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J. Crew Thinks You’ve Changed & Preppy Black Friday Sales: Lacoste, J Crew, Brooks Brothers, More

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here at the Prepatorium we realize almost everyone is interested in Black Friday, or perhaps Cyber Monday. In a word: savings. Everyone is seeking sales. Discounts. Markdowns. Tips on ‘fiscally friendly’ shopping, we know that.

But first, a quick recap on the latest news from J. Crew, all of it impacting how you spend your trust fund when shopping at the specialty retailer.  Speaking with analysts yesterday about the company’s performance, J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler was unequivocal in his opinion that the economic crisis has permanently changed how customers perceive and purchase at retail outlets:

“…we recognize that a sea-change has occurred with the consumer….”

Mr. Drexler believes consumers are demanding higher quality at reasonable prices, two attributes he says J. Crew merchandise has. Surprisingly, he mentioned price points on some specific items, unusual in light of the competitive environment:

“… our ballet flat category will start at under $100 for the first time ever…If you look at our January catalog, you’ll see a ballet flat assortment at $98. This year I think they started at $128.”

When asked about what items customers are willing to pay full price for, Tracy Gardner, J. Crew’s President, mentioned several items:

  • “…there’s a beautiful ruffly blouse….”
  • “… the T shirts that have all the fabulous embellishment, embroidery are blowing out.”
  • “Our match stick cords continue to be phenomenal; our match stick denims… “
  • “They still love our cashmere cardigans.”

Today’s story about J. Crew’s awful performance in WWD (Women’s Wear Daily, subscription required) also quoted Mr. Drexler:

“We don’t want to be the cheapest player. We want to be the longest-lasting high integrity quality player…. “

So what is J. Crew doing for you come Friday?  They are opening at 6 a.m. and all sweaters are 20% off, with Clearance items also an additional 20% off. Things are already heavily discounted online, like the Girls Riley Critter Cord in bright pink, available in all sizes as of this writing. The Crewcut Kids slacks were originally $54, now $19.99 and $30 with the price determined by the color you select.

The company is also doing their Holiday Cheer promotion through midnight Saturday night, with a 20% – 30% discount dependent upon how much you spend. (Click the graphic to go to the Crew site and see the specifics.)

J. Crew Factory Outlet stores are doing a significant promotion of their own starting Friday, most opening at midnight.

If it is difficult to read the small print up above, early risers who shop before 10am can take an additional 50% off clearance styles, nothing to sneeze at. Here is a list of all Factory Stores so you can check the hours.

Another preppy retailer (perhaps the original), Lacoste, is offering 25% off all merchandise; this includes items already on sale. The discount is good through Monday, December 1 and free standard shipping on all orders is also included through Monday. Use promo code HOLIDAY1 to receive the benefit of these offers.

Brooks Brothers is offering 15% off all merchandise online and in their stores. (See below for Factory Outlet store offers.) This promotion even applies to the Black Fleece merchandise from designer Thom Browne.

However, from today’s WWD story on retail promotions for the holiday weekend:

“Traditionally, the retailer has held tight on promotions until after Christmas.”

“… it’s not a fire sale,” said Lou Amendola, chief merchandising officer. The company is “very selectively” discounting much of the women’s apparel, which is seasonal, along with some men’s wear. Outerwear is 25 percent off. ‘We won’t promote blue or white dress shirts, for example. We have no reason to liquidate basics.’”

Additionally Brooks is offering free shipping on all orders totaling more than $200.

If shopping online at Talbots now, or in stores starting Friday, everything is 30% off and there is free standard shipping on every order. Stores open at 8am Friday and both promotions run through December 1st.

TP was in a Talbots on Monday and all Clearance merchandise was an additional 40% off; we can’t imagine this not being the case over the weekend. (As always, check with your local store – do not take our word as the ultimate answer.)

For the Polo Ralph Lauren fans in the household, the Friends and Family promotion continues, offering 30% off all merchandise through December 8. The promotion code is HOL2008, and free shipping is included in this offer.

The Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Outlet stores open at midnight tomorrow night

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Banana Republic continues their “Dressed in Holiday Style” sale online and in stores. The sale runs through Monday, December 1st.

At Banana Republic Factory Stores starting at midnight the discount is 40% off everything in the store.

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Tommy Hilfiger is offering substantial savings for Black Friday, and according to their news release, the discount is 50% off merchandise as opposed to the 40% shown in our graphic.

