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banana republic vs jcrew - Page 5

post #61 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert View Post
This is not true at all. Worlds of difference between all three stores (BR, Gap, and ON). Take any item, from a khaki pant to a pea coat, and compare, and you'll see that BR is clearly tops in quality. Gap and ON are very cheap looking. Say what you will about BR blandness or whatever, it nonetheless does generally produce quality clothing.

I was 1/2 joking.
post #62 of 88
Oh. Sorry. It could be that I was only half serious, for that matter.
post #63 of 88

Just unearthed this thread. 

 

I like J Crew's aesthetic better right now.  It's more of a "heritage" look while BR is more of a "modern" look.  Stil there are plenty of similarities.  I'll see a shirt at J Crew for example and the exact same style at BR.  They'll be nearly identical except J Crew up until a few months ago was more expensive.  BR is now matching them in terms of initial price point on similar items.  They should too.

 

In terms of quality BR wins hands down.  I don't even need to try things on to see the difference in quality.  You can just feel in terms of hand feel.  This is pretty much across the board too.

 

BR also wins in terms of value.  They have more promotions and if you're savvy enough you can get great deals at pretty much any time. 

 

Back to aesthetic, I just picked up some J Crew stanton shorts for Summer as I liked the look and more importantly the fit better than BRs.  However I find their wovens are cut too long if I want to wear them untucked.  Come winter though I'll be shopping BR for chunky novelty sweaters.

post #64 of 88
This is akin to arguing which is better mcdonalds or burger king.
post #65 of 88
wendy's is the best
post #66 of 88
I only go to BR to pick up basics. I like their v-neck t-shirts and that's about it.
post #67 of 88
BR is good on clearance. I picked up a bunch of their V-neck merino sweaters and cardigans .. from the factory store for like $15/each before x-mas. You can find their sport shirts for less then $20 a shirt at the factory store as well. Great price to quality ratio for "everyday" type clothes, stuff you can wear the shit out of and not lose any sleep if they get wrecked.
post #68 of 88

one thing I've noticed about hte factory stores is the quality isnt the same as their regular store

post #69 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrow View Post

one thing I've noticed about hte factory stores is the quality isnt the same as their regular store

True of just about any outlet store these days. Entirely new product makes for a more stable business model than surplus/closeout stock. Hence, same constructions, just cheaper materials.

post #70 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLAUGRANA View Post

Just unearthed this thread. 

I like J Crew's aesthetic better right now.  It's more of a "heritage" look while BR is more of a "modern" look.  Stil there are plenty of similarities.  I'll see a shirt at J Crew for example and the exact same style at BR.  They'll be nearly identical except J Crew up until a few months ago was more expensive.  BR is now matching them in terms of initial price point on similar items.  They should too.

In terms of quality BR wins hands down.  I don't even need to try things on to see the difference in quality.  You can just feel in terms of hand feel.  This is pretty much across the board too.

BR also wins in terms of value.  They have more promotions and if you're savvy enough you can get great deals at pretty much any time. 

Back to aesthetic, I just picked up some J Crew stanton shorts for Summer as I liked the look and more importantly the fit better than BRs.  However I find their wovens are cut too long if I want to wear them untucked.  Come winter though I'll be shopping BR for chunky novelty sweaters.

FWIW, as a BR part-time employee, I completely disagree. BR's quality has absolutely plummeted in the time I've been there (going on 5 years). JCrew's goods feel far more put together and durable than anything we receive in stock. The suits in particular are horrid as opposed to years ago. A soft-wash shirt is a shirt, but the fabric at JCrew is still far more hefty and the construction far more durable than BR's offerings (overly thin Merino, pilling cotton cashmere, waify flannel, etc). The fact that JCrew can recruit 3rd party vendors like Comme d'Garçon or Alden says a lot too - while BR's shoes, in comparison rely on Clarks (who then pulled out) or now Gordon Rush.

What's more, BR isn't really trying to compete blow for blow with JCrew anymore - because they can't. Hence, you see the (near constant) 40% off sales b/c the stuff doesn't move any other way. Now the BR customer has become so accustomed to the store trying to get stuff out the door that no one, except the casual shopper, buys anything at full price anymore. JCrew, while not conditioning their customer to expect sales, has maintained an aura of "exclusivity," more often inspiring the full-retail indulgence, as well as hyped sales (as seen on the boards) where it becomes like rabid dogs going for hard-to-find pieces.

BR is only a bargain store now. No comparison to JCrew at all who still at least markets themselves as an "exclusive" brand to the middle class.

The JCrew Factory store isn't on the same level as their retail locations, but it it still far above the BR-outlet as well in terms of quality and build. Both factory outlets recycle patterns from the previous year, but usually in different (lower) constructions, different hardware, etc.

