Tag Archives: preppy clothing

“Subverting a Preppy Standby” & “Preppy Twists”

Hello-Hello, happy middle of the week to all of our treasured readers.

Here at the Prepatorium we like to engage in a rather quaint practice: every morning we read the paper. As in real newsprint on real paper. One of the papers we read is the Wall Street Journal, and they have had some interesting features of late talking about men’s fashion. More specifically, what some consider preppy styles.

Saturday’s paper had a nifty article on a topic near and dear to many a prep’s heart: embroidered critters or other patterns on clothing and accessories.  The article is titled “Fresh Threads” with a subhead that reads: “Men’s labels are subverting a preppy standby—the embroidered motif—to create some of this season’s cleverest clothes.” From the story:

FOR A FEW YEARS NOW, menswear designers have been tapping the well of classic prep, and this spring, labels like Thom Browne, Band of Outsiders, Shipley & Halmos and Asos are exploring its quirkiest reaches. They’ve traveled sartorially to Greenwich, Long Island or Nantucket, where tiny embroidered anchors, whales, lobsters and the like have decorated men’s shirts and shorts for generations.

Below we show two of the illustrations from the story. On the left is a Thom Browne jacket with the standard whale (unless I am missing something), on the right, quotation mark chinos from Band of Outsiders.

Carven/Thom Browne Wall Street Journal

Carven/Thom Browne Wall Street Journal

From the piece by John Ortved:

“The things about classic American preppy clothes, whether they be chinos or pants with a bunch of flags embroidered on them, is that they’re very easy with a lot of personality,” said Band of Outsiders designer Scott Sternberg, whose witty take on the embroidery tradition this season includes pants and shirts covered with fat little red and blue quotation marks.

Another illustration from the article, Castaway Clothing’s Cisco Shorts.

Mr. Porter/Wall Street Journal

Castaway Clothing/Wall Street Journal

The foaming beer mug seems relatively harmless, not especially subversive. I went to Castaway’s site to shop for research purposes, here are a few more of the images they embroider on apparel.

Castaway Clothing

Castaway Clothing

I don’t know about you, but the iconography doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The bow tie on seersucker really caught my eye.

Back to the story:

Trousers featuring a more outlandish, all-over embroidery appeared as part of post-WWII East Coast country club culture—which took the symbols of leisure-class exclusivity and multiplied them for a distinctly American notion of casual wear. The martini glasses and whales embroidered on Nantucket reds and seersucker shorts followed.

The next item has a creature we’re used to seeing on our clothing, here we show Dunhill’s Lobster Embroidered Woven Silk Tie. The difference between our whales and the Dunhill whale? I’m used to them being on cotton, not silk.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 9.02.20 PM

Mr. Porter/Wall Street Journal

Back to the story:

Trousers featuring a more outlandish, all-over embroidery appeared as part of post-WWII East Coast country club culture—which took the symbols of leisure-class exclusivity and multiplied them for a distinctly American notion of casual wear. The martini glasses and whales embroidered on Nantucket reds and seersucker shorts followed. Now, those miniature designs are decorating everything from canvas backpacks and Vans sneakers to windbreakers.

Another illustration shows a Shipley & Halmos jacket and slacks adorned with a tiny artist at his easel.

The Wall Street Journal & Van's

The Wall Street Journal/Shipley & Halmos

I like the painter-he may not technically be ‘preppy,’ but the little artist doesn’t strike me as subversive. (Full disclosure: I’ve been a Shipley & Halmos fan for quite a while, they do an awful lot of things very well.) However, the company’s product description for a sweater seems a little harsh.

Don’t worry, you won’t see S&H embroidering alligators or dogs or palm trees all over a bright pink sweater. Instead, pull on this cotton blend crew neck with artist embroidery. More cool, less annoying.

Harrumph. There’s no need to get testy about the style.

One of the more intriguing items was this pair of Vans, I had to ask The Consort what the embroidery actually depicted. His answer: “feathers”.

