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JCrew now in a race to the bottom

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  • lax101
    replied
    I just placed my first order with the "new" J. Crew, and despite my earlier naysaying that the company's demise has been greatly exaggerated...yikes.

    I ordered a pair of 770 jeans and a pair of wool slacks, taking advantage of their recent 40% off sale. Keep in mind that I have bought the same size in the same fit at J Crew for years, even as recently as last year.

    TL/DR: Quality (and sizing/consistency) are significantly worse, despite each item retailing at the same MSRP as last year.

    770 jeans:
    - Yep, the "J. Crew/Jeans" logo is now there, and the fabric is no longer sourced from Kaihara (it's been removed from the item description and there is no mention of where the denim has been sourced, either online or on the product).
    - Fabric felt thin and flimsy, without the nubbyness or slub that is still pictured on their website (which is from last year's models). Comparable to what you would see from a low-end fast fashion company (I have a pair of jeans from H&M that are comparable).
    - The fit is also significantly different from prior cuts of the 770 jeans. SIGNIFICANTLY baggier through the seat, thigh and leg, with a wide leg opening. Reminds me more of the Sutton fit from their Factory/Mercantile line, but even that is a bit trimmer. I know that the 770 fit has been re-labeled as their "straight fit" as opposed to a slim or slim straight, but I guess they think the lowest common denominator needs a heftier, baggier jean. Zero shape or taper to the leg whatsoever. I then tried to size down, and there was still not enough taper in the leg, but now the waist was too tight.

    Bowery/Ludlow Slacks:
    - Their wool slack has been labeled the "bowery" for years, but now it's been re-named the Ludlow to align with their suiting--which is fine.
    - These slacks now have a bit of stretch in them. I'm not sure if the stretch is the issue or the use of a new mill, but these slacks were complete and utter hell to unwrinkle out of the bag. Usually, a few light touches with a garment steamer will do the trick. Not here.
    - Fit was the same as last year's model, more or less (but see my note on sizing inconsistency below).
    - Fabric is also significantly thinner than prior versions of the bowery/ludlow slack, which, perhaps with the stretch added, led to a very un-clean, clingy drape.
    - I also got these in two colors (in the same size), and there was significant inconsistency in sizing between them. The waist on one pair was at least an inch or so larger.

    I couldn't wait to return either of these purchases any faster. I'm fine with fluctuations in quality--I'm not hunting for jeans specifically from Kaihara or wool from Loro Piana or etc., but each of these items retail for the same MSRP as they did last year. I'm not going to remain a customer for any company that drops quality significantly on an item without changing the price accordingly. If J. Crew wants to be a lower budget company that sells cheaper items at a lower price, then fine. But I feel a bit jipped right now.

    Leave a comment:


  • SoCalLife
    replied
    Originally posted by mark4 View Post
    This is indeed a bummer but I'll take a wait and see approach to what happens on the men's side of their shop. It's the women's side that is really dragging J Crew down from what I hear. They might be smart to spin off the menswear line into something else (maybe use the Wallace and Barnes label) that mimics basically what Bonobos is doing. I'm not sure they could survive on menswear only without shrinking their retail footprint dramatically though. Women's wear is where most of the real money is.
    I don't expect it to be different with men. I'm already seeing changes - I made a separate post about this (looking for recommendations), but the J. Crew line of slim fit broken-in v-neck shirts (which was so perfect that it was my wardrobe work horse every summer) made of relatively high quality material has been discontinued, replaced with a generic "J Crew mercantile slim fit v-neck". I ordered one and no one in their right mind would call it a slim fit. And the material is less than half the quality.

    It says to me they are starting to do with men's the same thing they've been doing with women's.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hebrew Barrister
    replied
    Originally posted by mark4 View Post
    This is indeed a bummer but I'll take a wait and see approach to what happens on the men's side of their shop. It's the women's side that is really dragging J Crew down from what I hear. They might be smart to spin off the menswear line into something else (maybe use the Wallace and Barnes label) that mimics basically what Bonobos is doing. I'm not sure they could survive on menswear only without shrinking their retail footprint dramatically though. Women's wear is where most of the real money is.
    That's sad, because they have some great women's clothes. My better half has some JCrew dresses that are super flattering on her.

