Tuesday, May 17, 2011

J.Crew Factory Versus Regular J.Crew {spot the difference!}

In Friday's "J.Crew Email: THIS JUST IN: OUR FIRST HANDBAG COLLECTION..." post, I mentioned how sellers on eBay sometimes "forget" to mention that a J.Crew item is from the Factory store and how to tell the difference.

So I thought it would be a good post to discuss how JCAs can spot a J.Crew Factory clothing item. Simply, J.Crew Factory items have two small white dots under the J.Crew label.

In order to help explain, I have posted two images above of the labels. The top on the left is from J.Crew (sans dots) and the top on the right is from J.Crew Factory (two visible dots on tag).

Unfortunately, I am not aware of any distinguishing characteristic that separates J.Crew Factory from J.Crew when it comes to jewelry, shoes, sandals, and now handbags. The only way I can tell the difference is when I personally see the items.

For example, J.Crew Factory jewelry is super light compared to the original from regular J.Crew. Same with their sandals. Also, J.Crew Factory ballet flats have a different leather that you can feel the difference. However, these are all things you cannot determine too well through an image (like on a listing at eBay).

What are your tips to tell apart J.Crew Factory from J.Crew regular? Please share! :)

49 comments:

  1. On my Factory pencil skirts, the lining isn't a true separate lining. other words, when the skirt was sewn the lining was placed on top of the fabric and they are sewn together in the same seam. In a retail skirt, it is a proper lining--with the wrong sides together.

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  2. Great post!
    Recently I've purchased two items on eBay I thought were from retail, but in fact were from J.Crew Factory. It drives me up the wall when sellers don't disclose it. Lesson learned to ask when in doubt. ;-)
    Besides the two diamonds on the label it's hard to tell from pictures on the computer screen. Sometimes I can tell by the fabric content (100% wool vs. 50%+ acrylic, etc), weird color combinations or patterns. As you pointed out it really is hard to tell unless you feel it. The materials feel cheaper (especially in coats, sweaters, silks, denims, shoes) in Factory items than from retail items.

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  3. I agree that it is absolutely annoying that some Ebay sellers don't disclose if an item is Factory or retail. I am always sure to ask first if I can't tell from the picture on the listing.

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  4. Great post! I had no idea about the dots, I've got to keep my eye out for that!

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  5. Thank you! I own things from both places and didn't notice the difference in tags :) It also bothers me when I purchase things on ebay that I thought were retail and they are factory. I find I need a different size in factory items so I am always sure to ask the seller. However, even then I don't always receive a completely honest answer. Now I can ask for a close up pic of the tag! Genius! THANK YOU!

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  6. Thanks for mentioning this, Alexis. I get extra steamed when I end up with an outlet piece, because aside from the labels, I've become pretty good at spotting the outlet pieces. The jewelry can be especially tricky, as you really have to know what was and wasn't ever available at retail. Then once it arrives, you can DEFINITELY tell what's from the Crewlet because it doesn't have the weight/heft that retail items do.

    Also, if you see a jewelry item photographed attached to a little cardboard piece that looks like it was hung on a rack somewhere, that's outlet jewelry. As most of us here know, the retail stores never EVER attach anything like that to the jewelry. It's either bagged or tagged with a string tag; occasionally if it's a return it's got a plastic thingy with a full-size tag on it. Never a piece of cardboard.

    I do think, though, that occasionally sellers don't realize the item is from the outlet, like the people who sell a one-off item and not volume. Which is fine, I guess we just have to be willing to take that chance. :)

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  7. Sometimes it is pretty obvious by the pattern or fabric as jcrewphd said. I always ask when I'm not sure but sometimes I do believe people just don't know, especially sellers that have the odd J.Crew item here and there but sell mainly other things. As always, buyer beware.

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  9. I've also been duped by an ebay seller before. I bought what I thought was the Nolita denim jacket, retail version (had the retail pic and all) and got the Factory version. The seller swore up and down that it was retail and at first wouldn't accept a return. So annoying!

    For those of you who are new to the tag knowledge, sometimes you can find retail items in factory stores; you just have to look for tags without the diamonds. I've scored several great retail pieces at my local Crewlet.

