Sunday, January 31, 2010

J.Crew Email: The only tee you'll ever need (or want)

"Thanks!" to Jaden who shared the latest email J.Crew sent today.

The email features the Jaspé Jersey V-neck Tee (item 13260; $36.00) which is described as:

Your search for the ultimate wear-with-everything tee ends here (and we've added new colors). We use a twisted cotton yarn and a special knitting technique to achieve this highly sought-after vintage, heathered effect—simply put, this is not your average tee. It's one of our designers' favorite ideas—and from what we hear, it's gaining quite the fan base. Tailored fit—a slimmer fit that looks like it was made for you.
"Thanks!" also to hdnb, the blogger behind the {great} Hotdish & Bars blog, who shared the following super sleuth find: "I was wondering if you received the email this morning from J. Crew advertising the men's Jaspe tee. This is totally fluff, and actually irrelevant to the product itself (which feels really nice in person, btw), but the model himself sports a couple of forearm tattoos in the catalog that are missing in the email rendition of the photo." To view side-by-side images of the model with (& without) tatoos, refer to his "Missing Tattoos and Other Musings, J.Crew Edition" post.

What are your thoughts on the Men's Jaspé Jersey V-neck Tee? Do you like or dislike the style of the tee? Do you think that it has a good starting price point?

Last Day for Extra 30% Off Final Sale & Free Shipping {for realz this time!}

Today is the last day to take 30% off any purchase from Final Sale {no minimum} and get free shipping {on $150+} with promo code EXTRA30.

I love this promotion! There were some a-m-a-z-i-n-g deals to be had if you visited the sale section at the right time and moved quickly. :) I do not think we will be seeing this type of promotion for awhile. {sniffle} So I am really happy that J.Crew decided to extend it through the end of this week.

On a related noted, Twiga (in this post) shared the news that the extra 30% off Final Sale in brick & mortar (B&M) stores will most likely end this Sunday too.

Will you be taking advantage of this promotion today? Are there any sale items you are interested in getting?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

J.Crew Email: A wardrobe transformer

"Thanks!" to Marietta, who shared the latest email J.Crew sent today.

The email features the Merino-Linen Camp Cardigan (Item 21831; $98.00) which is described as:

A utilitarian take on the classic V-neck cardigan, with a slightly slouchier silhouette and sleeves that can be worn long or rolled up and fastened (our designers were inspired by a traditional men's camp shirt). The yarn is a beautiful blend of Italian merino and linen, so it's super soft with a fabulous slub texture—and sure to be a favorite for seasons to come.
J.Crew is all about promoting their cardigans as of late (refer to the last week's "J.Crew Email: A lovely layer (plus, FREE SHIPPING)"post).

As for this cardigan, I love the concept of the rolling-sleeves-to-fasten like a camp shirt. I also really like the {rather large} size of the buttons along the front of cardigan. However, I would have to try this top in-person to see how "light" (code for "see-through") this cardigan is. Another concern I have is that it is a linen blend, so I am not sure how well it will drape / wrinkle.

What are your thoughts on the Merino-Linen Camp Cardigan? Do you like or dislike the style of the cardigan sleeves being rolled & fastened?

J.Crew's Look Behind the Design with Jenna Lyons

J.Crew's latest website update with new Spring arrivals has provided all sorts of behind the scenes look, including a short video (just under 3 minutes) showing the "behind the design" of the latest Spring & Summer 2010 collection.

The video (click here to view it) features J.Crew's Creative Director Jenna Lyons, apparently referred to by others as "Commander in Chic", and her inspirations for the latest collection.

There is something fun about getting to see how J.Crew puts together their outfits & photo shoots. :)

What are your thoughts on the video? Are there any points or scenes that you found particularly interesting? Do you care (or not care) for these "behind the scene" looks?

Jenna's Home {it's like you live there!}

"Thanks!" to TweedyBird, Roxy, & Audrey, who let us know about an article on the home of J.Crew's Creative Director Jenna Lyons over at Apartment Therapy (click here). This article summarizes the original article found at Habitually Chic (click here).

This is not the first time we are looking through Jenna's home. Her townhouse has been featured in several magazines. As a few examples, refer to the August 21, 2009 "J.Crew's Jenna Lyons & Her {lovely} Brownstone" post, as well as the October 27, 2008 "Domino Magazine Features J.Crew's Jenna Lyons {part 2}" post.

Instead of focusing on the visual contrasts that the articles discuss, all I could keep thinking is that Jenna's got one beautiful townhouse. That window enclosed breakfast nook/ sitting area is gorgeous! Way to go Jenna! :)

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

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 WINTER & HOLIDAY sale, or to see some new RESORT & SPRING 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!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.Crew Updates Website with New Arrivals!

"Thanks!" to many of you, including Molly, xoxo, Elizabeth, & Chris (in this post), Genny, Green_Dino, Crystal, & Nicole (in this post), as well as tiffany rose & Marietta, who let us know that J.Crew had an update to its website today (click here to view online).