EDIT: Why do I still work there PT then? One doesn't have to be a true believer to earn a paycheck; b/c my wife still enjoys the store for the occasional item, and their basic shirts (on massive sale/employee discount) are a decent snag for things you'll abuse into the ground, as well as the same discounts at GAP (even cheaper things that serve the exact same purpose - especially given GAP's new attempt to position themselves as an all-purpose brand, rather than allowing BR to be that higher line. ie non-iron dress shirts, "tailored" slacks, etc). When I started, I could see the comparison between brands, but not anymore.
post #71 of 88

Like what El Argentino said, BR used to make good quality clothing.  But now I find their qc on par with Gap (maybe even Old Navy).  The only good thing that BR has is that they have frequent flash sale, in store and online. 40% off frequently as of late.  

 

I used to buy J.Crew, but when they decided to put canadian pricing on their website, I just stopped.  It is not a small pricing increase either. It is almost a 25% increase of what the states are getting.  

post #72 of 88
Agreed^^

One has to admit that JCrew has really positioned themselves well with the explosion of #menswear in the last few years. They gambled right. BR is trying to stay legitimate by marketing themselves to a new target demographic.
post #73 of 88
gonna have a tough time finding good 'value' at either place, but I've had good luck with BR dress trousers--not a bargain at ~$150ish, but nice hand and slimmish non-grandpa cut works.

j crew is priced about 20% higher than it should be pretty much across the board...picked up a couple of their cashmere vnecks when they were 30% off a while back that I've been pleased with though. can't argue with loro piana cashmere yarn
post #74 of 88
-
Edited by gettoasty - 1/28/13 at 12:25am
post #75 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Argentino View Post


FWIW, as a BR part-time employee, I completely disagree. BR's quality has absolutely plummeted in the time I've been there (going on 5 years). JCrew's goods feel far more put together and durable than anything we receive in stock. The suits in particular are horrid as opposed to years ago. A soft-wash shirt is a shirt, but the fabric at JCrew is still far more hefty and the construction far more durable than BR's offerings (overly thin Merino, pilling cotton cashmere, waify flannel, etc). The fact that JCrew can recruit 3rd party vendors like Comme d'Garçon or Alden says a lot too - while BR's shoes, in comparison rely on Clarks (who then pulled out) or now Gordon Rush.

What's more, BR isn't really trying to compete blow for blow with JCrew anymore - because they can't. Hence, you see the (near constant) 40% off sales b/c the stuff doesn't move any other way. Now the BR customer has become so accustomed to the store trying to get stuff out the door that no one, except the casual shopper, buys anything at full price anymore. JCrew, while not conditioning their customer to expect sales, has maintained an aura of "exclusivity," more often inspiring the full-retail indulgence, as well as hyped sales (as seen on the boards) where it becomes like rabid dogs going for hard-to-find pieces.

BR is only a bargain store now. No comparison to JCrew at all who still at least markets themselves as an "exclusive" brand to the middle class.

The JCrew Factory store isn't on the same level as their retail locations, but it it still far above the BR-outlet as well in terms of quality and build. Both factory outlets recycle patterns from the previous year, but usually in different (lower) constructions, different hardware, etc.

EDIT: Why do I still work there PT then? One doesn't have to be a true believer to earn a paycheck; b/c my wife still enjoys the store for the occasional item, and their basic shirts (on massive sale/employee discount) are a decent snag for things you'll abuse into the ground, as well as the same discounts at GAP (even cheaper things that serve the exact same purpose - especially given GAP's new attempt to position themselves as an all-purpose brand, rather than allowing BR to be that higher line. ie non-iron dress shirts, "tailored" slacks, etc). When I started, I could see the comparison between brands, but not anymore.

 

Well re-reading my post, I would both clarify and scale back my comments to an extent.  In terms of clarifying, I was referring largely to "like for like" items, IE J. Crew's Secret Wash shirts vs Banana Republic's Soft Wash shirts.  When you compare them on like for like items, they're very, very similar. 

