Does J. Crew ‘Help Preppy Go Euro’?

Hello-Hello, and happy Monday! We hope everyone enjoyed a pleasant and restful weekend.

Today we invoke ‘brevity is a virtue’ as our modus operandi, things are a tad frenzied here in our corner condo at Princess HQ.

We look at a story in yesterday’s Sunday Magazine from the Times. “J. Crew Helps Preppy Go Euro” analyzes the ongoing transformation of J. Crew’s position in the marketplace, starting with a little background on the retailer:

“… with its anodyne clubby name and clothes that ripped off L.L. Bean, Brooks Brothers and J. Press, J. Crew seemed to spoof the preppy style while making it available.”

We loved the photo illustration that accompanied the article.

Kevin Van Aelst/NY Times

Writer Virginia Heffernan deftly examines the company’s move toward a different aesthetic, referencing a specific sailor shirt featured on Crew’s website.

“The shirt is sporty and thus not un-American, while also signifying “Paris,” a new concept has been audaciously colonizing. The site twinkles with references to France and haute couture, and recently it has positioned dissipated and mysterious Euro-type models in the slots that used to be reserved for “J. Crew models” — fresh-faced, wholesome strawberry blondes.

The shirt under discussion:

J. Crew

We hadn’t really noticed a change in models, but then, we spend very little time on the site or looking at the catalog.  Have you noticed a drift toward a more European look in the models?

The story also revisits a topic discussed and whined about ad nauseam occasionally in this space, most recently in an April post we titled “J. Crew’s Disdain for Preppy“.  Back to yesterday’s Times:

“The stateside European, in J. Crew’s imagining, wears all our usual American stuff — shorts, T-shirts, cargo pants, polo shirts — but has no use whatsoever for the simplicity and androgyny that used to be hallmarks of preppy.”

Referencing the impact of design director Jenna Lyons and CEO Mickey Drexler, the story shares this perspective:

“Every outfit seems slightly hacked — cut up and embellished by a home tailor. You don’t envision someone in J. Crew playing lacrosse anymore; they seem more likely to be philosophizing and seducing. “I have a hard time with the word ‘preppy,’ ” Lyons told not long ago. “It’s very coastal, and it leaves out a lot of Americans who aren’t yachting or going to the beach club.”

This summer, then, what is the new J. Crew ideal? Not the East Hampton WASP, not anymore. Rather, it’s the sultry au pair watching the children. In sequins.”

Our favorite part of the article has to be this segment:

Those days of preppy names in print only at birth, marriage and death are long over. Now they can’t stop . . .musing. For modest laughs: To the Manner Born, WASP 101, Tickled Pink and Green, Muffy Martini, Pink Washingtoniette, 2PreppyGirls and Summer Is a Verb.

Reading this group of names at the end of the story had us grinning ear to ear. Congratulations to all included! The story is fascinating, click here to read it in its entirety.

A related note of interest, J. Crew is doing their Final Sale promotion again, offering an additional 20% off sale-priced merchandise.

J. Crew

The promotion runs through this Thursday, July 15. Use the code EXTRA20 at checkout to receive the discounted pricing.


We apologize for the brevity of today’s post; the flood of orders for these….

Lilly Pulitzer Agendas at

Has prompted the creation of one of these stacks everyday here at the Prepatorium, as the Consort and I our immense staff of Princess Pixies get the Lilly Agendas headed out the door!

Christmas in July?

Heaven only knows what the stack of Lilly iPhone Covers will look like when they are shipped in early August, eeek!

On that note, g’bye until next time!


Filed under preppy

7 responses to “Does J. Crew ‘Help Preppy Go Euro’?

  1. Suburban Princess

    I so wish I could get an agenda with hubby’s work schedule printed in it !

  2. Interesting. I do like J.Crew sometimes, but recently it does seem like the quality of the design has been more uneven. Underneath all the overaccessorizing, I still find some very nice pieces(I still like their suits), but I’m not liking the new look over there quite so much. The models do seem to look more like a take on a fashion magazine rather than the old preppyish J.Crew look.

  3. kiki

    many congrats to those preppy bloggers, even though i think you and your site should’ve been on there as well. love that last part in the JCrew article of the “au pair” in “sequins.” thanks for the “extra20.” i’m heading over there now. take care.

  4. You’ll definitely need Tilly’s help in the Prepatorium when you start mailing the Lilly iPhone Covers! haha

    You have the best customer service, TP. I love doing business with you 🙂 xoxo

  5. Hello and Happy Tuesday! This is very interesting about J. Crew. I have noticed the shift toward a more European look. I must say I do miss the preppier style – especially the critter shorts. I am not much into the sequins and embellishments being put on everything. Oh well!

    Cheers to all those orders going out! I need to start making my wish list. Have a wonderful day!

  6. Legally Blonde

    I’ve definitely noticed a change in the JCrew aesthetic. Even more interesting to me was the Talbot’s catalog I recently received in the post. Has anyone else seen this? First, I didn’t know Talbot’s even had a catalog, and then between the covers, it looked exactly like a JCrew catalog from a year or two ago (complete with stacks of folded sweaters and rows of blouses in their myriad of colors). Did something happen in the retail world that I missed?

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