There are some new arrivals for men (click here) & women (click here). Even the J.Crew Collection (click here) is updated with new arrivals. {wahoo!}

J.Crew has also provided the latest catalog online (click here to view). It is another {wonderful} destination catalog (Lisbon, Portugal). Also available is is the Men's only catalog for February 2010. :) As for their new arrivals...

Me likey! I am loving the sweet simplicity of the Suckered Gingham Perfect Shirt (Item 23310; $69.50). Moreover, there is something very beautiful about the cascade of flowers on the Tissue Garland Tank (item 23337; $42.50). I am also drawn to the Scalloped Zipper Cardigan (item 23423; $98.00), but I have to see it in person to determine if the exposed zippers are cute or too much. And since the Metallic Beacon Purse is too small, I am now intrigued by the Metallic Beacon Hobo (item 24904; $258.00).

Me don't likey! J.Crew has got to snap out of the "overdone" necklaces. Case in point: the Faceted Raindrop Ribbon Cluster Necklace (Item 25532; $135.00). It's a hideous mess. J.Crew, you have such lovelier (& simpler) necklaces at your B&M stores ...feature those!

It's also interesting to see J.Crew include more items collaborated with external partners like the G.H. Bass® & Company Penny Loafers (Item 26307; $120.00) and the Quoddy® Handmade Suede Ring Boots (Item 25075; $278.00).

Lastly, J.Crew is also extending their {amazing} offer for 30% off any purchase from Final Sale {no minimum} and free shipping {on $150+} with promo code EXTRA30. This offer is now good through this Sunday, 1/31/10.

I am thrilled to see this promotion being extended. As many of you have noted, J.Crew updated the Sale Section (click here) this morning with a lot of pop-backs. However, I did notice that a few items have gone up in price since a few days ago. For example, the Wool Schoolboy Blazer in Heather Coral (Item 17072; $178.00) was on sale for less than $79.99 yesterday and now it is back to $99.99.

What items are you most excited about and why? Which items are you surprised (or not surprised) to see? Which items did you hope would be included? Were you expecting a bigger roll-out today? Also, did you receive the latest catalog? :)

J.Crew Mini-Blooper: Sperry Boat Shoes

Every once in awhile, J.Crew's "people" (whoever they are) will miss something in the images used for their catalog and online images. Of course, our super sleuth JCAs don't miss a thing! :)

"Thanks!" to an anonymous JCA who found a special message inside the Sperry Top-Sider® Authentic Original Broken-In Boat Shoes (Item 13508; $98.00).

On the inside of the Vintage Navy shoes, one can find the words "Sample Not For Resale" in big white letters. Even the Dark Wood version has an "S" on the inside ...could it be for "Sample" too? ;)

Although this is minor ...and pretty funny, I find it a bit annoying when samples are used for stock photos on the website. Sometimes you order an item thinking it will look exactly like the image only to find something gone missing or wrong (refer to the "Floral Astrid Jacket: Not Exactly "As Shown"" post as an example). Oh J.Crew!

Did you notice that the shoes had the sample marking on the inside? Did you get these shoes? If so, notice any markings? ;)

Coming Soon: New J.Crew Stores!

A big "thanks!" to an anonymous JCA who let us know the following exciting news about a future J.Crew store opening:

One of the smaller vacant spaces in the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, Virginia has a sign saying "Coming soon - J.Crew". How soon, I cannot tell. I did check the mall's website, and J.Crew.com, but there is no mention of this location. I just wanted to give a heads-up to all of the JCA's who are in the Virginia suburbs of the DC metro area.
That is great news for customers in the Fairfax, Virgina area! :)

As a quick reminder, J.Crew also plans to open a new store in Newark, Delaware (at the Newark Christiana Mall) on 2/16/10, as well as a new Factory store in Lake George, New York (at the Lake George French Mountain Commons) on 2/9/10.

Congrats to all the local residents! :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Last Day for Extra 30% Off Final Sale {& free shipping}

Today is the last day to take 30% off any purchase from Final Sale {no minimum} and get free shipping {on $150+} with promo code EXTRA30.

Let me start off by saying, "bravo J.Crew!" This is an excellent promotion that I have been taking advantage of for the past several days. And from the {decreasing} levels of merchandise in the Final Sale section (click here), I am not the only one! A win-win for me & J.Crew (...well, maybe not so much my wallet). ;)

I hate to see this promotion go. Especially since I have a sneaky feeling that tomorrow there will be a surge in Final Sale merchandise. (Isn't that always the case— when sale merchandise levels increase on the day *after* one of these {amazing} promos end). ;)

On a bright note, several JCAs have mentioned new arrivals will be available online this week. I have another sneaky feeling that it will happen tomorrow. :)

Will you be taking advantage of this promotion today? Are there any sale items you are interested in getting?

J.Crew News: Success & Lessons Learned

"Thanks!" to Cass & Erinn, who let us know there is a follow-up article (refer to the "J.Crew News: The Cult Of J.Crew" post) about J.Crew's success over at WalletPop (click here).