 

I have to disagree that BRs quality has plummeted.  I think it has in some areas, but not in others.  You tend to see it more in their novelty items and not their franchise categories.  They say they're investing in quality.  IMO they are, but not across the board.  You have to look at specific items to see it.  Take the stretch poplin shirt for example.  Much better hand feel than in the past, though it's not my thing and I wouldn't buy it.  Also we're just two years out from some great pieces in Men's.  I have an amazing chunky sweater cardigan from BR, a sort of marled/donegalesque thick wool with brown leather buttons.  It was AW10 and in their marketing from the shoot they did in the mountains (of Utah IIRC).  Amazing sweater that was $150 and a sweater J. Crew would have EASILY charged $225 for with the same materials if not more.  I've tried a number of different sweaters since then, like a $375 Woolrich John Rich & Bros from this past AW12 season and it no better quality.  Now sadly AW11's and more so AW12's sweaters haven't been as good and you could see a decline this season.  The Vintage Sraight chinos (not the Emerson, the novelty versions) have gotten worse as well.  They were amazing about 2-3 years go.  This past season's wasn't bad, but not the same and the cut was off.  More of a Gavin in fit with a Vintage Straight leg opening.  However the Herringbone and Tweed versions from AW12 were great pants for the price.  In fact the "matching" ties were great too.  BR's "knit" ties were great this Holiday.  IIRC they were all nice too.  Right now they're an absolute steal if you can find one.  The Men's softwash basic tees are better now too.  Pima cotton when less than five years ago they weren't.  Anyway, I agree the quality in some areas has gone down, but not in all areas. 

 

Banana Republic might not be competing with J. Crew "blow for blow" anymore, but they haven't for a while and it's not because they can't.  I mean sure, it's not a fair comparison in some regards and I'll touch on that with an example you gave earlier, but they view J. Crew as a competitor and vice versa.  Just watch when they're having promotions.  Banana Republic in the past week or two has had promotions to do essentially three things:  keep/steal market share because other competitors didn't stop their promotions early like BR was doing/planning, because they want to keep moving through sale inventories and because it's the end of their fiscal year.  In fact the two brands look at what the other is doing all the time.  They look at other stores in they view as competitors too, even the likes of Ann Taylor.  On top of that the product does move without promotions, especially on the Men's side.  The past how many Holidays for example you can barely find a size above a small going into the last week of Christmas.  And look at the promotion from last week.  Women's was on promotion while Men's was not apart from the sale promotion.  Also, JC just had 50% off their sale inventory for at least a week.  When was the last time you saw that from them?  J Crew has slowly but surely increased their promos in the last six months alone.  BR on the other hand has scaled them back and is planning 10% less promotions this year.  Now you won't notice 10% less promotions much and both are coming from different places in terms of how they did promotions just a year or two ago, but in that regard I think they're moving in the same direction.  Also, the companies aren't the same size.  There are more BRs out there and when you're a bigger brand like that and you've generally peaked domestically in terms of your fleet you're going to look at the business differently than a smaller company that is still growing.  On top of that BR is publically held and thus beholden to Wall Street while JC is recently now privately held.  There really are a lot of factors involved and while you can compare them in some ways it's not as easy as BR offers more promotions while J Crew doesn't and thus maintains it's aura of exclusivity.  I will give you that though, the aura of exclusivity is definitely there more with J Crew, but that's also because it's brand aesthetic isn't the same.  One of BRs goals is to be an affordable and accessible luxury brand.  I'm pretty sure that "affordable" and "accessable" aren't part of the official platform as they are at BR.  And "covetable" is one of the filters that Banana Republic's new platform has and some of their products are indeed coveted and they do get runs on their product like J Crew does.  I'd say the difference is that J Crew control their product better in terms of inventory (ask Mickey Drexler how important he thinks that is), but BR has greatly improved in that regard.  In fact the whole idea that BR is constantly reduced and the product doesn't move any other way is quickly debunked in 2012.  Ask your General Manager what has driven the store's business the most this past year.  Traffic and controllable metrics come into play, but AUR should be his answer.  AURs are up across the board because the company is making more per piece and are continually taking better margins.  So it's definitely not just a bargain store anymore.  Long gone are the days where an item would go down to $39.99, $29.99, and so on until it $9.99.  There's a reason you see prices like $53.99 now.  And just look at the stock price.  Not a total indication, but BR unlike JC has to answer to Wall Street and Gap was largely rated a buy or hold when I checked a month or so back.  Their share price has increased significantly over the past five years as well.  It's not all down to BR, but BR hasn't been the problem brand during that period.  Anyway, again, I will give you the aura of exclusivity more in JC's favor, but I'll also add that a lot of that comes down to aesthetic and price.

 

Outlets I can't compare.  Never was a fan of J Crew's outlet when I actually stopped by (a decade ago at least).  BR's outlet has gone way down.  Far more noticeably than the regular stores and that's in large part to shifting to "made for outlet" as opposed to recycling the previous season's merchandise.  In the past it was largely the previous year's collection just at further reduced prices (not initially, but as the season wore on).  I can't see shopping at either outlet these days and outlets in general are "made for outlet" from what I can tell.  Of course I could do quite well if I lived out East and went to the Barbour outlet every weekend, but sadly Barbour doesn't know about the Louisiana Purchase.