The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal

The feathers aren’t all that appealing to me, but they do point out that this topic really typifies the “whatever floats one’s boat” credo.  Granted, it’s not exactly what J. Crew used to offer.

J. Crew Boys via I Blame the Patriarchy

J. Crew Boys via ‘I Blame the Patriarchy’ Blog

But then, I don’t remember seeing this motif on anything growing up, and now it’s one of my favorites.

Castaway Clothing

Castaway Clothing

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Next, a story that did raise eyebrows, it comes via the good folks at Art Info, and is titled Head to Toe: Preppy Twists for Men. Below, the graphic illustration accompanying the story. Ahem.

ArtInfo.com

ArtInfo.com

From Nicholas Remsen’s story:

Preppy is as preppy does. But Nantucket reds, Wayfarers and seersuckers are a little played out, their sartorial wellspring pumped dry by endless GQ spreads and street-style shots of show-mongers in cuffed chinos and topsiders.

It seems Mr. Ortved and Mr. Remsen are of similar minds on the issue of ‘preppy’ being “overdone.” (In reality it’s never ‘over’ or ‘underdone’ for most of us, it’s just a constant. No need to think about it, grab something from the closet and go. End of story.)

One of the items featured in the Art Info piece is Thom Browne’s Whale Intarsia Sweater. Yes, the very same Mr. Browne mentioned above, he is frequently excoriated discussed in this space.

Mr.Porter

Mr.Porter

It’s darling, cute as can be, yet it makes me think Silly Season has come early, for that is a $1760 whale on cashmere.

Back to the story:

However, prep still has room for originality, thanks to designers like Thom Browne, with his hipster take on all things WASP, and Tomas Maier’s artful Italian classicism at Bottega Veneta. Here, our picks for skirting the country-club dress code — perfect for downtown-meets-uptown reunions with your Ivy buddies and springtime weekends in the country…

The cashmere whale isn’t the strangest product in the story, one can at least say, “Whales…preps…okay…”. Such mental meandering is impossible with this item: the Balmain Distressed Leather Biker Pants.

Balmain/Barney's

Balmain/Barney’s

“Springtime weekends in the country”….? Hello? It really seems time to quote Nancy Reagan and “Just say no.”

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Preppy Style Cheat Sheet & “That Absurd War on the Color Pink”

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a Wednesday. We are brief today, business is usurping oodles of time, so we share only a few items.

Our first topic is a quick look at another preppy style guide, “Preppy Style Cheat Sheet,” is found in a recent post on the Washingtonian website.

When it comes to fashion, Washington has a serious case of split personality disorder. From the flannel-wearing hipsters in Columbia Heights to the slick suits on K Street, each neighborhood has its own look. And where would we be if we didn’t mention the pastel-wearing prepsters of Georgetown? With this style, there’s a fine line between fabulous and costumey—and no one walks it as impeccably as law students/platonic lifemates Lauren Wynns and Van Bloys, the duo behind the fashion and lifestyle blog Necessary & Proper.

Below, Mr. Bloys and Ms. Wynns as seen in the story.

PHOTO: Katie Warren via The Washingtonian

Writer Sarah Zlotnick features input from the duo on a variety of topics, including their vision of the Top 5 Wardrobe Essentials.

For women: colored pants (denim or tailored silk), trench coat, a silk blouse (bonus points for one with an unusual neckline or pattern), an equestrian-inspired blazer, and a colorful shift dress.

For men: A navy blazer, Cordovan lace-ups, gray flannel trousers, an oxford shirt, and a cashmere V-neck sweater.

PHOTO: Katie Warren via The Washingtonian

The story also asked about “skills every prepster should master”:

Social grace. Write thank-you notes, buy hostess gifts, be cordial to everyone, and stay classy in the presence of those who are not. Bad manners and cattiness are so unbecoming.

Tying a bow tie. It’s like riding a bicycle. You’d never imagine how many men came into Ralph Lauren [Van used to work at the Georgetown store] on the night of a big event in a tux with an untied bow tie and asked a salesperson to tie it for them.