J.Crew's Success Story & the Six Retailers that Should Learn From It
By Megan Angelo

January 21, 2010


In the recession that has robbed retailers of profits and growth, J.Crew has somehow managed to shine -- in the latest third quarter, the store's revenue was up 14%. According to a recent article in Forbes Woman, J.Crew's success can be boiled down to one simple secret: it makes clothes women actually want to buy.


You can almost hear the rest of the fashion world sneering in unison: Oh, is that what we're supposed to be doing? And to think we were concentrating on clothes women don't want to buy!


Yes, the statement is a bit oversimplified. But it sums up J.Crew's specific efforts to win customers and keep them interested. Some less fortunate retailers could learn a thing or two from the company's tactics. Retailers such as ...


The tactic: Giving the brand a face

Who needs it: New York & Company
The Forbes Woman story applauds the way J.Crew brought its design director, Jenna Lyons, to the forefront of its marketing. Just as a fashion director might curate the best looks of the month in a fashion magazine, Jenna pulls the loveliest and most flattering items in each of the company's collections and compiles them into "Jenna's Picks," which are highlighted in the retailer's print catalog and email blasts. Mall staple New York & Company always seems to have an affordable mix of this-minute pieces (like this trench) and versatile basics (like this vest) on hand, and they could certainly use a brand ambassador to show customers how to pull them all together.

The tactic: Price-point versions

Who needs it: Gap and its sister stores

One counter-intuitive but genius idea: J.Crew often offers near-identical items at starkly different price points. Meaning: if this luscious deco sequined tank is just out of the question, you can buy this similar one for more than $300 less. Not every store can pull this off -- but how about a group of stores? Gap Inc. has already combined the e-commerce platforms of its brands (Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy and Athleta). A link to the cheaper Gap take on a $98 Banana sweater could only enhance the shopping experience.


The tactic: Reinvent -- then reinvent again

Who needs it: Polo Ralph Lauren

J.Crew once peddled flat, serious looks that clung to the basic tenets of Preppy-dom. Then they started paying attention to fashion. Polo Ralph Lauren badly needs to take a look at this page of the playbook. While the retail behemoth spends plenty of creative effort on its high-end lines, its mass-retail collections stick to the same logos and motifs year after year. Come on guys, there are only so many ways to make stripes look new.


The tactic: Regular fun injections

Who needs it: Eileen Fisher

One of the things J.Crew's loyal clients love most? Color. The company nails the fun factor by imbuing its looks with rich golds, airy pistachios and irresistible corals, to name a few. Eileen Fisher has the corner market on wear-it-forever basics, but it could certainly stand to lose its phobia of the rainbow and put black on the back burner for a while.


The tactic: Consistent sizing

Who needs it: Gap and Free People

J.Crew's customers love to shop online because they trust that every size 8 the store churns out is the same as the size 8 before it. If Gap wants to get in on that Internet success, it should take a closer look at its sizing rubrics -- its much-hyped premium denim runs a size or two smaller than its standard jeans. And Free People's sizes are all over the map, making fitting rooms a real necessity.


The tactic: Fabulous final sales

Who needs it: Everyone!

This wasn't in the Forbes Woman article -- but JCrew.com is the proud home to what may be the finest sales online. The markdowns are generous and constant, the inventory is plentiful, the layout is easy to navigate. And if there's one thing women love more than clothes they actually want to buy, it's getting them at a sweet discount.
What are your thoughts on the article? Do you agree or disagree with any of the points made?

Madewell Email: This just in...

"Thanks!" to Marietta who shared the latest email Madewell (click here) sent yesterday.

The email features the City Slouch Trouser Jeans ($110.00) which are described as the following: "they're our latest stroke of denim genius: tailored pleats meet a modern, boyishly slouchy silhouette".

Is it just me or do these pants look weird around the crotch? Instead of these pants, Madewell should have featured the Mayfair Dress ($98) which is too cute for words!

What are your thoughts on the City Slouch Trouser Jeans? Do you like or dislike the style? Are you a fan of the pleats and/or length? :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You've Got Mail ...Rewards Cards are Here! :)

"Thanks!" to Rosie & Jill B who let us know about the following news regarding J.Crew card members: rewards cards are being mailed to qualifying card members now! :)

The rewards card also come with a Spring 2010 mini Look Book. A big "thanks!" to Rosie again who shared the following images of the rewards card & pages of the Look Book being sent to customers. She also shares the following with us:

It arrived inside a little booklet saying "Our new Spring 2010 collections have arrived and we couldn't wait to show you first (one perk of being a Cardmember)." It contains 4 women's outfits, 2 men's outfits, one page of men's accessories, and the rewards program guidelines.
Lastly, AudreyBella shared some additional pages of the Card Members' Look Book over at her "Life is Short...Buy the Shoes" blog, just check her "JCrew Spring Rewards- Just in Time for New Arrivals" post.

