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    Opinions of J Crew

    Wanted to start a discussion thread to get people participating. I was in the mall today and stopped in J Crew. I've got to be honest, J Crew is very popular, and I just don't get it. I saw one nice flannel shirt I wouldn't mind owning. I looked at the price tag and it was like $90. I know retail brands normally go on sale 30% off like once a week, but even that seems steep. What does every one else think? I know Ludlow opinions get divisive. I'm talking about more than just the Ludlow, though. This is a storewide discussion. Why do you hate, dislike, like, and love?
    My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSs1xkOEoJdPfZ4KRW575qA

    #2
    I like them. I don't have/haven't had any quality concerns or issues with them. I certainly prefer them over BR, Gap, H&M, etc. in terms of being fast-fashion. I have a couple of Ludlow jackets that get a lot of play in my rotation, and I just picked up a couple of their soft-spun slim-fit sweaters, and they're awesome. Their pants generally don't fit me, as they're cut for more slim-legged/butted folks, and I opt for other, better quality/priced options for shirts like Spier and Mackay. But for sweaters, coats, jackets, etc., I think they're good.

    That said, I wouldn't pay retail for their items, unless of course I was looking at picking up one of their Alden/Alfred Sargent collabs. The sales are far too frequent and the discounts too deep for one to ever think about paying full retail for their stuff.

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      #3
      Originally posted by thecharlesg View Post
      Wanted to start a discussion thread to get people participating. I was in the mall today and stopped in J Crew. I've got to be honest, J Crew is very popular, and I just don't get it. I saw one nice flannel shirt I wouldn't mind owning. I looked at the price tag and it was like $90. I know retail brands normally go on sale 30% off like once a week, but even that seems steep. What does every one else think? I know Ludlow opinions get divisive. I'm talking about more than just the Ludlow, though. This is a storewide discussion. Why do you hate, dislike, like, and love?
      I think J. Crew has taste and a good sense of style--much better than most. But they make very little that fits someone like me (in J. Crew's world, you can be tall or slim, but not both), so they're not really on my radar anymore. And I agree that their prices seem high for what you get.

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        #4
        I agree that prices for J.Crew product are on the high end for fast-fashion and only worth purchasing when on sale (which ties back to the conversation in the other thread about mistakes). But if one knows what he wants and keeps an eye on it, steals can be had for essentials that plug holes in a wardrobe.

        I've found their slim secret wash shirts to be comfortable and fit great. They work for me (until I find something better) as my wardrobe leans heavily toward business casual. The Bowery pants are about an inch or so shorter than I'd like yet I still wear the,. And the Ludlow blazers work well for me. There can be differences in fit among the same line and size from time to time, though.

        Can I explore other brands and options? Certainly. But for now, the convenience and styles offered by J.Crew make it my go to for the time being.

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          #5
          As soon as I saw the title I thought, "I'm going to have fun with this one."

          JCrew is good for some things. As a whole, the brand leans HEAVILY on the hipster trend, rather than classic style. Anyone who thinks they could walk out of that store looking like Don Draper or James Bond rather than James Dean with elbow patches is delusional. I do just hate elbow patches though, and for the last two years, most of their sweaters they carried in store had them. Even their blazers, which, I understand, is a Professor Indy thing but still.

          However, if you're looking for reasonably high quality fabrics, are willing to shop their web site, and are good at weeding out the crap from the good, you can build SOME basics in your wardrobe. For me, their sweaters, both lambswool and merino, are what I buy. The shirt sleeves and shoulders on most of their shirts are made for men who have different proportions than me. I am very thin, but have long arms and broad shoulders for a man my size. The pant legs aren't long enough after washing. Probably because they'd rather err on the side of short than risk having some shorter legged guys shreik "there's a break!"

          They have some good "brands" like Wallace and Barnes and their shoe and boot collections. Yes, all the models they show are wearing their sleeves and pant legs turned up like Steve Urkel but thats trendy today for some reason. I'm not a JCrew fan but they definitely have their uses if you use coupon codes.

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            #6
            I really like Jcrew. As was mentioned before, it's better than other fast fashion brands for one. Everything in Jcrew always hits sale, even their AS/Alden/RW footwear, if you're patient enough to wait. And Jcrew is my go to place for suiting/blazers. They sell suit separates in Crosby, which fits me perfectly. Can't say the same for SS, Napoli fits really well but the matching pants do not, and BB is too pricey. I just bought the Crosby Heathered Wool Flannel in both the Warm Charcoal and Night Shadow colors over the Thanksgiving week sale, and will be wearing these for a long time. I have 3 merino wool sweaters that do the job and were heavily discounted during their sale on top of sale, and 2 peacoats that have lasted a couple years. Also purchased a bunch of Stanton shorts on heavy discount towards the end of summer, and they're by far my favorite shorts.