There are also a number of coupons for specific savings at the Factory Outlet stores, such as “Save an Additional 25% on any $200 Purchase,” but we have no idea if one must have an “official coupon,” or if it could be printed off any site.

Ann Taylor is promoting 30% off your entire purchase plus free shipping only through midnight Thursday.  The promotion code for checkout is TURKEY.

anntaylor

At Ann Taylor Loft stores, there are multiple promotions underway, including a $25 gift card for every $50 you spend starting online Thursday and in stores Friday.

Gobble-gobble!

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Vineyard Vines Friends & Family, More Black Friday: J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, Banana Republic

Hello-Hello… we do hope everyone enjoyed a simply splendid weekend!

TP is a little crazed and dazed; here at the Prepatorium the holiday frenzy seems to have commenced earlier than usual!

Let’s start by updating current and expected markdowns, sales & other discounts at retailers specializing in merchandise that tends toward a preppy aesthetic.

We’ll start with the Vineyard Vines, “Friends & Family shopping event” that provides “25% off Your Purchase,” now through midnight tomorrow night (Tuesday, 11.25.08).  The promo code online or by phone is FRIENDS2008.  If shopping in person, take along a copy of this email notice:

There is a really cute Toddler Puffer Vest:

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Next, Banana Republic is already doing their “Dressed in Holiday Style” sale online and in stores. The sale runs through Monday, December 1st; we consider this the retailer’s Black Friday sale.

And BR does have a little Wool-blend peacoat the Princess is rather fond of:

The coat comes in a variety of colors and is now $118; originally it sold at $198.

Black Friday at the Banana Republic Factory Stores offers a substantial opportunity for those with the patience and sanity to cope with the crowds: 40% off everything in the store.  Many of the factory stores open at midnight; check your local store to confirm shopping opportunities.

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We do have a new J. Crew discount offer.

Now through 11.29.08

Now through 11.29.08

Spend $150 and take 20% off, spend $200 and take 25% off, spend $250 and save 30% off. The promo code on this one is TURKEY. BTW, if you missed our original J. Crew Black Friday post, just click here.

Also, don’t forget, the “take an additional 20% off sale prices” deal ends tonight. TP is guessing that somehow, someway, we’ll see this back *before* the end of next weekend or another incarnation of the offer. Definitely something on Cyber Monday.

If shopping online, the promo code is EXTRA 20.

Neiman Marcus is offering what are truly amazing markdowns for that establishment, certainly  this early in the season.

For example, the  Cole-Haan Air Genie ballerinas are now only $80 from an original price of $175.  Delman’s Quilted Suede Ballerina flats are $117, from $315.

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Don’t overlook the markdowns on your favorite brands in apparel and accessories. Below left, from Lacoste we show the Trucker hat, originally $57, now $35. (This is the Lacoste hat Michael Phelps is frequently seen sporting.) And lots of children’s items are also on sale; the Lacoste Zip Sweater that was $95 is now $57.

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One of TP’s favorites, Garnet Hill, is starting their Thanksgiving Sale and Clearance now.

Temptation is difficult to resist when it comes to the winter theme Hable pillow covers by Hable, now $34 each. The Painted Wood picture frames are also swell and almost 50% off their original price of $36, now $19.

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Arguably today’s “most bang for your buck” item is the cashmere offered at Garnet Hill. Women’s Cashmere V-neck Pullovers are $64, down from $128, as are the Crewneck Cashmere Sweaters.

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TP can assure readers that unless something has gone horribly awry, these are excellent additions to one’s walk-in, of good quality and ever-so-snuggly.

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If you like the apron with bright pink circles and/or the Preppy Stripe note cards and would love to have both absolutely free, be sure and leave a comment to this post telling us one thing you are thankful for. Anything at all. Someone’s name even – that’s it! And you’re entered in the Great Preppy Giveaway!

Yesterday we mentioned we would showcase a few items of note in the Vickie’s Secret fashion show.  Should this be declared preppy lingerie?

Alexander Tamargo/Getty

PHOTO: Alexander Tamargo/Getty

Perhaps our wonderful Nautical by Nature can advise us on the next look… Miss Kate, does it  qualify as officially nautical in your educated estimation?

Jeffrey M. Boan/AP

PHOTO: Jeffrey M. Boan/AP

BTW, the models look absolutely stunning. The show airs on CBS December 3 at 10 o’clock.

We’ll be back!

