shorts and shirts and maybe the tracksuit bottoms – in the house.’ Which, if you are the mother of a 16 year old boy, is actually quite a lot of information.

So all in all, the feedback was positive, and having seen the Autumn Winter range this week, I think it can only get better. I for one, have my eye on the short red pixie boots and teen daughter won’t be getting a look in.


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