Monday, August 31, 2009

J.Crew Accessory: One of a Kind Necklace {sold}

"Thanks!" to IRL (in this post) who let us know about one very-special item, the Pink Passion Necklace. IRL shared the following as well: "According to JCrew there is only one in existence - and it can be yours for $795". The necklace is made of a variety of items including crystals, beads, and ribbon. Unfortunately, this item was never featured/ available online.

Moreover, there really was only one necklace. According to J.Crew, the necklace sold out (at the $795 price too!) J.Crew is not sure if the jewelry designer Molly will make any more, but there is a waiting list.

I will say that the necklace looks very pretty in the image (it's something the über girly-side of me adores). However, I would personally not purchase it. It's just not practical enough for me to justify purchasing it. (Which is why I am not the target buyer! ;) J.Crew is probably looking for that one consumer who will indulge herself on this piece.) Besides the price tag (for $795, it should be made of gold with some diamonds!), I don't have enough special occasions to wear such a conversation piece to. Also, the necklace looks a bit heavy and cumbersome (with all those trailing chains) to wear. ;)

What are your thoughts on the necklace? Do you like the style and detailing? Do you think it's worth the price?

Quick Poll: Do you like J.Crew's Pink Passion Necklace?

J.Crew Email: Pretty, polished and perfectly of the moment.

"Thanks!" to many of you, including Marietta, who shared with us an email J.Crew sent today.

J.Crew is reminding us that there is a new stand-alone shoe & accessories catalog: Objects of Desire (click here to view the catalog). J.Crew's homepage (shown in the image below), currently features a slide show of selected looks from that catalog (click here).
This is the third stand alone catalog offered by J.Crew (refer to this July 29th post "J.Crew Jewelry & Accessories {here to stay!}"). The email also states on the bottom: "To request your copy of our new shoe & accessory catalog, call 800 562 0258".

Lastly, the email reminds us that new Fall arrivals are available for purchase (click here).

Side Note: In regards to the outfit of the model in the email... woah! Could there be any more layers?!? ;)

What are your thoughts on the latest shoe & accessory catalog? Are you planning to call J.Crew for a copy? Do you think they will send one if you do call? ;) Thoughts on the outfit in the email J.Crew sent (in terms of the styling and layers)?

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {looking to sell}

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who want to swap/sell/share among yourselves. This post is where you can mention your items and outside listing/ auction site (like eBay and eCrater & the corresponding user ID). Please note: this posting is not for resellers.

Please note that any transactions are independent of this blog. (Especially since you will be using an outside listing/ auction site like eBay or eCrater.) I have no dealings or interactions with any of the potential communication, listings, or transactions. :) Moreover, please limit comments about items to swap/sell/share to the "Great (Weekly) Exchange" posts. (Refer to "A Quick Note to J.Crew Aficionadas" post.)

Do you have any items you would like to swap/sell/share among yourselves through your outside listing/auction site?

Sidenote: What's up with JCAs writing "sub" or "subscribing" as their comment? It just means they are subscribing to all the comments (which are then automatically sent to their email) in that particular thread. This way they can stay aware of all the comments posted. :)

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {looking to find}

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who are looking for and interested in buying certain items. Please feel free to share a J.Crew store location and/or your outside listing/ auction site if it matches the requests made in this post. Please note: this posting is not for resellers.

Also note that any transactions are independent of this blog. (Especially since you will be using an outside listing/ auction site like eBay or eCrater.) I have no dealings or interactions with any of the potential communication, listings, or transactions. :) Moreover, please limit comments about items to swap/sell/share/finding to the "Great (Weekly) Exchange" posts. (Refer to "A Quick Note to J.Crew Aficionadas" post.)

Is there an item (or items) that you are looking for and interested in purchasing?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Crewcuts Email: her back-to-school checklist

"Thanks!" to many of you, including Marietta & HeidiG, who shared the following email with us.

It's Friday, so here's the weekly email sent from Crewcuts! ;) This time they are showcasing their Girls' Back-to-School Checklist of clothes & accessories. One item included, that I didn't even know they offered is the Girls' Selima Optique® for Crewcuts Scout Glasses (Item 19427; $120.00). Cute (but pricey) glasses! :)

Also, how cute is that girl's outfit? I like the style so much that I would totally wear it all (minus the socks)! ;)

Side Note: "Thanks!" to Victoria & Tara who shared a {very funny} link from Jezebel about Crewcuts (click here to read).

Are your kids planning to wear Crewcuts on their first day of school? Will you be shopping at Crewcuts this weekend?

Seek & Find: Will you visit J.Crew this Weekend?

This is the weekly "sale watch" post, to help each other find sale items at our various local J.Crew stores. ;)

If you are stopping by a J.Crew store this weekend to see what's available in the Summer sale, or to see some new Fall arrivals {sigh!} in person, maybe you might be willing to share that with us in this post. In particular, if you could share with us a few of the noteworthy items that are available, at what prices, and potential sizes the store is carrying (as well as the store location)- that would be fantastic!

Also, please let us know if your local store is carrying an additional percent off sale. Thanks in advance!!! :)

P.S. I noticed that many of you have already been reporting sale items (and in which stores) in other posts which by the way "thank you!" :) I really appreciate how helpful we are for each other!

J.Crew Factory Email: No better way to celebrate Labor Day

"Thanks!" to Jaden & AnneG, who shared the following latest email from J.Crew Factory. The email announces that select new Fall arrivals are now up to 40% off at their Factory Stores.

Are you planning to visit a Factory Store to check out the latest Fall collection? Are there any items you are hoping to purchase while there? If so, please share! :)

Darlings, is it time for a J.Crew coupon code?

