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#13. Store Wars 2014: J. Crew Factory unseats J. Crew

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    #16
    Originally posted by Vicious49 View Post
    For me, it's fit and material. The fit in the items I've tried are the same between the 2 of them. As far as material, as long as it's not synthetic I'm fine with it. The JC stuff might be a bit softer or higher quality wool or whatever but not enough to justify the price difference to me.
    See, but that IS in large part the difference between JC and JCF. their suits and sportcoats are wool/poly blend instead of pure wool. Their may be differences in quality of construction as well, but wool poly blend generally means at last 40% poly, and that makes a huge difference in the quality of the material. Don't get me wrong. given the sale prices, I still like Thompson suiting, but I really prefer 100% wool, and rather than buy a Thompson at full retail, I'd probably buy a higher quality item on sale.

    As for shirting, I can't say. I have little experience with J Crew shirts, and haven't even seen a JCF shirt in person, but I would tend to guess that fabric quality is at east part of the equation in cost savings. Part of it is just marketing though. Brands know that if they sell a higher priced item, at least some customers will automatically perceive it as a sign of quality. I'd rather focus on more practical signs of quality though, and like you, if I couldn't tell the difference between the fabrics, and had no reason to believe the higher priced fabric was more durable, I would not waste my money on it just for the brand.

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      #17
      You are correct about the differences between suiting. I overlooked that since I was mostly referring to smaller items. Shirts I haven't noticed much of a difference. Their jeans are fine for me as well since I can't tell the difference between high or low quality denim,

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        #18
        Many Thompson suit options are 100% wool. There's just one wool/poly option online anymore. The rest are 100% wool, cotton, or linen.

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          #19
          J.Crew Factory is the "look for less," fit is comparable but the quality does suffer. I've pretty much sworn off JCF, and stick to discounted J.Crew mainline items. The casual shirting is similar, but other than that I think the differences in fabric quality and manufacturing are pretty obvious. I've been really disappointed by a lot of JCF products recently (from socks to pants to sweaters), and am willing to pay a little more for better quality. I'm a pretty thrifty shopper, so almost everything I buy from J.Crew is discounted 50% from retail or more, so the prices aren't that much more than JCF.

          Here's one recent example - I bought the JCF navy tweed blazer with elbow patches when it was $99. The fit was decent, but the quality of the wool tweed was poor. My wife was astounded that I had even paid $99 for it. So I returned it, waited a few weeks and got the J.Crew Ludlow blazer in English Wool (as seen on BB in his recent Friday Challenge victory) for $140. The wool is really thick and the jacket fits and moves waaay better than the JCF version. This was just one of many examples, and I try to remind myself of them when I see something at JCF that "looks" nice...

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            #20
            I've been a longtime fan of JCrew and just started buying casual shirts from JCFactory.

            I see no difference in material or construction between JC's "Secret Wash" and JCF's "Factory Washed."

            If the "Factory Washed" falls apart in a month or two, I'll check back in.

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              #21
              My JCF goods consist of socks (several which have quickly developed holes at the toe seam), a summer weave belt (which I don't wear anymore due to a minor weight loss on my part), a pair of their blackwash denim in vintage slim-straight or whatever (which are borderline too short and totally too big in the waist now - see belt/weight-loss thing), and the black quilted layering vest (which I *do* wear nearly everyday under my pea coat if the temps suggest it; other days I wear it as a vest over casual button-downs).

              So... I guess I'm not a huge JCF kinda guy.

              Now I do see many things at the main JC which I'd like to someday own, but often times the prices turn me away. I think in my present wardrobe goods from the main store/line are: a pair of the selvedge button-fly dark denim in slim-straight (my current go-to dark denim option - love them!), and... Well... I think that might be it.

              BR seems to fit me better for suiting and blazers/SCs, so I tend to go with them for their Tailored Fit line.

              Had I to do the quilted layering vest thing over again, I'd buy the mainline JC one, as I believe it's cotton, vs the poly of my JCF one.

              I *do* intend to get some more pants from JC, likely in the form of some cords, chinos and wool trousers. These will be on a replacement (one in - one out) plan, not just adding more to the current setup. Leeeeeaaaan...!

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                #22
                Originally posted by Johdus View Post
                I've been a longtime fan of JCrew and just started buying casual shirts from JCFactory.

                I see no difference in material or construction between JC's "Secret Wash" and JCF's "Factory Washed."
                I agree, and this is probably the only item that I would consider buying at JCF vs JC.

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by Jamie View Post
                  I agree, and this is probably the only item that I would consider buying at JCF vs JC.
                  Maybe that's why I assumed there wasn't much of a difference between the 2 since 80% of what I've bought from JCF is their secret/factory washed shirts.

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                    #24
                    In my experience, the construction, material, and details of the secret wash are better than the factory wash. I also don't think the tartan/plaid patterns are as nice in the factory wash. But to each his own.

                    Beyond that, regular J. Crew has distinctive offerings that you won't find in Factory, especially in outerwear and sweaters.

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                      #25
                      Originally posted by Johdus View Post
                      I've been a longtime fan of JCrew and just started buying casual shirts from JCFactory.

                      I see no difference in material or construction between JC's "Secret Wash" and JCF's "Factory Washed."

                      If the "Factory Washed" falls apart in a month or two, I'll check back in.
                      I own several of each wash, and both of them are holding up just fine.
                      Only item that is showing signs of wear/falling appart is the lightweight secret wash that I wore the least, and washed it maybe 3 times total?
                      I do prefer JCrew over JCF, but I love JCF slim tshirts that can be had for $7-$8 on sales, and they are holding up very well.