We couldn’t agree more on the need for proper social skills, and can also verify The Consort concurs on the merits of tying one’s own tie.

There is also a list of brands of up and coming brands, it is nice to see our friends Kiel & Sarah from KJP at the top of the list.

  • Kiel James Patrick—whimsical, handmade accessories out of Rhode Island.
  • Sasha Lickle Designs—Floridian-style jewelry inspired by sea life and the beach.
  • Pierrepont Hicks—An American brand with beautiful ties and bow ties.
  • Smathers & Branson—A Bethesda-based needlepoint belt company. You can even get a “life belt” custom made to match your personal interests.
  • Hugh and Crye—This Georgetown-based shirtmaker has slim cuts and great patterns. And we love our native DC designers!

Click here to see the story in its entirety.

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Our second item involves a story from Scientific American, a publication not frequently referenced here at The Prepatorium (there’s a shock). Yet today we speak about a story posted on the magazine’s blog,  Stop This Absurd War on the Color Pink.  A great photo is near the top of the piece, prominently captioned “This Dog Does Not Exist”.

Scientific American: "This Dog Does Not Exist"

The story begins this way:

Last week Robert Krulwich, a co-host of the wonderful program Radiolab, Pluto’d pink. In a blog post he noted that pink doesn’t occupy a slot in the familiar colors of the rainbow—there’s no P in Roy G. Biv. From this, he concludes that pink does not really exist:

“That’s why pink is an invention. It’s not a name we give to something out there. Pink isn’t out there.”

Now, at the risk of sounding like an airhead, I confess much of the story was over my head.

Pink is real—or it is not—but it is just as real or not-real as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

On a more fundamental level, however, Krulwich is right. Pink is not out there, because no color is really “out there.”

Tilly doesn’t think it is ‘out there,’ Tilly finds it very real.

This Dog Is Really, Really Not Real

She may not be real, but still qualifies as our Pretty in Pink for the day.

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Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People, Pretty in Pink

Tommy Hilfiger & Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Spring 2012

Yesterday we promised a look at more Fashion Week by designers with a preppish aesthetic, we’ll jump right in with this weekend’s Tommy Hilfiger show.

Robert Mitra/WWD

From WWD’s review (Women’s Wear Daily, subscription required):

With the preppy circuit a hallowed seedbed of loud color and louder pattern, one might expect its sartorial guru, Tommy Hilfiger, to blend right in this season. Yes and no. The engaging show he presented on Sunday night felt perfect for the moment, yet stood out on the strength of Hilfiger’s approach to patterns.

Ummm, “hallowed seedbed”? Anyone? Bueller?

We always enjoy the bright pops of color one sees more of in the spring collections, the pieces below are fun while also offering a touch of whimsical sophistication.

Robert Mitra/WWD

More from the Women’s Wear Daily story:

Rather than outsize florals, he chose magnified men’s wear checks and subtle shirting stripes. As expressions of the Pop motif, the former came bright (orange and blue; pink and green) in Modworthy cuts, and were shown in matchy-matched ways that looked charmingly contrived — swimsuit matching skirt, matching bag matching shoes.

Some of those menswear fabrics can be seen in the styles shown below:

Robert Mitra/WWD

The pieces above are lovely, especially the soft pink-peach on the far right. As some industry insiders expected, it seems there is a return to more ladylike styles, no complaints about that from these quarters.

Robert Mitra/WWD

Back to the the story in WWD:

However one feels about the military-combat staple prettied up in pink and blue (it resonated awkward on the 9/11 anniversary), it went on too long.

Catwalking via NY Times

We concur with the sentiments on the camo, there were many more looks we haven’t shown, it simply didn’t fit with the rest of the collection, and it all started to look the same.

As for the voluminous Mondrian-inspired caftans, preppy girls don’t want to look fat, either. But these played like mere afterthoughts to an overall engaging collection.