Yes, it is that wonderful time!

J.Crew is offering free shipping on orders of $150+ with promo code AN-899. This code expires on 9/6/09. :)

P.S. I have noticed that other websites & blogs post J.Crew codes & coupons *after* this blog does. If you happen to get codes & coupons from the JCA blog & post them at your site, could you please give give a "shout out" to the JCA blog? This way more JCAs are inclined to share. TIA! :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

J.Crew Highlights of 2nd Quarter Fiscal 2009 Results

J.Crew released today their second quarter fiscal results (click here), the following are some interesting financial figures :

  • Revenues increased 6% to $357.6 million. Store sales (Retail and Factory) increased 7% to $259.1 million, with comparable store sales decreasing 5%. Comparable store sales decreased 0.4% in the second quarter of fiscal 2008. Direct sales (Internet and Phone) increased by 6% to $88.2 million. Direct sales increased 12% to $83.2 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2008.
  • Gross margin increased to 41.2% of revenues from 41.0% of revenues in the second quarter of fiscal 2008.
  • Operating income increased 2% to $32.2 million, or 9.0% of revenues, compared to $31.5 million, or 9.4% of revenues, in the second quarter of fiscal 2008. Operating income in the second quarter of fiscal 2009 includes charges of approximately $2.6 million related to underperforming stores and lease termination actions.
  • Operating income in the second quarter of fiscal 2008 included approximately $3.0 million of costs related to our Direct channel systems upgrades.
  • Net income was $18.6 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, compared to a net income of $18.1 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, in the second quarter of fiscal 2008.
J.Crew's Chairman and CEO, Millard (Mickey) Drexler, also shared: "We are and have been on a long term mission to be recognized for our quality, style, design and service. This mission puts 'taking care of our customers' front and center in every part of our business -- our products, our service, our store environments and our web site. While we are pleased with our second quarter results, we always have our eye on where our customer is headed and the need to constantly challenge ourselves to be creative and innovative."

There is also a conference call today. The following are some highlights that are interesting to share:
  • Pleased with better than expected 2nd quarter results
  • Madewell is viewed as a long-term opportunity, plans to launch an e-commerce site in 2010
  • Mickey believes J.Crew is recognized for quality, design, & service, and is striving to make customers "front and center"
  • Mickey stated they are "willing to go above and beyond for our customers"
  • Want to develop personal relationships with every customer; Will answer their customers' emails at all hours of the day
  • Customers are looking for a unique product they connect to emotionally, at a good value
  • Customers come back to regular price when they like the product & merchandise
  • J.Crew is testing more with niche mailings to customers (e.g. emails to women, catalogs to men)- will stop at nothing to give quality to customers; So trying to show strength & communicate it to customer (which is done through catalogs and online)
  • Invested a lot in marketing (catalogs, mailings, etc.), even advertising in the New York Times, to get customers to come
  • Have some must have items for Fall (like Boyfriend Blazer, Shoe-boot, skinny pant, ruffle camis, art tees, and more)
  • Conservative with planning inventory levels this season, and will continue to do so
  • Won't give numbers of how much is sold during 1st, 2nd, & 3rd markdowns
  • Not in the business for markdowns; want to plan, buy, & invest right
  • Know there's an expiration date for all the merchandise they buy; for example they expect that after Dec 23rd, everything is worth half than the day before
  • People have good memories & will expect good sales during December
To read the transcript of the conference call in its entirety, click here.

What are your thoughts on J.Crew's results and/ or any of the points above? :) What do you think J.Crew should do next?

An Interview with the Supermelon

I just want to mention that there is an article about the J.Crew Aficionada blog over at the Supermelon, a site devoted to showcasing the latest on "global style, shopping, arts, trends, and travel" (click here to read the article). It was very flattering that Kate Childs, from Supermelon, wanted to write a story about this blog. :) Thank you Kate!

It's also interesting to see the editing process. Some of the quotes got shrunk in detail- and I *totally* understand the reasoning behind doing so. I do tend to ramble on and on a lot. (Just ask my friends. If I start talking about one story, I end up going on tangents and talking about three other stories too!) ;)

For example, the question of "What prompted you to start the blog?", had the following response:
I originally started the blog in 2008 because I felt there was a void. I was looking for a site that not only discussed J.Crew, but provided reviews on clothes, news on the company, and of course, coupons and codes. I say this often, but the site is only great because of the fantastic members. I think it’s that collective and kind spirit among the members that motivates me every day.

My original, unedited, response is the following:
I originally started the blog, on Mother's Day in 2008, because I felt there was a void. I was looking for a site that not only discussed J.Crew, but provided reviews on clothes, news on the company, and of course... coupons & codes for J.Crew. It wasn't long after the first post that JCAs (J.Crew Afiiconadas & Aficionados) started visiting the site. It really has developed over the past year to a wonderful community. I say this often, but the site is *only* great because of the fantastic members. They keep the site alive by sharing with each other different events at stores, news, sales, emails, and promotions. They even go out of their way help each other locate items- how awesome is that!?! I think it's that collective & kind spirit among the members that motivates me everyday.

Lastly, I credit (and always will) the success of the blog to you all.

Thank you J.Crew Aficionadas & Aficionados!!!

J.Crew Email: A special offer...for a limited time

"Thanks!" to Marietta & love2shop4bags, who let us know about the following latest email from J.Crew.

J.Crew is once again increasing the perks of opening a J.Crew credit card. From now until September 7th, J.Crew is offering 20% off your first purchase when you open an account with them.