So if you are a card member, *check* your mail to see if you got your Rewards Card! :)

J.Crew's Tracy Gardner In the News

"Thanks!" to Pamela (author of the lovely Ginger Girl blog), who not only let us know that J.Crew's Tracy Gardner is featured in the February 2010 issue of More magazine, but also provided the images of the article (read her "J.Crew spotted in February MORE" post). Click on any of the images in this post to view larger.

According to the article, Tracey Gardner is the "retailing expert" who "has helped steer some of the most high profile brands of our time". As "president of J.Crew, she embodies the company's blend of urban and feminine chic". Some advice offered in the article include the following:

  • "As I've gotten older, I've learned how to play with proportions," she says. One way to look modern: Wear smaller, fitted jackets (ones that fall just below the waist) with something longer underneath. It looks great, even if "tiny" isn't your size.
  • Do you love basic black after hours? Gardner says it's time for a rethink: "I love color!" she exclaims and changes hues seasonally: citrus in the summer, jewel tones in the winter. She also loves red lips any time of year. "You need to try something new and see how you feel. You may find it speaks to you more than you thought it would"
  • Gardner says a touch of something unusual— like this bow-tipped gold evening shoe— adds whimsy to a wardrobe.
  • Gardner calls her brand of dressing "sweet and sour" for its boy-meets-girl approach. Case in point: These cargo pants with a pretty topper. "Combinng creates the unexpected," she says.
It's nice to see other faces of J.Crew's executive team offering their viewpoints on the brand & styling. I wonder if we will be seeing more of Ms. Gardner in the future.

What are your thoughts on the outfits & advice Tracey Gardner offers? Do you like the styles or pieces used?

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {exclusively for men!}

Preface: Although the Great (Weekly) Exchange posts are for all J.Crew Aficionadas and Aficionados to use, it leans more towards the ladies. I thought it might be useful if there was a dedicated Great (Weekly) Exchange post for Men's items. I will start out with just one post (for those selling & seeking) each Tuesday for a few weeks and see how it goes. Hopefully this will help out our fellow Aficionados! :)

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who are interested in (1) swapping/selling/sharing and/or (2) looking for and interested in buying certain items from J.Crew's Men Collection. 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.)

Do you have any items you would like to swap/sell/share among yourselves through your outside listing/auction site? Is there an item (or items) that you are looking for and interested in purchasing?

Monday, January 25, 2010

J.Crew Email: A lovely layer (plus, FREE SHIPPING)

"Thanks!" to Marietta, who shared the latest email J.Crew sent today.

The email features the Corwin Cardigan (Item 24573; $89.50) which is described as:

A wear-with-all cardigan, featuring a gently twisted neckline and a slightly longer length—we're wearing ours with skinny jeans and belted over shorts.
J.Crew is also reminding us about their offer for 30% off any purchase from Final Sale {no minimum} and free shipping {on $150+} with promo code EXTRA30. This offer is good through this Wednesday, 1/27/10. This promotion is a great one for customers and for J.Crew (as items are selling out fast!) :)

What are your thoughts on the Corwin Cardigan? Do you like or dislike the style of the cardigan's neckline?

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, January 23, 2010

Extra 30% Off Final Sale {& free shipping}

A big "thanks!" to many of you, including Katrina, Empalc, Rynetta, twiga, Anne, Jaden, tiffany rose, Ginny, Marietta, as well as Molly Darling, love2shop4bags, IRL, Growing My Piggy Bank, & Green_Dino (in this post), who let us know about another offer from J.Crew.

J.Crew is offering customers 30% off any purchase from Final Sale {no minimum} and free shipping {on $150+} with promo code EXTRA30. This offer is good through 1/27/10.

It is worthwhile to point out the following fine print of this promo: "Free shipping applies to orders of $150+ after 30% discount on sale items and before shipping, handling and taxes are added". {A bit sneaky here, but by now we are use to it.} ;)

Will you be taking advantage of this promotion? Are there any sale items you are interested in getting?

Friday, January 22, 2010

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

Yes, it is that wonderful time!

A big "thanks!" to Sarah who was kind to let us know that J.Crew is offering free shipping on orders of $150+ with promo code HCK97M. This offer expires 2/1/10.

P.S. I have noticed that other blogs & websites 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 Email: Our best-kept shopping secret

"Thanks!" to many of you, including Marietta & Rosa, who shared the following email J.Crew sent this morning. The email reminds us about J.Crew's Personal Shopper (PS) service (click here to sign up).

It's like J.Crew's marketing team can't be bothered. Why so mean? Because this is the same email they sent back a few months ago (refer to the October 8th "J.Crew Email: Our best-kept shopping secret" post). Not only is the subject of the email the same, but so is the text. The only difference is the photo. Way to rock it Marketing.

How about a killer promotion instead of this stock email? J.Crew, I know you know that I know you have a lot of Holiday merchandise being returned from brick & mortar (B&M) stores. So let's see some discounts and sales. And while we are it, don't be stingy with the free shipping offers. You know you want to. ;)

Crewcuts Email: crewcuts for every day of the week. plus, free shipping.

"Thanks!" to many of you, including Marietta & HeidiG, who shared the following email Crewcuts sent this morning.