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Best Kids Sweaters, Sneak Peek at Brooks Brothers Next Perfume, Talbots Sale

Hello-hello on another lovely day in the Great Midwest, perhaps the weather is at least this wonderful wherever you are? But then we have this:

Getty Images
Getty Images

Rather than sit and fidget with glazed eyes watching CNBC or Bloomberg, we will simply move forward and do a Scarlett O’Hara: “….after all, tomorrow is another day…,” knowing that cooler heads on Wall Street and in the FiDi (Financial District) will prevail and the market shall correct today’s correction. Of the earlier correction. That preceded the….oh, never mind. Onward.

The Princess is accepting she must acknowledge that the chill in the morning air is evidence transcending any doubt that the seasons are changing and Fall is here. Fine. We grasp the reality. Truly. See us digging the LL Bean catalog out of the pile and looking at things? Hear us speaking with Cook about the Princess Consort’s delight in slow-cooker entrees?

And just to prove how utterly in sync we are with the Weather Pooh-bahs, we share some of the following, Boys and Girls sweaters from Best & Co., with more than a few styles you may wish were available in Big People sizing!

The first is an argyle, irresistible for TP and also available in a beautiful blue. If this next one is not an all-grown-up-girl’s sweater with a definite ’60s-ish and Jackie look, TP doesn’t know what is!  The double-breasted cardigan would also work as a light jacket and is available in a great lipstick red. (We do hope it’s okay to use your name in this way Miss Lipstick!)

And while we have never been advocates for spoiling children, we don’t take issue with introducing them to cashmere as an integral part of one’s existence at an early age, so long as it is well appreciated and well cared for, that goes without saying. Having bored everyone to tears with that information, we come to the Girl’s Scottie sweater, all sweetness and snuggles and cuddles tied up with a pink bow around its neck.

And you know what the Princess is always saying: Life is better with a bow. It just is, and that is why it’s our mantra here at the Preppy Princess.

There are so many appealing looks for the little girls it is impossible to choose just one as our favorite.

Let’s switch to the Boy’s sweaters, equally fun to look at online IOHO. Best has wisely stocked up on a wonderful array of novelty sweaters for the little guy in your life. And look, each can have a Scottie sweater all their very own, but his is wisely made of wool.

We are also fond of the Crewneck with Terrier style, accented by nicely understated argyle trim.

What young man doesn’t enjoy all manner of vehicles? The Truck Crewneck is cotton, frequently a welcome change from all that winter wool.

There is also a superb rugby sweater for Boys, in a chunky knit, available in three colors.

As with the young ladies, there is also a plethora of attractive looks for the young Master at Best:

Well, after fifty years without introducing a women’s perfume, come mid-November Brooks Brothers New York for Ladies will hit stores. By its side, look for (oh, you already guessed!) Brooks Brothers New York for Gentlemen. Below, an early look at the packaging for both scents.

It’s doubtful readers will remember the mid-fifties womens’ perfume Brooks sold, taken off the market by the end of that same decade. Women really weren’t a priority for the company unless they were buying things for the men in their lives.

Some readers may recall the days when there was very little women’s apparel at B2. As in, “Oh really, if we must have something for the girls, fine, but we are a gentleman’s shop and truthfully, can’t be bothered waiting on them hand and foot…” etc., etc., etc.  There was almost no clothing or accessories or much of anything else in the store worth taking time to look at for females. And one must remember there were only ten stores in existence into the late sixties. TP remembers going into stores in the 1970s and 1980s, some into the 90s, where it was very much a struggle to be taken care of if you were “a girl” unless, as previously noted, you were purchasing something for the man of the house.

This does not take away from the fact that girls at Miss Porter’s wore Brooks Brothers Polo Coats for decades, first introduced to the US in 1910.  (The name for the coat is just too fun when considering one of the company’s largest competitors!)

The three existing Brooks Brothers men’s fragrances will stay on the market through the new scent’s launch; this includes the Signature, 1818, and Country Club colognes.

The bottles are quite nice, cut crystal with the company’s Golden Ox logo. The fragrances are being done by the same firm that does the Gap and Banana Republic “personal care products.”  BTW, if you do happen to pop in and visit the good folks at Brooks Brothers, there are some remarkable bargains available! The scented soap set as well as the boxed set of the Brooks Brothers scented candles in silverplated holders, are now $16, a substantial markdown from their original prices of $68 and $78 as we recall. Don’t let it be said The Princess isn’t looking out for your pocketbook in these stressful times.

