I used to LOVE J.Crew! Their preppy sensibilities spoke to me as a young editor coming up in the industry. There wasn’t a tailored blazer or button down I didn’t like.
I used to spend my lunch break in the store’s Rockefeller center location, and ventured out further when they didn’t have what I wanted. I knew it was bad when I went to the J.Crew at Columbus Circle with my mom, and one of the sales clerks responded, “Hey Claire!” My mother shamed me for being on a first name basis with the people who worked there, and I knew I had to slow down! Below are pix I took with two almost identical blazers from J. Crew that I purchased back in the day (before I showed my face). You can read the accompanying post ca 2006 here.
So, it was with disappointment and some shock that I learned that my once beloved J.Crew was in dire straits. According to Fortune and the New Yorker, their profits are plummeting and they’ve laid off a massive amount of staff in an attempt to save their struggling bottom line.
As a side note, isn’t the juxtaposition of the J.Crew model and me kinda hilarious? As a young lady, I looked at those images, and was like, “I can do that!” But in reality nothing fit and looked kinda boring. Anyway.
I partially blame myself for their precipitous downturn. I just stopped shopping it up at the Crew. A few reasons why:
1. It got too expensive
I used to lust after J.Crew blazers back then the way I yearn for Balmain blazers now (my style really hasn’t changed that much FYI). But at a certain point, I remember getting sticker shock at some of the pieces, and figured…if I’m going to spend a mint on clothes, why not go to Bergdorf? J. Crew used to represent affordable luxury and it just became luxury. Not bad, but any business should know to not abandon its core customer.
Y’all see my struggle above. Though everything would look good in the catalog, it did not render the same on my curvy frame. Shout out to my vintage picture taking style. Can y’all believe I was ever camera shy?
Some of the stuff got too cooky. Too zany. Too off the wall. Jenna Lyons did a lot of great things for the J.Crew brand, but I think she went too high fashion for even some fashion folks. Though I went to J.Crew initially for smart blazers and button downs, as the years went on, I stopped by for their more electric pieces (the pants and shirt below).
They were cool for a moment, but I’ve moved on.
Also, now, with the proliferation of options and the mixing of high and low, the market is too competitive to make any missteps. I wish J.Crew the best. And hey, who knows, perhaps another creative director can breathe life into the brand, as Lyons did many years ago.
What do you think?
*Read about J.Crew’s downturn here and here.