The email let's us know that a Crewcuts "calendar" is now available online (click here). It consists of "a week's worth of our most versatile, durable and very mix-and-matchable looks for boys and girls".

Lastly, the email reminds us that shoppers can get free shipping on any Crewcuts order. Dear J.Crew, how about a similar free shipping offer for the regular J.Crew line? It would be put to good use. :)

What are your thoughts on the "clothes calendar" for Crewcuts? Do you like the style of the new Crewcuts?

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 WINTER & HOLIDAY sale, or to see some new RESORT 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!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cardmember Email: A sneak preview from our spring collection (just for Cardmembers)

"Thanks!" to many of you, including Marietta, DinDin, dinagideon, Elizabeth, Shannon, & Cass, who shared with us the latest email from J.Crew to its card members.

The email above features the not-yet-officially-released-online Grommet Parlour Hobo (Item 23176; $298.00). J.Crew describes the hobo (which comes in either Black or Pale Buff) as:

Our design team (and everyone else) is mad for this handbag. Part motorcycle chic, part impeccable uptown construction, it's one of our favorite shapes in soft pebbled leather and a tricked-out body with a smattering of studs and grommets. With multiple pockets to keep you organized and an adjustable strap for versatility. Top snap closure with two zip pockets. Shiny gold hardware. Interior front-wall split-patch cell pocket, back-wall zip pocket. Cotton twill lining. Part of the J.Crew Collection.
Me don't likey. I don't care for the studs and grommets at all, which dates this bag as a current trend. For this price point, I expect the bag to be a timeless keepsake.

By the way, when I think of J.Crew the term "motorcycle chic" does *not* come to mind. J.Crew, please do not go this route. Instead, think Paris 2007. You know what I am talkin' about J.Crew. {wink}

On a bright note, this email only confirms that new arrivals will be available online soon. {wahoo!}

What are your thoughts on the hobo? Do you like the style- from the size to the style with its studs & grommets?

Product Review: Metallic Beacon Purse

Metallic Beacon Purse
Click here for product page
Item 23189
Regular: $168.00

When this bag arrived online, all I could think was pretty, pretty, pretty bag. J.Crew describes this Collection bag as the following:

This metallic-leather purse has a sporty-chic twist that we're coveting for spring. Impeccable detailing includes the extra-long strap (so it can be worn either flat across the body or over the shoulder), polished gold hardware and a reverse-metallic finish. With enough luxe touches to take you from the conference room to cocktails. (We see it slung across a little black dress.) An interior back-wall zip pocket keeps your lipstick and cell phone in line. Leather handles. Top flap with turn-lock closure. Cotton twill lining.
A big "thanks!" to DinDin who shared her review of the Beacon Purse, as well as some real-life images. Just click on any of her images to view larger. The following is her review:
I think this purse is shinier in person than in the photo on the website. One photo is of the bag compared next to my tv remote so you can see the size comparison. This purse will hold an iphone, a wallet (on the slimmer side), and maybe a few small things like a couple lipglosses.

If you put anything that is round or thick into the bag it will pull at the top flap. This is because the bag is very slim. There is no width at all actually.

I'm short, 5'2". When worn cross body the top of the bag hits at the top of my hips. When I put it over one shoulder, it dropped below my hips. (please excuse my mirror/camera, i don't know what that smudge is.)

The strap is removable, although it would look slightly off with those two gold rings attached to the bag. The bag itself is very light which is a plus if you're going to use this bag for a "going out" bag. As far as the strap, it is studded, little pyramids on one side and flat rounds on the other side.

The inside is lined in plain cotton, beige in color. As for the feel of the leather, it's not particularly smooth, obviously because it is metallic.

Overall, I'm not sure what I think of it. Maybe 3.5 stars out of 5.
"Thanks!" again to DinDin for her great review of this bag! I, along with many other JCAs, had been curious about the size of the Beacon— especially since J.Crew did not offer any additional photos of the purse.

What are your thoughts on the Metallic Beacon Purse? Have you seen or own this bag? If so, what is your review of the size & style? Would you recommend it to another fellow JCA?

J.Crew's Sperry Top-Sider {found for less!}

As many of us noticed in the last roll-out of new arrivals, J.Crew is now offering the Sperry Top-Sider® Authentic Original 2-Eye Metallic Boat Shoes (Item 20508; $98.00). Which incidentally, has one of the longest product names (10 words!) for J.Crew.

These boat shoes are a nod to the classic preppy style, often associated with our beloved J.Crew. Apparently customers are responding to this new addition, because there is now a wait-listed date of April 16, 2010!

A big "thanks!" to Danielle who found the same exact boat shoes at, of all places, Sperry Topsider.com. The Women's Authentic Original Metallic Boat Shoe (Item 9294455; $85.00) also has no wait-list as it is available to ship immediately.

But wait, there has to be a difference! Yes, there is one small difference between the two boat shoes, which J.Crew mentions: "exclusive details you won't find anywhere else (like grosgrain ribbon at the heel)". So basically, you are paying $13 for an inch of ribbon that no one can see while wearing the shoes. Brilliant.