    Leave a comment:


  • mark4
    replied
    This is indeed a bummer but I'll take a wait and see approach to what happens on the men's side of their shop. It's the women's side that is really dragging J Crew down from what I hear. They might be smart to spin off the menswear line into something else (maybe use the Wallace and Barnes label) that mimics basically what Bonobos is doing. I'm not sure they could survive on menswear only without shrinking their retail footprint dramatically though. Women's wear is where most of the real money is.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dun
    replied
    Originally posted by evanparker View Post
    buy american as much as you possibly can.
    Unfortunately if you don't specifically know where the factory is, a "made in america" tag was probably slapped on in a private prison workshop. The patterns are outsourced and compiled/built with no attention to the craftsmanship we would like to continue assigning to american made.

    Leave a comment:


  • evanparker
    replied
    Originally posted by brandon View Post
    But how do you find out where the merchandise was manufactured and what that manufacturer pays its employees?
    buy american as much as you possibly can. buy from companies who do say. i know it's kind of a lost cause, but thats all you can do.

    edit: and don't buy anymore dresssweatpants

    Leave a comment:


  • whereismurder
    replied
    Originally posted by Hebrew Barrister View Post
    You expect high quality shoes for $200? That's kind of a bare minimum for halfway decent.
    I did not mention high quality anywhere. halfway decent and how far that is from whats sold in fast fashion was really my whole point.

    Leave a comment:


  • brandon
    replied
    Originally posted by whereismurder View Post
    It's easy to say "fast fashion sucks," indeed it does, but I think its largely a knee jerk reaction and the why is more interesting. The model is unsustainable, long run costs can only be cut so much, or wages will increase and leave low cost options behind. It will be interesting to see how many other middle cost brands follow suit and which survive.
    But how do you find out where the merchandise was manufactured and what that manufacturer pays its employees?

    Leave a comment:


  • Hebrew Barrister
    replied
    You expect high quality shoes for $200? That's kind of a bare minimum for halfway decent.

    Leave a comment:


  • whereismurder
    replied
    I do want to speak a bit about fast fashion since it seems to apply to the direction J Crew is going. Globalization has made the impact of prolonged wage stagnation almost non-existent to an average consumer. The effect of this has been the continuing degradation of quality, materials, and treatment of garment employees. For the purposes of this discussion I dont think we should get into the morality behind all that, or who is to blame.

    This has been happening for so long I don't think the average consumer understands what actually goes into making a garment, sees anything wrong when a shirt they bought a year ago fails in some way, knows other options exist, or what they should really cost.

    This may seem like an odd thing to post on a cost-conscious style website, but when I shop for anything my expected cost for clothing is around $100 ($200 for shoes). I never really bought into the whole heritage trend from years ago, but I did frequently get frustrated when I took clothes home only to fall apart within a few months, or fit strangely after washing. After cycling though options, I believe the true cost to make something right is around $100. I also think of the quote by Benjamin Harrison “I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process.”

    It's easy to say "fast fashion sucks," indeed it does, but I think its largely a knee jerk reaction and the why is more interesting. The model is unsustainable, long run costs can only be cut so much, or wages will increase and leave low cost options behind. It will be interesting to see how many other middle cost brands follow suit and which survive.

    Leave a comment:


  • Shade
    replied
    I may have to go old school. Start hitting up the old digs; Pendleton, Benetton, Burberry, Brooks Brothers, R. Lauren, Fred Perry, etc. All this shift to the cheap stuff is very unsettling for me.

    Leave a comment:


  • evanparker
    replied
    i heard suitsupply is having a sale on dress-sweatpants guys...

    Leave a comment:


  • evanparker
    replied
    Originally posted by 3piece View Post
    H&M just opened up a new store in its own huge building in my area. Fast fashion is in!

    eww! :-D

    Leave a comment:


  • 3piece
    replied
    H&M just opened up a new store in its own huge building in my area. Fast fashion is in!

    Leave a comment:


  • mochi123
    replied
    Oh that is a bummer, who is going to fill in the gap of "premium for a mall brand" then? As much as I love BR, my understanding was that BR is just a step below JC in terms of price and quality.

    Leave a comment:

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