Thursday, August 1, 2013

J.Crew Classic Schoolboy Blazer {new school vs old school}

J.Crew sent out an email, as well as featured in their latest catalog, the new and improved Schoolboy Blazer. J.Crew shared the following about this newest wardrobe staple:
Some History: School uniforms started in the 1500s in England, but the term "blazer" wasn't coined until 1825 by a group of Cambridge University students (the style was later adopted by '60s Mods as a symbol of youthful independence). Who Knew?

The New Schoolboy Blazer: Sometimes we take a lesson from you. You asked for it, so we gave the schoolboy a few new design updates, making it way better and the only blazer you'll ever need.

The Details: (1) A slightly longer length elongates everything, so it's extra flattering. (2) Our silky stripe lining makes it even more comfortable. (3) Four buttons instead of three add detail and polish. (4) A menswear-inspired ticket pocket can hold little stuff like lipstick or credit cards- though we prefer keeping it closed.
 Some of you already checked out this blazer in person- and the reviews seem neutral towards negative when it comes to the changes. In particular, the comments made it sound like the details didn't upgrade too much (the length wasn't too significant, adding an extra button not a big deal, etc.). Naturally, this makes me even more curious about the new blazer...

Thankfully, there is a super detailed review of the New Schoolboy Blazer in Navy (item 03171; $198.00) with its predecessor, Classic Schoolboy Blazer in Navy (item 28233; $198.00) by Elle, over at her {amazing} "Fast Food & Fast Fashion" blog. Check out her "Review: J. Crew Classic Schoolboy Blazer in Navy vs. New Schoolboy Blazer in Navy" post. There are tons of images that showcase both blazers side by side making the comparison easy.

From the review, it doesn't seem like much of an improvement to make such a fuss about. Even the length (which I was most excited about!) doesn't appear to be that great. The body length increased slightly from 24 1/4" to 25 1/8.

On a related a note, I find the Classic Schoolboy Blazer recent promo-price fluctuation during the past two weeks fascinating. The rarely-goes-on-sale-blazer was a part of the "instant gratification" sale last week- allowing customers to score this normally $198 item for just $99. (Some JCAs even managed to get it for an additional 40% off- for a grand total of $60!) A few JCAs speculated it was to move inventory of the classic blazer (to make room for the new blazer counterpart). Once the "instant gratification" sale ended, the promotional price of the jacket jumped to something like $128 (I can't remember the exact number). Today, the blazer is still on promotion, but for $178.

J.Crew probably believed the New Schoolboy Blazer would handily replace the Classic version. However, I suspect they got quite a bit of push back from customers preferring the Classic Blazer (which encouraged the price rises!)

What are your thoughts on the New versus Classic Schoolboy Blazer? Have you seen the new one in person? Are the improvements worth it? Please share your thoughts! :)

Quick Poll: Do you prefer the Classic or New Schoolboy Blazer?

39 comments:

  1. OT side note re: pricing games--commenters on this blog often talk about the pricing game over at J. Crew as if it is being fiddled with by a person or a maybe a group of persons whose daily job is to be devious and frustrate customers. But I've been wondering if the pricing strategy is mostly generated by a computer program that factors in metrics like how long items have been sitting in stock, the rate of sales, amount of inventory left, and when the company would like to be cleaned out of inventory. Naturally, the metrics are probably programmed in by people whose daily job is to be devious and frustrate customers, but I always wonder if in fact we are playing pricing games with a computer that knows a lot more than we do, is most likely smarter than we are (come on, be truthful about your minesweeper stats), and is programmed so that the house will win. (Sorry for the most likely egregiously out-of-date minesweeper reference. I haven't been playing computer games for a while because I like to think I have better things to do, or maybe because I am really not as smart as the computer.)

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  2. Personally, I favor the classic schoolboy. I was lucky enough to buy the navy one for $60 with the 40% off sale. I'm very happy with it. Having seen the new one in navy, I think the classic is better looking. I like the lining at the sleeves so much better. The plain color is not attractive when you roll it up.

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  3. I caught the "classic" schoolboy for $82 during one of the promos last week and I'm thrilled. I'm only 5'4", so I don't need any extra length in my blazers. I saw the new ones in the store and to me the differences are imperceptible except the sleeve lining and I prefer the striped sleeve lining of the "classic". I never use the pockets on a blazer so the fact that they're functional now means nothing to me.

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  4. I am 5'1" and loves my classic School Boy blazer. I do not need the extra length, and the reason why I love my school boy blazers is because they are shorter. I do hope J. Crew will offer both length options to satisfy the masses :-)

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  5. Certain items become classics for a reason, so why try to change them? As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Plus the difference between the 'classic' version and the new version really seems to be very minimal, so why even bother?

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  6. I prefer to shorter version--I do not need an thing added to my hip area...please, J.Crew keep the school boy the classic it has always been...hoping the "new" school boy is a one season wonder....bring us back the classic. Thanks! :)

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  7. The controversy could have been avoided if J. Crew had just named this something else and kept the old style too. Put me in the "meh" category, I don't need any blazers either way.