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                        #26
                        Are my standards low? I think all the Thompson suits/blazers are great. I think the Factory Bedford wool pants are great. Their slim merino sweaters are the best I've found (that includes Banana Republic, Express, Uniqlo).

                        My opinion is not really of the durability of the products, since most of the stuff I buy there does not go into the washing machine (i.e. they are dry cleaned when needed).

                        I think people are getting so worked up because some are reading Joe's prediction as "J. Crew Factory is better than J. Crew." I think most of us can agree that if items at both stores were the same price, we would pick regular J. Crew. But overall, I really like JCF because they offer items that are similar to the style and cut of the regular J. Crew but are just cheaper price (given normal availability). Sure, I've gotten ridiculous deals on some normal J. Crew stuff in-store (Bayswater Peacoat for $75, Ludlow blazers chino blazers at $40 and the wool ones at around $100) - but that is very rare and takes a ton of work to come across those (lots of random in-store visits during sales, end of season sales, limited size availability). In fact, I have much more clothing from JCF than regular J. Crew. But despite the drop-off in quality for some items at the Factory, they are still great value (for example, I'll take a $99 sale Thompson Herringbone Wool blazer over a $280 sale J. Crew English Wool blazer). That said, some of the obvious Factory variations of regular J. Crew stuff are horrible in my opinion (like the Peacoat), but I still think a lot of their stuff is great.

                        The only similarity with J Crew Factory and the Banana Republic Factory (or Gap Factory store) is that clothes there are 99% made specifically for the outlet. However, that's where the similarity ends. The Banana Republic Factory clothing is awful in its design - they are very ill fitting (hardly anything is trim or modern fit) and in my opinion very much targeted to a different audience (i.e. guys who don't care about clothes, who don't care or recognize the difference between polyester/rayon vs. wool, the ones who wear square toed shoes, etc). Not to sound harsh or snobbish - but many of us were part of that audience (myself included). In terms of durability of the clothing, I don't think the difference is as pronounced between J Crew Factory and BR Factory (i.e. a cotton shirt at BR Factory will last about as long as J Crew Factory). However, if the materials differ, then the durability will also (i.e. a BR Factory polyester suit vs a 100% wool Thompson suit).

                        One other comment I'd like to make is that my opinion on Banana Republic Factory applies to just men's clothing. Women's clothing (at BR Factory and in general) is just cut differently and it's hard to screw up, so that's why I think BR Factory women's stuff is fine (i.e. on par with the Ann Taylor disposable clothing that women buy).

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                          #27
                          I guess Factory is okay if you're using it for staples. I don't trust the quality and fit enough for anything I really want to enjoy wearing, though. Just my personal take.

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                            #28
                            Originally posted by Duvel View Post
                            I had it really good while I was living in Asheville. Not only was there a great regular retail shop in town but there was also a CLEARANCE store just outside of town. Not a factory store but an honest-to-god clearance store. It was a mix of factory and regular retail items hugely marked down, along with occasional "sample" garment. I got really great deals there--my bayswater peacoat was about $40, my fireman's jacket was about $50, a navy Ludlow blazer for around $60, and a lot of other things. If you get down that way, check it out. There are only about 2 or 3 of these stores in the whole country.
                            My fiance lives in Asheville. And we hit up the Warehouse store once a month. Its only about 5 minutes from her parents house, so everything we see them we stop by the store. Before going to the warehouse store, I didn't care for jcrew mainly because I got never find the right fit for me and they used to charge $8 for returns made though delivery.

                            However, hitting up the warehouse store several times, I figured out what items I needed to size down (blazers, sweaters, coats), what was TTS, and which cut of pants fit me the best. Now I have become a huge fan and have bought several things from the normal retail store.

                            Going back to your original comments. I think the main reason Joe is separating them is that there would be no competition against a JCF/Jcrew powerhouse. BR is the only store that might put up a fight.

                            I have owned 5-6 items from JCF mainly casual button downs but I bought a cotton suit there once. The button downs about equivalent to Target's Merona/Mossimo lines in quality and those are usually $5-10 cheaper. The suit was a mistake to buy. Really stiff cotton. It was quite cheap and I hoped that it would loosen up with a few wears. However, it never did and it got donated to Goodwill.

                            One more thing. Love the list, I do the same thing. Its eliminated all the stupid, impulse buys I used to make. If it's not on the list, it won't get bought. If I want to add something to the list, I make myself wait a few days. Great way to prioritize your purchases.

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                              #29
                              Big fan of JCF I've had good luck. Personal I have only bought:

                              Cotton cashmere sweaters
                              Merino sweaters
                              Factory wash casual button downs
                              A great linen sweater Joe featured it on the main site navy with orange.

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                                #30
                                On the BR/BRF front (if there even was one in this thread), I should add that I just bought a 100% cotton tan/camel/snuff? corduroy blazer in the Tailored Fit line from the outlet BRF shop over Christmas break. It seems to actually be more tailored than the main store TF jackets (I have three blazers/SCs and two wool suits in that fit from the main store BR/TF line).

                                I was trying to talk myself into returning it - Lean(ing) Wardrobe and all - but dammit - I'm having quite the internal personal debate over it.
                                Last edited by yoyorobbo; January 6, 2014, 06:19 PM.

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