Catwalking via NY Times

From Vogue UK‘s review:

Tommy Hilfiger’s show last night focused on the fusion of preppy and pop, paying homage to the Sixties – a recurrent theme of the season, though the ensembles here were more amped up Ali McGraw in Love Story, than Mod-style sharp and bold.

Long the undisputed king of youth-driven sportswear, the Hilfiger of late is compelling, playing around with the classics and fine-tuning the brand’s new-found high-end prep signature.

Finally, several of the swimwear styles.

Robert Mitra/WWD

Among the celebrities on hand for the show, Malin Akerman, NBA star Carmelo Anthony and actress Abbie Cornish.

Getty Images

It wouldn’t be Fashion Week if we didn’t share at least a look or two from that wild and wacky guy, Thom Browne. (Yes, of the Brooks Brothers Black Fleece fame.) Below we share several styles from Monday’s runway show.

Getty Images

From Newstimes:

The designer presented his spring collection Monday in the hallowed halls of the New York Public Library. But this was no study hall. It wasn’t a typical fashion show, either

Below we show several looks from this fall’s Black Fleece collection. (Mr. Browne’s collection is entirely separate, the similarities are visible however.)

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece

Which brings us to our Black Fleece preview for spring 2012. Again we return to Women’s Wear Daily:
In a word, preppy. For spring, Thom Browne did away with some of the more severe silhouettes he typically favors and instead showed the kind of clothes his bosses at Brooks Brothers are well-versed in.

John Aquino/WWD

Seersucker, plaid, lace and grey flannel, it was all here.  More from WWD‘s review:
For women, Browne honed in on bright pink, green and yellow designs with a Sixties touch, which is a departure for the label. He also put together contrasting seersuckers, and added details such as three pockets on a lace dress.

John Aquino/WWD

We very much liked almost everything we saw for the ladies, the bias-cut silk dress on the far right is something we would love to see on, it looks like a slice of understated elegance on a hangar.

John Aquino/WWD

A final note on next spring’s Black Fleece collection from Women’s Wear Daily:

Browne’s uberprep moment doesn’t mean he turned his back entirely on some of his earlier designs. Black Fleece’s hallmark red, white and blue blazer was still there, this time in a silk rep tie fabric.

John Aquino/WWD

That makes for two design surprises today, frequent readers know we have been less than positive about many of Mr. Hilfiger’s previous collections, as well as Mr. Browne’s, we find ourselves embracing many pieces in both collections.

Not quite as extensive a look at Fashion Week as we had hoped, but the best we can do today! We’ll be back on Friday with more Fashion Week along with a few other little tidbits.

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“It’s All About The Preppy” at Targét & J. Crew Collection for Fall

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a busy Thursday here at the Prepatorium. Today’s post is very brief, once again we face too much office work and too little time for bloggage. Sigh.

We begin with something that surprised us the last time we were at Le Boutique Targét, take a look at the company’s in-store marketing campaign:

Target

The “It’s All About Preppy Looks” message is seen on signage throughout the children’s department, but when shopping online one doesn’t find much merchandise described as “preppy”.  When doing a search on the retailer’s website for anything “preppy” only five items are returned for that search term.

Target.com

It doesn’t mean the pieces the company is pushing as ‘preppy’ in-store aren’t available online, shoppers will just need to know what they are looking for by style. (We don’t think that’s much of an issue for TPP readers, not too many of us shop for clothing by that search term.) It’s more of a lack of merchandising coordination, something Target is usually much better at.

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Next, we glance quickly at a few of the fall styles from J. Crew’s higher-end “Collection” line.

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Via Fab Sugar

‘Collection’ features limited edition pieces like the $995 Starlee Sequin Dress in a very pretty pink (shown on the left), and the $1495 Leopard Calf Hair Jacket.

Other Collection styles are shown below, the Double-Faced Cashmere Popover and the Albertus Swanepoel Fedora at $178. (Mr. Swanepoel is the gentleman doing a collaboration with Target later this year; click here for more on that topic.)

Here is the Capelette Peacoat, $350.

J. Crew Collection

And the Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater.