You've got to find the humor in how J.Crew is offering these shoes with a fancier title & a bit of ribbon, for more money while making customers wait to get them. Well played J.Crew! ;)

Madewell Email: Instant sparkle

"Thanks!" to Marietta who shared the latest email Madewell (click here) sent yesterday.

The email features the Crystal Cluster Jewelry Collection which is described as "shimmering, vintage-inspired jewels– a luxe way to update any look". The collection includes the following:

  • Crystal Cluster Chain Necklace ($128)
  • Crystal Cluster Necklace ($118)
  • Crystal Cluster and Neon Necklace ($65)
  • Crystal Cluster Bracelet ($68)
Uh... does the marketing team over at Madewell know they recently featured this collection a few weeks ago (refer to December 17th "Madewell Email: Vintage-inspired jewels (to give & get)" post). Maybe they (1) really, really like it or (2) are having a hard time selling this collection. ;)

As for the Collection, at first I thought it was quite lovely. After seeing it, I dislike the metal hardware used. It doesn't come off as delicate as it does in the stock photos. And don't get me started on those price points! {yikes!} ;)

Lastly, Madewell is extending their brick & mortar (B&M) store promotion of "25% off end-of-the-season" sale" until Sunday, January 24, 2010.

What are your thoughts on the Crystal Cluster Jewelry collection? Do you like or dislike the style? Are you a fan of Madewell's jewelry? :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Darlings, is it time for a J.Crew coupon code? {about time, fewf!}

Yes, it is that wonderful time!

Our request for a shipping code {of any kind} has been answered by a wonderful JCA. A super big "thanks!" to Rhiannon who was kind to let us know that J.Crew is offering free shipping on orders of $150+ with promo code SRC51Y. This offer expires 1/25/10.

Who knew I could get so excited over a free shipping code with a relatively high minimum of $150+? ;) But when codes are scarce, as in no other codes are out "there", this one looks pretty, pretty good. :)

P.S. I have noticed that other blogs & websites 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 News: The Cult Of J.Crew

"Thanks!" to RatsOnParade & SC Crew, who let us know there is an article about J.Crew's customer following over at Forbes (click here to read the article in its entirety).

The Cult Of J.Crew
By Leah Bourne
January 20, 2010

This shouldn't come as a shock: It's a bleak time for retailers. Stores have gone out of business, 70% off sales have become de rigueur and women are shopping in their closets rather than whipping out their credits cards to spend.

But while most retailers have been suffering through this millennium's version of the Great Depression, J.Crew is having its golden era. First Lady Michelle Obama wore J. Crew while gabbing on Jay Leno's couch in 2008 and the first daughters donned Crewcuts, a children's line, to the inauguration. J.Crew's creative director, Jenna Lyons, has taken on fashion icon status comparable to the likes of superstar designers like Donna Karan and Miuccia Prada ("Jenna's picks," which are updated monthly on JCrew.com, often sell out).


And J.Crew's recent success is more than just hype. The company reported 14% revenue growth for the third quarter of 2009 over 2008 and strong holiday sales. The retailer has managed to become fashion's glimmer of hope that women still like to shop, recession be damned. (As if there was any doubt.)
...

J.Crew was founded in 1983 by Arthur Cinader in the hopes of capitalizing on the success of The Official Preppy Handbook and Ralph Lauren. J.Crew was to be the price conscious antidote for the growing legions of yuppie shoppers. Cinader created a glossy catalogue complete with photography that looked like it belonged on the editorial pages of a glossy magazine and which propelled the brand into the spotlight. The company, while initially a runaway success, hit a wall in the late 1990s. Texas Pacific, known for their ability to turn around flailing companies, bought a stake in the company in 1997. The company went through several CEOs before landing on miracle worker Millard "Mickey" Drexler, former CEO of the Gap.


J.Crew quickly morphed into a store that appealed to younger shoppers making investment purchases, Birkin Bag-toting soccer moms cutting back on splurges at Neiman Marcus and career-centric women who can't get enough of the pencil skirts and slim trousers. It's a recession-proof model that few stores imitate--$500 sequin and tulle skirts expertly sit next to their $150 counterparts, with skillfully put together mannequins to help shoppers style the look for evening (with a silk tank) and for the office (with a T-shirt and belted wool sweater). Every purchase seems like a great buy.


Eric Beder, a retail analyst for Brean Murray Carret & Co., says, "J.Crew has become an expert in recasting timeless classics into current fashion must-haves." Their recent best-sellers have been metallic ballet flats, T-shirts trimmed in chiffon, colorful cashmere sweaters, rhinestone jewelry and oversized blazers.


