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

  1. #11
    Varsity Member mattface's Avatar
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    I hadn't read the article when I commented on this thread. Having read the article now I agree with the line as stated: "And yes, they have to be separate entries. Factory and J. Crew, while under the same corporate umbrella, are like GAP and Banana Republic. Similar, yet very very different."

    I am unaware of the Gap outlets you speak of. I have a couple of t=items bought at a Gap in an outlet mall, but everything there was Gap clothing, just maybe a season or two out of date. Not a separate label made to a lower price point like JCF is, but if Gap and BR do indeed have such stores, they would obviously have to be treated separately if they were popular enough to even make it to StoreWars.

    Storewars incidentally is what first brought Dappered.com to my attention a year ago. I very much wanted to see Bonobos win, or at least beat Gap. The reason I cared was because Gap had very recently disappointed me on an epic level with their product quality and customer service, and Bonobos had impressed me about as much as Gap had disappointed me. In the past year my stance on both has softened. Gap will never be a favorite of mine again, and I will always be suspicious of their quality, but I'm no longer in full boycott mode. As for Bonobos, their quality and customer service are still excellent, but neither is quite what it was a year ago. They've introduced more blended fabrics to their line and are doing less U.S, manufacturing, without lowering prices any, and while their customer service is still excellent, I've seen a bit of a slide from the stellar levels of a year ago. It's not that there is anything truly bad about Bonobos, but if they were where they were a year ago today, I'd be rooting for them as champions of store wars this year, but instead I'm looking ofrward to seeing what brands other Dappered readers like. As Storewars last year brought not only a list of new brands to my attention, but this forum as well.

    My prediction for 2014 is that this year I will buy my first new suit (all my suits are second hand) probably from Suit Supply, or one of the other brands brought to my attention by last years store wars. Regardless of where I get it from though, I have Storewars and Dappered.com to thank for being instrumental in raising both my style awareness, and shopping savvy in 2013.

  2. #12
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    Gap and Banana outlet stores are different from the retail stores. They do not carry the same stuff that the retail stores carry. They carry Gap outlet and Banana outlet items, i.e., items made specifically just for the outlet stores. J. Crew operates the same way for its outlet store, which is J. Crew Factory, that is, J. Crew makes things specifically to be sold only in the Factory store.

  3. #13
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    JCrew Factory has become what Lands End Canvas used to be.

    Very well-fitted clothes that can be had, at times, for a song.

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    Okay, well, I can't argue about fit with tee shirts and shirts. Can't say sweater fit impresses, though.

    The thing for me is, even if fit is good, aren't material and details considerations, too?

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    Dappered Veteran Vicious49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duvel View Post
    The thing for me is, even if fit is good, aren't material and details considerations, too?
    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.

    How many 'details' are there really in a shirt? I have shirts from JC and JCF and don't notice a difference in the details between the 2 of them. Maybe it's small stuff that's lost on me, but if it is lost on me, I'm obviously not going to pay extra for something that I don't notice anyways.

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    Varsity Member mattface's Avatar
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    Quote 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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    Dappered Veteran Vicious49's Avatar
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    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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    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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    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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    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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