Flapped, Hooked & Undarted: Seersucker At JCP

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Recently we reported on the inexpensive trad stuff available at JC Penney via its Stafford Prep line, and now here’s a follow-up.

If you’re short, trad and broke, Penney’s has just the seersucker for you.

Yes, this suit jacket — which I have seen in person and assumed Sponge Bob was the fit model — is priced at a mere $60 and features such trad details as an undarted chest, patch pockets, and, believe it or not, a hook vent.

That’s right: The world is so upside down now that a sixty-dollar department store novelty jacket costs less than a Ralph Lauren pocket square, yet nails more traditional Ivy checkboxes than Brooks Brothers’ finest suit.

There is some shoulder structure, however, and it’s a two-button. But you could always pretend it’s from The Andover Shop.

There’s only one length, “regular,” and it’s Thom Brownish, so you’ll need to be a short to consider this. Not to mention parsimonious. — CC

34 Comments on "Flapped, Hooked & Undarted: Seersucker At JCP"

  1. Mitchell S. | April 6, 2013 at 6:45 am |

    Unfortunately, the matching pant is $40 more ($100) than the jacket. Also, the website tells you to “select a waist” for the blazer, when they mean select a chest.

  2. J. Crew Factory has a similar seersucker suit online right now. I caught it during one of their 30% off promotions which brought the suit set down to $157.00. I wonder if it will be better than the JCP… my order has been waitlisted for a few days now…

  3. Tabor Kid | April 6, 2013 at 9:59 am |

    Woke up and saw this interesting WSJ article about F. Scott Fitzgerald. Check out the clothing preference:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324000704578386373831942226.html?mod=WeekendHeader_Rotator

  4. If I was in the market for a cotton seersucker suit or jacket, I would find a deal on the web for a Haspel.

  5. Tabor Kid: Wow! Then, BB. Now, J Crew? All I can say is what Drexler would say, “Hello-oh!”. Is J Crew that well perceived these days?

  6. Jeff Jarmuth | April 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm |

    J. C. Penney was good enough for William F. Buckley, so it’s probably good enough for a lot of people. Penney’s used to sell its own version of shaggy dog shetland sweaters back in the 70s and early 80s, and they were fantastic at about half the price of Press’s.

  7. If the fabric ain’t puckered, don’t buy it.

  8. What’s wrong with a darted suit?

  9. Nothing’s wrong with a darted suit, except for the fact that it isn’t as Ivy as a sack. And the fact that you can’t find an OTR sack anywhere.

    And that whole “hurr durr a sack suit doesn’t have any shape” argument is just so, so false.

  10. Grammarian | April 6, 2013 at 11:36 pm |

    Christian:

    Can one witness a thing (e.g., a jacket/suit) in person, or can one only witness an event?

  11. Dutch Uncle | April 7, 2013 at 2:58 am |

    @Jack

    What’s wrong with a darted suit is that it’s a sign of a tailor who doesn’t have the talent to shape a suit. A master tailor can even execute a slim-fit jacket without resorting to darts.

  12. Boston Bean | April 7, 2013 at 2:59 am |

    Outrageously short jacket.

  13. Christian | April 7, 2013 at 5:46 am |

    @Grammarian

    This WAS an event!

    Thanks. Fixed.

  14. Grammarian | April 7, 2013 at 9:25 am |

    @Christian,

    My pleasure, sir.
    Only a gentleman who pays attention to sartorial details would have appreciated this semantic detail.

  15. @Jeff Jarmuth

    How right you are about Buckley and Penneys.

    On the same note, We owe a great debt to Lands’ End. Many of us who had never even heard of Brooks Brothers (and certainly not of J.Press) were wearing OCBDs, chinos, penny loafers, navy blazers, thanks to Lands’ End in the mid-60s.

  16. One JC Penny jacket allegedly on WFB does not set a trend? I believe BB to be more likely. Alan Flusser profiles WFB and the fashion man he was…not.

    http://gawker.com/5003605/william-f-buckleys-clothes-help-jared-paul-stern-look-respectable

  17. Stefano L. Alberti | April 7, 2013 at 10:52 am |

    Those four buttons on sleeve cuff are somewhat too many as far as my taste and knowledge of Ivy are concerned.

  18. If that’s the only complaint you have, Stefano, you could consider removing some buttons.

  19. A couple days ago, the pants were $40 MSRP and on sale for $30. Today’s price ($80.00 after 20% off code) is a huge jump.

    I called this morning and was able to order the jacket for today’s price ($48) and the pants for yesterday’s price ($30), which was a pretty good deal for the full suit.

    They have got to figure out this pricing thing if they want any credibility in the eyes of the general public. It’s been a fiasco for almost a year.

