Is J. Crew testing the summer waters in contemplation of a return to its preppier roots?
The brand’s origins lie in a capitalizing on the preppy ’80s by offering a mail-order version of Ralph Lauren at a lower price. And throughout the ’90s and early aughts J. Crew — like those other Js, Press and McLaughlin — drew heavily on preppy style in both its merchandising and marketing imagery.
Now J. Crew has launched a “prep shoppe” on its website, which will be open “for the season” (too bad, as fall is the preppiest time of the year).
Graphics on the shop’s web page include two catalog covers from the brand’s preppier days, and copy that invokes chinos, oxford shirts, and traditional classics from the East Coast.
As for the clothing, there’s a flap pocket on a lightweight oxford sport shirt, and a classic madras tie:
Other items in the “shoppe,” however, look randomly assembled from J. Crew’s usual offerings, in a mode that is similar to what we see these days from Brooks Brothers: relatively conservative contemporary clothes-clothes in a sort of generic global style.
This, on the other hand, is pure Americana:
There are collaborations with Sperry and Lacoste, but it’s hard to tell the difference from those brand’s regular offerings:
Perhaps the most intriguing items are several grenadine ties executed in rep stripes, something I don’t recall seeing before, as we associate grenadines with solids ties, and occasionally see dotted examples. The ties use English fabric and are made in Long Island City, New York, presumably at the Brooks factory, and are priced at only $59.
Cheers to J. Crew for this nod to its roots, and we hope they will continue to champion traditional American style. It might even help their bottom line. — CC
That striped grenadine is A+
This is a good thing. In other words, negative comments are null.
How would one describe J.Crew’s current state? Not including this new “shoppe”.
J.Crew could have the best OCBD out there if they would lengthen the collar tips a bit. I mostly shop JC for their outerwear, sweaters, and the occasional pair of pants.
Some people may think that the J. Crew “Prep Shoppe” Wallace & Barnes Double-Pleated Chinos aren’t very preppy.
Too bad they cannot get the proportions of any of their clothing right. Look at those poor dinky collars and pockets on those shirts.
The should bring back their old catalogs from the 1980s. Some of those were fun preppy reads. Almost Polo, Bruce Weber-esque.
To know J. Crew, we need to know the CEO. Below a decent intro:
The grenadine ties are 2 3/4″ wide.
J.Crew tripled their prices ever since Michelle Obama stated she wears the brand, yet I haven’t seen an improvement in quality. I used to be into J.Crew back in the late 90’s to the 2000’s, but in those days, everyone laughed at me for wearing J.Crew, now these people are wearing the brand now, yet they’re the ones who are paying three times the price or more for what I was paying for the same or similar item – if they’re paying retail!
For some time, GAP was the new J.Crew, until they discontinued the GAP Modern Oxford!
I wish there was an Orvis store where I live, as Orvis is probably the best alternative to J.Crew for those who grew up with J.Crew. Remember, the old J.Crew was never trendy and Orvis is not really trendy right now too.
Looks like a tennis tail on that Lacoste polo – a traditional design element missing from the current regular offering.