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  10. I personally am unhappy with the way J. Crew is handling their outlet merchandise. I feel as if they are trying to get one over on us by introducing the outlet handbag collection and the outlet shoe collection, and don't get me started on the outlet t-shirts that look very similar to the perfect fit t's. (They tend to lose their shape and pill.)

    You can tell instantly when you pick up the outlet flats that they are not leather, made in Italy, or even well made. The bags are the same deal. I will never pay $200 for a plastic purse. I was at the outlet last weekend and I decided to try on a pair of cropped black "mini pants" and as a put my leg into the pantleg it split from inseam to knee. (The size I tried on is one larger then I usually wear in the retail store-its all they had.)This wasn't an error of size, but quality.

    Don't get me wrong, they do have cute stuff sometimes but the quality that I LOVE J. Crew for is not there! I am so dedicated to the brand for their beautiful leather goods and high quality pieces like the perfect fit tees that always hold their shape and look wonderful on over and over again. I'm sure this post was not meant to turn into a vent, but this is a touchy subject for me with the Crew.

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  11. Thanks for the helpful info.

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  12. I've purchased things on ebay where the seller didn't disclose that it was an outlet piece. Most honest sellers will, if not, ask for the picture of the tags.

    Ebay/Paypal has refunded my money every time I put through a dispute. Good to know that they stand behind the buyer.

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  13. Great post alexis. i almost want to say that some(not all) items from the crewlet tend to be of Old Navy quality (no offense to Old Navy of course).

    with that said, i just got a pair of the carson shorts from the outlet and they are top quality and are highly recommended! :)

    kimchi girl

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  14. I only have a few items from the Factory web site, they have beige labels. So do the green labels with the dots show up in the outlets? (Am I confusing Factory with outlet?) I almost never go to B&Ms.

    The sellers who don't disclose that the J Crew items are actually Factory reminds me of a few sellers I've bought things from who advertised the items as "new" and didn't disclose obvious flaws, and when I complained they blamed me! "You should have asked!" Fortunately eBay doesn't share that opinion.

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  16. If in doubt, I always ask if an item is outlet. If you've been around for awhile, you get a good feel if certain styles are outlet or retail. When something feels off, definitely ask!

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  17. J Crew factory is not the only retailer that uses the dots o nthe tags, I have noticed with Banana Republic was well, but I thnk they may have three little diamonds? Anyway....

    My factory items always have buttons that you would not expect when purchasing from retail. They are oftern uncovered or just plastice, when I know the retail version would have fabric or be metal, etc. That is usually a good indicator for me.

    But honestly, I have found some great deals, or bounce back versions of items that I have loved, so really no factory complaints! It is fun to have an alternative to mix it up!

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  18. Thanks everyone for sharing! :)

    I am happy that so many of you have found this post useful. I definitely did not know about the dots for the longest time. Too bad there is not something similar for other lines of merchandise like Jewelry and shoes. It would make things so much easier.

    I also feel your pain about being duped by some eBay sellers. It's one thing if s/he honestly didn't know (which happens), but it's another when s/he does. It definitely impacts how much a buyer (like me!) is willing to bid.

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  19. I'm late to the game on this post, but wanted to mention that a seller on your JCA exchange sold me what she described as an "EUC Shocking Pink Jackie Cardigan, Size S" for $30. Of course because of the fairly high price tag and the "shocking pink" color, I assumed it was a retail jackie and purchased it. I was very disappointed when it arrived and found that it was a factory version that was not nearly as well made as my other retail jackies and the fit was off as well. Now I'll know to ask about Factory vs. Retail instead of just assuming and hopefully others can benefit from my mistake. Thanks for bringing up the topic!

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  21. Lisa, did it have the three dots on the label? I stopped buying Jackies because they started getting really limp and yucky and oversized, nothing like the nice firm Jackies of prior years. I always bought mine from the J Crew web site.

    The J Crew shocking pink Jackie is 85613. I'm not wearing J Crew today so I can't check, but I think the product number is on the white tag below the green label. Does the number match yours?