 

Back to the product though, I'll start with third party vendors.  One of the main reasons J. Crew has third party vendors is because they actively seek them.  IMO they were initially plugging some holes in their product offerings, but now it's become a full fledged idea if you will.  And while they generally compliment each other, they can be all over the board at times.  Also, BR is very picky when it's comes to collaborations and they don't really like the third party vendor route.  Just look at their collaborations.  It's largely been 3-4 partners and that's it.  In fact they're doing Mad Men again in a month or so and that will have been for third time at least.  BTW, they fucked up the Anna Karenina collaboration big time.  Anyway they're not going to go after Red Wing, whom they could probably get, because they don't fit the aesthetic, dont' fall into their "accessible luxury" price range and it isn't a great business move for them.  JC has a pair of Red Wing boots for JC right now and they're practically half off with the discount off the promo price.  Anyway, oddly enough they both had Adidas gazelles at the exact same time a year or so back.  Why I don't know, but that one made me laugh. 
 

In terms of product comparisons, you have to compare apples to apples.  For example you can't compare a JC Holiday Ludlow blazer to a BR Tailored Fit item blazer simply because the fabric is different.  One was cotton and the other wool and the price point was about 50% higher at J Crew.  On yet another side note, some of JCs non-Harris Tweed blazers were made with Moon tweed.  I actually have a BR Heritage Collection coat that was made of Moon tweed that I picked up a couple of years ago.  (Heritage has gone down hill and the company has oddly moved away from it in recent years).  Anyway, compare soft wash to secret was and the differences if any are quite subtle.  They're nearly identical.  I would compare the cuffs and gussets though.  I don't have an JC secret wash at present, but my JC oxfords (which BR has no comparable version of) do have reinforeced gussets.  My BR soft wash shirts all do as well as nearly all having contrasting inner cuffs which add an additional layer of fabric.  Now my JC oxfords have better buttons, much better buttons, but I think the secret wash and soft wash shirts have very similar buttons.  JCs secrect wash seem more washed though probably having been through the process longer, but BRs aesthetic is work in every concept right now so that's to be expected as their soft wash's would then be too casual (just look at the shirts in their casual work concept).  At the end of they day they're really similar.  Now this past Summer BRs chambray shorts were much better than JCs in terms of fabric quality, construction and even the look of the fabric, but the fit was way off IMO and I went with JCs.  Ideally I would have welcomed BRs short with JCs fit.  That brings me to a friend.  We were discussing this today and her general take was as mine was.  Apples to apples it comes down to either fit or aesthetic, not quality.  In fact her J Crew skinny cords stretched "a lot more" than her BR ones did.  Anyway, I think you have to compare the items that are comparable and you can't (not that you did) compare Aldens to Clarks chuks.  If you're going to do that you should compare JC Chuks to Clarks chuks.

 

At the end of the day, as I said, I would tweak my original post, from some months ago, and be more specific as to comparing apples to apples when it comes to the brands.  For me both are very hit or miss right now and it really comes down to what you're buying.  If i had to choose I'd go with J Crew right now, but I'd definitely miss some BR pieces like their soft wash shirts (because when they get the patterns right, something they did with a lot of CCs this past Holiday for example, they have a lot to offer). 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Argentino View Post

Agreed^^

One has to admit that JCrew has really positioned themselves well with the explosion of #menswear in the last few years. They gambled right. BR is trying to stay legitimate by marketing themselves to a new target demographic.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by silentfox74 View Post

Like what El Argentino said, BR used to make good quality clothing. But now I find their qc on par with Gap (maybe even Old Navy). The only good thing that BR has is that they have frequent flash sale, in store and online. 40% off frequently as of late.

 

I used to buy J.Crew, but when they decided to put canadian pricing on their website, I just stopped. It is not a small pricing increase either. It is almost a 25% increase of what the states are getting.

 

BR is not trying to stay legitimate by marketing themselves to a new target demographic because they're not marketing themselves to a new target demographic.  They've only changed their aethetic to "work" to corner a particular segment of the market, give the brand and their customer a clear brand vision (which is extremely important) and to capitalize on an that segment of the market that they see as underserved and as a clear business opportunity.  They still target pretty much the same age demographic though.  In terms of menswear they're doing very well, better than in womens, though I think J Crew has positioned themselves better at present.

 

BRs quality isn't remotely on par with Old Navy.  As for it being on par with the Gap, it's generally not either.  It is to an extent and more so than before, but that's MUCH more down to the Gap's product improvements to BRs reduction in quality.  And you can still easily see the differences in quality largely across the board.

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