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What's happening to J. Crew?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by gorgekko, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. alflauren

    alflauren Well-Known Member

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    This is all a conspiracy to get men to start wearing womens clothing.
     
  2. riotshield

    riotshield Well-Known Member

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    Too bad about J.Crew's men catalog diminishing (disappearing?). For the twenty-something college student/young professional looking for business-casual wear, I thought J.Crew had its competitors beat (namely Banana Republic). I figure it's a sign of the times - at least where I live, the Americana-prep look that J.Crew is famous for is out, replaced by striped shirts and square toe shoes.
     
  3. Jared

    Jared Well-Known Member

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    That's the type of reply that you get from a bored employee that probably was both surprised and happy to have actually gotten a letter. I do like it when they do go out of their way like that to respond though.
    I've received some amusingly good customer service from JCrew in the past: My girlfriend had just ordered a bridesmaids' dress and I was shopping for a tie to wear to the wedding. Just for something to do I emailed JCrew and asked what ties would go and received a very personal response discussing the customer service rep's favourites.
     
  4. HalfCanvas

    HalfCanvas Well-Known Member

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    I'd just like to make one quick point here: When a 50 page catalogue arrives in my mail box and the first 40 pages are filled with pictures of attractive women, I don't complain.
     
  5. TheHoff

    TheHoff Well-Known Member

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    What is the quality of the women's clothing these days? I just ordered an ivory plaza coat for my wife ($89 NWT, supposedly $298 retail) -- is the J.Crew of today, in general, better than BR quality with workmanship and lifespan?
     
  6. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Well-Known Member

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    Overall, I'd say BR offers better quality than J. Crew, though J. Crew tends to be more consistent.
     
  7. HalfCanvas

    HalfCanvas Well-Known Member

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    I'm sort of split on the quality issue. I have a lot of stuff from J. Crew that is better than a BR counterpart -- a v-neck pima cotton sweater is an example. The one from J. Crew has held up beautifully, has a rich color, and has kept its shape. I also think the J. Crew shirting fabrics are much nicer than BRs, and they are almost always single needle stitched.

    On the women's side, I think that it varies. Overall, though, I think that you can find pieces from both stores that are actually good quality for the price point. A lot of people will rag on "mall stores" such as BR and J. Crew. But, particularly for women, I don't see much quality difference between the stores and overpriced designer labels such as Theory. The differences are more in the cuts.
     
  8. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Well-Known Member

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    I'm sort of split on the quality issue. I have a lot of stuff from J. Crew that is better than a BR counterpart -- a v-neck pima cotton sweater is an example. The one from J. Crew has held up beautifully, has a rich color, and has kept its shape. I also think the J. Crew shirting fabrics are much nicer than BRs, and they are almost always single needle stitched.

    Interesting -- we split on the shirts. I find the J. Crew ones cut too short, and think they generally hold up poorly to repeated washing. They've started getting around the latter problem by having most of their stuff come pre-worn/rumpled. No thanks.

    BR, on the other hand, mixes shoddy shirts with surprisingly nice ones. It's a crap shoot.
     
  9. Ludlow

    Ludlow Well-Known Member

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    Yep - J Crew now sells more women's clothing than men's. But management isn't pleased with the results of their women's-only stores and plans on incorporating men's offerings in all but the smallest of their new stores. The company dropped their men's suiting offering but offers plenty of casual-looking sport coats in addition to their shirts, sweaters, trousers, shorts, and accessories. In general, I'm impressed by the improvement in garment quality over the past few years - a period during which Banana Republic quality has nose-dived.
     
  10. JBZ

    JBZ Well-Known Member

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    +1

    It would be fun and interesting to hear a continued discussion:

    Where do you see your customers going instead? Abercrombie, Gap, Department Stores, Higher End?

    For my taste/money, I think they need to go higher end. If I saw things comparable to the shorts/kakhis I see from Mason's, or the sport shirts I get form Tailorbyrd, rugger, robert talbott, etc. I would be more interested.

    But the truth might be they are keeping their stuff too high end, and they need the mall-store customers and should lower their prices to steal business from A&F and Gap.

    My gut feeling is that women are more likely to want quantity over quality because their fashions change more often.

    What difference do you see in men's / women's trends recently? Are you keeping the women's line more current?


    The thing of it is, at least from what I've seen, the clothing line offered by J Crew is somewhat unique in its price range. The basic concept (at least in recent years) is trad/ivy/preppy (or whatever) style, with a primary focus on casual clothing, but with some dress clothing thrown in as well. This is not duplicated by Gap (whose concept seems to be "trendy" clothing aimed at high school and college aged people), A&F (same as Gap but 3 times more expensive and 100 times more annoying), or BR (which seems to target young professionals with business and casual clothing).

    While I'm sure there's some customer cross-over among these stores (I imagine the khakis don't differ that much from one to the other, for example), you're not going to get the J Crew look at BR or A&F. Thus, perhaps men are simply gravitating away from the J Crew look. I don't have enough experience with actual J Crew clothing to comment on quality.
     