J. Crew Collection

To see Crew’s fall Collection Lookbook, click here.

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Also today, Who What Wear has an interesting piece examining “Preppy Pieces Under $100“.

Who What Wear

From that story:

“When you hear the word “preppy,” a few things immediately come to mind: pearl necklaces, penny loafers, and characters like Blane and Steff from Pretty in Pink. In other words, it conjures up a look that hasn’t been wildly popular since the ’80s—until now.”

Items showcased in the piece include a River Island Padlock Bag at $40 and a Tommy Hilfiger Web Belt, $48.

More from the story:

Whether it’s a pair of nautical-chic wedges or a polished plaid dress, these handpicked items will freshen up your mid-season wardrobe without breaking the bank, so feel free to shop today’s Under $100 story sans stress. Whatever you buy, just know that Muffy would definitely approve…

We do like the ASOS Checked Dress with Bow Belt, it runs $78.

This one makes for an interesting read. While not everything shown in the story equates to a ‘preppy style,’ we are fans of the Who What Wear approach.

G’bye until next time!

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Filed under Collaborations, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle

Brooks Brothers Boys & Girls Fleece for Fall & A New Line We Like

Hello-Hello, and happy top of a new week.

Today’s post acknowledges the inevitable: that although we are only in the middle of summer, and weeks away from fall (months away for those of us without back to school concerns), new season collections are arriving in stores. In that spirit we take a look at this fall’s Fleece Collection at Brooks Brothers.

Brooks Brothers "Fleece"

Fleece is the line that launched this spring bringing the Boys and Girls collections together under a unified label. We share a number of looks from the fall line.

Brooks Brothers

We like almost everything in the collection. The pieces seem more age-appropriate, with hems that look a little longer, there is restraint in the use of embellishment and pattern. The impact is a collection that is more classic, more preppish if you will.  Below, two of the casual ensembles.

Brooks Brothers Fleece

The more formal styles are also pretty. The grey Taffeta Print Dress has a *very* sophisticated look, although we’re not sure what color most accurately reflects the shades of grey in the fabric. The dress runs $125 in girls sizes 4 through 16.

Brooks Brothers Printed Taffeta Dress

Our favorite of the dressier styles, the Wool Pleat Dress.

Brooks Brothers

It is everything a young lady’s winter dress should be, with three-quarter length sleeves, pleats and elegant piping, priced at $125. We show two more of the dress-up styles, not our favorites, but not bad either.

Brooks Brothers 'Fleece'

There are also basics like Argyle Cardigans in merino wool.

Brooks Brothers 'Fleece'

Along with the Girls Cashmere Cardigans. (TQM is rolling her eyes at the notion of cashmere for kids, “It’s just not practical.”)

Brooks Brothers 'Fleece'

The wool dresses for Girls look nice as well, although the sleeveless version on the far right doesn’t make a lot of sense, initially we thought it was a jumper, but online it is described as a dress. The dresses are priced between $80 and $90.

Brooks Brothers 'Fleece'

The fall shoes are also darling, all of these ballet flats feature sweet little bows and

Brooks Brothers 'Fleece'

The Boys Fleece line for fall is also available online.

Brooks Brothers 'Fleece'

Here are several looks.

Brooks Brothers 'Fleece'

Again, there are plenty of basics like merino wool sweaters, these run $89.50 to $98.50.

Brooks Brothers 'Fleece'

The selection of pants available for your young MOTH (Man of the House) is also good sized, with styles in corduroy, gabardine, pleated, unpleated, and more. These are priced from $59.50 to $98.

Brooks Brothers 'Fleece'

The sports shirts for boys shown below are $49.50.

Brooks Brothers 'Fleece'

All in all this is a stellar collection from Brooks, with lots of things to like.

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And in the spirit of “summer is still very much with us!” we have a look at a line relatively new to us, Jolie & Elizabeth.