            There will obviously be much about Jcrew that won't work for me, as I'm not very tall or slim. Not going to buy any of their pants or button ups for example, and those are always where the questionable trendy fashion tend to be. For pants and shirts, I prefer Bonobos and Nordstrom/Ratio. Because I own a couple peacoats, I'm not really interested in their outerwear. I'll glance over their sale section for super discounted tees/underwear/socks/ties. But, overall, Jcrew fits a need I have, suiting/blazers/among other things, and fits it really well.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Matchbook View Post

              That said, I wouldn't pay retail for their items, unless of course I was looking at picking up one of their Alden/Alfred Sargent collabs. The sales are far too frequent and the discounts too deep for one to ever think about paying full retail for their stuff.
              Actually, one of the best things about the Alden/Alfred Sargent collaborations is that because J. Crew goes on sale so often, you can get Alden/Alfred Sargent items at less than AE retail and not that much more than AE 1st quality sale prices if you wait for the right sale. Alden/Alfred Sargent are excluded from most sales, but they are not excluded from all sales. Some of their shoes were included in the $175 off $500 sales they had this fall. There was at least one sale in which it was possible to get the Alfred Sargent cap toe oxfords for $350 or the "American brogues" for $360. Some of the Alden items went on the sale too, although I don't follow them as closely. I know they were included in the sale though because a few weeks ago I visited both the Alden shop in DC and the J. Crew that's right across the street from it, and Kathy (the Alden store manager, who has rave reviews on Yelp) told me that Alden had had to limit its collaboration with J. Crew because it didn't want its items going on sale too often or being too widely available.

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                #8
                I like J. Crew, including their shirts. The soft wash and other casual shirts are great, as another poster said, and I like both the material and the design on the Ludlow dress shirts, too. Fortunately, their medium fits me pretty well and doesn't need too much tailoring. I don't own any of their outerwear, but am definitely interested in picking up a Ludlow topcoat in the spring sales. They are definitely overpriced at retail, of course. One advantage of somewhere like SuitSupply is that they stand by their product by pricing it fairly and not going on sale. It's nice not to have to play the retail game there.

                Another good thing about J. Crew is the cheaper line of stuff from JCF. I wouldn't get chinos or jeans or casual sweaters at J. Crew prices, but JCF makes decent and affordable alternatives.

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                  #9
                  I've purchased a ton at J Crew this year. My wife and I get the catalogs and generally like anywhere from 3-8 items a month, wait for a 25-30% off sale, order them and generally keep about 75 percent of the items. Depending on the store, the selection isn't that great usually but online I seem to find a lot I like. I got two really great shawl collar cardigans this fall and cardigans have never looked good on me from any store in the past. Their pants (Bowery slim, 484 fit chinos) are great but are generally a lot more than BR so I only own a couple of pairs. They have got the most business from any mall store by my wife and I by a long shot this year. Prices at full retail are steep but no it is worth it at 25-30% off.

                  I like finding items that are slightly more unique from j crew. For example some Spicy Raisin 484 chinos, a nice contrast collar shawl collared cardigan merino blend sweater, etc. I love their shoe collaborations with new balance, etc a lot of the time but don't usually end up getting any because they are almost always excluded from sales.

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                    #10
                    Good stuff, not worth full price.

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                      #11
                      When it's on sale, it's good quality, well fitting clothes. They're a bit trendy, but so long as you keep in mind your needs when you're shopping, you'll come out fine. I particularly like their shirts and chinos, as it can be tricky to find brands that do tapered leg trousers without sacrificing room in the thighs.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by srlclark View Post
                        Actually, one of the best things about the Alden/Alfred Sargent collaborations is that because J. Crew goes on sale so often, you can get Alden/Alfred Sargent items at less than AE retail and not that much more than AE 1st quality sale prices if you wait for the right sale. Alden/Alfred Sargent are excluded from most sales, but they are not excluded from all sales. Some of their shoes were included in the $175 off $500 sales they had this fall. There was at least one sale in which it was possible to get the Alfred Sargent cap toe oxfords for $350 or the "American brogues" for $360. Some of the Alden items went on the sale too, although I don't follow them as closely. I know they were included in the sale though because a few weeks ago I visited both the Alden shop in DC and the J. Crew that's right across the street from it, and Kathy (the Alden store manager, who has rave reviews on Yelp) told me that Alden had had to limit its collaboration with J. Crew because it didn't want its items going on sale too often or being too widely available.
                        Yeah...I totally vacillated on those Sargent suede dub monks a few months back when they dropped to like, $100 bucks and missed out. Probably my biggest (missed) clothing purchase of the year. They just go on sale so infrequently that I just don't think of them as being in the mix when it comes to J.Crew's regular sale/discount cycle. I personally never like purchasing most items for retail, for the most part; shoes and suits are probably the one exception I have.