Is this offer enticing enough to get you to sign up, if you haven't already? :)

J.Crew News: Employees Wait a Day to Report Theft

There is an interesting article over at the Eagle Tribune (click here) about calling the police and J.Crew's policies. ;)

Employees wait a day to report $3,500 theft
By Jarret Bencks

August 27, 2009

Salem— Employees at J.Crew witnessed two women steal more than $3,000 in merchandise on Monday, but didn't notify local authorities until a day later because they couldn't get corporate permission, police said.

Employees at the store, located in the Mall at Rockingham Park, watched two women enter the store and swipe approximately $3,500 worth of clothing off a table and walk out of the store.


The employees told police they did not immediately contact law enforcement because company policy requires permission from corporate headquarters before calling police
, according to Salem police Capt. Shawn Patten.
They were unable to get corporate permission until Tuesday afternoon, he said.

There are other stores in the area that have similar policies and local police are miffed by it, Patten said. "We continue to be disappointed and perplexed by some of the policies stores have regarding the notification of police," Patten said. Salem police took a theft report on Tuesday.

Calls to J.Crew corporate headquarters yesterday were not returned.
According to the clothing company's Web site, J.Crew has 206 retail and 69 outlet stores across the country.

First, I hope those women who stole from J.Crew get caught. (Stealing only drives up the price on merchandise for everyone.) Second, I find the policy of employees having to call corporate headquarters before calling the police "interesting". (It's also interesting that several stores have that policy too!) I understand that in some (minor) situations, it is best to check with corporate first. However, in other cases like this one (where there is significant theft or emergencies,) it is probably better to call the police first— and quickly too.

What are your thoughts on the article? Do you agree or disagree with stores' (including J.Crew) policy when it comes to calling the police? Does your employer have a similar policy? :)

Darlings, is it time for a J.Crew coupon code?

Yes, it is that wonderful time!

A big "thanks!" to GoldCoastGal who shared with us that J.Crew is offering free shipping on orders of $150+ with promo code BM839Z. This offer expires 8/31/09. :)

P.S. I have noticed that other websites & blogs post J.Crew codes & coupons *after* this blog does. If you happen to get codes & coupons from the JCA blog & post them at your site, could you please give give a "shout out" to the JCA blog? This way more JCAs are inclined to share. TIA! :)

J.Crew Crewmutts ...No More

Remember J.Crew's line for dogs, called Crewmutts? (If you don't, refer to the post "Does your dog wear J.Crew too?".)

Well it looks like J.Crew officially discontinued the line this year. Although, I could not find any more information beyond that. It was probably a smart business move for J.Crew to cut the canine division. I am assuming they rather focus on their more profitable clothing collections for adults.

Although I thought the line was super-cute, I also thought it was super expensive (like $75 for a dog raincoat shown in the image above). I also saw some of the items first-hand at a sample sale and wasn't too impressed for the price points. For example, the dog sweaters (that originally retailed for $58) were super itchy. I couldn't imagine a dog wearing one of them comfortably. On a bright note, for those who own some Crewmutts items... they are collector's items now! :)

Are you surprised by Crewmutts discontinuation? Do you think this is a smart or foolish move? Did you own any items? :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

J.Crew & the J.Crew Aficionada Blog

In one of today's posts, it was mentioned that the JCA event scheduled at the King of Prussia Mall (in PA) was canceled because it got too popular (read more over at the post "Update: Calling all JCAs in the King of Prussia, PA"). In that post, love2shop4bags shared several details including the following: "according to the manager, corporate stated that J.Crew cannot be associated with this blog" (referring to the JCA blog).

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have heard this. Over the last year, several J.Crew employees mentioned to me, that management made it clear they could have no contact with this blog in particular. (I referred to this in the May 26th post, "J.Crew's Internal Blogging Policy: Don't Do It!"). As a result, I ended up advising any employee contacting me to check with their managers first. (Especially in this economy, I don't want anyone to lose their job for sharing.)

I thought maybe the tide had changed when Madewell's Twitter page started to follow the JCA Twitter page. But after reading love2shop4bags comment, I think I was too hopeful. ;)

I completely understand the decision by J.Crew Corporate– to maintain their professional distance from this blog. J.Crew has an image they want represented a certain way. I also understand that if one employee responds to a comment in a public forum, it could be seen as representative (fairly or unfairly) of an entire organization. With all that said, the news also deeply saddens me. It's like finding out someone, who you love so very much, wants nothing to do with you. :( [Wait, that is exactly what it is.] ;) Even though it may not come across it all the time, I do want the best for J.Crew.

{sigh} ...maybe, just maybe, one day J.Crew will love me back. ;)

J.Crew's Latest Catalog {double check it!}

JCAs have mentioned that they received the latest catalog in the mail recently. Incidentally, J.Crew provides the latest catalog online (click here to view).

Some JCAs found something extra special in the newest catalog...

"Thanks!" to Naomi who not only let us know that she received a 10% off & complementary shipping code (with no minimum), but wanted to share it with the blog. However, the code was a one-time use code (which she found out after she made a purchase with it, and tried using it again through a mock checkout). :)

"Thanks!" to MCC (in this post, as well as this post at her huddyma blog) who shared with us that she: "read that some people are receiving coupons for 20% off any purchase, sale or otherwise, in their newest J Crew catalog".

Also, "thanks!" to Mary J (in this post) who found something similar in her catalog: "I received the catalog with the 20% off coupon a few days ago...it's a smaller catalog than the store catalog...same cover...just no crew cuts included. The coupon is a small attached insert just inside the front cover...don't know why I got one, as I am not a J.Crew card customer. It's for online purchases only, so really only covers shipping..."

I did receive the latest catalog the other day. There was no offer or nothing extra attached. [Like a complete dork, I ran to my catalog and checked it again to see if I missed it. But I didn't. ;) ] To be honest, I am just happy to get a catalog! ;) Also, I am really happy for those JCAs who received something extra in their copy of the catalog.

