Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The J. Crew Collection: Is it for you?

Have you noticed that in the past several years that J. Crew has been coming out with some uber-expensive luxury pieces that are part of the J.Crew Collection? The Collection includes high-end items like jackets, dresses, shoes, bags, and jewelry. It is clear that they are trying to compete with designer labels instead of their regular rivals like the Gap, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor. (Although in all fairness, Banana Republic stepped up their game with the BR Monogram line.)

Not sure what I mean? Well, take for example the Snakeskin stacked heels for $358, or the Tortoise sequin jacket (shown here) for $3,000 (that's right, $3,000!!!)

The new line uses high-end fabrics that are sourced from the same suppliers of retailers Chanel and Vera Wang. Executives at J. Crew clearly believe there is a market for their Collection line. Millard Drexler, chairman and ceo of J. Crew Group, said, "As we looked at the market, we said we're going to keep stepping up quality, design and detailing and see if we meet with any kind of [price] resistance... Whenever we did this, customers kept buying and liking it more. They still are, and want more of the best. For us, it's a natural opportunity...The best costs too much." According to Catherine Curan of MSNBC (click here for article), J.Crew is even opening up their first J.Crew Collection store in Manhattan on Madison Avenue and 79th Street this summer.

I do like the new luxe line: there are some pieces with gorgeous patterns and fabrics, and the quality looks better too (although the J.Crew regular line is of great quality in my opinion too). However, the price tags does seem off-putting (especially since I typically buy regular J.Crew items "on sale"). Although I have purchased two items from their collection line (they were both on sale from the original $300 price tag down to $100 each), I doubt I would buy anything regular priced from the line.

What do you think about the luxe J.Crew Collection? For those prices, would you turn to the more established designer labels (like Marc Jacobs)? Do you think this line will alienate J. Crew's core customers?


  1. J.Crew Collection won't alienate the current shoppers, unless J.Crew decides to up the prices of -all- their merchandise. I also normally buy their stuff when it's on sale, so forking over more money than the "regular" price is already way out of my league. I don't see J.Crew successfully competing with the likes of Marc Jacobs, etc., especially since those already pricier brands have such an established (wealthier) fan base. I'm sure some people will go for the Collection, but I feel like there's more success in luxe brands going "cheap" (Marc by Marc Jacobs, Just Cavalli, etc).

  2. PS. Extra 20% off sale going on now. :)

  3. Amy, thanks for the extra 20% off tip. I would really like a free shipping on any amount coupon as I want an inexpensive item and the shipping is like half the cost of the item! No thanks.

    Has anyone tried on the Pastille dress? Just wondering about fit and fabric...

    I have a JCrew collection dress from the fall line that I got on sale. I haven't worn it yet but someday....the print fits with what I do for a living and that is why I had to have it as well as a scarf....Otherwise, the JCrew collection doesn't apply to my life/lifestyle and wearing that type of clothing. Obviously, JCrew is finding a market for these items but if I had the extra cash I would spend it on top designers...not a JCrew.

  4. Hi Amy! Thanks for the heads up about the 20% off! Good to see other "sale" shoppers like me out there!

    Jagjag2: couldn't agree more about the free shipping code with unlimited amount order! I had something in my bag today and decided not to buy it because I didn't have that coupon code! J. Crew is missing out on a lot of sales because of their new coupon policy!

  5. In terms of the high price of the J Crew collection, I would rather buy Tory Burch, or Phillip Lim, Burberry, etc.

    I am sure that as they push this line, the "regular" J Crew things will go up in price too. I will be buying more from Saks & Neimans .(free ship w/ my Saks card).

  6. Free shipping with a Saks card! That sounds good. Is it for any amount? I am all about free shipping:)

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  8. jagjag,

    I received the pastille dress (in citron!) in the mail today. I got a size small because I wasn't sure how a knit dress would fit on me (I usually get P2 dresses, but this only came in regular sizes).The description online says fitted, but it is too big on me, particularly in the waist and armholes. Also, it looks weird cinched with a belt (probably b/c of where the pockets hang...). I was thinking maybe I could keep the small and wear a turtleneck underneath in the fall, but honestly I think there will be enough room to wear it that way if I go a size down. So, I am going to exchange for an xs.

    Intitially, I was going to get it in classic navy, but I wanted to get something with more pop for the summer (though if I could afford to get both colors, I would!).

  9. I find almost all of the dresses and knit tee are way too large in my regular size. I have been going down a size in these. REAL PAIN though trying to figure out what size to order now. Most of the sales reps on the phone are not familiar with their products and haven't a clue when I call and ask about sizing. OH BRUDDER!!!


Dear J.Crew Aficionadas & Aficionados: Please feel free (and encouraged) to share your thoughts and opinions. :) However, please note that this is still a personal blog. So comments that are considered inappropriate (e.g. obscene, racist, homophobic, personal attacks, rude, and just plain mean) will be removed.

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