Jolie and Elizabeth

The company is best known for its seersucker dresses, below we share a portion of its philosophy as explained online:

Jolie is French for, “pretty” and Elizabeth translates to “promise” so together, Jolie & Elizabeth means pretty promise and our promise to you is below.

All of our dresses are manufactured right here in the beautiful city of New Orleans, Louisiana… Jolie & Elizabeth prides itself in contributing to the rebuilding, revitalizing and redevelopment of the city of New Orleans, and the great state of Louisiana.

Here are three darling dresses.

Jolie & Elizabeth

The line also offers party dresses, here are two styles shown at New Orleans Fashion Week, we’ll make the dress on the left today’s Pretty in Pink.

Jolie and Elizabeth

We do like the way this line looks, and love the fact they manufacture in New Orleans.

That’s it for today, goodbye until next time!

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Filed under Argyle, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, Pretty in Pink

Talbots Holiday 2011 and A Few Sales/Savings Opportunities

Hello-Hello, welcome to an absolutely gorgeous day here at the Prepatorium.

It seems like just last week we were engaged in a whineathon of epic proportion desperate for just a taste of spring or summer weather.  Fast forward a few weeks and now many friends find themselves praying for an early fall, it has been that hot or that dry or that wet, or simply that miserable in their corner of the globe. In that spirit we offer an early look at this year’s holiday collection at Talbots.

Women’s Wear Daily attended yesterday’s preview and has the story.

“Inspired by Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball of 1966, Michael Smaldone, Talbots’ chief creative officer, showed a holiday collection on Wednesday that was minimalistic, with a nod to easy Sixties glamour.”

There are some nice, bright jewel tones in the line.

It’s always good to see a splash of color in the middle of winter.

Another angle on the more vibrant colors.

Robert Mitra/WWD

Here are a few of the more casual styles.

Robert Mitra/WWD

It looks like Talbots will continue to grow its workout/athletic/yoga group, an area that remains a very positive story for most retailers. (Full disclosure; your trusty correspondent has a few pieces from this group and they are outstanding.)

Robert Mitra/WWD

There is a wonderful array of pieces in a deep, rich red, perfect for the holidays.

Robert Mitra/WWD

More from the WWD story:

“Smaldone focused on clean shapes, from long column gowns to short A-line dresses, as well as graphic black-and-white elements on looks such as a long houndstooth skirt.”

More in these colors.

Also seen more frequently this time of year, lamé and sequins, with a few animal prints also visible.

Robert Mitra/WWD

There are more jewel tones shown in the holiday accessories.

Robert Mitra/WWD

A few more items.

Robert Mitra/WWD

These are a bit tougher to see, but you can still get an idea of what will be offered.

Robert Mitra/WWD

Many of the styles shown look elegant, although it is obviously difficult to gauge when you can’t feel the fabric, look closely at the cut, the embellishment, etc.  We fervently hope the collection helps the troubled retailer get back on track, we would like to see them around for many years to come.

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We have a very few Sales and Savings Opportunities to offer.

Kate Spade is taking an additional 25% off sale prices, use promo code SALE25 for the discount. (Today is the last day.)

Brooks Brothers is doing its summer Clearance event.

Vineyard Vines is taking an additional 40% off its sale items, use promo code HOT. One caveat, this morning they have experienced numerous outages and downtime for the website. We’re sure it will be remedied as quickly as possible, but patience might be required.

Basically every apparel & accessories retailer we know of is offering significant discounts at its stores (as well factory/outlet stores) and online.

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One last FYI, we are doing a poll at our sister site What Kate Wore, Kate’s wearing of pantyhose/tights/nylons almost all the time is creating quite the conversation. We would love to know what you think, either by vote or comment or both!

With that, we say thank you for popping in to visit, we cherish each and every reader, knowing you have a gazillion choices when it comes to online reading opportunities. We are grateful you decided to spend a little time with us. 🙂

ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDIT:

  • All Talbots photos by Robert Mitra, WWD

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Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Sales & Savings

Is There A Change at J. Crew?

Hello-Hello and welcome to a new week here at the Prepatorium, we appreciate you stopping in for a visit.