So if you get the latest J.Crew catalog in the next week or two, double check inside to see if there's a special offer.

Congrats to all those with an offer! :)

J.Crew Email: ALERT: Brand new styles added to final sale. Online and in stores.

"Thanks!" to HeidiG (check out her wonderful blog "Head to Toe with Heidi"), & Marietta, who shared with us J.Crew's latest email.

J.Crew is letting us know that new styles have been added to their final sale, both online (click here) and in stores. HeidiG's comment is too funny, that I had to share: "Quite the exuberant final sale email, huh?". {giggles} I could not agree with her more! "WOW!", J.Crew really wants their customers to know about the new sale items. ;) But I can't blame J.Crew for their excitement. :)

There was an increase of sale items, as well as a few pop-backs, at today's sale update (which happened in the last hour). However, a lot of JCAs (including myself) have noticed the past few weeks, that the brick & mortar (B&M) stores have sent back most of their sale items.

Are you planning to check out J.Crew's Final Sale section? Are there any items you are suprised to see on sale?

Not Getting J.Crew's Catalog? {there's a reason}

There is an interesting article from the Associated Press (click here to read it in its entirety) about the reduction in mail.

As recession wears on, the mail's a little lighter
By Ashley M. Heher

August 25, 2009


You can find a bright spot in the recession as close as your mailbox: There are far fewer hefty catalogs, bulging coupon packets, unwanted credit card offers and glossy fliers clogging it up.


Thanks to the economic downturn and rising shipping costs, junk mail volume was down 16 percent from last fall to this summer, on pace for the steepest annual decline in decades.


Businesses that are still sending junk mail are sending less of it — shrinking their catalogs and using thinner paper to save money. It's a sign stores are still struggling, but it also means less paper to toss in the garbage or lug to the recycling bin.


...J.Crew Group Inc. cut its catalog circulation by 27 percent earlier this year.


...The reprieve from overstuffed mailboxes will probably end as the economy revives. Catalogs, pamphlets and flyers remain among the cheapest and most effective ways to market and sell products and draw new shoppers into stores.


Catalogs, on average, generate $7 in sales for every dollar it takes to publish and mail them, industry data show. They also give customers a taste of a store's carefully cultivated image, like the modern-yet-unpretentious aesthetic of Crate & Barrel or the all-American preppy flair of J.Crew.


Web sites and e-mail promotions are growing in popularity and are far cheaper for businesses — they get a $45 return on every dollar — but they fall short of catalogs in drumming up new business.


"When you go farther into the Web site, you get a great assortment of products, but it's hard to keep up with that lifestyle feel," Neil O'Keefe, a vice president of multichannel segments at the Direct Marketing Association. "But with a catalog, with every page you turn, you're able to convey that lifestyle and that brand." ...


I didn't realize that J.Crew had reduced its circulation by that much! I love my J.Crew catalogs so much that if I don't get sent one, I will make it a point to pick one up at the brick & mortar (B&M) store.

What are your thoughts on the article? Do you still receive catalogs from J.Crew? Have you been "cut" from the circulation list? ;)

Another Visit to the J.Crew at Garden State Plaza

A big "thanks!" to Tweedybird who shared with us a {great} J.Crew picture of the concept store at Garden State Plaza (New Jersey).

She also shares the following {wonderful} tidbits with us: "Saw some more cute ruffled camis, including one in a lovely black and white dotted pattern. Also more graphic tees, including one studded with crystals (looked like a black necklace was printed on it). I think the model with the hat is wearing it."

The location for this store is:

Garden State Plaza
300 Garden State Plaza
Paramus, NJ 07652
(201) 845-9292

"Thanks!" again to Tweedybird for sharing. The store associates always do an amazing job with their presentation of clothes. The mannequins at J.Crew look so stylish- I want to buy everything right off of them! Of course, never look at the backside of the mannequins. As many of you have noticed, there can be a lot of pinning goin' on! ;)

Update: Calling all JCAs in the King of Prussia, PA Area

Let me begin, by shouting a big "thanks!" to love2shop4bags who set up an event for JCAs in the King of Prussia, PA area with the associates at the J.Crew located in the King of Prussia Mall. (Refer to the August 19th post "Calling All JCAs in the King of Prussia, PA Area".)

Unfortunately, this event (for Sunday, August 30th), is canceled.

I know that love2shop4bags worked really hard to make it happen. Without going into too much detail, the event became popular (e.g. a lot of JCAs were planning to attend) and corporate thought it was "best" to cancel the event.

Update: I think the following JCAs did a better job explaining what occurred, so here is what happened:

lilaccupcake said... I was planning to attend the event, and I was told that they don't want to give the discount to that many people. That's basically it. ...P.S. We are not allowed to reschedule in smaller groups; they said the discount is now for new personal shopping customers only, and several of us are already established customers at KOP.

love2shop4bags said... "There were 22 people signed up for this event by the time it was cancelled. It most definitely would have made a great profit for J. Crew and would have made their customers happy to buy items, especially the new fall collection, at a discount and more likely to return for more in the future. I was really looking forward to meeting the other JCAs, and am very disappointed with this outcome.

I tried speaking with a manager as well and pleading on our behalf that if only the discount could be honored for this last event as it was already scheduled, would generate lots of profit, and would avoid dissatisfied customers, but was again reminded that it is J. Crew's new policy as of this past Friday. I also added that I was never told there was a limit to the size of the group or any restrictions either. According to corporate, the discount would come from the shop and share program and can only be given to small groups and to customers new to personal shopping. In order for this program not to be removed all together, they needed to adhere to strict rules across all stores. Further, according to the manager, corporate stated that J.Crew cannot be associated with this blog. Further, the only reason that I found out about this change was because I called to confirm the event, and am wondering if I would have been told prior to our arrival on Sunday."

