I have a motto of never leaving a retail stone unturned. Each retail season, I revisit a retailer no matter what my reservations were in the past, because things do change. New fashion buyers, merchandise management and senior management can radically affect a product assortment at store level. The point is that every retailer deserves a new chance to shine at the start of each new season.
Just over two years ago, I wrote about J. Crew, sharing my thoughts on how their merchandise had gone downhill. What used to be a fairly better-end brand, became completely mainstream and their quality was inconsistent at best. Their beautiful colours and innovative catalogue was inspiring, but their goods often led to disappointment in the fitting room. I also found the prices of their embellished tee’s, a favourite for my Mom on the Go clients, relatively expensive.
I’m happy to report that I’m impressed with J. Crew this season. I’m visiting their stores more regularly. My clients who shop there are happy with what they see and fit on. J. Crew have stepped up their quality and the vibrancy of their happy colours is unique in the marketplace. They’re showing a great mix of modern, strong and simple basic items in good fabrications and interesting colours. Their coats and jackets are especially fab and not over the top expensive for that level of workmanship.
On the other hand, I do find their almost-$200 silk blouses expensive, especially when you can purchase a beautifully lined wool coat for about $300. And as much as I like their knitwear, it’s still a gamble as to how well it will handle a few laundry cycles.
If you had given up on J. Crew, give them another chance. Particularly if you’re enjoying saturated colours and clean lines this season. You don’t need to have a preppy style to wear J. Crew clothing. Make the items your own by wearing them in ways that reflect your style. I’ve bought two woven items at J. Crew this season and I absolutely adore them. I have definitely got the J. Crew bug at the moment.
Let’s have another discussion about J. Crew. Have you noticed a quality improvement this year? Do you frequent their stores and purchase their merchandise? Do you enjoy their catalogues? Do you find their prices reasonable, or expensive? Bring it on. I want to hear all your thoughts.