The Days of the Sears Catalog

If you are not old enough to remember the Sears catalog, just pretend that you do for my sake.  Please?

When it came in the mail, inches thick, I was oddly excited for a young girl who should have been outside playing.  Nope, I wanted to go through everything single page, one by one.

And, I played a little game, I was very careful about what I touched – because if I touched it, it was magically mine.

I would search each page and carefully “touch” my chosen selections, being careful not to “want” too much.

I guess that is how this young girl, who’s household’s budget was tight, dreamed.

And still today, catalogs make me happy.  I do a lot of online shopping – living out here in the country (plus, stores just don’t carry pants in my length!).

But there is nothing like going through the pages of a catalog (although much less environmentally friendly).

The Sears catalog was functional – everything was clearly shown on the page and the information was provided.

But now, everything is so beautifully and artfully crafted.

And although, I don’t do the “magic touch” any more, I sometimes still play the game, a little, in my mind.

When we were renovating our house, I told the initial architect that if I had to define my style in a catalog – it would be Ballard Designs.

That is still true today, but like most of us – I love how Pottery Barn incorporates vintage items – it is visual candy.

But there are two other catalogs that I think also capture sides of my style: Sundance and Garnet Hill.

When I go through the pages of these catalogs, I love just being inspired.  They are not bargain places by any means (although I have bought sale items from both and been very happy), but sometimes it is fun to just imagine.

I know, totally makes me a dork, but I am okay with that.

So let’s do that today – imagine if we place them in this post – they are magically ours!

We can be dorks together!

Sundance has pretty and unique jewelry…

Plum Pretty Necklace


Dreamy dresses…

Fall Blossoms Dress


And unique furniture and home decor…

Draper’s Cabinetry


And Garnet Hill is another place to dream…

Cozy and stylish sweaters…

Pointelle Sweater Coat

garnet hill sweater

But my most favorite of all, and if it ever goes on sale…

Johanna Quilt and Sham

garnet hill quilt

In case you are wondering, neither Sundance or Garnet Hill have any clue whatsoever who I am or about this post, this is just you and me doing a little catalog dreamin’.

How about you?  What is your dream catalog?

Thanks for reading!

p.s.  Oh, and speaking of pretty things, please check out the giveaway of a beautiful fall burlap wreath over at Top This Top That.

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18 thoughts on “The Days of the Sears Catalog”


  1. Oh my! I think we must be dorky soul sisters! Love me some Ballard Designs too! In fact, love all those catalogs and oh how I remember the Sears catalog!

  2. I completely understand the catalog dreaming! I love Ballard, Wisteria, Anthropologie & Williams Sonoma.

    I did get a laugh out of your Sears catalog story. As a kid, I couldn’t wait for my Mom to get the catalog so I go through it & circle everything I wanted in the hopes that Santa would bring it all! lol

  3. Loved the Sears catalog! I would take the “old” ones and cut out furniture for my paper dolls. A friend and I would set our houses up, playing for hours! Of the catalogs you mentioned I am only familiar with Pottery Barn. I love to look at “Levenger,” love pens and ink and writing accessories! I also like to browse through JC Penny! Nothing like strolling down memory lane! lol

  4. Ok…so I thought when I met you…. “she dresses like the Sundance catalog and Garnet Hill!” No kidding! I LOVE all those catalogs!! And as far as the sears catalog….yep… I am old enough to remember and to remember going to the small little sears store to pick up our order…that we placed by phone of course!! 😉

  5. Laura,
    I love catalogs, I can sit with a whole stack of them from start to finish. I save the best and look through them again and again. Pottery Barn is great for ideas and inspiration. I can usually find something at resale garage/estate sale to give me the look that I want.
    Rejuvenation Lighting catalog (or online) Is a lighting catalog that covers many styles of lighting and hardware. The jewelry of the house. I can dream. They also highlight some of their staff renovations and that inspires too.
    Maybe catalogs are part of a slower more relaxed pace we need to fill our life.

  6. Sears and JC Pennys catalogs were something we definitely looked forward to. We always seemed to go to Pennys for things we saw in those catalogs back then. Oh the simple joys of the past.

    1. My all time favorite Christmas presnet would be my Mrs. Beasley Doll! I never missed an episode of Family Affair. Just loved it. I am 48 years old and I still have my talking Mrs. Beasley. My children tell me she looks like Chucky (the scary doll in the movies , but I love her. That same year I also received my special Madam Alexander doll. My Mom bought each of her four daughters a keepsake Madam Alexander doll and we all still have our dolls (oldest child is 60 and I’m the youngest at 48!), we never let our children play with those dolls. Thanks for offering the giveaway. Happy New Year to all.

  7. The good old Sears catalog… I have great memories of when I lived in Alaska, we didn’t have shops to buy clothes or much else so we depended on the Sears catalog, I would write down the page number, item number and price of every single thing I wanted and then I would add up the total, it made me feel as if I actually got those items. silly me… Later I went on to work at the catalog store, cause I had such great catalog skills I guess! 🙂 My favs are Ikea and Crate & Barrell. Thanks for a fun post Laura. And oh by the way I wore my necklace that you made me that looks alot like the one in the picture above and got alot of compliments on it.

  8. Nothing was more exciting than when the Sears’ Christmas catalog came – well maybe Christmas day itself! My sister and I would look over each page and “mark” our wish list items! Wonderful memories and it is probably why I still love catalogs today!

  9. I’m tracking with you Laura! I adored — and poured over — the Sears catalog. And then there was the excitement of visiting the actual store in Hackensack ack ack ack ack (sorry for the Billy Joel reference) … but most of all you’ve brought back fond memories of my purple denim “toughskins” jeans …



  10. As a kid, I just circled everything I wanted from the Sears catalog, but Santa never seemed to get the hint. Maybe I should have tried using the magic touch! These days, my kids and I play a game called “Dibs” when we look through Pottery Barn and Ballard, or my new Country Living and Victoria magazines. Each person gets to put dibs on one item only per page. We don’t want to be greedy, you know! 😉

  11. Oh my how I use to love catalogs as a little girl and I still do.I also use to play a game. I would have to pick just one item from each page and decide in my head where I would put it in my house. I would look at the Sears and JC Pennys catalogs for hours. In the present I absolutely love Ballard Designs and Pottery Barn for inspiration. Sundance and Garnet Hill are my favorite for fashion. And at times I catch myself playing my childhood game in my head.
    Thanks for bringing back such wonderful memories.

  12. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s catalog memories. Last year, I found a wonderful website: There are many vintage catalogs you can look through online: Sears, Spiegel, Wards, JC Penney, and more. It is addicting! I’ve found so many of my old toys and relived wonderful Christmas memories. Not only is it fun to see your old toys, but it’s wonderful to see the fashions, Christmas decorations, and gifts for the home. The 1941 Lord & Taylor catalog is a work of art! Enjoy!

  13. I used to love the Sears and Wards Christmas catalog! I would just pour over every page of toys just daydreaming! I still love opening my mailbox to find a catalog in there!

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