After reading these comments, I wonder if JCA Events will become a thing of the past. I really hope not. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

J.Crew Email: J.Crew loves college students...

A big "thanks!" to Heather:D & Marissa who shared with us one of J.Crew's latest emails.

J.Crew is reminding us about their student and teacher (aka: educator) discount of 15% off. They are also very clear in the email that this discount is only for (1) full-price merchandise, and... (2) purchases made at their brick & mortar (B&M) stores.

As mentioned in a previous post (refer to the May 1st post: "News About J.Crew's Student and Educator Discount {what's the deal?}"), J.Crew recently changed the discount so it would apply only to full-priced items. (Before it could be applied to any item, regardless of promotion.)

However, I was not aware that this discount is limited to in-store only use. I was under the impression it could be used for online and phone orders too, as long as it's a full priced item. {sigh} Maybe that is still the case, and the email forgot to mention that the discount can be applied for online & phone orders. {fingers crossed!}

Did you receive this email? Were you aware of the recent changes in the discount's applicability? Have you been able to use the discount for your recent online and/or phone orders? If so, please share! :)

J.Crew Email: Fall wedding preview at Rockefeller Center & Georgetown

A big "thanks!" to Marietta & Roxy who shared with us one of J.Crew's latest emails. The email announces that the Fall 2009 Wedding & Parties Collection is now available to preview by appointment at the Rockefeller Center store (in NYC). Just call Kate at (212) 765-4227.


"Thanks!" also to kjcorbett & ms. mindless (in this post) who let us know that a similar email was sent for those living near Georgetown (in Washington, D.C.). "Thanks!" to Cleo26 who shared the email that was sent (which is shown below). To make an appointment, call Theresa at (202) 965-4090.
As mentioned in a previous post ("J.Crew Wedding Trunk Show & More!"), J.Crew wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses are becoming available for preview at select J.Crew locations across the country.

Moreover, images showcasing all the styles for its Wedding & Parties Fall 2009 collection have been available to preview some time now (refer to the May 29th post, "J.Crew's Weddings & Parties Preview {lovely!}").

To find a J.Crew near you that offers wedding and bridesmaids gowns, check J.Crew's "Store Locator" page (click here), where you can find the category in the key called "wedding collection preview".

Happy {bridal} shopping!

Another Look at J.Crew's Jenna Lyons

There is an interesting article from the Los Angeles Times (click here) about J.Crew's Jenna Lyons. **The author really likes Jenna as she has written about her before (refer to this post, which this article is based on)– and I don't blame her! ;)

Jenna Lyons: the woman who took J.Crew from plain Jane to designer look
By Booth Moore

August 31, 2009

Updated on September 1, 2009


It all started with the yellow outfit — the Pembridge dot pencil skirt, the Italian deco tank and the color-block cardigan. Michelle Obama wore them for an appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" in October, revealing that she had purchased the items online from J.Crew.


The skirt, the shirt, the sweater — all sold out in a matter of days.
It happened again in April when the first lady chose the crystal constellation cardigan and dazzling dots pencil skirt for a visit to 10 Downing St. in London. The sweater sold out by 10 a.m. East Coast time. "Michelle Obama is the best thing that ever happened to J.Crew," the New York Daily News announced.

But industry experts and fans of the label's $88 pencil skirts and $78 beaded cardigans might nominate another candidate: Jenna Lyons.


Lyons is creative director for what has become the go-to brand among women who demand designer style ("custom tailored accents," one fashion blogger noted) without designer prices. That title means she's in charge of every design element of the company, Web site and catalog, and it's her attention to detail — delicate beading, raw edges, crepe de Chine ruffles — that sets J.Crew apart from other mall stores. The company's ability to be both aspirational and attainable has made it popular with Indianapolis career women and Birkin-toting Malibu trophy wives alike.


Lyons "is my fashion guru," says Harpo Films President Kate
Forte, who first contacted Lyons to help her select an outfit for the "Cadillac Records" movie premiere last year. "I was wearing Alexander McQueen, Chloe and Stella McCartney and spending tons and tons of money on it," Forte says. "Then last summer, I thought, 'This is ridiculous.' "I have worn J.Crew to movie premieres and industry breakfasts, and I still get the same compliments that I used to."

Despite the retail rut, under Lyons' creative direction the company has continued to expand. Some of fashion's biggest names have noticed. Derek Lam, the New York designer of opulent fur coats and delicate silk dresses and a classmate of Lyons' at New York's Parsons the New School for Design, understands her appeal. "Jenna brings a fashion editor's eye to an accessible brand," he says.


Lyons, the daughter of an insurance agent father and a stay-at-home mother, grew up in Palos Verdes. Even then, her own aesthetic was well-suited to J.Crew's business of basics with a twist.


"I was a school uniform rebel," she says, sporting her signature masculine-feminine look with a man's blazer, cropped pants, thick black eyeglasses and a tangle of glittery necklaces. "I used to shorten my skirts way too much and alter my shirts to make them really tight. I would shorten the sleeves on my blazer and put cute buttons on my cashmere sweaters."


Lyons spent summers working as a lifeguard and shopping on L.A.'s trendy Melrose Avenue. She frequented stores such as Circle Jerks and Black Fly, removing buttons and notions and sewing them onto other pieces. She also ordered clothes from J.Crew.


After high school, she enrolled in a fashion program at Otis Parsons in L.A., transferring to the New York campus for her sophomore year. Her first job after graduation was as a design assistant at Donna Karan, but Lyons found it frustrating because she and her friends could not afford the clothes.