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  22. Do me a favor, JCAs, and report this ho's auction. I reported it, apparently she took it down and created a new user ID (her old one had more than 0 feedback), and now she's at it again. All she needs to do is post it in the porn section.

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  23. tamara-

    I know that it's a factory version because the tag is white with the two diamonds underneath the JCrew logo. Unfortunately I only read the description in the post and didn't request any pictures, so I didn't have any idea that it wouldn't be the retail jackie. The quality is inferior to my other jackies that I purchased directly from the retail store. I agree, it is misshapen and the cut/fit is different. The waistband is totally stretched out and has that curvy look along the bottom edge. Ugh! Thanks so much for being so helpful!! Live an learn I guess!

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  24. Ohhh, you have a positive ID. That's unfortunate. :( I'm glad you posted about it.

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  25. tamara, that is just sooo nasty, dirty cracked heels and all. One has to wonder at the price of the auction as well - something fishy going on there.

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  26. @tamara- I had no idea j.crew had a line of well worn stripper exotic stilettos....lol. Eeew, I'm going to wash my eyes out with Lysol now.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Well-Worn-Platform-Heels-Stripper-EXOTIC-SHOES-Stiletto-/250809829211?pt=US_Women_s_Shoes&hash=item3a656e475b#ht_18598wt_1032

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  27. I see she has the same dirt and fuzz plastered to the bottoms of her feet in those pictures as she does in the flip flop pictures. She has lots of products in her shower stall (which looks quite filthy), maybe she should actually use them? She's also selling a pair of well-worn socks for only $85, not sure what brand. (ROFL)

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  28. I'm offended she uses the same Frederic Fekkai color technician shampoo and conditioner (the little pink bottles) as me. LOL.

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  29. I think she's just trying to appeal to foot fetishists. $110 for used flipflops? Come on!

    I tried to report her but I can't find the appropriate category.

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  30. She also has an auction to buy her a tattoo. Starts at $150.

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  31. There are some sub-cultures that really gross me out. One is the self-described PUAs (pick up artists). Some day if you've got some time to kill check out a PUA forum, there are several. To give you a clue if you don't know about PUAs, George Sodini (the guy who opened fire in a women's workout facility) was one.

    And then there are the fetishists who have found eBay useful. Search on "trashed" and you'll see there's quite a market for used, dirty, smelly footwear, socks, and other items. I feel really dirty even writing this stuff, yuck, let me wash my hands! I'll probably delete this post later. :) I think that not only are the items sold to the buyer but that the seller also provides porn pictures of him/herself. That's why some of the prices are so high, I'm sure the high price is an indication that pictures will be part of the sale. And who knows, maybe the sellers also offer "local pickup", I need not explain.

    Yes, I definitely need to be de-loused now!

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  32. Tamara & et al: That eBay seller is outrageous & hysterical at the same time. Her "items" should not be in the J.Crew category at all! J.Crew is clean and fresh, neither of which I can say about her shower stall (ewl!) ;)

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  33. Alexis, if you want to disinfect this thread, I won't mind at all. :)

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  34. Tamara OMG...She is CLEARLY doing a foot fetish "video" and is NOT trying to sell those flip-flops ! YUK ! I tried to report it but there is not a category for "inappropriate scank selling men who love feet a good time". Did you notice there were 2500 + views on this thing. Her "tag name" is clearly "Well Worn" and this is likely how her "clients" can track her down. She is souring the good J. Crew name ! And, I am neurotic about dirt so don't even get me started on that dirty shower......ughhhhh

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  35. Hahaha Shekster!! You need to let eBay know they need to add that category! Oh man, I'm sure the eBay people would crack up if you sent the request! And that is one gross shower. What's up with the light like 6" from the bottom? So she can see the mildew better? :)

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  36. FYI as a seller on ebay for 11 years, I just want to put out there that often times sellers have no idea about the differences between one retail or factory. Unless they specialize in a particular brand, they dont know and aren't looking for all of these differences. I've learned something new by reading this post but I just want to let you all know, that we (sellers) aren't purposely attempting to be dishonest. Sometimes, we just dont know. If these differences and distinguishing factors are important to you as a consumer, you have a responsibility to yourself to go ahead and ask your questions to the seller because assuming a seller knows as much about it will often leave you upset and disappointed. If I dont know, then I'll do research to be able to answer the question. When buying online, its always better to ask questions instead of assuming that a seller that sells some of everything knows the ends and outs of a particular brands factory vs retail labels.

