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Page 2 in the conversation "Stores to replace J Crew and Banana Republic?" by Carey
The only purchased I've made from either J Crew or Banana this year was a citron coat and I am satisfied with the quality.
Overall, the quality of knits is so much worse than 10-20 years ago. Some cashmere and wool sweaters I got from that period, priced $200-400, are still free of pilling. A few moth holes that's it (which I repair). OTOH less than a quarter of my sweaters currently purchased, look as good. All three of my old sweaters were made in Hong Kong. All of the newer ones are from China. What happened to those excellent factories in Hong Kong?
I haven't tried many Uniqlo or Everlane knits, I should. They put more emphasis on manufacturing than other retailers.
But -- back on topic and to answer your question. Have you taken a look at Land's End? Low prices for the quality they deliver but you have to make an effort to style/add pizazz. Or else I will look like my Mother who is 82.
I love the pieces that Angie has from J Crew and BR. I have never found anything in either of those stores. When I read Lisa P's post I wondered if that was the reason. It never occurred to me that there were different levels of stores. I tend to find my clothes all over the place. I do like premium denim because I find it wears better and fits me better. Others have had different experiences. I buy (in general) the best quality I can and hang on to clothes for a long time. I like Theory but the colours are not that Fab on me. Also the pants are too straight up and down for my curvy bottom half.I like Eileen Fisher. Her quality is good.I like Sandwich and Stills but I have not seen much if any of those labels in the US.
I read your post when you first posted it, and didn't think I could be of much help as I'm in the land of no selection. But the commentary on Banana Republic has brought me back. I have to say, I'm surprised at people's experience. Now, it wouldn't cross my mind to actually go to the store to shop there... we have a decent store near me, and I realize it must be bigger than the one LisaP has, based on her comments. But the selection is still nothing compared to online. I do all my shopping online then take advantage of the proximity of the store to return things. So far I haven't had any issues with quality. And have been VERY happy with many pieces. Just to show you, I'm going to include recent finds, all pieces I got this winter. The 5 pocket Sloan leggings are the best pants, ever... I got them in both black and blue. The rib v-neck tee is a lovely heavy fabric with amazing drape, the Sloan fit black print pants are probably my favourite pants of the moment...
Anyway, this stuff may not be your style, and that's fine. But I hate to see people think the selection is poor, based on what may be in a local small store. Check out the online selection!!!
I've been happy with the sweaters I bought on sale from Ralph Lauren and Lands' End. My qualm with BR has to do with inconsistent sizing that makes online shopping a nightmare. I'm just now familiarizing myself with Chico's; will see how that goes. I shop at Nordstrom once in a while.
Do you have a Club Monaco near you? I find their quality to be very good for sweaters. I don't fit so well in their pants or dresses and jackets (not tall enough), but I wish I did. Wish they made petites. The clothing is all very well made, at a decent price point, and it's fashion forward too.
I find Eileen Fisher quality to be consistently excellent. Expensive, but you get what you pay for. I just added two sweaters purchased on sale and they are well made and feel very yummy! Only problem is that I'm barely in a PXS ... which is incentive to NOT lose weight or I will be sized out.
Next in line for sweaters is Vince. Expensive but the quality is great. I have two Vince sweaters going on a couple of years, no pills. Oh and their leather jackets are to die for. I like their other items but they don't fit me so well since I'm a petite.
As for BR, their outlet store is horrible so make sure you're not shopping at one of them. I do not buy their handbags as I find the quality generally poor. You do have to sift but you can find some great things. In fact I own a lot of BR stuff. I hit BR in the Fall specifically for merino sweaters as they normally do a great job with those. I don't have much luck with their jeans, but their Sloans are good and if I needed a suit and dress slacks, this is where I'd go first. You also have to be choosy about their tops but yes you can find good quality.
AT ...you have to be very careful, and if ordering online, be willing to return. I have found a lot of their "online exclusives" are hit or miss. I've received items that smell horrible, are unlined, cheap fabrics, poorly cut, bad seams, etc. Since more and more of their petites are online only, my strategy is to go to the store to feel the fabrics and check out the quality before ordering the petite version. That said, when AT gets it right, they get it right. Some lovely well made items.
LOFT you have to be even more careful.... it's practically flash fashion. I do love their softened shirts though. Good deal for the money, and hold up well in the wash. And their pants and jeans fit me well, so that's now the first place I look. I also love their denim jackets. They have a lot of cute blouses in general but they are polyester which just makes me sweat. I prefer natural fibers.
Talbots... yes, you can find good things at Talbot's too.
Madewell is ... made well! Unfortunately the fit is off for me, or I'd shop here often for basics.
I just found a shop yesterday called Francesca's. Unfortunately they don't make petites, but their clothes were super cute and in yummy fabrics. If only I was taller...
Following this informative thread.
I will agree with La Pedestrienne that J.Crew is a good place for men's wear. It has become one of my favourite destinations when shopping with my 20 something DS's. Decent quality, and good fit - in particular for hard to fit #1 who is very slim and very tall. And, BEST SA experience ever at the Toronto Eaton Centre J.Crew - Men.
Land's end is DH's go to for chinos and button downs of all sorts. They carry a good selection in TALL, and their shirts fit him particularly well. I like Land's End too, but preferred when they were 'Made in America' - the quality was better. Their fit is still good for me, but with the low Canadian dollar, I'm not even opening the catalogue!
Elizabeth P -- I will try the Sloan Fit pants (if I can find them in long).
Pendleton. Very classic but they're adding some more modern stuff. I feel like I can make their stuff work. Excellent quality, fabrics are often made in the US. They're now doing some interesting wool blends. They do petite a & plus sizes as well.
I have this blazer in ivory, it's fantastic.
And yes you have to pay for shipping & returns. I realize people complain about this but they're a small company, you can't expect every company to eat those costs. I find their size chart accurate.
Annagybe, there used to be a Pendleton store near me - I wish there still was. It's like talbots in that you have to make sure you're not styling yourself twenty years older than you are, but the quality is fantastic. You can occasionally find Pendleton wool blazers when thrifting and they're always in good shape still.
That's funny, Shiny, I always have great luck at the BR outlet. I mean, it's not the highest quality fabrics in the entire world, but it's on trend and a good deal for the price. But then I've been finding BR outlet fits me better than regular BR, which is odd but true.
I've been finding decent quality items at Ann Taylor, J. Crew, and BR, but I suspect it's because I pick through them (even stuff I order online I've usually checked out in the stores first) and only remember the good stuff I end up getting.
Another store I don't see mentioned here often is Sundance. They only have five or six stores, but there's always the catalog. The clothing tends to be quirkier than AT or BR, but if you like to occasionally include some embroidery or lace or interesting textures, you may find something you like. (Think of Sundance as Free People's older, somewhat more settled sister.) Most of the clothing is Sundance brand, but yesterday I picked up (extremely marked down) a Kuhl jacket I'd been eyeing at REI previously--see the find.
I didn't know stores were rated by size, but I must be in a small market. The websites for both stores have more options, and much more interesting ones. I've heard J Crew has problems with their sizing in the last few years; I hope they get their act together. Their prices have certainly sky-rocketed since I was last a customer, 10 or 15 years ago.
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