Reflecting on J.Crew's recent success, Drexler told investors on a recent conference call: "It's about product, it's about quality, it's about design, it's about service, it's about creativity." Corporate speak, sure, but Drexler knows that his company's success isn't thanks to a celebrity endorsement or the latest wash of jeans. It has to do with consistency. J.Crew's biggest fans wax poetic about J.Crew's reliable sizes, which allow them to shop easily online. They applaud the line's color palette with a range from basic black to trendy lime green. And they love that they can buy everything from a $115 retro one-piece bathing suit to a $2,500 lace wedding gown. ...
The author at Forbes, Leah Bourne, actually contacted me about this article in December. I responded back about being happy to contribute by email (as to not reveal myself). I never heard back from her. What's up Leah, why overlook the J.Crew Aficionada blog? I am a bit bummed out that Ms. Bourne did not think I nor this blog (driven by all the fabulous JCAs), were worth mentioning let alone following up with. {sniffle} Oh well, I am not bitter! Maybe a little bit... ;)

What are your thoughts on the article? Do you agree or disagree with any of the points made?

J.Crew Email: New styles added to final sale

"Thanks!" to many of you, including Marietta, Jaden, & truLuxe, who let us know the following news.

The Final Sale section (click here) updated this morning with quite a number of additions and markdowns. As usual, items are quickly selling out. :)

Like so many of you, I had a whole cart full of goodies this morning but couldn't go through with the purchase without a free shipping code. So I passed instead. :( Dear J.Crew, now is a really good time to offer one of your free shipping code promotions! :)

The additional 20% off promotion may have ended online, but an additional 30% percent off is still going on in J.Crew's brick & mortar (B&M) stores. (Although, sale inventory may be low and limited.)

Will you be checking out the sale section? Did you score some items from the sale section this morning? If so, please share! :)

Product Review: Ruffled Carly Dress

Ruffled Carly Dress
Click here for product page
Item 21494
Price: $98.00

If you stop by a brick & mortar (B&M) J.Crew store, you may have noticed a new Spring dress, the Ruffled Carly, hanging on the racks. J.Crew describes this dress as the following:

Our designers detailed this sweet dress with rows and rows of ruffles then garment-dyed it for gorgeous saturated color. Spun from pure 100% cotton, you'll love the comfort and ease. A great transitional piece that you can wear layered during winter (try it with leggings and a sweater) and on it's own come spring and summer. Tiers of washed cotton. Shift silhouette. Slightly fitted at waist. Straight bodice, slight A-line skirt. Ruffled collar. Metal buttons. Short sleeves with turned-back cuffs. Unlined. Falls above knee.
A big "thanks!" to Jennifer who shared her review of this dress. The following is her review:
J.Crew describes this dress as follows: "Our designers detailed this sweet dress with rows and rows of ruffles then garment-dyed it for gorgeous saturated color. Spun from pure 100% cotton, you'll love the comfort and ease. A great transitional piece that you can wear layered during winter (try it with leggings and a sweater) and on it's [sic] own come spring and summer."

I hadn't seen this dress online before I popped into my B&M store, where the personal shopper recommended it highly. It was a new arrival, and she was excited to see someone try it on. I was also excited, since I love ruffles, and the dark grey (which appears to be no longer available as of 17 Jan) is one of my favorite colors. The two sizes of ruffles add visual interest, and the change from small to large ruffles provides nice waist definition.

I found this dress problematic for a number of reasons. First, although the construction is impeccable, the cut is oversized in general. I tried on my usual size and swam in it, so I would recommend sizing down. Even one size smaller than my usual had plenty of room in the shoulders, arms, and bust, my usual problem places.

Secondly, and the rear view photo on the website illustrates this nicely, this dress is cut STRAIGHT up and down in the back. For anyone with rear curves, this will be a less than flattering fit. On me, the dress fit fine around my butt, but then went straight up my back, making me look like a ruffled column--not my best look, to say the least!

Undeterred, I tried the dress open over the perfect fit ruffle tank with a matching belt, hoping that this would solve the extra volume problem. Unfortunately, a slim belt with this dress only accented the bagginess of the dress, and the dress went back on the hanger.

Has anyone else had success styling this dress, or is this just the wrong cut for my body type?
But wait, there's more! A big "thanks!" to DinDin who shared her review of this dress, as well as some real-life images. The following is her review:
The carly dress: SUPRISE! I like it!

I got this in the same size I get for perfect shirts and all other dresses. I thought this would make me look heavier but I think this dress has a good shape which eliminates that problem.

I'm 5'2" and I think this dress is a nice length for me. But I suspect it will be too short for anyone that is tall. This hits like 2-3 inches above my knee and when I bend over it gets even shorter in the back! On the model in the online photo it looks to be about the same length as on me, so I'm not sure how that is possible. Maybe the distance from her knees to her ankles is exceptionally long making her tall overall.

The weight of the dress is nice, it's not see through thin but it's not super heavy either. It would be good with tights now and in the spring and summer bare legged. And the best thing is that it is cotton so I can machine wash it.

The ruffles aren't loose and crazy, they are stitched down a bit so they don't go flying about which I think contributes to the good shape of the dress.

