Tag Archives: L.L. Bean

Is Pendleton….Hip? Also, J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons Profiled Everywhere

Well now, didn’t yesterday turn out to be more than a little wacky? With all that shakin’ going on and Hurricane Irene looming, we take a moment to send good thoughts to everyone impacted, batten down the hatches.

We move on to chatter about a company we have long been fond of, Pendleton; it’s one of those brands many of us grew up with, representative of what many refer to as ‘pure prep’.  It is still a name we think of every now and then, the memory jarred by a decades-old skirt hanging in the winter closet, or a neatly folded sweater stashed away until colder temps return. We also enjoy popping into our local Pendleton boutique, the quality of the clothing is one reason we harbor such positive feelings about the company, everything is very well made.

But let’s be honest, when you hear ‘Pendleton,’ is this what you think of?

Pendleton Woolen Mills

Would you be surprised to learn these are also part of the fall collection?

Pendleton

Above left is the company’s Soho skirt and on the right, its Consuela Short Skirt.

Last week one of our favorite columnists at The Los Angeles Times wrote a piece asking the question “Can Pendleton conquer the hipster class?” More from Times fashion critic Booth Moore:

For many, the brand is associated with career clothes and mom jeans, with Indian blankets and plaid shirts worn by the Beach Boys.

Pendleton via The LA Times

The picture is from 1963, it was used on the cover of the band’s “Surfer Girl” album. In a recent story Mr. Moore delves into Pendleton’s history and future, with a detailed look at the brand’s upcoming Portland Collection.

But Pendleton has been working to attract a new generation of contemporary customers for the last few years… Now Pendleton Woolen Mills, Oregon’s 102-year-old, dyed-in-the-wool blanket brand, is continuing its move into the boutique fashion business by tapping into the indie cool of Portland…

Styles from the Portland Collection.

Courtesy Photos

More styles.

Courtesy Photos

Back to Booth Moore’s article:

“The clothes nod to the season’s western trend, but in a quirky, alterno kind of way. The Pendleton jacquards, done in black and white, read more graphic and modern than Santa Fe style circa 1990. And the famous plaids aren’t outdoorsy so much as they are nerd-chic.”

Clearly, your trusty correspondent is unlikely to be found in pieces from the new line; we applaud Pendleton’s efforts to evolve the brand while remaining true to its core audience. As Mr. Moore’s story points out, they aren’t alone in this kind of endeavor.

Pendleton, headquartered in downtown Portland, follows several other American heritage brands in looking to the past to forge the future (Lands’ End, L.L. Bean, Woolrich Woolen Mills).

An image from the firm’s website shows a reference to its storied past with the ‘Right Then, Right Now’ graphics.

Pendleton

We have previously looked at Pendleton’s evolution, including this post in 2009 previewing its collaboration with the oh-so-hip Opening Ceremony.

The Portland Collection launches right after Labor Day and will even be available at some Anthropologie stores.

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Also today, word of some unhappy J. Crew customers in Canada. The retailer opened its first store there last week and pricing differences between the two countries has upset shoppers. From a story in the Globe and Mail:

“For online customers, taxes and duties raised the final price for orders in some cases by as much as 50 per cent compared with the U.S. site they previously ordered from.”

One challenge facing anyone opening new markets: technology that simply wasn’t around fifteen years ago, making pricing information available to anyone.  Back to the story:

“…the quick and angry response from customers to J. Crew’s hiking of domestic prices underscores its customers’ familiarity with its products and prices, and the easy access to its e-commerce site to make fast price comparisons.

Here is more in a story titled Why is J. Crew charging us so much?:

“The disparity is particularly noticeable online, where the final prices on J. Crew’s Canadian site are as much as 40 per cent higher than on its U.S. site once taxes and shipping are added.

For example, the U.S. price for a pair of Café Capri plaid wool pants is $138 while the Canadian price is $160, a difference of 15 per cent. Once shipping and taxes are added, the U.S. price is $159, while the Canadian price is $223, a difference of 40 per cent.”

Below we show two pair of the Café Capri pants, in Plaid and in Houndstooth, both are priced at the amount mentioned above, $138.