If you haven’t yet received your “One Sweet  Sale” catalog from Talbots, look for it in your mailbox any day now, or head for your local store, or even shop the sale online. With pieces like this Stretch Wool/Silk/Jacket at price points 40% off the original selling price you are sure to find something you need, or didn’t yet know you needed, as sometimes happens.  Not everything is discounted at that level; the French terry zip-front hooded jacket is only 23% less than its retail price.

If some new clothing is on the agenda for the little ones or the man in your life, the Talbots Online Outlet is worth a visit, as they are closing out everything in the Men’s and Children’s lines. For example, the Quilted critter jacket in Sizes 2-7 looks darling (50% off), as does the Hooded dot-print raincoat in an oh-so-preppy pink is also (0% off; this looks similar to what we used to call a slicker.

Who can resist such stylish Argyle overalls for the newborn, or the Beary-Good Raincoat? It’s also for newborns and available in two colors.

Such cute clothing for the precious treasures in your life, with many more pieces available for your perusal online.

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Steve & Barry’s Bankruptcy, Gucci Olympic Collection, 40 Pages of Barneys Shoes on Sale!

As everyone has been speculating, the Steve and Barry’s bankruptcy is official; the paperwork was filed today in Manhattan. As we first chatted about it back on May 5th, and then again just last week, the company’s ability to make a profit with clothing priced at $8.98 became questionable. As gas prices went north and the economy went south, so did Steve and Barrry’s business.

The company is known for its lines associated with celebrities like actress Sarah Jessica Parker, basketball stars Stephon Marbury and Ben Wallace, surfer Laird Hamilton, tennis star Venus Williams, a golf collection named after Bubba Watson and several others. As of this writing discussions continue as to what will happen to the stores; gift cards are being honored, returns are being accepted, etc. There is the very real possibility, if not the likelihood, the company will have to close the stores. We will keep you posted if anything substantive transpires.

Now we know that when you think Summer Olympics you think Gucci. It’s like macaroni and cheese… Gucci and Olympics. Olympics and Gucci. Totally. In fact, The Princess is anticipating several comments will come in that you don’t just think ‘Gucci,’ you think ‘Gucci Olympic Bicycle‘ don’t you? We thought so. To that end we give you the Gucci 2-2-2008 Bicycle.

We shall now remove the tongue firmly planted in our cheek. In case you somehow missed the announcement several months back, Gucci has created the “8-8-2008 Limited Edition” collection. Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini describes the bright red used for the special collection:

“Not only does red evoke happiness and celebration, two emotions that couldn’t be more appropriate to describe the excitement brought by the international sport games, but it also happens to be a very fashionable color for 2008…”

There is also the I-Gucci watch, seen to your left. It is the only item from the collection available to all; we point that out because the other items in the are only being sold in Hong Kong and mainland China.

The watch is offered in a number of variations, and is notable because it is the first digital watch Gucci has ever offered for sale. It is also available in a version with hands for those who prefer an analog world. (Is it our goofy brain or is the name sounding like an Apple product?) Click on the I-Gucci Watch link above if you are interested in more images and/or information about the piece.

There is also an amazing pair of sneakers in a vibrant array of colors, luggage, and a few other goodies.

Yesterday the Gucci Resort 2009 collection was shown and since we shared this Olympic group we thought we would do a little sneak peek at a few pieces from next years’ line. (A reminder these are not yet available for purchase.) Creative Director Frida Giannini is seen in the final photo, lower right.

Now we wouldn’t sleep tonight if we didn’t update you on a few opportunities to save a little $$$, even though we truly don’t believe in open discussions of the “M” topic. In addition to the additional price reductions, Needless Markup Neiman’s is also providing free shipping at any price. (Will wonders never cease?) The code for this amazing event is SHIPJUL.

If you have the time, the amount of shoes Barneys still has on sale is simply remarkable; there are 40 pages of shoes and boots marked down at Barneys! The Princess strongly urges you to check at least a few of these pages out if you are so inclined.

Banana Republic also has some fairly good markdowns and Ralph Lauren has an additional 25% off selected sale merchandise.

Terry de Havilland
Python platform wedge

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Preppy Sales Pt. 2: Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Barneys

Memorial Day Sale Graphic for Banana Republic

What were we thinking yesterday? Doing an entire post entitled “Preppy Sales Update…blah-blah-blah” and ignoring some of these retailers? Honestly. On to the business at hand.

