The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Yea or Nay: Free People

Free People's tempting fashions
Free People is known for their young, eclectic, nouveau-bohemian vibe.

The same folks who bring us edgy looks from Urban Outfitters and ladylike looks from Anthropologie also bring us the gypsy-chic looks that are Free People clothing. Like Urban and Anthro, Free People delivers gloriously creative catalogs that whisk you away to distant lands and dreamy landscapes that are at once seductive, evocative and altogether too fashionable for any mere mortal to actually live out in real life. Sure, a girl can dream, but more often than not, I think their clever marketing is meant to make you cough up huge sums of cash for flimsy, fleeting clothing.

So where am I going with all this? Free People is amazing to admire, but not necessarily to buy unless it's on sale. Most of their stuff has some kind of detailing, such as lace, crochet, fringe or beading, that makes the piece unique, but tough to care for. And each item is so recognizable, it's hard to wear the same pieces over and over without getting noticed, if you know what I mean. My verdict: Free People is a "Yea" for imaginative styling, uber coolness and originality, but a big "Nay" for ridiculous pricing and overall value. Kinda ironic that this costly brand which relies so heavily on it's image is called "Free People," huh?

What do you think about Free People?

I um, actually have one of their dresses--the pebble beach crosshatch--(which I love) but I do agree that the pieces are ridiculously overpriced. I would like to buy the darker version of my dress but only if it goes on sale.
#1 Ice Princess on 2008-08-11 06:31 (Reply)
i love free people! i think their stuff is so gorgeous and i dont think its too expensive but i do agree with what you said about the pieces being really recognizable.
#2 anja on 2008-08-11 06:50 (Reply)
I own several of their items and think that you just have to pick and choose- I personally don't like lace and too much beading so I never buy those items, instead I own a really uniquely tailored jacket that I love the style of, two pairs of unique capris, and a really gorgeous black tulle dress. These are items that I can restyle lots of ways because I picked items that aren't too loud to begin with. I do think the prices are too high though.
#3 Peaches on 2008-08-11 08:33 (Reply)
theyre awesome! i have a couple of dresses from free people, and it is true, they are overpriced...BUT it is made with gorgeous detail. its more of a brand to admire and once in awhile to splurge on ur self,
#4 Neira on 2008-08-11 08:39 (Reply)
Man, I must be (getting) old...Not a big fan, but I just know my best bud will be head over heels and I'm sure the previous commentors look awesome in their select pieces.

Part of my issue is Boho chic is truly chic when you don't buy all the coordinating pieces under 1 roof.

The other part is it's simply not my taste. Call me the fuddy-duddy of the comment roll, but Im the classic chick in love with tailored looks of the 30s, 40s, and 50s.
#5 TexNYQueen on 2008-08-11 09:11 (Reply)
i agree. less is more. just saw a movie from the 60's called "Charade" with audrey hepburn and talk about class!
the clothes are all givenchy, all classic.
going back to this boho chic and free people, their clothes are nice because they use a lot of natural fabrics and they're unique but when they're all thrown together it's too much. one item mixed with less o.t.t. (over the top) items can go a long way.
oh and the prices are totally goofy for what you get. these are not clothes that will be in your closet for years, unless, like fringed handbags, you put them away and take them out 10 years later when they make a comeback.
#6 maggie z on 2008-08-11 09:25 (Reply)
I LOVE Free People! Their styles are totally me. However, I agree with everyone that their prices are just plain loony. Then again, I think the same of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie clothes. Can't beat anything from any of those stores for uniqueness, but you can get better quality clothes at Target.

Also, Free People sizing is just as bizarre. Most of their stuff doesn't fit me, since I wear a sz. 14-16 on top, but once in a while the fit is perfect. You have to be very careful in choosing their clothes, because the styles can either be incredibly pretty or incredibly weird.

That said, I absolutely adore my FP clothes, which I got either on clearance (Macy's, Nordstrom, and Nordstrom Rack all have FP on clearance) or on eBay. They seem to be very popular on eBay, though, so they're not easy to come by even there, but it's a pretty good place to find FP stuff at good prices. I think my FP clothes are of good quality, in fabrics like linen and cotton, and you just can't beat the color combinations.

Currently, I have my eye on 2 FP things (a blouse and a skirt, all in bright, gorgeous shades) on their website, but I'm waiting for both to go on sale.