In 1990, at age 21, she interviewed at J.Crew, which seven years earlier had launched as a mail-order business focusing on preppy clothes.


"When I took the job (as a men's knitwear designer), I forgot to ask what the salary was because I was so excited."


But even after she switched to designing women's garments, she didn't want to wear most of the clothes in those early years. It was, she said, about selling, not about fashion.


After a private equity firm bought a majority stake in the company in 1997, J.Crew went through three chief executives in five years. A new chapter began when Millard "Mickey" Drexler, newly ousted from the Gap, arrived as chairman and chief executive in January 2003.

The night before Drexler started in 2003, Lyons stayed up late researching him online.
"I had just done a complete redo of the line six months before, and I knew I was going to have to do it all over again — if I still had a job."

The next morning, he held a meeting with the company's senior merchants, designers and stylists to go through the fall collection piece by piece.


"Do you love it or hate it?" he asked Lyons, who was the head of women's design reporting to another creative director at the time.
"It does $1 million, but I hate it," she said of a pair of run-of-the-mill stretch pants. "Then throw them on the floor," he replied. The same thing happened with a "poodle" yarn turtleneck, a stiff leather jacket and other items.

Drexler then fired all of the senior level designers except for two, promoted Lyons and charged her with filling in the holes in the collection.


Gayle Spannaus, J.Crew's head women's stylist, who styles all the catalog shoots, remembers that Drexler loved the outfit Lyons was wearing that day — high heels and cargo pants.


"He asked her, 'Why don't you design what you're wearing?' "


The change was quick. J.Crew went from basic rugbys, drab workaday trouser skirts and silk shells to Liberty of London floral-print button-down shirts and silk Jacquard dresses "woven in the same style as the French haute couture."


Although she supervises a team of 25 women's and 15 men's designers, Lyons ultimately must approve thousands of pieces a year. She also oversees the catalog, Web site and store design.


Lyons is passionate about fashion, and not just J.Crew. One senses sometimes that she wishes she were designing loftier things.
No doubt that is why J.Crew launched its higher-priced Collection pieces such as $3,000 tortoise-colored sequin jackets ("I bought it, and I paid full price," the designer says), a $495 silk dupioni rosette dress and $395 snakeskin flats. Lyons is also working on expanding the company's bridal wear, perhaps even opening bridal boutiques.

I really enjoyed reading this article. It's always fun to learn more about Jenna Lyons and her rise at J.Crew. I can totally picture her wearing high heels with cargo pants too! Jenna has a unique style that totally works for her. :)

What are your thoughts on the article? Are there any pieces of information or quotes that are particularly interesting or revealing? :)

J.Crew's Styling Tips {for the week!} :)


Over at J.Crew's website, there is a neat feature under the Women's section (click here). Gayle Spannaus, J.Crew's head stylist for women (& the one who styles all the catalog shoots), offered a few of her styling tips. To make it more fun, she provided seven quotes with a corresponding outfit– one for each day of the week!

The following includes the advice (also shown in the slideshow above):
  1. Play with proportions– boxy over skinny, short over long, and slouchy with structured, here, a loose oversize sweater works wonders with a straightforward mini.
  2. Always add at least one element of surprise (however tiny). We're still obsessed with fluorescent accents. Here, a neon belt adds a pop of color to an otherwise soft, subdued palette.
  3. Make accessories multitask: turn an evening clutch into a day bag by adding a strap and wearing it messenger style (as seen here), wrap a long pearl necklace haphazardly around your wrist and reassign a brooch or hair pin as a pendant.
  4. Don't be afraid to shop the men's section (a lot of tops are available in XS). I love a guy's casual shirt unbuttoned at the top, half tucked, with the sleeves bunched up, paired with a seriously slim, ankle-grazing black pant.
  5. Experiment with pattern and color, by mixing similarly scaled prints and bold colors offset with neutralizing pale hues, you inject imagination and individuality into an outfit. P.S. Matching is overrated.
  6. Invest in a boyfriend blazer. Versatile enough to wear with skinny pants and a tee or over a more formal dress. It's an absolute must-have for Fall. Roll up the sleeves to display a printed or colorful lining.
  7. Unwrap your scarf. Instead, drape it around your neck, secure it in place with a belt at the waist and voila! –it's the new statement necklace.
I always found the catalog a source of inspiration (for styling clothes). That is why I (and so many JCAs) hold onto the catalogs. So I am thrilled to see Gayle offering styling advice. I could not agree with her more on the boyfriend blazer (mentioned in Day 6), as I think its a great investment piece for its versatility. I also like the advice to experiment with patterns and colors (mentioned in Day 5). :)

However, I don't think some of the styling tips transfer well to the "every-day". For example, I love the half-tucked look of a top (mentioned in Day 4), but that rarely works for me. Usually the shirt ends up un-tucking itself, and now its all wrinkled. Also, I have tried the belt at the waist look (mentioned in Day 7)- which only lasts 5 minutes for me. The belt almost always slides down and bunches up the jacket in a weird way, causing me to lose the belt altogether. ;)

What are your thoughts on the styling advice? Are there any tips that you think are spot-on or a complete miss? Do you like the way the outfits are styled? :)

Love It or Leave It: Bell Flower Top

Bell Flower Top
Click here for product page
Item 17429
Regular: $118.00

Awhile back (in the March 25th post, "J.Crew's Newest Arrivals For Fall 2009 {part 2}"), the Bell Flower Top made its debut. The top is described as the following: "Carefully crafted by our design team, our incredibly flattering silk tank is finished with dangling bell flowers—an unforgettable addition to any wardrobe. Twisted collar. Sleeveless."