Overall, 4 out of 5 stars. I know some people on the blog will tell me I look horrible in it, but, go on, I don't care, I like it.
"Thanks!" again to Jennifer & DinDin for their great reviews of this dress! I love these styles of shift dresses, however they never seem to work for my pear-shaped frame— either the top fits fine but the bottom is too tight, or the bottom fits fine and the top is too loose.

What are your thoughts on the Ruffled Carly Dress? Have you tried on or own this dress? If so, what is your review of the fit & style? Would you recommend it to another fellow JCA?

J.Crew News: Listening to the Consumer

"Thanks!" to as Casual-Crew who shared an article from the L.A. Times (click here to read the article in its entirety) about First Lady Michelle Obama's influence on fashion. What is interesting is the quote or two about J.Crew's attention to customer demand.

First Lady Michelle Obama creates her own fashion trend
Michelle Obama's unique fashion sense is inspiring women and giving a little lift to the industry.

By Booth Moore

January 17, 2010


...On dozens of occasions Obama has turned to J.Crew for embellished cardigans and jacquard pencil skirts, and the retailer had a very good year in 2009. "There is a halo effect," said J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons. "It's hard for us to pinpoint her specific influence.
But any cardigan with a ruffle or a detail, whether it ends up on her or not, customers love them and want them. Also pencil skirts, they're not necessarily a trend thing right now, but our customers still want them."

In April, after Obama wore J.Crew's sparkly constellation cardigan to 10 Downing Street, the item sold out within an hour on the brand's website. After J.Crew received 75 e-mails about the piece, a similar style was released in October. "
We pay attention to the blogs and to e-mails, and if we realize people have missed something we will do another version," Lyons said. ...
I guess I fall into the group of customers who loves a "cardigan with a ruffle or a detail". Oh J.Crew, you got me there! As for paying attention to the blogs and e-mails... I wonder how much it really influences their decisions. If it does have a strong impact, then... free shipping code with no minimum please! ;)

What are your thoughts on the quotes provided by Jenna Lyons? Do you feel like J.Crew is responding to customers (in terms of products, quality, fabric, fit, price, etc.)?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

J.Crew Factory Email: We have a surprise for you, Lake George

"Thanks!" to Marietta, who shared the latest email J.Crew sent today announcing a new J.Crew Factory Store.

The J.Crew Factory store will open in Lake George, New York. The grand opening will take place Tuesday, February 9, 2010. The location for the store is:

J.Crew at French Mountain Commons
1439 State Route 9
Lake George, NY 12845
(518) 761-4032

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

P.S. Oh J.Crew, where's your next promotion? Even a free shipping code with minimum would be lovely. ;)

Madewell News: Alexa Chung Collaboration

Over at Grazia Daily (click here), it is reported that Madewell will sign on a celebrity to collaborate on a new Madewell line. Also, "thanks!" to Jennifer (in this post) who let us know Fashionologie has an article (click here) on this news.

Collab-watch: Now Alexa signs up!
By Grazia Daily & WWD
January 19, 2010

It seems surprising, doesn’t it? Not that the presenter will be adding the line ‘designer/consultant’ onto her CV, but the fact that it’s taken this long to happen. In Alexa’s own words, that’s because “I was being offered so many collaborations for a long time, but I held off. I thought it would be quite a ‘sellout’ thing to do,” Chung told WWD. Oh she knows how cool she is alright.

Someone else well aware of this fact, is Millard “Mickey” Drexler, chairman and chief executive officer of J. Crew Group. “There is no grand scheme to this, and we still don’t want to hire a celebrity spokesperson,” he explained “It’s just that Alexa is totally cool. It’s not the way she looks or dresses. It’s the way she is.” The story goes that when Drexler consulted his staff about who the brand’s ideal customer was, they all named Chung, partly because they’d served her in the store.

The brand, which is part of US retail giant J-Crew sells hip vintage-inspired pieces to a young customer base, most of their pieces coming in under £100. ‘Alexa Chung for Madewell’ will include polka dot tea dresses, dungaree dresses, high-waisted skinny jeans, oversize wool jackets with velvet and lace accents, and T-shirts. So not a great departure from Alexa’s own dressed-down look (although we’ve seen her in an increasingly grand selection of designer frocks since she arrived in the states).

Alexa is currently concentrating on fashion rather than presenting. She’s modelling for Pepe jeans and has a luscious Mulberry bag named after her. In the past she has also modelled in campaigns for DKNY and New Look too. Famous for her personal style, she has also studied art and graphic design and the collection will include her own drawings and photographs. [WWD]
Madewell has been thinking about incorporating a "stylish face" to the brand for awhile (refer to the October 23rd "Madewell in the News: It's On Its Way" post). It is probably a better move to have a collaboration than a face for the company.

As for Alexa Chung, I thought she was super cute on MTV's It's On With Alexa Chung. Although, I don't know if I would take any fashion advice from her. She is a former model, so she could get away with some crazy, over the top styling. Now that I think about it, she probably could style the next J.Crew catalog! ;)

What are your thoughts on the article? Do you think it is a good marketing move to have a celebrity collaboration for Madewell? Who would you like to see in that role? :)