Also, you can sometimes find the same FP "look" at other stores, for a lot cheaper. I just got a cotton top on clearance at Gottschalks, from the Misses section of all places, that has a beautiful, intricate Indian print all along the hem -- it looks almost exactly like a top I wanted from FP a couple of seasons ago, that was way too expensive at $100 (for a thin cotton top!!). Only my top cost $7, on clearance. :o)
#7 Anusha (Homepage) on 2008-08-11 11:03 (Reply)
I do love these looks, but feel that they are a bit 'teenage' i'm in my late 20s and would feel old wearing this stuff, is a really cool online store, as it has loads of different designers and their clothes are all contemporary and wearable
#8 Candace on 2008-08-11 12:51 (Reply)
I checked out the site you mentioned and the clothes were way expensive and looked pretty regular.
#8.1 Tacara on 2011-10-12 21:44 (Reply)
You know, when I see their individual pieces thrown into outfits in magazine spreads, I always LOVE them ... but those catalogs turn me off. Everything is ridiculously overpriced, and I also feel like I'm being swindled into wanting/buying flimsy and trendy stuff that I'll cast off after a season. I vote nay!
#9 Sal (Homepage) on 2008-08-11 14:00 (Reply)
Here's a very cool article about recreating that Free People "look" without paying the crazy prices:
#10 Anusha (Homepage) on 2008-08-11 18:01 (Reply)
i love that second look, it's kind of a hip downtown vibe, but still easy going and casual.
#11 Cupcakes and Cashmere (Homepage) on 2008-08-11 19:46 (Reply)
I've been drawn to several of their pieces, but I am yet to make a purchase.
#12 Psyche (Homepage) on 2008-08-11 21:08 (Reply)
There are a couple of really, nice eclectic pieces but the prices are outrageous! I have multiple clothing personalities and at work I am very conservative but on weekends or going out sometimes I go for the boho chic look. You can totally replicate some of these looks with individual pieces from a vintage store, Ebay, Forever21 (Heritage 1981 section) and So I guess it would be a "Nay" from me! Sorry!
#13 NicNac (Homepage) on 2008-08-12 13:01 (Reply)
Many of the pieces, by themselves, are lovely. But, the "rich hippie" styling they do in the catalog/website comes across as silly. I just posted about their lovely stockings and tights for fall.
#14 Tara (Homepage) on 2008-08-12 21:17 (Reply)
I totally agree. Overpriced by imaginative and inspiring. I always make sure I take a quick look over the sales rack in the free people section.
#15 the bargain fashionista (Homepage) on 2008-08-12 22:35 (Reply)
I adore it and wish i could afford it, or find knock of versions of the same styles...hint hint ;-)
#16 taylor on 2008-08-12 22:59 (Reply)
Ooh I love the style of these clothes! That boho chic look is so effortless yet complex to do right. I think people under-rate the relaxed edginess of this look. However, I think the prices are way too high judging by the other comments, although Anthro is also pretty pricey too. I actually think Urban Outfitters is pretty reasonable! I might splurge on a cool signature piece from FP, but for their jewellery I could get the same for half the price at Urban :p
#17 MizzJ (Homepage) on 2008-08-13 18:36 (Reply)
I got a nice pair of plaid shorts in blue by Free People from Marshall's a couple of weeks back for only about...hmm $15-ish bucks or so. I was excited about it because I had eyed them online previously. I'd never pay for anything from Free People at full price...
#18 Aitch on 2008-08-14 15:21 (Reply)
Not for me but would look good on the 16 to 28 crowd. :-)
#19 budget chic (Homepage) on 2008-08-14 21:40 (Reply)
I love Free People!
#20 Ally on 2009-01-03 19:52 (Reply)
i agree with the article. I love the free people cothing but its to much in my opinion. its really not affordable. i would rather make my own stuff for much less.
#21 christina on 2011-11-27 09:22 (Reply)
I agree Free People can be too expensive! I found a great accessory website that is similar to the brand. Although they don't sell clothes just yet the accessories are probably better than free people's, have a look for yourself -
#22 Danielle Greene on 2015-08-14 05:01 (Reply)
I agree what everone said regarding overpriced tag. I mean, I always always wait until the major holiday. That is when they do blowout sale or I go to Nordstromrack and they usually have a reasonable price. I would never pay a full price unless THE Cloth is like blowing my socks off.
#23 Victoria Fulbright on 2017-09-12 13:02 (Reply)
Free People have some nice things, but the quality of the clothing doesn't fit the price. The fabrics seem like they would fall apart after the first wash. I would not pay their prices no matter how much I liked something in their store, because I know I will find something more affordable and maybe even better elsewhere.

It amazes me to see people throw their money away. I rather spend less on clothing and invest more in my future. But then again, I have no debt and lots of savings.
#24 Melissa Canet on 2017-12-05 11:54 (Reply)
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