Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Is J.Crew Getting Too Cocky {say what now!?!}

Last week, J.Crew sent out an email promoting "a brand-new kind of swimsuit". The email contained the following that made me give some serious side-eye:
The Rash Guard Bikini. Because... wait. Did we just invent a whole new kind of bathing suit? Whoa.
No. No you did not J.Crew. The combination of rash guard top and bikini bottom has been around for quite some time. I have seen tons of athletes, ranging from surfing to beach volleyball, rocking that look for years now. (By the way, did anyone laugh at the last word inclusion of, "whoa"? I just kept hearing Joey, from the early 90's TV show Blossom, saying it over and over again.)

This comes after J.Crew declared "You heard it here first: Birkenstocks will be everywhere this summer" a few weeks ago. Refer to this post. (Interestingly enough, J.Crew removed the "You heard it here first" line from all the Birkenstock item pages. Maybe someone noticed how over the top it sounded.)

I love J.Crew, but I don't understand why they feel the need to claim credit for styles that are not even theirs! Don't get me wrong, J.Crew definitely has their ahead-of-the-fashion-industry-curve moments. Remember when J.Crew introduced the Victoria Ruffle Cami... amazing! But the sandal/rash guard bikini instances are definitely not examples of it.

J.Crew, again I love you. But let's keep it real. Instead, the swim email should have focused on J.Crew's awesome "Mix & Match" feature.

I love it! J.Crew lets customers build your perfect swimsuit. You not only can pick the style, but also the size and color. Even better? They let you save your swim combinations. That's right, you can save them! This feature is crazy addictive... a real time suck in a fun paper-doll-dress-up-way. In fact, I would love to see something similar for the rest of J.Crew's clothing line.

What are your thoughts on J.Crew's declarations of style? Do you feel they rightly or wrongly deserve credit? Have you tried out J.Crew's "Mix & Match" feature? Please share! :)

20 comments:

  1. Great post! I wrote an essay last semester on how J.Crew's promotional tactics appeal to individualism and uniqueness. Something like "hey, we invented it!" or "get it here first" encourages the consumer to buy something to be at the peak of the seasons trends. What ever happened to letting the product speak for itself?

    -Katherine
    http://thegreenbows.blogspot.ca

    ReplyDelete
  2. Remember when Dear Leader invented the stripe? "Gee, look what happens when you draw a line next to this line. And another line. We should put this on shirts."

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi - in Australia, everyone wears them - kids are basically not allowed in the water without a "rashie" on and given our strong sun a lot adults wear them too, including all the lifesavers - so no not new at all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ditto for Southern California. Basic uniform on the beach for kids and those of us who burn easily. I don't go in the ocean without my Patagonia rash guard. If J Crew can get young people to wear a rash guard and protect themselves from skin cancer while in the sun then I can forgive their silly advertising campaign! I bought a few of their rash guards on super sale last year and use them for gardening and hiking as well as the beach.

      Delete
    2. Good point, Awakening, about promoting rash guards. It benefits everyone. I have a couple of their sun shirts (same idea as the rash guard but looser) and they are really nice. I think they make a nice product.

      Delete
  4. Agreed. I don't like the boastful way they've been promoting the company, it is very unappealing. But I do like the swimsuit part of their web site, I think it's well done.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey! It's the swimsuit I wear when I coach swimming. So innovative. :-P

    ReplyDelete
  6. During the last few years I have shopped mostly at J Crew, and didn't compare their offerings very often. This spring, when the navy Evie sandals sold out early (re-stocked now), I assumed I had lost out.

    So imagine my surprise when I went into DSW and found many Evie-like sandals in a full range of colors from several brands. And some of them were last year's styles!

    So much for J Crew being out in front of trends and being the only store to offer styles that appeal to me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing that! Pretty cool! :)

      Delete
    2. I just saw that too…very cool Alexis.

      Delete
  8. And why are they using a photo where the angle makes it look like the model is putting her hand down her bikini bottom?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, maybe she's very into herself for being so...you know, awesome! LOL!

      Delete
  9. I actually went to the site after getting this email thinking, "did they like... put boob padding in them or something?" Grew up body surfing on the Jersey Shore and always wore one... you know... to guard against rashes and whatnot. Totally insane...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right, you can't just wear the rashguard by itself because there's no boob support. You need a bikini top underneath anyway.

      Delete
    2. Yup - they're trying to make us buy a third piece. Maybe they want us to buy several rash guards rather than one?

      I won't buy the Crewcuts rashguards for my daughters because they all feature an embroidered pink heart on the hem. Seems to be the new girls Crewcuts logo. Ick.

      Delete
  10. seriously, it's called advertising! clearly it worked because you're all talking about it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh my gosh, that mix & match feature for the whole site would be so amazing.

    xo Kimi

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't know if anyone remembers this, but last summer, the NYT called out J.Crew for popularizing rash guards. They did not create the concept of "rash guard bikinis" but they definitely get credit for bringing it mainstream. That said, I don't wear long sleeves at the beach and I don't surf (although I wish I did). Now, as far as the Birkenstock thing- PLEASE! I wore Birks in the 90s like everyone else. They may go in and out of obvious style, but people who find them comfortable never stopped wearing them. Also, J.Crew sells only a few kinds and, like most of their partnerships, you are not getting a deal. If you go to Zappos, you will find more styles and always free shipping.

    ReplyDelete

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! :)