J. Crew Café Capri pants

In all fairness, most retailers entering the Canadian market charge higher prices, it is more expensive to do business in that country for a variety of reasons: higher taxes, additional fees, fewer (if any) distribution points, etc.  More from the Globe’s story by Marina Strauss:

Other retailers have felt consumers’ wrath about higher prices in Canada compared with the U.S. Last spring, a study found that Canadian prices were 20-per-cent higher than those of the same products in the United States, while two years earlier the spread was less than 7 per cent.

Crew is also launching online shopping in the UK soon, its experiment selling through Net-a-Porter has been so positive a dedicated website is in the works, more from The Telegraph:

“Admirers of Michelle Obama’s colourful style will be happy to hear that J.Crew, her go-to retailer for affordable and stylish additions to her wardrobe (and that of her two daughters), is to launch in the UK at the end of the summer.

Although yet to be confirmed, prices are likely to come a little bit higher than in the US due to import duty, as reflected in their offering on Net-a-Porter.”

There have been several recent profiles of Crew’s CEO Jenna Lyons including a Q&A format in the National Post and New York magazine’s in-depth piece, it goes back to Ms. Lyon’s early days with the company

J.Crew was a small company in 1990, when Lyons went in for an interview. The brand styled itself as an energetic all-American label that was neither Talbots nor Ralph Lauren nor L.L. Bean. “J.Crew was the life that you could have,” Lyons says. “It was about hanging out. There was no price of entry. You might have a house in Maine on the beach, but you didn’t have a yacht and twelve horses.”

Below we see Ms. Lyons at work.

Martine Fougeron for New York magazine

More from Molly Young’s article.

Where feathers and sequins meet J.Crew is largely a matter of styling, and though Lyons dislikes the word preppy, her choices always invoke the core prep values of ease, cleanliness, and conservatism. If her company has always prized a kind of sartorial comfort—nothing too tight, too short, too synthetic—then Lyons, with her bare face and occasional bralessness, is what happens when comfort meets chic.

I very much enjoyed the story, click here to read the entire piece.

We leave you with this image from the just launched Lulu Frost for J. Crew collection.

Lulu Frost for J. Crew

The collection is now available in stores and online, princes run from $45 to $135.

Until next time. have a splendid day!

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Ralph Lauren’s New Home, George & Bar at Houston Fashion Week

Hello and greetings on a day filled with fun and surprises.

We begin with the announcement of our True Prep & Official Preppy Handbook Giveaway winner….

The lucky lady is Southern Sweetie Katie!  We used Random.org to pick the winner; the number chosen is actually for one of the additional entries Katie received for sending someone else to the contest.We want to thank everyone who joined in the fun, we admit being amazed by the number of entries.  If there were to be an award for the best effort in getting others to add entries in her name, that would go to Courtney. And the most delightful comment on Courtney’s behalf comes from her mother, Kathi, we were in stitches when reading this:

“My darling daughter, Courtney Rounds, has begged and pleaded with me to leave a comment. I’ve gently reminded her that a true preppy does not beg or plead. I fear having to remind her does not speak well of my influence during her formative years. I did try. Her nursery was green and pink. Her name, Courtney Elizabeth, offered numerous acceptable nickname opportunities. Her bedtime stories alternated between select readings from my well worn copy of “The Preppy Handbook” and Shel Silverstein. I was properly supportive when she pledged a well established sorority. From an early age she could immediately recognize her monogram. She knows that there is no such thing as too many Sperry’s, plaid shorts or headbands. She has never had big hair. She never will have big hair. Courtney Rounds has a Proper Preppy Princess Pedigree. She is, after all, the progeny of a Preppy Queen and an aging frat boy.”

Courtney’s father is equally creative, here is his comment:

“Courtney is to preppy as Nietzsche is to pietzsche.”

Honestly, we have more fun doing this kind of thing, we try to be restrained so it doesn’t become tedious, but the Fun-o-Meter was peaking in the red zone on this one.

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Next, a few quick tidbits we are overdue in mentioning, with linkage should any of the stories hold appeal:

1) Following a June story in the Times on the popularity of ‘heritage brands’ the Journal ran a similar piece at the end of September, “Is LL Bean Driving the Runway?

“Besides the re-emergence of L.L. Bean and Pendleton, other vintage brands such as Stetson, Woolrich, Levi’s and Britain’s J Barbour & Sons are having second comings, either independently or collaborating with high-end runway designers.”

We love the illustration accompanying the story, “The Heritage Hipster Matrix“.