  11. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Well-Known Member

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    I will say this about J Crew clothing. I purchased a bunch of thin wale cord jeans from them in the Fall and I just love them. Dressier than jeans but super comfortable. Very reasonably priced as well, even at full retail. I also bought some pocketless long sleeve T-shirts that have held up well and I have mentioned on several boards how comfy their cashmere v-necks are.

    I would say the J Crew depending on the item can offer high quality, often at a good price.
     
  12. riotshield

    riotshield Well-Known Member

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    The company dropped their men's suiting offering but offers plenty of casual-looking sport coats in addition to their shirts, sweaters, trousers, shorts, and accessories. In general, I'm impressed by the improvement in garment quality over the past few years - a period during which Banana Republic quality has nose-dived.
    Regarding the suiting, is J.Crew phasing them out completely or just in-store? The J.Crew near me hasn't carried suits for a while but they're still available online.

    I bought a Legacy navy sportcoat a couple weeks ago for $115 that I foresee wearing for a long time...3-roll-2, made in Canada, almost perfect fit on the shoulders. Based on that I'm interested in buying a suit from them sometime.
     
  13. visionology

    visionology Well-Known Member

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    Got my tailored polos today from J.Crew. Sooo much better than Ralph Lauren Polos and 1/2 the cost. I love it.
     
  14. zarathustra

    zarathustra Well-Known Member

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    I am a J. Crew Whore. I admitted it. *Phew* However, rarely ever do I buy anything full price.

    As per the discussion, I am actually quite intrigued as to the focus and future of the Jcrew. As someone who works in the industry, their creative direction in menswear is not clear at all. As such i am being forced to look at more and more RL items-- as i don't want to pay for crap (unless it is at 80%off ;-).

    For instance, I used to be able to walk into J.Crew know what i wore right off the shelf. This season or last, they changed the dimensions of the clothing. In fact is it cut quite similarly to some of Polo's Rugby or University. I would describe it as slim fit. (Since when is a 44R an XL?)

    In addition, many of my girlfriends have complained that J crew makes feel fat as they may be a true 8 or 10, but a size or two higher in Jcrew now. I even took measurements to see if i was crazy. A manager who i am friends with told me that alot of people have been complaining about the sizing and sales weren't as great. Whether that is just for the store or the company i don't know.

    I see all of this as gravitation towards a trendy seasonal "fashion company" --- which is diametrically opposed to their roots. Their quality is so severely lacking from things i acquired 5 years ago that I refuse to pay full price for anything. They are a public company now -- and the bottom line is more important than maintaining the focus of the company. My sweaters from Jcrew this winter are in worse shape than the ones i have from years ago.

    I don't know whether they will ever totally shake the preppy look, at least not while it is still popular. But I wonder what their creatives have in store.

    As per comparing Jcrew to BR... i don't see it. BR has completely lost its identity right now, as is apparent from the Heritage line and their corporate troubles. What i mean is that there is no solid brand identity. Am i Saying that they should sell safari gear -- no? But i am hard pressed to form a BR image. Nothing sticks.

    My experience with their goods is also unremarkable. Their pants typically fit me better than Jcrew and some of the heritage pants are quite nice for summer. Their sweaters cannot hold a candle to J Crews IMO and die on me after a season. The shirts that I have gotten have only lasted 5 - 6 washings before a seam came sewn or a snap broke, or the like. BR for me is only good for a piece here and their.

    Gap = Crap. I haven't bought anything from their in years. What is funny --- the best OCBD in my closet is from GAP. Late 90's i think and cost me 5 bucks. HA.
     
  15. spertia

    spertia Well-Known Member

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    Last edited by zarathustra : Today at 01:31 PM. Reason: my speeling sucks HA

    Still!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. zarathustra

    zarathustra Well-Known Member

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    Still!

    [​IMG]


    Ha... that was at least on purpose!
     
  17. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Well-Known Member

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    I will say this about J Crew clothing. I purchased a bunch of thin wale cord jeans from them in the Fall and I just love them. Dressier than jeans but super comfortable.

    Those are by far the best things I've bought at J. Crew. Nicely slim.
     
  18. gorgekko

    gorgekko Well-Known Member

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    I can't speak to the recent quality of J. Crew, I've only bought a few shirts from them in the last year or so and it's hardly a representative sample, but the stuff I bought in the early 1990s had a lot of quality for the price point. I still own four or five shirts (mostly rugby shirts) I bought in 1991-92 that I still wear on occasion.

    The chinos I was never too impressed with -- except one pair I bought in the later 90s -- but the other stuff was pretty good. Their barn jackets have practically been part of my casual uniform for the past decade and a half.

    Oh well, nothing lasts forever I guess.
     
  19. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Well-Known Member

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    Agreed, and the colors are rich and have not hardly faded at all in many washings.
     
  20. mainy

    mainy Well-Known Member

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    I'm a big fan of Jcrew - They make an XS, have some good slim shirts that fit me as a tiny person, and still make pants with small waist sizes. One of the few places you can put together a semi preppy / trad wardrobe without totally bankrupting yourself. I don't buy JCrew unless it's on sale - but it's a good value for 20 - 25 bucks a shirt, etc.

    I would be very, very disappointed if they stopped making mens clothing.
     

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