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  8. I have a navy schoolboy from summer/early fall 2009 that I wear to death. It has striped lining that shows when I roll the sleeves and functional buttons on the sleeves. I don't know how it compares to the "classic" schoolboy of 2013, but its a great little jacket and a wardrobe workhorse.

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  9. I was able to get the Navy during the IG sale and love it (though it won't be worn for MONTHS!). I did try on the Black Schoolboy with low expectations but actually love the color. I am disappointed as the lining on the black is not striped but solid black. Only the inside body panel has striped lining so there's not any "shown off when you cuff the sleeves" going on. The fit was similar as well.

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  10. I still prefer the old Robert Noble tweed jackets from YEARS ago - exterior material aside, I preferred their shorter length (I'm only 5'2") and their fitted waists. Plus all the cool lining and trim details. I don't think JC made that jacket silhouette in anything else.

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  11. Yep, after the instant gratification price of $99, the blazer was on promo for a few days for $138 and now at $178. I tried on the "new schoolboy" yesterday and I wasn't overly impressed. The most noticeable difference is the 3rd pocket. A SA said the sleeve felt narrow to her, but I didn't find that to be the case. Agree w/Audreybella that the black is nice. There's also heather grey (HGR) that I don't see online.

    In other news, the.beaded.chambray.shirt reviewed.

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  12. I am very happy with my classic schoolboy (I was feeling a little sad that I didn't get it in that short $60 window, but now I am glad that I got it in the $82 window). I will probably pick up one of the new ones in black when they offer a full price promo or I'll keep an eye out at the warehouse store in lynchburg. I am almost 6 feet and, as long as I get it in tall, haven't found that it is too short--the key is that it is proportional and well designed.

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  13. I haven't tried on the new version yet but am just so excited it comes in black. I've been wanting a new black wool blazer for a while and it's hard to find one that doesn't look it's part of a suit. I'm thinking I'll like the new version for the sake of variety--as I already have a navy schoolboy and a purple Factory schoolboy.
    This change reminds me of the new versus old cafe capri.

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  14. I'm 5'8'' and dislike the classic schoolboy, mostly because of its boxy shape but it is also a tad too short on me. I'm going to try the new one but don't have high hopes. I prefer something more tailored. Also, they seem to be advertising the sleeve lining but everyone says it's just a plain solid color lining...?

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  15. I love my classic schoolboys - I have many of them. The length has been perfect for me so I wasn't pleased to see that the new version is longer but I haven't gotten to try it IRL yet so I'm holding my judgement. I

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  16. I have the J. Crew Hacking Jacket from 2007 that has the silk lining (under the collar too) and beautiful weave. The fit is superb and the length is just right for my barely 5'3 height. I never cared for the School Boy old or new since it's a bit boxy for me. J. Crew should've brought back the Bella or Lexington instead of changing a classic design and spending all this money on advertisement and hoopla. If they listen, they would know so many of us would love for them to bring back a much loved item vs. tweeking a classic.

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    1. Wendy, YES! My thoughts exactly.

      The black in the new one is a nice color, but the "tweaks" (pocket, length) are not really improvements, and the elimination of the striped sleeve lining cheapens the look IMO. I think the new one looks a lot less "special," and I like "special."

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  17. ITA with the opinion that they should have kept the " classic " schoolboy- strong sentiment that it was well loved- and brought back the Bella in velvet and special fabrics ( wool tweeds, Donegal, etc), and the Lexington in the wool and wool- tipped. I think the tweaking done to the classic isn't necessarily an improvement and now we don't have a choice. Resurrection of the Lexington would have provided everyone with a choice and ultimately more $$ for JCrew sales . Oh well, I am not in charge...!

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  18. I ordered the Classic Schoolboy in navy during the $82 window and went in the next day and tried on the New Schoolboy in black and loooved it (note: never owned a schoolboy blazer before from jcrew). Was VERY excited for the classic schoolboy to come but when it arrived, I was a bit disappointed. It looks nice enough, but definitely a hair too boxy. That extra 7/8ths of an inch surprisingly made a big difference on my 5'5 frame- the new schoolboy definitely looked sleeker. I'm slightly conflicted about keeping it but I don't think I can pass up that great price!

    Posted a few pics of it on this silly blog me and my friends use to ask each others opinions and would love any feedback you guys have too! (Please excuse phone pics ;p)
    http://www.greenlightgirls.blogspot.com/2013/07/some-j-crew-sale-stuff.html

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  19. Interesting choice of words ..."watching with fascination the promo price fluctuation " .. For me, it is abhorrent. Just as much as when JCrew offers a percentage discount on a new deal but conveniently bring prices up to make up for the offer. Bad,bad behavior.

