Monthly Archives: June 2016

July 4th Sale Roundup

Image: Deviant Art Of course you are going to tear it up at the pool/lake/beach this weekend.  Of course you are going to grill out.  Of course you are going to shoot off some fireworks.  And of course you are going to take advantage of the huge sales that are going on.  As the proprietor […]

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MBB - July 2, 2016 - 4:33 PM

As someone who is a huge bit loafer fan, I would like to hear how you like the Oak Street Bit’s if you pull the trigger on them.

4th of July BBQ Help

With the 4th of July weekend upon us, it’s time to start thinking about your grocery list, and what you’d like to serve at your backyard BBQ.  Mrs. RCS and I are taking it easy this weekend, as we’re loaded up the rest of July (more on that later).  We started the discussion earlier about […]

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The J. Crew Conundrum

This post has been a long-time coming. J. Crew Spring/Summer 1989 Catalog  I’m having a hard time understanding the ‘what’ of J. Crew.  They seem to be in a world of chasing earnings reports and making somewhat reactive moves to ensure that their losses aren’t as significant as last quarter.  Their situation has been covered […]

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jay - June 28, 2016 - 8:37 AM

Isn’t it kind of what we talked about with Polo? Granted, J. Crew many more designers and vendors, but they could use a trim on the breadth of their offerings. Half the time, the product you do purchase is NOT from the store (see Polo). On the other hand, if you’re going to do a tight roll circa 1988/9, THAT is not how it’s executed.

Nem - June 28, 2016 - 8:45 AM

Nice write-up. Your positions are spot on, sadly. You mention Mashburn and I agree that his menswear options are superior to anything JC has available today from a quality standpoint, not to mention the “exclusivity” quotient. While I have many JC pieces in the closet, some from 1988 or 89 even, my taste in clothes has matured some and the rumpled, sandy-from-the-beach look isn’t my thing any longer.

Trip - June 28, 2016 - 9:40 AM

I agree with four of your five points, especially the breadth of their collection. The one I disagree with is price. It’s a pretty well-known fact that JCrew quality has turned to garbage over the past 10 years. It would be CRIMINAL if they actually charged full price for everything. While I do agree with the idea of getting rid of the constant sales/discounts, they need do so by selling the clothes at the sale prices, not the “full retail” price.

Cory - June 28, 2016 - 10:59 AM

Get out of my head, RCS!
Seriously though, I have a closet full of J.Crew stuff, but I haven’t bought anything from them in a long time. And if I happen to want something, I’m certainly not going to walk into the store to get it when I know I have an email in my inbox with a 30% discount code. Plus, these days their clothes just don’t appeal to me as much. I guess I have matured, but they haven’t. I spend most of my clothing dollars these days with Billy Reid and Sid Mashburn. You’re right that J.Crew could be saved, but they need to have the willingness to do so. Right now, they just seem like a discount store.

Seth - June 28, 2016 - 11:00 AM

I think their biggest issue is that there is no clear style direction. Is it streetwear? Is it preppy? There’s no consistency. Whenever they branch out and do something eclectic to match streetwear trends, they end up on a sale rack. However, I’ve never seen a university striped oxford or a khaki pair of chinos on deep sale with an extra 50% off. Stick with the “preppy” staples and stop trying to peddle so many pairs of selvedge jeans for $200. Stay in your lane.

To follow that up, they are competing with themselves primarily. Their “Factory” store is just cheaper versions of their main line. Frequently, a well-selling style is reproduced with cheaper fabric and sold at their factory. Why not simply restock that item if it is so popular?

They need to make some premium line that isn’t primarily geared towards the RRL, Mumford-and-Sons-dressing crowd like Wallace & Barnes is. The women’s line has it, why can’t the men’s? Have a company like New England Shirt Co make premium oxfords and slap a fancy new J.Crew logo on them like Epaulet in NY does. Maybe then they could compete with Gitman Vintage and the like, but right now they just don’t cut it.

My apologies for writing this like I’m penning a letter to the CEO, but I’m happy someone finally shed light on what I’ve been thinking for awhile.

GTBT - June 28, 2016 - 1:12 PM

This issue began in ~2008 when JCrew realized that it could begin expanding and increasing it’s sales.

This is a simple, cyclical, corporate issue that isn’t exclusive to JCrew.

Pathways for market share are fraught with peril. But one thing is for certain: what you have gained, you will someday lose.