  20. Lilly Pulitzer, RIP.

  21. Stefano L. Alberti | April 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm |

    Dear @Christian, unluckily this is not the only complaint. Another one is that I wear either a 36, a 38, a 40 or a 42 size according to the clothier, never worn anything made by JCP, and spending 160$ for a full suit + shipping to Italy without any certainty whether it will fit seems a bit reckless to me.

  22. Tried this on. Way short. Way too short. Didn’t spot matching pants, but their seersucker shorts were in the exact same cloth, so you could be well on your way to a Thom Browne runway look.

    Some of their stuff is nice, though. Paid $12 for some moleskins (final clearance, and “slim-fit,” so I sized up for a loose waist and a perfect leg), saw the cheap camel hair that got mentioned on here, and saw the $60 doublemonks that bring questionable taste into reach. Some nice 2-btn darted worsted checks, too. Short of persistent thrifting, I don’t think you could beat that place.

  23. What can you say about the quality? The label is too new to make fair judgement.

  24. Other than its short lenght, for $60.00, how can you beat it? I know that two-button, darted, four-button sleeves stuff ain’t trad, but there’s nothing wrong with these features especially so when it has a hook vent.

  25. I almost never go to a mall, but I did go to one recently to have my glasses repaired. Afterwards, I ventured into the JCP nextdoor out of curiosity over one of Christian’s recent posts about their aspirational clothing line. I was surprised to find critter pants, knock offs of Murray’s Toggery Shop items (Nantucket Reds and such). I did see their seersucker jacket, but thought the size too small for me. However, the price point was great. I have a 3-button, hooked vented (but unfortunately darted) madras jacket from the now defunct American Living line. It fits well and has natural shoulders. Is it as good as J. Press. No. But it is quite a nice jacket, with most features of Ivy style, and I paid only $50.00 for it, and took it to a tailor to have the collar lowered to fit properly.

    In his classic book Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, Paul Fussell wrote about a common sartorial problem that he referred to as prole jacket gape, which manifested itself in a collar that seemed to back up and away from the neck of the wearer. This can easily be corrected by a tailor, but most people don’t bother with such details. He mentions William F. Buckley as a paragon of good fashion sense — understatement and correct tailoring. Is it true that he wore suits from JCP (then J.C. Penny), or is that a myth? I’ve never been able to determine that, and it seems to be a running debate in this thread.

    See my blog post on Prole Jacket Gape:

    http://thriftstorepreppy.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/avoid-prole-jacket-gape/

  26. Qwerty:

    I didn’t examine it in great detail. I was in a bit of a hurry, and once I’d pulled it enough to see that it ended above the centerline of my seat, I put it back on the rack and out of my mind. It was half lined, which struck me as nice. Shoulders weren’t too structured, but moreso than vintage BB. I mean, I wouldn’t expect years of service out of it, but I’d compare it favorably to Uniqlo.

  27. Jeff Jarmuth | April 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm |

    Buckley did indeed own clothes from J.C. Penney, and it’s more than just one or two references as testimony. Of course, no doubt his closet was also full of BB, J Press and Chipp labels, too. The point about Buckley, and about most true blue blood Ivy dressers, is that they aren’t making a fashion statement.

  28. aaaand they just ousted the ceo. Does this mean that their expeditions into more adventurous territory are at an end?

  29. @Jeff Jarmuth

    Hear! Hear!

    “Making a fashion statement” is precisely what is wrong with BB and J Press today.

  30. So I went to my local Penney’s this evening to check it out.

    1. I’m a 37S. The jacket that fit least poorly was marked “40.” 40? Are you kidding me? I can’t wear a normal 38 because the shoulders are too broad. These jackets are seriously mismarked for size.

    2. The jacket was just a skosh shorter than I prefer. My rear was not quite covered, but at least I didn’t feel like Thom Browne had shrunk Pee-Wee Herman’s jacket and tried to sell it to me.

    3. The details were nice, but the shoulders puckered on me. That’s a deal killer. (Yeah, I know that means the shoulders are too big, but the 38 made me look like I was wearing my little brother’s jacket.)

    4. The pants were low rise. The top of the pants came up to the bottom button of the jacket. Not my favorite look.

    5. The price marked on the pants was $30.

    6. The pants were very narrow. Not quite stovepipe thin, but skinny nonetheless.

    7. The blue was bright. I prefer the gray tone of navy and white seersucker.

    In the end, I passed. The color wasn’t what I prefer, but it was a nice color, and flattered me. The fit was pretty good overall, but my body and the suit’s cut didn’t match.

  31. Thanks for the heads-up here Henry and saving me a trip.

  32. All it needs is a straw bowler to finish off the look and Kolchak, the night stalker, is back!

  33. I did a flyby JCP yesterday as well. The Seersucker fabric is cheap. Now, go take a look at RL Polo’s Seersucker shorts, pants or shirt. Note how puckered the fabric is. THAT is your standard. THAT is what makes the fabric so cool. Beware of cheap cotton with stripes running through it (no pucker) that one pushes as Seersucker!

  34. Love the tie…

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