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  37. What about things like are available at the outlet and on JCrew.com, like the Casbah print tunic? Would there be any true difference in quality there? Thanks :)

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  38. HI!!! I am new here and a DIE hard JCrewer!!!! Almost all my clothes are from here...classic and professional..AND FUN!!!!
    So, I took a leap and bout the Schoolboy blazer in Prince of Wales wool ...got a great deal on it online ...$69.99!!!! Can't wait to get it.
    So, I also ordered the selvedge matchstick denim. It is on order until 8/27. Does anyone have this jean? It seems to run big from the measurements so I hope I ordered correctly.

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  39. honestly, for men, i don't mind if it's factory or not. At the end of the day J.Crew factory still beats most every other brand i can buy from in quality and style. If i can save a ton of money going to the factory store (which is closest to me anyways) that's what i'm down for lol.

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    1. My boyfriend actually prefers Factory over regular J Crew for the very same reasons. He actually finds that the pants and jeans at Factory fit him better than the regular Crew pants, and for a more affordable price. Our Factory is also closer to us! So its a win win. :)

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  40. A little off-topic but does anyone know anything about their chino shorts? I have been wearing them for years but have found in the past few years that the quality of material on the factory version is really thin (actually see-through in the lighter fabrics). Just wondering if the j.crew version (for $20 more) would be a thicker twill. Love the style and would definitely pay the extra $ for a better material.

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  41. Amy, sometimes the factory ones are thicker, sometimes super thin :( I'm not sure how to tell the difference for sure, sometimes a close up picture will give you a clue, the way the pocket edge is finished, around the waistband.... I ordered two pairs from the factory, last month, the khakis are super thin and I hope never to have to wash and press them (!) and the fuchsia colored are thick and heavy as they should be. Surely all the store ones are thick.

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  42. Maybe this has been discussed elsewhere on this blog, but I've noticed LOTS of regular J. Crew stuff on Factory around a year or so after it was sold at J. Crew. Like the Tippi sweater is the Charley sweater at Factory (I just got 2 on sale for $18 each vs $80 full price at reg. J. Crew).

    The Minnie is obviously the Winnie. The Jackie shell is the Clare shell. Even the plastic each item was shipped in had a label with the regular J. Crew name on it. I haven't noticed a difference in quality on these items yet. My old Stretch Twill minnies are from years ago and got really stretched out in the knees. I ordered a size down in the winnies and they seem great so far :)

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  43. What is the deal with the items from the clearance centers? Why do some items on eBay have lines through the tags? Some sellers say the lines are to prevent store returns, but some item are several seasons old, I just don't get it.
    Thanks!

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  44. Thank you for raising this topic. I guess those of us who are willing to shop for J. Crew items on ebay just have to be careful.

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  45. agarcher03 - I know your post is old, but we have one of the clearance centers about an hour away from where I am (actually, the main distribution center in Lynchburg VA). All of the items I have bought from the clearance center have the black marks through the tag. I can usually tell from the location of the seller / volume of their inventory if they're just going to clean out the clearance store's inventory and marking things WAY up over the actual cost of the item to make some $$. It makes me angry because I know firsthand that I have purchased, for example, leathe Ceces for $50 there & then a seller will have them set at $100 stating "black mark to prevent store return," which is an outright lie. The black marks denote that the item was sold at the Clearance Center! Ugh.

    PS If anyone has the chance to go to either of the two Clearance Centers, I can say first-hand that the one in Lynchburg is AMAZING. They carry formal, crewcuts, menswear, & Madewell too. Shoes & jewelry included. They also have Factory items, items from a few seasons back & items currently being sold retail. I have scored some unbelievable deals because they're usually running some kind of promo in addition to the already low prices.

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

And now back to J.Crew! :)