The other day I walked into Theory; I had seen a pair of leggings/pants online, massively reduced, that I thought might make a nice alternative to the standard fleece-lined, black leggings I’ve been living in this winter. In my defense, I’m five months pregnant with number two (surprise!), so an elastic waistband is a girl’s best friend right now. I bought the leggings/pants, and discovered these textured culottes, and marled knit pants. While I stood in the shop, I looked around and thought about how Theory is really nailing it for their customer. They have managed to maintain their core signatures for the professional woman with a little more to say, while successfully rounding out her wardrobe to include off-duty essentials. Nothing though, is too trend driven, or a radical departure from Theory’s suit-wearing woman during office hours. A few off-the-shoulder tops and dresses are sprinkled throughout the collection as a nod to the prolific trend still dominating retailers. Cropped, flared pants, leather leggings and a cute suede mini skirt add variety and a little sexiness to any woman’s wardrobe at a reasonable price point. The brand’s knitwear and other basics are always available and reassure their longtime customer that the items that have come to define the brand will always be around.
Andrew Rosen co-founded Theory with Elie Tahari in 1997. When it came time for the brand to take a look at what’s working and what isn’t Rosen spoke to Fashion Times in 2014 and said this:
“What we’re looking to do is not lose the integrity of what the company stands for or the aesthetic of the company, but to continue to evolve our methodology of doing business. We need to sharpen some of the things that we’ve gotten stale with. It’s things that I would notice. I really want to sharpen up.”
I understand it’s hard out there for the mid-level “mall” brands to compete in such a saturated market. But after a closer look at Theory, minus those weird couple of Olivier Theyskens years, I realized they haven’t gone too high fashion or raised their prices (too much) in order to set themselves apart in the same way a J. Crew or Club Monaco has. Theory has stayed, or returned in a way, very much to its roots of pared down, well made clothes with a slight fashion twist for the contemporary woman. Creative Director Lisa Kulson is mostly to credit for the brand’s evolution and commitment to the Theory ethos. And they clothes are really good. Well done, Theory.
Lookbook images via Vogue.com