MRS - June 28, 2016 - 2:44 PM

Agreed that the problem is that J.Crew doesn’t seem to have direction – is it preppy? Is it hipster or streetwear? These are issues that have plagued Banana Republic for over a decade (I worked there – I know). I think the comparison to Mashburn is a little unfair because J.Crew has operated at a slightly lower price point, and the less said about Billy Reid, the better. The confusion at J.Crew reminds me of a more pronounced version of the confusion at GAP – a place where a guy could usually go for basics in khakis/shorts, polos, basic tees, maybe even sweaters and shirts – but now, you don’t know what you’ll find from one season to the next. Price is an issue, though, so I guess it’s fair to circle back to Sid. If you’ve got the scratch to pay regular price at JC, why not spend a few bucks more and go with Sid.

Funny enough, Ivy Style has a nice piece up today about J. Crew’s Prep Shoppe.

Scott Seaton - June 28, 2016 - 2:57 PM

I quit shopping at J Crew 2 years ago when they quit carrying size 38 waist shorts and pants in the store. I am not a big guy, but I haven’t walked into a store since. BONOBOS gets all my clothes money now. Everything fits the same way everytime!!

Stephen - June 28, 2016 - 4:04 PM

I agree with Trip. Either make the clothes less expensive or make sure the quality is such that the clothes are actually worth paying retail for. Right now there’s no reason to buy sub-quality clothes that may or may not fit for anything more than 40% off.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they shut down a bunch of main line stores and replaced them with J Crew Factory (or the classier “Mercantile” as they sometimes call it) which seems to be doing a better job of competing with the fast fashion stores like H&M (and is seemingly always having a sale). Might not be a terrible idea, and would give them the chance to make the main line more exclusive.

Bobby Rooney - June 28, 2016 - 7:58 PM

Hysterically, i bought an Irish linen shirt from them today. I’m going on vacation. $65 down to $23. I also picked up a pair of 770s. under $18. plus a few shirts for my mrs. It was all so cheap I sprung for the express shipping.

As a former employee (in CT and NYC in the mid-late 90s) Crew breaks my heart lately.

One thing you forgot to mention: the collars. Any smaller and they won’t cover the tie.

I will say, though, they seem to have changed their oxford fabric recently, and the latest shirt I bought is probably the nicest OCBD I’ve ever had, by feel.

Jeff - June 30, 2016 - 1:19 PM

This is a great post. It’s all well and good for us to lament changes at places like JCrew and Brooks Bros, but they have to sell to a much broader audience than trad/clothes horse types. Very difficult to stay true to the brand, and old core customers, when said customers age and start buying SAS shoes to wear on cruise ships.

Allen Edmonds faces a similar existential crisis, and I think they are doing as good as can be expected in an increasingly casual world.

The J. Crew Conundrum « Fashion - June 28, 2016 - 10:02 PM

[…] Time To Change 2015The J. Crew Conundrum http://www.redclaysoul.com/?p=9863Mens Hair Styles 2015 Submitted by […]

[…] are going to get into the Ralph Lauren Conundrum later (like we did with J. Crew), but for now, enjoy some of Ralph Lauren’s […]

Brooks Brothers Semi-Annual Sale – Ends Tomorrow

Team – Brooks Brothers is doing their Semi-Annual sale right now.  BIG savings.  One of the best: buy four dress or sport shirts and get 40% off.  I’m hooking up with a buddy and getting a couple of the Original Polo Must-Iron Oxfords (the ones that have a natural collar), and I’ll do a review: […]

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College World Series

The College World Series is one of my favorite events of the year.  I have been a big baseball fan all my life.  I love the strategy, as well as the team aspect.  One player can’t win the game.  It’s a total team effort.  Every game has one winner and one loser.  Pure. It’s pretty […]

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Mark Bates - June 27, 2016 - 11:36 AM

GO CHANTICLEERS!

Summer Dog Safety from Orvis

To all you dog owners, and dog lovers: do me a favor and print this out.  Orvis put this together and I like to publish it every year.  It’s really getting hot down here in the South, and you need to manage your fine, four-legged better half.  He (or) she still has all the energy […]

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East Dane Sale

Head’s up: There’s a good sale going on over at East Dane.  They are offering an extra 25% off everything in their sale section.  For those that don’t know, East Dane has a HUGE sale section.  Be on the lookout for a bunch of Billy Reid and Katin, among others.  Get in and dig around…

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