Have you read the most recent post on J.Crew Aficionada about prices and luxe products?
Alexis, who manages J.Crew Aficionada and facilitates the discussion was referencing an article from Daily about price increases at J.Crew, Jenna's aspirations to be a luxury/designer label and her conviction that the quality or their products went up along with the prices. I was very happy that Alexis was interviewed and that our opinions can be heard. Alexis deserves some recognition for all her worth, but so far she has often been snubbed and ignored by J.Crew.
The topic addressed in the article is something that I have been thinking of for some time. Is J.Crew and their offerings worth the money? Or, to put it more precisely, which of their offering are worth the price and which pieces are better sourced from somewhere else?
Personally, if I was to order it by categories this would be my list:
- Pencil skirts - to me they are worth the full price although I always try to get at least the 20% off. This is because I am a bargain hunter by nature, but I would say the fit the colors and the quality are incomparable. Nothing fits me better, they are still using mostly natural fabrics, the construction is adequate. I love their double serge wool skirt but also the printed cotton ones as well as 120's and superfine cotton suiting skirts
- Coats - I still like the cut and quality of J.Crew coats. Last year a bought two coats, Majesty peeacoat and Element coat and I am happy with both. The year before I bought the stadium cloth Boulevard coat that is one of my favorites. However, I didn't buy any at the full price. Each of them I paid below $200 and that to me was definitely worth the money. If I have to shell out between $250 to $350 (which was full price) I am not sure if I would still think they were such a good value.
- Blazers - here I also think J.Crew offers a good construction and and quality and they are totally worth the sale price. $250 they try to charge for a Hacking jacket this year was not worth is to me. But the same jacket on sale for about $150 and maybe with additional discount? Totally worth it.
- Shoes - In my opinion J.Crew shoes are totally overpriced - Most of the time they are uncomfortable don't have adequate cushioning, their lining and soles are man made and craftsmanship is comparable to brands that sell for half the price. That applies to ballet flats, heels and boots. Step into any department store and there is so many shoes on display that are just as cute, have leather lining, better padding and lower prices.
- Jeans - J.Crew denim is, in my opinion, very mediocre quality. I am not vowed by fit and I think they are much more comparable to say Gap jeans than to designer jeans but the prices would make you think otherwise
- Bags - I know there are many fans of J.Crew handbags but to me personally, they are absolutely not worth the full price. I do appreciate the lack of logos but they are heavy, oversized, they either have to many or to few compartments and the design is nothing special. I have not been vowed by a J.Crew bag for a long time.
Everything else falls somewhere in between.
- Cashmere - worth the sale price if you like the particular color
- Perfect fit t-shirts - they fit me very well and have reasonable prices, I wear them constantly so they would probably be number 4 in my 'best' list.
- Button downs and blouses - if you like the fit and style they are probably worth the money.
- Trousers - most likely overpriced, I think you can do better elsewhere, especially that there is nothing special about the J.Crew in this area.
- Chinos and cords - good on sale
- Jewelry - here I think J.Crew has some very nice designs and I think it really vary by individual piece.
- Accessories like scarfs and belts - similar to jewelry (I actually have quite a collection)
- Dresses - Mostly grossly overpriced at full price but many times worth it at the sale price and here we have seen a very deep discounts
- Non-pencil skirts - same as dresses
- Non cashmere sweaters - same as dresses, except for variation of dream yarn which is totally worthless imo.
And how about all those aspirational pieces? $700 sequined skirts, $500 heels, $400 camis etc?
To me they are not worth the money. I don't have the lifestyle for them and have no aspirations to be the 'in' the high fashion circle. I don't lust after Chanel bags or try to figure out how to save up for $1000 pair of shoes. And somehow I think that if was in the market for luxury goods I wouldn't look for them in J.Crew store.
All of this is just my personal preferences and some of it is very influenced by my lifestyle and body type. For example, I don't buy chinos or cords so they are not high on my list. J.Crew's pencil skirts fit me very well with no alterations, but most dresses are too high waisted and most trousers fit me poorly. Also, there are exceptions to everything. You may know that I am a big fan of Valentina pumps and I have 5 pairs, including the snakeskin ones. I also own few smaller purses that I bought on sale and thought they were good value.
And there were some tweed pencil skirt made with high acrylic content that I despised. But overall, I would say that I do have that list somewhere in the back of my head when I am shopping.
* * *What is your take on it?
What J.Crew items you think are worth the money and which ones are grossly overpriced?
What do you think of Jenna's opinions?