Monday, July 25, 2011

J. Crew Do's and Oh-Please-Don'ts...

Let me begin by saying I Heart J. Crew.  For as long as I can recall I have dogeared their catalogs starting in the late 80s planning my preppy get ups.  I pictured myself in patchwork madras, barn jackets, and my beloved cotton anorak (that I still own bought in 1987) in scenarios all over campus or en route to the beach. J. Crew was my chosen lifestyle brand.  I filled in occaisionally with LL Bean packpacks and bluchers, or expensive oversized sweaters from my brother's closet (thanks Mothy). It was almost worth ordering something monthly because every box came with a mini catalog of sale items. Now in Internet Times we don't receive as many catalogs.  J Crew decreased sending as many, and they also saw their sales numbers drop.  Their key demographic are the generations that dogeared catalogs. It is a nostalgic way for me to plan my J. Crew purchases.
The Crew has been through a lot of growth in the last 25+ years.  Some good, some ok, some not-so-ok.  I appreciate what they are trying to do.  But as a lifelong Crew addict, I also feel free to tsk-tsk their choices having been loyal for a few decades. 
The two pictures below, um, not so great. 

Oh no not those dumpy faux Carhartt's with pearls. 

I understand the need/want to be edgy and get all kinds of inspiration from street style.  But here's the thing, these proportions just don't work, especially in yellow. Wait, is she wearing gloves? And socks? And glasses? And bangles? And messy hair?  This is from their Fall Look Book, too. Come on.

It's not all negative.  I do have positive things to say, too.  I still love the Crew even when they get off track a bit with their styling showing someone in a bathing suit with a suit jacket over it.  Two suits do not make a right.  (I'm exaggerating, but you have to admit you have seen some edgier-than-needed styling in their catalogs in the last few years.)
Excellent. Classic. I love a tee + average brown belt + amazing maxi sequin skirt. Phenom and far more chic than women spending $10 G's on a Marchesa a la red carpet. 
And here are a few bits from their early Fall new arrivals online that I adore. Old style Crew with just the right updates in cut and fabric.  Love.
Orange velvet blazer.  Amazing.  You have to own this look because you will not blend into the background in an orange velvet blazer.  On the same note, you cannot wear it with business casual gear, it has to be something opposite like the worn denim.  Otherwise you risk a Willy Wonka style that is not interesting.

Leopard print calf hair watch strap.  Genius and $18.  I have one of these en route. I don't know if I will resurrect my old Timex to put on this band or simply wear the band sans timepiece as a casual bracelet (with gold bracelets also of course).

Leopard print calf hair jacket. $1498. Sold out.  Yes, sold out.  Already.  It is chic.  And anyone who has ever bought a vintage fur coat knows that getting them altered is a royal pain - most furriers will not do it - therefore if you want something like this in a modern cut, you have to splurge and buy it when you see it.  Otherwise, bask in the light of that 1960s leopard number that you bought for $30 and wear it proudly. 
Sure, it was 1000 degrees in the northeast last weekend, but someone was thinking of their fall ensembles to buy out that delicious $1500 jacket.  Get on board and start planning.  As you know, in mere weeks it will be 55 again and you will be looking high and low for some interesting piece to revive your cold weather wear.  Here in southern California I will just stare at my boxes of cold weather gear until I can get East again and delight in some tights and sweaters.  At least fur vests and boots are de rigueur around here (even in July).

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