Wall St. Journal

2) Speaking of heritage, we offer this from the Yale Daily News:

“This November, American heritage clothing brand Gant will open a new store at the corner of York and Elm streets, almost 60 years after it opened its first store in New Haven.”

We have offered a number of post drooling chatting about the upcoming Gant womenswear line, it is wonderful to see the company opening a store back where they first started in 1941.

3) Women’s Wear Daily reports on the new Ralph Lauren women’s flagship store in the city.

Grand in scale and luxurious in its decor, the new store opens to the public tomorrow.

On the Upper East Side, the new digs are across the street from the recently reopened men’s store in the Rinelander Mansion (Madison & 80th).

The new store is also where shoppers will find the brand’s Home Collection.

4) Houston Fashion Week had its share of celebs on hand, including a rather famous set of grandparents.

 

Bob Levey/Wire Image

 

President and Mrs. Bush were in the audience for the Lauren Pierce show, granddaughter Lauren’s eco-friendly line, making its debut at HFW.

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Yesterday we updated you on Talbots‘ next celebrity model, today we have news that Heidi Klum is replacing Naomi Watts as Ann Taylor’s newest face.

Ms. Klum appeared in the retailer’s holiday campaign last year, but Page Six says she is ‘replacing’ Ms. Watts.

Thank you again to everyone who entered the contest, we are thinking we may need to do a similar project next month….hmmmm, that’s a thought to ponder.  Until next time, we hope you enjoy a lovely day!

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS: Ralph Lauren Interiors: Robert Mitra/WWD

 

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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 jcrew.com 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 Style.com 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:

WHEN WASPS BLOG
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.

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

Lilly Pulitzer Agendas at PreppyPrincess.com

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!

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Real Prep School Fashion, Rugby’s Prep Shop

Hello-Hello, happy springtime day!

We jump in with a look at something we always enjoy chatting about: actual prep school fashions.  The looks were captured by WWD in this story on the topic.  Below we see Kerry Joyce, a student at Phillips.

PHOTO: Meghan Colangelo/WWD

We smiled when reading the first sentence from writer Katherine Bowers:

“They don’t call it “preppy” for nothing.”

Ms. Bowers and photographer Meghan Colangelo traveled to three of the country’s more prominent schools (Phillips, Milton, and Concord) to see what is being worn on campus. More from the story:

“If New England private school fashion conjures images of L.L. Bean duck boots, and a heaping tablespoon of J. Crew or Ralph Lauren, the ground-level reality isn’t far off.”

The story points out most students mix traditional brands with trendier items. Below left we see Alexandra Sweeney Vesty at Milton, and Hannah Lee at Phillips.

One of the more interesting parts of the story is seeing that the girls “… showed a huge fondness for thrift, consignment and vintage stores”.  Below, Amelia Fitch at Concord.

Meghan Colangelo/WWD

This is one of those times we really wish a WWD subscription wasn’t required to read the entire story; while not groundbreaking, it is an interesting piece we think you would enjoy. (Envision a sad face.)

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In a related item, we have an update on Ralph Lauren spinoff Rugby.

Courtesy Rugby/PRL

The retailer is launching its ‘Rugby Prep Shop’ microbrand.

Rugby.com

Rugby is using a Polyvore contest as part of its promotion for the collection.

Rugby

From the website:

“The Rugby Prep Shop is where classic style meets Rugby charm. Casual campus essentials meet downtown cool for sharp, sexy style.”

Rugby.com

Per usual, some pieces are darling until one encounters the logos. The Pink Doeskin Jacket and RFLC Crested Fleece Blazer are good examples of the dilemma.

More from the contest page:

“…the Prep Shop’s signature pieces — super-skinny denim in pastel tones, Rugby’s madras-collar trench, and bright spring blazers — that redefines the preppy style we know and love.”

Ahem.

Some of the accessories are very appealing, like the Canvas Foldover Clutch.

Rugby.com

Related material can also be found at the Rugby Blog and on Rugby’s Facebook page.

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We close with a peek at our special Pandamonium Thermal Mugs by Lilly Pulitzer, arriving shortly here at the Prepatorium.

"Pandamonium" at PreppyPrincess.com

The limited edition mugs are part of the Lilly Goes Green effort. Partnering with the World Wildlife Fund, 10% of proceeds from mug sales (as well as all items in the Pandamonium print) go to the WWF, with a minimum donation of $50,000.

With that we say g’bye until next time!

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