J. Crew Execs Everywhere, Are Crossword Puzzles an Ivy Thing?

Hello-Hello and Happy Monday!  We hope everyone enjoyed a splendid weekend!

It seems this past weekend had a bit of a J. Crew management theme in some of the national media. As previously mentioned, J. Crew Grand Pooh-Bah Mickey Drexler was profiled yesterday on CBS’ “Sunday Morning” program.  The feature looks quite interesting, click here to see the full story.

Also this Sunday, the LA Times carried an interesting story on Jenna Lyons, J. Crew’s Design Director.

PHOTO: Melanie Acevedo

PHOTO: Melanie Acevedo

If curious about what duties and responsibilities her job actually involves, the story explains:

“That title means she’s in charge of every design element of the company, website and catalog, and it’s her attention to detail — delicate beading, raw edges, crepe de Chine ruffles — that sets J.Crew apart from other mall stores. The company’s ability to be both aspirational and attainable has made it popular with Indianapolis career women and Birkin-toting Malibu trophy wives alike.”

Fashion Critic Booth Moore’s article looks at the ‘cult of Jenna’:

“Bloggers evaluate her personal as well as professional style, contributing to the budding cult of Jenna. They wax eloquently about her love of neutral colors, Sharpie pens and Maybelline Cool Watermelon lipstick.

When it comes to the monetization of this phenomenon or other tangible values attached to such popularity, stock analysts aren’t necessarily seeing it:

“But praise in the blogosphere can’t guarantee a surge in sales of all those pencil skirts and cardigans. “Nobody needs another one-pocket tee or twin set or pleat-front skirt,” says Richard Jaffe, a retail analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus and Co. “Your closet is full of them.”

This feature on Ms. Lyons, when read in tandem with the CBS profile on CEO Mickey Drexler, provides insight into the business of fashion. More from the LA Times piece:

“The chief executive and the designer behave a little like a father-daughter team. Over lunch at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood, she tells him that “being back here even for one day, all my insecurities come back. Women here are in such great shape. Everyone is blond and beautiful. Girls are trying on bathing suits and coming out of the dressing rooms and I’m like, ‘Just stay in there!’ “

The story also  offers a look at select items from the Fall 2009 J. Crew Weddings & Parties line.

Lucinda Gown at JCrew.com

Lucinda Gown at JCrew.com

The dress is a poly/cotton/silk blend retailing for $2500.  Also shown, the cotton Erica dress in Cypress, a color available this fall.  (Note: our link connects to the current Erica dress, with most colors on sale for $99.)

Erica Dress at JCrew.com

Erica Dress at JCrew.com

And finally in our “J. Crews News section” this morning, word the company’s spinoff brand Madewell 1937 is launching a jeans collection deemed “… a bit more price friendly.”

Courtesy Photo via WWD

Courtesy Photo via WWD

This morning’s WWD (Women’s Wear Daily, subscription req’d.) reports on the new line, Madewell ’37s, focusing on a single “skinny skinny” jean available in five colors. Perhaps most importantly,the new jean will retail at $58.50; other Madewell denim starts at $78.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

As far as differentiating the new jeans from other ?

“The tag line for marketing the ’37s is “Cool jeans. Great price. We’ve got your back.”’

This article also quotes J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler:

“There’s a new world today. The denim customer is no longer trading up to higher price points. With customers giving us feedback and the marketplace changing, it was pretty clear there was a need to come out with a collection of jeans a bit more price friendly. Jeans at $92 to $110 represented the heart of the business.”

While we are not exactly the Madewell demo (cough-cough), it is good to see retailers being smart in pricing.


Our final item today has *nothing* to do with either J. Crew Group or Mr. Drexler, not that we are Drexler-averse, to the contrary, we think very highly of his skills. We just need to chat about something else, don’t you think?

No, our next item involves a statement contained within this story in yesterday’s Times, a feature looking at the continued demise of the crossword puzzle, along with other puzzles, in many publications.

“The Atlantic’s Puzzler, which will take its final bow in September, and The New York Sun’s crossword are among the most notable recent casualties, in part because of their Ivy League street cred. (Let’s face it: the crosswords in TV Guide and People magazine seldom generate heat at Hamptons dinner parties.)”

“Ivy League street cred?” Now, TP adores her crossword puzzles. Nothing is quite as comforting as settling in with pen (it must be a very specific pen you understand) and newspaper, generally the Times, but we have been known to utilize others in a pinch. But we have never heard them associated with an Ivy, that is a new one for us.