I thought the top looked super cute when it was styled with a blazer (as shown in the image to the right).

When I saw the item online (after the website updated with new arrivals), I became less excited about it. I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Specifically, I am not sure how good the top looks by itself. I can't decide whether the dangling bell flowers are (a) over-the-top by themselves or (b) a unique touch to a simple silk tank?

This is definitely one of those items I need to see and try on in person. And of course, this top is "available in select stores"- so chances are my local store will not be carrying it.

What are your thoughts on the Bell Flower Top? Do you "love it" or would you "leave it"? Have you seen this top at a store? If so, please share with us your review. :)

Quick Poll: Do you like the Bell Flower Top?

Monday, August 24, 2009

J.Crew Email: Jenna's picks--the classics remixed (+free shipping)

"Thanks!" to many of you, including Marietta, HeidiG, & Jaden, who let us know about J.Crew's most recent email, which showcases all of Jenna Lyons' picks for the latest catalog.

Click here to view all the items selected, including the following:

Jenna's Picks: I'm infatuated with ladylike classics styled with an edge: natty tweed paired with crackled metallics, a pretty print coupled with a utilitarian jacket, denim and megagems. The look is elegantly off-kilter yet totally polishedperfected imperfection.
  1. Stretch flannel Olive top (item 17710; $98.00)
  2. Luciana minaudière (item 18336; $148.00)
  3. Leather gloves (item 18178; $49.50)
  4. Crystal thornbush earrings (item 19519; $75.00)
  5. Galaxy ribbon-and-chain necklace (item 19526; $78.00)
  6. Crystal dangle ring (item 19502; $55.00)
  7. Bobbi Brown Sheer Color Cheek Tint (in Sheer Pink)
  8. Bettina wool-patent T-strap heels (item 17194; $225.00)
  9. Double-cloth camino coat (item 17505; $278.00)
  10. Blushed tweed pencil skirt (item 17446; $158.00)
  11. The downtown field jacket (item 19034; $148.00)
  12. Tissue stone necklace tee (item 18528; $125.00)
  13. Shimmer paisley lawn dress (item 17535; $150.00)
  14. Cadogan leather ankle boots (item 18122; $225.00)
One item missing from Jenna's list in the email (but included in the catalog & online list of Jenna's Picks) is: the Harper crackle-metallic platform heels (item 18944; $238.00).

J.Crew is also offering free shipping on orders of $150+ with promo code NEWFALL. This offer expires this Wednesday, 8/26/09. :)

What are your thoughts on the items selected? Do you like the color palette? Which items would have made your top picks of new arrivals that you are loving this month?

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {looking to sell}

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who want to swap/sell/share among yourselves. This post is where you can mention your items and outside listing/ auction site (like eBay and eCrater & the corresponding user ID). Please note: this posting is not for resellers.

Please note that any transactions are independent of this blog. (Especially since you will be using an outside listing/ auction site like eBay or eCrater.) I have no dealings or interactions with any of the potential communication, listings, or transactions. :) Moreover, please limit comments about items to swap/sell/share to the "Great (Weekly) Exchange" posts. (Refer to "A Quick Note to J.Crew Aficionadas" post.)

Do you have any items you would like to swap/sell/share among yourselves through your outside listing/auction site?

Sidenote: What's up with JCAs writing "sub" or "subscribing" as their comment? It just means they are subscribing to all the comments (which are then automatically sent to their email) in that particular thread. This way they can stay aware of all the comments posted. :)

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {looking to find}

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who are looking for and interested in buying certain items. Please feel free to share a J.Crew store location and/or your outside listing/ auction site if it matches the requests made in this post. Please note: this posting is not for resellers.

Also note that any transactions are independent of this blog. (Especially since you will be using an outside listing/ auction site like eBay or eCrater.) I have no dealings or interactions with any of the potential communication, listings, or transactions. :) Moreover, please limit comments about items to swap/sell/share/finding to the "Great (Weekly) Exchange" posts. (Refer to "A Quick Note to J.Crew Aficionadas" post.)

Is there an item (or items) that you are looking for and interested in purchasing?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crewcuts Email: crewcuts new arrivals are here. in stores and online.

"Thanks!" to Marietta, who shared the following email with us.

As mentioned in Thursday's post, "J.Crew Updates Website With New Arrivals Today!", new arrivals are available for purchase online. The email above indicates that new arrivals for Crewcuts are also available for purchase online and at B&M (brick & mortar) stores. :)

They are also reminding us about free shipping on all Crewcuts orders (with no minimum). No code is necessary, as this offer is automatically applied at checkout. (This promo has been going on f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Well, it feels like forever. ;) But in reality, since April. Although I am happy they are running this promo, I can't help feel suspicious & concerned about it. Especially since some JCAs have reported the Crewcuts section downsizing, or disappearing altogether, at their local B&M store. Is the Crewcuts division doing well?)

Will you check out the new arrivals for Crewcuts? Will you purchase any items for kids going back to school?

Friday, August 21, 2009

J.Crew's Jenna Lyons & Her {lovely} Brownstone

A big "thanks!" to Raina (check out her great blog "If The Lamp Shade Fits") who let us know that J.Crew's Jenna Lyons is featured over at a British interiors magazine called LivingEtc (click here to see all the images of her home).

A rundown Brooklyn Brownstone gets an elegant makeover
By LivingEtc

Jenna Lyons is known in New York as the woman who made American clothing giant J Crew hip. Not surprisingly then, Jenna has used her razor-sharp style intuition to dress her tall, slender 1890s house in Brooklyn, which she and her husband, artist Vincent Mazeau, rescued from devastating neglect. A virtual ruin, the town house had never been wired properly and had a heating system that pumped out toxic fumes. 'The house was a two-year project before it became a home,' explains Jenna.