    As for the schoolboy blazer..the old : boxy and tailored for short upper bodies ( not even the tall version will do for someone slightly taller ). If the new schoolboy is slender and longer it may be an improvement - cannot vouch as I haven't tried it yet.

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  20. Don't know anything about the newer version, but this morning it was gray and drizzly in Portland so I put on my Classic navy blazer from a view years ago. Still love it. In the end, I switched to my navy Field jacket from last year (another love). I'm leary of "new and improved" things, so I'm glad to have an older version.

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    1. I actually returned the Field jacket because I was disappointed with the fabric. I felt that it just attracted every dog hair and lint bit in the house! I know I'm in the minority because when I returned it, the SA seemed shocked and told me that it is very popular. Oh, well. But I'm with you on the classic navy Schoolboy!

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  21. FYI, when I was in my b&m a few days ago, I heard one of the SA's telling a customer that the new Schoolboys are flying out of the store and they were already out of stock in a lot of sizes. I was back today, and heard her pushing the blazer on another customer. I wonder if corporate is telling their SA's to really push this thing.

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    1. Yes! When the Tippi cardigan came out, the SAs were saying that it's flying out of the shelves on preorder. Then they languised on the sale racks for months, and there are still a few at my store from then. I don't know... I vote for corporate move. Not a fan of the Schoolboy blazer, but add me to the list of people who don't understand the redesign.

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  22. I am one that favors the newer version, the classic version I got felt a tad too short on me, I returned the one I bought and tried the newer version in the store and happen to love the fit of new one, guess we only need to try both out to see...

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  23. Agreed - the longer length is more flattering on almost everyone. I have found the hacking jacket to be a little too long (although it looks great on others), so this is a welcome addition to the JC mix.

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  24. The longer length definitely helps I think, but I love the striped sleeve lining of the classic- ordered the classic in a tall size during the $82 promotion so it's the best of both worlds!

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  25. The classic schoolboy blazer in navy went up to $198 today. I guess they're not trying to get rid of it after all.

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    1. Yeah they'll probably keep selling them for people who prefer the length.

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  26. The interesting thing is that they claim that they "listened"-- to whom? It seems like no one at all prefers the new version. Personally, I was excited to see the navy (old) Schoolboy on sale and I got it for $99. When I checked after that first special price, it was at $148 or $128. Anyway, I have several Schoolboys and very much like them all- especially the seersucker one and one from several years ago that it grey wool from Scotland. I wear it all the time. The new ones look fine but far less "schoolboy" than thinner, sleeker and just blazer-y. I'm 5'9 and don't find them too boxy or short. I always get regular because J.Crew Tall sizes are too baggy for me. I guess they assume that taller means bigger?

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    1. Lots of customers who tried it on were complaining about how short it was -- it's a blazer, not a suiting jacket. Anyone wanting a longer cut should have ordered a tall and sized down.

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  27. I tried on the new Schoolboy today, and have to say I'm a big fan. I thought it was really flattering and sleek, especially in the black. That said, I have and love all my classic schoolboys. I'm really, really disappointed that they didn't put the patterned lining in the sleeve though -- that's a miss for sure. I posted pics just now here.

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  28. I just tried on the new schoolboy in black (trying to decide whether to keep the classic in navy I got on sale or switch it for the black). the additional length is nice, but I felt that once I buttoned the new one any length bonus was lost--the buttons on the new one are further apart and I felt they didn't fall in the most flattering spot. if they had kept the buttons in the same spot and added the inch, I think it would be perfect. But the most important thing I noticed was the stitching--the stitching on the new one does not look as clean or polished as the old one. If you look at the pictures on elle's blog post that was linked to above, you can see what I mean in one of the comparison pictures all the way at the bottom--the stitching on the classic schoolboy uses smaller stitches and a sort of clean, double line. The stitching on the new one is noticeably larger and a single line. it just doesn't look as polished. I'll be keeping the classic and only buying a new one if the price is really good.

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  30. vkissSeptember 27, 2013 at 2:30 PM
    Any thoughts on the velvet blazer this year? I've been itching for a navy blue one for some time now, and I was hopeful with the new schoolboy fit. (Sadly, the classic schoolboy never really fit me well and made me look boxy.) I ordered the velvet blazer. The color is lovely, but the fit is only OK and the features are very simple. There is no real detail setting it apart from any other velvet blue blazer. The lining is a solid blue color and the under-collar is also blue. I love blue, but it's very bland...I just don't know if it's worth it...any one have a velvet blazer from previous seasons? I should've invested in a blazer a long time ago!

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    1. - Just seeing this about the velvet blazer. I haven't seen them in-sore. I know that I have several and have only worn one of them a couple of times. I think the texture looks great when the weather is cold & the skies are dark. They do tend to go on super sale, but I find that by the time they are dirt cheap the holidays have passed and the blzer starts to look out of season.

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  31. really helpful!!! I just ordered the classic online and did not have the time to go and compare the two

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