Have you heard of such an affiliation in anyone’s mind previously? More importanly, do you use pen or pencil when you do the puzzle? When pondering how to best answer these deep questions, do keep in mind the world’s fate hangs in the balance. (Heh-heh.)

With this wackiness we say G’bye until next time!


Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion

19 responses to “J. Crew Execs Everywhere, Are Crossword Puzzles an Ivy Thing?

  1. If J Crew could only get its (insert indelicate word here) website to work properly and stop with the faux-free shipping, they wouldn’t have to fiddle with the prices as much – at least, not for this customer. That being said, I’m glad to see they are being more cost-conscious generally.

  2. LPC

    Levis, IMO, already has some great jeans at this “new” price point…I don’t know what everyone else thinks of Levis however.

  3. I don’t know about crosswords being ivy league but most are too tough for me. My mom does them but she’s been doing them for years so she knows what they are looking for. Being able to search for clues online has sure made it easier.

  4. MCW

    What an amazing job Ms. Lyons has…

  5. Should I feel bad that I’m “an Indianapolis career woman” (in all truth) vs. “a Miamii trophy wife”?

    I love crosswords. And I use a pen.

  6. i saw that Sunday Morning piece, and I really wanted to say, during the portion that the man went into the jcrew stores and asked what they can do better, “stop thinking that free shipping with purchases of $175 plus is a deal” haha…

  7. I am a Jcrew addict. I own 10 Jackie cardigans. I have a Jenna bracelet. I would guess 7 out of every 10 items in my closet come from the Crew. I think Jenna is doing a great job. Maybe“Nobody needs another one-pocket tee or twin set or pleat-front skirt,”–but I keep buying them. Keep it up, Jenna!

  8. I love J. Crew but they don’t love me. Very few of their clothes fit me properly, tops being an exception, so bring on the twin sets and one pocket tees.

  9. Thanks for featuring this topic today 🙂

  10. I am a J. Crew customer, for myself and my family. I do think of “their” style as California prep. You know, beachy, sporty, classic.
    Every once in awhile they stray and get a little too trendy or too young for me…but I always come back…so far.

    I use a pen and have NEVER put ivy and crosswords together.
    Of course you must be smart, Hmmm.

  11. I only ever use pens with my crosswords!

  12. mary anne

    OK, so I’m in the minority in not being a J. Crew fan. Why? Borderline trendy and too pricey for what they sell (IMHO). Gimme LL Bean anyday for khakis and t shirts.

    Now, crosswords, I love, keep ’em on my nightstand, travel bag, etc. at all times. Since I am quite insecure, I use a mechanical pencil for my puzzle work.

  13. Crossword puzzles = Ink Always. I can’t tolerate the sound, feel, texture, and look of pencil on newspaper. No way!!

    I don’t think the new price point on the skinny jeans will help me. No skinny jeans for me 😉

    Did you and Miss Lamp Tramp touch base??


  14. You know, crossword puzzles make me nervous. So do those relatively benign word-find puzzles. I have no idea why. My grandmother Nonna loves crosswords and she uses ink.

    Funny about the skinny jeans…a demographic fact is that most American women are not “skinny”. Strange recession tactic. I predict those jeans will be on clearance.

  15. I am an Ivy League girl though I live in NYC now. I do crosswords in the Times and use a pen.

  16. KK

    Please tell me that skinny jeans are phasing out! Ugh! They just look wretched on my body shape. And half the ppl wearing them look silly (to be polite)- like thet have on denim tights instead of jeans.

    I don’t do many crosswords but I ONLY use pens. Almost always a sharpie. I’m not sure I even own a pencil! Seriously! I’ve always been this way too. Very odd.

  17. Great post on JCrew! While I love their items, I usually wait for sales. I’m biding my time till a certain “wallpaper” dress goes on sale ;D

  18. Jenna Lyon was featured in Town & Country this month too! She is everywhere I see. I love the J. Crew silk dresses.

    As far as crossword puzzles, I love them and only use a pen. I attended a wedding that had a crossword puzzle at the back of the wedding program. Talk about a hit!!

  19. Hi there!

    I’m reaching out to you from IZEA, the blog marketing company in sunny Orlando, Florida. I came across your site and after looking around your blog, I thought it might be a great fit for our site!

    Specifically, I’m on the hunt for fashion blogs for our Blogger network. I’d like to put together some info for you, if you’d be interested.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s