This cool New York couple also fell for the space because it wasn't a fashionable loft. 'In this city, it's very unusual to have a front door and a back garden,' says Jenna. Now the former wreck oozes modern elegance mixed with a touch of faded English country-house grandeur. Jenna has made one dramatic style statement per room.

The couple deliberately chose furniture and decorative details that grow old gracefully and look good with a little mess. In their bedroom, which flows into their en-suite bathroom, the herringbone slate floors mature the more they're walked on and splashed with water. The concrete work surfaces in the kitchen also improve as they take on scratches, scrapes and red-wine spills.

In their search for fixtures and fittings with a history, Jenna and Vincent also tracked down vintage English taps, baths and even toilets. 'Yes, they're used, but in a good way. I treated the taps with a spray bottle full of sea water to make them look old and unpolished. The effect is lived-in and low maintenance.'

Awhile back, Domino did a story on Jenna Lyon's home too (refer to the "Domino Magazine Features J.Crew's Jenna Lyons {part 2}" post from October 27th). My favorite part of these articles is getting to look at her closet/ dressing room space. (The layout looks like a mini retail store –delicious!) It's always neat to spot the J.Crew items she owns! ;)

What are your thoughts on the article & photos? Do you enjoy seeing her living space? How much do you love her closet? ;)

Seek & Find: Will you visit J.Crew this Weekend?

This is the weekly "sale watch" post, to help each other find sale items at our various local J.Crew stores. ;)

If you are stopping by a J.Crew store this weekend to see what's available in the Summer sale, or to see some new Fall arrivals {sigh!} in person, maybe you might be willing to share that with us in this post. In particular, if you could share with us a few of the noteworthy items that are available, at what prices, and potential sizes the store is carrying (as well as the store location)- that would be fantastic!

Also, please let us know if your local store is carrying an additional percent off sale. Thanks in advance!!! :)

P.S. I noticed that many of you have already been reporting sale items (and in which stores) in other posts which by the way "thank you!" :) I really appreciate how helpful we are for each other!

J.Crew Factory Email: We're Celebrating in Arundel Mills + 15% off

A big "thanks!" goes to Renee, TLD, & Priya Cherry, who let us know about a wonderful offer from J.Crew. The J.Crew Factory store at Arundel Mills is having a birthday. To celebrate they are offering customers 15% off purchases of $100+. This offer is good between 8/30/09.

Just click on the image above or here (which will take you to a larger version of the image) and print it out (so the associate can scan the bar code).

The location for the store is:

J.Crew at Arundel Mills Outlet
7000 Arundell Mills Circle
Hanover, MD 21076
(410) 579-2102

Congrats to all those in the area!!! :)

J.Crew Email: New Arrivals (they're here). In stores and online.

"Thanks!" to Marietta & love2shop4bags, who shared with us an email J.Crew sent yesterday.

As mentioned in yesterday's post, "J.Crew Updates Website With New Arrivals Today!", new arrivals are available for purchase online. The email above indicates that new arrivals are also available for purchase at B&M (brick & mortar) stores. {How exciting!} :)

Are you planning to visit a B&M store this weekend to check out the latest new arrivals? If so, please share what new items you come across! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

J.Crew Updates Website With New Arrivals Today!

"Thanks!" to many of you, including RatsOnParade & cortney_joy (in this post), who let us know that J.Crew updated its website (click here). There are new arrivals for men (click here) & women (click here). Although the J.Crew Collection (click here) does seem to be the same from the last update on August 8th (refer to the "J.Crew Collection's New Arrivals {online}" post).

In addition to having new arrivals for men and women, J.Crew also provided the latest catalog online (click here to view). There is even the footwear/ accessories only catalog! :)

What items are you most excited about and why? Which items are you surprised to see? Which items did you hope would be included? Also, did you receive the latest catalog?

J.Crew Stock is on the Rise {oh yeah!}

There is an interesting article over at Forbes (click here) about J.Crew's stock price and its recent positive trend.

J.Crew climbs as analyst lifts to 'Outperform'
By Associated Press
August 18, 2009

Shares of J.Crew Group Inc. surged Tuesday, getting a boost from a ratings upgrade and price target increase.

BMO Capital Markets analyst John Morris lifted the retailer to "Outperform" from "Market Perform" and raised his share price target to $35 from $25.

In a client note, Morris said the New York-based company is laying the groundwork for a strong long-term performance partly on signs that its fall merchandise is off to a good start.

"Our sources close to the company also confirm that not only is the merchandise trend-right, but it is differentiated to the competition - a major positive," the analyst wrote.

The recession and budget-conscious shoppers have also led many department stores to play it safe, giving J.Crew a chance to eat into market share, Morris explained.

"We think J.Crew is getting the benefit of shoppers veering away from the ultra luxe high-end department stores in favor of J.Crew's more affordable wares in this environment," he said.

Morris raised his second-quarter earnings estimate to 20 cents per share from 12 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, whose estimates normally exclude one-time items, predict profit of 14 cents per share.

J.Crew's stock gained $1.84, or 6.5 percent, to $29.97 in afternoon trading. The shares have traded in a range of $8.02 to $38 over the last year.


This is wonderful news for J.Crew's stockholders (including myself). I am happy to hear that J.Crew is still outshining its competitors through its "trend-right" merchandise. Yey!

What are your thoughts on the article? Do you disagree or agree with the comments about J.Crew, including their ability to differentiate themselves well? Do you think other retailers are playing it "too safe"? Would you consider purchasing J.Crew stock? :)