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                          #13
                          I don't think it's true that either J. Crew or Banana Republic (or even Gap) are "fast fashion." They are all mall stores, but I don't think all mall stores are fast fashion. There was an article on here recently about how BR is suffering in women's sales precisely because it is not fast fashion: it determines its designs a year in advance, and that makes it hard to compete with Zara, H&M, and Forever 21, which come up with new lines much more quickly. Furthermore, neither J. Crew nor BR is cheap: J. Crew is very, very expensive, while BR is merely very expensive. They are both certainly overpriced at retail, and may arguably sell a mediocre product, but that doesn't mean that they are inexpensive.

                          One thing that makes them appear poorer quality compared to some of the more well-respected menswear stores on here is that J. Crew and BR both try to sell a wide range of types of clothing and so it's not immediately obvious what their speciality is. That is: they aren't niche stores, and so may appear to be jacks of all trades, masters of none. I do think they have their specialties (e.g. BR's chinos and sweaters) but they are less marked than other stores.

                          One way to gauge this is by price comparison. Let's take J. Crew and Suit Supply, as they're often taken as competitors in the suit market. While Suit Supply is clearly cheaper and probably better value for suits (e.g. the Napoli is $399, while the Ludlow/Crosby retail at $650 and even at the $150 off $500+ would be $475/even at 30% off would be $455), Suit Supply is much more expensive for outerwear even before the J. Crew sales. There was a discussion recently about how SuitSupply is much better value for suits and perhaps blazers than it is for anything else. And outerwear vis a vis J. Crew shows it: Suit Supply's overcoats are mostly in the $639 to $699 range, and that includes pure wool overcoats. J. Crew, by contrast, starts at $475 or $495 (with thinsulate) and is often discounted by 30%. The J. Crew camel (colored) wool-cashmere overcoat was as low as $315 in sales earlier this season. I don't believe there's any reason to think that Suit Supply is better compared to J. Crew for overcoats than it is for suits, so that means that J. Crew's versatility is making it a better match for Suit Supply for overcoats than for suits. Suit Supply did recently introduce a $399 overcoat in both blue and grey, so maybe it can start offering more reasonably priced items to complement its introductory suit offerings. (But even its peacoat - a far more utilitarian item than a topcoat - is $399).

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Matchbook View Post
                            Yeah...I totally vacillated on those Sargent suede dub monks a few months back when they dropped to like, $100 bucks and missed out. Probably my biggest (missed) clothing purchase of the year. They just go on sale so infrequently that I just don't think of them as being in the mix when it comes to J.Crew's regular sale/discount cycle. I personally never like purchasing most items for retail, for the most part; shoes and suits are probably the one exception I have.

                            They were $100? That's amazing! Puts the $99 Allen Edmonds Brooks Brothers seconds into perspective. I wish I'd seen them for $100 too. At $350, they're clearly very good value but still extremely expensive if you haven't been deliberately saving up for them, so I don't mind having missed them.

                            I don't like paying retail - but I do really admire stores like Suit Supply (and Alden? I know about the Shoe Mart sales, but I think the mainline is only on sale at closeout) that basically never go on sale, as you can then be confident that the store stands by its product and that you're getting as fair a price as you can hope to get. From what I can tell, L. L. Bean rarely offers more than a 10% discount. Certainly, Bean Boots never go on sale.

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                              #15
                              Opinions of J Crew

                              All though I've toned down my JC purchases this past year, due to branching out to other brands & not buying so much recently, am a fan. They were a god send when I first wanted to start dressing sharper & they have been very accommodating in shipping to Japan. The 484 chinos fit me perfectly & love all the colors. Same goes for Bowery slim trousers. For OCBD I prefer Kamakura or BB (here in Japan Kamakura is actually cheaper than a JC oxford) but the secret wash shirts are nice when I want a gingham or pattern shirt. Also prefer Uniqlo for my merino but have a JC lambs wool crew I like. Would love to try their s/c & suiting but afraid to take a chance w/o trying it on first. Have also had some great finds at JCF. As others have mentioned w/ all the sales would never pay full retail. I think my favorite all time buy from JC was the Penfield Gibson jacket 2 seasons ago. Least favorite, a cotton cashmere sweater - way too stretchy.

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