Above you see the notice for the Banana Republic sale, worthy of a drive-by as we are wont to say, not to mention the Piperlime sale which merits a full-blown screeching halt, complete with skid marks so that you may stroll into the store and wander at your leisure. A quick reminder – at PiperLime shipping is always free. Thank the shopping goddesses for that, as the Gola Ignite flats seen below are an absolute must-have for the season. Absolute. And the Lilly Color in Bloom flats with the little Pink Ornament…? What do you think?

Piperlime Gola Ignite Flat

Lilly Pulitzer Color in Bloom flat at Piperlime

Now when you get over to Ann Taylor, there are kind of two different sale events. There is the Items at $19.99 and Up Great Summer Sale and then there is the 25% Off Everything Online (at least it appears that way from what little fine print we had time to scan). The Princess can’t tell if this applies to the $19.99 items or not. After you’ve made your stop at Annie T, blast into Neiman‘s for Last Call. Missing Last Call is really TBAAAC (To Be Avoided At Any Cost); there’s just too many opportunities to find goodies for yourself, the help, Junior’s tennis coach and Buffy’s camp counselors.

And whatever you do, *don’t forget* the Men’s Store Event with decent savings on things like the Ferragamo ties and Robert Graham shirts we’re showing here.

Neiman\'s Last Call Grpx

Men\'s Ferragamo Silk Ties at Neiman Marcus Robert Graham Shirt on sale at Neiman Marcus

While Barneys would not be considered ‘preppy’ in the strictest definitions of the term, TP feels we would all agree that some more-than-preppy items have come out of that fine establishment over the years! It is in that spirit we suggest stopping by the Barneys Memorial Day Sale as well to glance at their offerings.

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Mulberry Heads to the Hamptons & Brooks Brothers is Going Where?

Mulberry Screen Grab

Fans of the always chic Mulberry style will be able to enjoy it firsthand if they’re headed to the Hamptons. The company’s first ‘pop-up shop’ is opening this Saturday (the 24th) in East Hampton, and the British accessories firm says the shop will be open through the summer. The company will be showcasing some of its collaborative efforts with artists like Julie Verhoeven, who has designed a T-shirt line for Mulberry. A few of her creations for the firm are viewable below. The Hamptons shop will carry some of the standards you expect from this on-trend retailer, as well as exclusive items that were previously only available outside the US. Perhaps they’ll get a little welcome wagon Hamptons style from neighbors like Gucci and Ralph Lauren. BTW, if you know anyone who may be qualified to work at the upscale boutique, it appears they are still hiring from this posting on Craig’s List.Julie Verhoeven for Mulberry

Mulberry Handbag

There’s word this week from ever-so-preppy Brooks Brothers, announcing their next store opening will be in La Jolla, sometime this fall. If memory serves me right, the closest one to La Jolla would be Fashion Valley in San Diego, so presumably the preppy shopper in the area will be pleased by the news. (The state is littered with has quite a few of the Brooks Brothers outlets, far outnumbering the regular ‘Retail’ stores by a good margin.) The new shop will be one of the retailer’s larger ‘Flagship’ stores, also enjoying nice neighbors like Banana Republic, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Bahama.

The company is also moving ahead with its new Brooks Brothers Country Club concept store at Garden Walk in Anaheim, California.

Brooks Brothers Standard Two-shot

Oh, and a quick reminder for folks in the city that the Chanel fine jewelry boutique on Madison reopened today, after a major overhaul.

Chanel Fine Jewelry print ad

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“I Love Saks” in Vogue & 2008 Banana Republic Fall/Holiday Collection

In an unusually emotive display making her appear almost human, The Princess begs everyone who hasn’t seen this month’s Nostalgia article in Vogue to run to their closest library or newsstand to read Amy Ephron’s article, “I Love Saks”. The subhead explains “Amy Ephron describes a life spent seeking sparks and solace at the fabled countertops of a New York department store.” It is really a wonderful story, very similar in tone and tenor to My Summer at Tiffany, by Marjorie Hart, so good the Princess calls it Prepalicious! This is the May 2008 Vogue, the one with the much-discussed Gwyneth Paltrow photo on the cover.

Just in case you were thinking about warm weather activities this weekend, looking for the perfect bikini, best books for the beach, we leave you with a reminder of what happens after all that! Here are some fabulous shots of Banana Republic’s 2008 Fall/Holiday collection. We think Banana Republic fans will find favor with most of the looks; there are some fabulous finds in this group! Enjoy!

PHOTO CREDITS: Patrick McMullan & Grant Lamos IV

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