We begin today with an update on J. Crew, a brand we haven’t spent much time chatting about recently.  Canada’s Globe and Mail took a look at the company in advance of its first Canadian store opening.  J. Crew Primping for its Canadian Debut examines some of the retailer’s recent business decisions, this initial portion references CEO Mickey Drexler.

Customers were complaining that his stores no longer carried the “cafe Capri” women’s cropped pants. The shelves were stocked with too many ruffled tops and mini-skirts, and too few classics such as Italian cashmere sweaters, ballet flats and knee-length pencil skirts.

Mr. Drexler felt the pain. The missteps caused J. Crew Group Inc. to stumble financially. Today….he feels the pressure to once again generate the fashion hits for which he is famous.”

We selected a few examples relative to what the story discusses, beginning with Crew’s Schoolboy Madras Blazer, an item more in keeping with what customers would consider the brand’s heritage.  Although the shrunken cut may fit too snugly, at least the garment harkens back to the brand’s ‘preppy roots.’  On the other hand, while a pencil skirt is always in style, efforts to ‘update’ the look don’t work in the ‘Pleated Pencil Skirt‘ seen lower right, the detail at the hip is unlikely to flatter anyone bigger than a Size 2. (As a sometimes Size 4 we figure we’re allowed to grip about such things.)

Back to the Globe & Mail’s story:

J. Crew’s recent fashion errors underline Mr. Drexler’s strengths and challenges. He knew quickly last summer that some of the new younger styles weren’t working, and that the stores were under-stocked on classics.

More pieces probably unpopular with “old style” core customers include things like an Heirloom Lace Vest originally priced at $295, and a $150 Sequin Sweatshirt (now $99), garments that are simply not going to work for many. 

More from the story:

We skewed a little younger than we should have – a little more trendy,” Mr. Drexler….said in an interview…“We ran out of a lot of our best-sellers. When you don’t have enough of the best, you skew too young – you have a tough time. It happened. Right now it’s kind of fixed.”

Other items in the too trendy category would likely include the Mona Shirtdress (left) and the $995 Plumage Skirt, covered in feathers, now on sale for $599.

We thought the company did a decent job maintaining a core of perfectly acceptable pieces, much like the Cotton Dress shown below.

To be fair, we never encountered any difficulty finding basic cashmere pieces, like the sweater below.

Via J. Crew

But then we didn’t look very often, at least not in the last several years. Once a core customer is turned off by a brand’s offerings they are not as likely to pay casual visits to the retailer, either in person or online. There are too many other choices available in the marketplace, the retailing landscape too crowded.

One of the more interesting things about the story is the way Mr. Drexler is referenced throughout the piece, here is one example essentially saying the company is dependent upon his talents:

“Drexler is human and obviously made some mistakes last year,” said Mark Cohen, a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York and a former CEO of Sears Canada. “The good news about a one-man band is that, when in tune, the melody is awfully sweet. But when it’s off-key, the music is awful.

There is no reference to J. Crew’s President and Creative Director, Jenna Lyons.  However, it is possible the appeal she holds for many of the firm’s customers in the US won’t carry across the border until people are more familiar with J. Crew’s offerings.

In efforts to better engage customers the company has embraced social media, growing the content on its website in addition to using Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. For example, as in previous seasons, the fall lookbook is now available online.

Via J. Crew Tumblr

Here are three looks from the Fall 2011 line.

Via J. Crew

We do hope J. Crew is able to right the ship, for years the company did *many* things very well. More from this fall’s line.

Via J. Crew

What do you think, is the company getting back to styles you are more comfortable with?

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We leave you with a bright and fun image, actually a fundraiser for the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

National Aquarium

The limited-edition Lilly Pulitzer scarf is a fundraiser for the Aquarium, available now at the Aquarium’s gift shop. Here is a better look at the detail in the pattern.

National Aquarium

For an *outstanding* post on the topic, visit Let The Tide Pull Your Dreams Ashore.

Until next time, g’bye!

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Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle