Why do I want to talk about J. Crew? Because I love them. And I severely dislike them. And they disappoint the heck out of me. All at the same time.
Many of us who follow trends and styles know that J. Crew is the ultimate in preppy: chic chinos and classic button downs, luxurious sweaters and wardrobe staples. I am drawn to J. Crew the way every other gal who loves the preppy look is - drooling over the style guides, dreaming of a day when I can afford to buy my entire wardrobe from the catalog.
I love J. Crew clothing. But, I am also a gal on a budget. As many of us know, J. Crew's $150 pieces of costume jewelry (I'm looking at you, bubble necklace!), $70 embellished t-shirts and $300+ sweaters aren't budget-friendly to those of us without large amounts of funds. Many of us, myself included, settle for knockoffs or similar styles. However, if we're savvy, we can get our hands on some coveted J. Crew items.
J. Crew has some great sales. I've seen $80 sweaters marked down to $35, $130 pencil skirts for $50, and $200 blazers for $90 (which is still a bit high to me for a blazer, but that's personal preference). I hate that sale items are final sale, only because online is where you find the best sale selection, and I need to try things on. My body is oddly proportioned, as I've mentioned on the blog before, so buying sale items on final sale means I can only buy them in store where I can try them on. But if you know your body and how J. Crew fits you, this is a great way to get some J. Crew on a budget.
I can hear it already: a bunch of you out there are thinking/saying/whining "But, Jamie, we're talking about price for quality!" - and I wholly agree. To me, the quality and amount of use I'll get out of a piece greatly influences what I'll pay for something. In many ways I can be super cheap because I won't pay for trends, but I am willing to throw down some good money for a quality item I'll use for years. I have jeans that cost me well over $150 apiece but they were worth every penny because they last and last without changing shape, losing seams or buttons, or fading. I am all for spending money on quality.
I write all of the above to preface the rest so that you don't think I'm hating on J. Crew. I'm not. I think their clothes are chic, classy, and classic. I would own a closet full of them, if I could afford them, and if the next two things I'm about to say were not issues. These issues leave me wanting, frustrated, and disappointed. What are those two issues I have?
I try very hard to only buy clothes that make me feel fabulous. I can ooooh and aaaah over items in the store and excitedly try them on - only to be disappointed when I put it on and think "huh. This doesn't look as good as I thought it would." The items seem "blah" on me once out of the sheen of the store lights and under the harsh glow of the dressing room. I've seen the same items on other bloggers, looking fabulous, so I know it's possible. I just never feel that I look so great in them. And it's not the fit. I'm not spending money on "just ok" - I don't care if it's J. Crew or Forever 21, if it doesn't make me feel great, it's not going home with me.
Other bloggers look WOW in some of the same items I've tried on. Maybe, while J. Crew clothing fits me just fine, I just don't have the proportions that J. Crew most compliments. In that case, maybe I can overlook this. Maybe J. Crew is just not the store for me. But there is one more glaring thing that is the biggest issue of all for me with J. Crew.
Now, I know there are certain items J. Crew always does in high quality - No 2 pencil skirts, cashmere, leather bags - those are great quality items. But t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, and a few other items always shock me. I find many of them carry high original price tags, yet they are thin, and rough to the touch. I have softer tees from Target for 20% of the cost. I have a real issue with poor quality costing so much money. You can't just offset the poor quality items with the high quality ones - if I'm spending that kind of money I want soft! Thick! Comfortable!
While some items are of a ridiculously high quality, other "staple" items appear shoddily made of poor quality material, and I'm often really glad I didn't impulsively order the item online because I would have been super disappointed. As a style blogger who reads other style blogs, I am constantly seeing other bloggers oooh and aaah over J. Crew items and I wish I could feel the same.
I want J. Crew to be everything it promises - great style, great fit, great quality for a perfectly classic look. But to me, it's not. I'm tired of being disappointed. I think it's time for me to stop thinking of J. Crew on this pedestal and realize it's just not for me.
Are there any stores/brands/items that everyone else seems to love but that just constantly disappoint you?