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No love for the department stores?

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    No love for the department stores?

    As a longggg-time Dappered member, it seems there's a select few, maybe 10 or so stores that comprise about 90% of what would be considered "Dappered approved". These stores include Land's End Canvas, Banana Republic, Bonobos, Nordstrom, Macys, etc. and hell, even Target.

    What I almost never see recommended: JC Penny, Kohl's, Sears, Bon Ton and many other mid-level department stores. Now sure, some of the products sold at these stores (or any store) may not be of the best quality and shouldn't necessarily be Dappered approved.

    However, I have found many affordable and fashionable items: especially basic, non-branded items. Stuff like henley shirts, polos, button down, ties, dress socks, accessories could very easily pass a "blind taste test" in comparison to higher-end places.

    To make a long story short: I'd rather buy a nice pair of corduroys from JC Penny for $30 + cost of tailoring then spend $80 for a similar product from J. Crew. Am I right or am I crazy?


    I think you kind of answered your question with the quality issue, although mine is a fit issue. I'm 6'3" and athletic, and those mid-level department stores like Kohl's and JCP don't carry anything that looks good on me (edit: aside from this one fitted Arrow shirt I found at Kohl's that looks freaking fantastic). Nearly all of their button-downs look like I made them second-hand out of an entire bedsheet while the 34-35" length pants are nearly impossible to find anything with under a 34" waist.

    Accessories though are usually pretty good - watches, socks, etc. But the quality is hit or miss. I picked up a couple of polos from Kohl's a few years back, one is fraying so bad it's become my 'outdoor yardwork' shirt, and the other still looks pretty good.



      ^ Fair enough, but I don't think the quality is a true concern.

      I still wear Van Heusen shirts from Sears that I bought in 2004. Frankly, the quality is far better than items I've bought from say, Club Monaco. I've found from my own experience insane mark-up is not generally an indicator of quality. It can be hit or miss either way.

      I can totally understand/ appreciate your point about the fit though. I generally have to size down when I shop at these stores. But even if I have to get the item tailored, the $$ I'm saving usually covers it and then some.



        Fit issue for me as well. I'm not big enough to wear most of the things you would find in most department stores.



          As a Dappered reader, you should know that by following sales and end-of-season closeouts, you can get those J. Crew corduroys for the same price or less than what JC Penny is selling them for. As a general track record, the above stores have a better combination of fit AND quality for essential items as opposed to the department stores you listed.

          Add an extra $10-20 to the price of those Kohls pants and what price range does that put you in?

          I won't even bother mentioning that sometimes even with tailoring, an item won't look quite right if it wasn't designed well to begin with. It's pretty hard to remove "batwings" from a shirt.



            ^ I love sales just as much as anybody else. Problem is, I wear the most common sizes and they always go the fastest (if they even made it to the rack in the first place). And waiting for an "end of the season" sale to buy corduroys makes no sense.

            Yes fit + quality is generally better at higher end stores and when buying a suit or key item that is super important. Still though, basic items & accessories - I think you can find a much better bang for your buck.

            Have you even been to a Kohl's or JC Penny recently? They want consumer dollars just as badly as anybody else. They are doing market research, adjusting to trends in fit & style. You'll be surprised at what you would find there. Best of all, no need to wait for gimmicky sales either.

            At the very least, most of the stores I mentioned are no better or worse than Target, which gets an insane amount of love on Dappered.



              My local JCPenny's suit/blazer section literally has nothing under a 48 jacket size. Not that they are quality suits to begin with...



                Fit is a problem with most stores, although I agree that more brands are getting wiser about it.

                Imo, JCPenny doesn't have many brands that fit well. Even though they carry Dockers, they don't have anything in D1 and even the D2s are really hard to find (at least at my local store). I just don't understand that. Like, there is a brand that has catered to the entire market, but the store is still stocking shelves like it's 1994.

                I haven't been to Khol's in a while, but I remember last time I was there the clothing lacked in quality. You can tell they went with the cheapest possible route with their dress shirts. I actually have one, and after wearing BR and BBs dress shirts, I have to say I can't even wear that one anymore. I don't mean to sound snobby, but to me it's just the difference between eating ramen every single day or having a delicious, properly cooked steak. One is crappy and cheap while the other is a little more expensive but well worth it.

                I also think Kohl's has a more modern fitting line--Apt. 9, I think. Don't expect much in terms of quality though, and I bet there are synthetic fibers all up in that.

                Also, JCP did just announce that street style icon Nick Wooster would be a part of their company in some sort of executive fashion (pun intended). So at least they are trying.

                tl;dr: There is a reason why people do not shop at these stores.



                  I'm a big fan of Kohls for basics. They have some slim fit dress shirts that are on par with Merona's. Their Sonoma line has good comfortable stuff though you have to size down. It's also a good place to get Dockers for a very affordable price.

                  And although Penny's isn't mentioned by name their Stafford line is often name dropped around here.

                  I've never shopped at Sears but they own LEC so they do get some mention.

                  Dress for style, live for results.



                    I totally agree with you guys about fit, and sometimes quality - but I also want to point out that there's a conversation happening right now in another thread on this board about the much-beloved 1MX shirt deteriorating in just a few washes. So, let's be honest - sometimes more expensive stuff is higher quality. But sometimes the expensive stuff is crap too.

                    I have a shawl collar sweatshirt from J.Crew that started pilling pretty much the first time I washed it (cold and air-dried - and this is a sweatshirt, not a sweater). My college hoodie from Steve & Barry's that I wear around the house and to the gym looks better than that thing, and cost 1/5 of the price.

                    Some of my J.Crew stuff has been really excellent quality, too! But just to say, expensive/reputable brands aren't above crappy product.



                      Steve and Barry's! Gotta love off brand college merchandise for less than a big mac. Do those still exist anywhere?

                      Dress for style, live for results.



                        tomservo: +1 on the Sonoma line! Their casual button-up shirts are excellent and sizing down to Medium fits me like a glove. I have quite a few from 2010 still going strong, so I've definitely gotten my $14 worth.

                        Brooklyn87: Spot-on and I think it's very important to keep the quality of other brands in perspective

                        and Tom, FYI Steve and Barry's completely went out of business a couple of years ago.



                          In my experience Kohl's, JcPenny, Sears, and Belk are sell stuff that is primarily sythetic and carry virtually nothing in a small or 38' (or smaller) chest. Even the smalls the do carry fit more like mediums and are very baggy. With one exception, the Marc Anthony slim fit line from Kohl's sells good fitting, slim fit shirts.



                            For what it's worth, JCPenny is trying to turn the tides. They hired Target's former CEO and are totally changing things. Expect it to become more target-esque (in a good way) when the first new styles hit stores (expected Fall 2012). They have already changed their marketing and sales schemes (no more coupons, regular predictable sales). They also have significantly improved their return policy to a bit more restrictive than the finer dept stores (will never beat Nordys!!).

                            There have been a few New York times articles about it. Also, JCpenny is on dappered today. Dockers, available in these stores, was on there yesterday. A lot of the accessories available at Kohls are also available at Target, in my experience at least.

                            I think it is harder to find something nice in these stores, but when you do find something you like, the price is usually right. Gotta love that!

                            This doesn't even get into places like Marshalls, Ross, or thrifting. Can also make great finds in those places!



                              The JCP CEO did work at Target, but he's famous as the Apple Store guy. I was talking to someone who's wife works in marketing for them, and he confirmed they are making some big changes. I relayed that it wouldn't take much for them get in on the trend that Dappered is a part of. Have some (not all) quality pieces in decent fits. If Target can do it, why not?