Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Do You Still Heart J.Crew?

"Thanks!" to JulieStyles (in this post) who shared the following article from the Washington Post (click here to read in its entirety):
Sorry, J.Crew. Female shoppers just aren’t that into you.
By Sarah Halzack
March 23, 2015

It wasn’t long ago that J.Crew was the envy of the retail industry. Its distinctive look — well-made basics bedecked with a splash of sequins or a door-knocker-sized necklace — stood out from less adventurous retailers in the same price range and helped the brand triple its revenue between 2003 and 2013.

And yet 2014 marked a turn in fortunes for the retailer. The company recently reported that sales at its stores open more than a year fell 2 percent in 2014. In the crucial holiday quarter, the brand’s financial picture was especially cloudy, with revenue decreasing slightly to $620.7 million and comparable sales sliding 5 percent.

In a rare appearance on a conference call with analysts, chief executive Mickey Drexler offered several reasons for what he called “a tough year” for his company, including a decline in mall traffic, intense competition and shoppers’ fixation on promotional prices.

And yet the biggest problem of all, Drexler said, was one of J.Crew’s own making: It filled its stores with clothes that women really just weren’t into. “We’ve made some mistakes,” Drexler said, including “missteps in our iconic classics.”

Drexler said the women’s business has been “challenging” recently and that the fits, silhouettes and color palette of the clothes simply haven’t connected with shoppers the way they had in the past.

J.Crew says it is aggressively trying to win customers back with fresh colors, classic designs and a more diverse merchandise assortment, particularly in the pants category. (As Drexler said, if you weren’t buying their skinny-cut Pixie or Minnie pants last year, you probably weren’t buying women’s pants from them at all.)

J.Crew is learning the hard way that in an era when e-commerce has presented women with ever-greater shopping choices, customer loyalty is hard to win and incredibly easy to lose. And with its middle-of-the-road price point, the typical J.Crew shopper might be just as likely to invest in a $595 shift dress at Tory Burch as she is to impulse-buy a $8.90 crop top at Forever 21.

With that kind of breadth of competition, J.Crew is betting that the way to get ahead of the pack is not with new marketing tactics or store designs, but to simply make better, more appealing clothes.

J.Crew is not the only specialty retailer that is grappling with a style problem. Gap has lately had similar struggle, with sales stumbling hard as critics say its sportswear has veered from classic and simple to just plain boring. ...

Gap’s sister brand, Banana Republic, appears to be coming out of a style rut under its new creative director, Marissa Webb, who impressed critics and analysts with fall and winter collections featuring trendy and edgy details....

The recent weakness at J.Crew comes after a long stretch in which the brand was flying high. Many attribute its recent success to its top leaders, including Drexler, the chief executive...

And then there is Jenna Lyons, the creative director who has earned the kind of cultlike adoration that is typically reserved for haute couture designers. She’s responsible for the unique, preppy-with-a-twist aesthetic of the clothes, and she is a walking billboard for how to wear them. Photos of her regularly ping-pong around fashion blogs and Instagram feeds, often featuring her in thick-rimmed, geek-chic glasses and some sort of formal-meets-casual ensemble — maybe a structured blazer atop ripped jeans or sequined harem pants paired with a striped T-shirt.

The growth and buzz that Drexler and Lyons created led to whispers about an initial public offering for the privately-held company. But amid last year’s slowdown, that talk has died down.

Reviving the women’s business isn’t J.Crew’s only hope for improvement. The company also includes Madewell, a newer, casual-cool chain which had a much stronger year than J.Crew.

Madewell — a destination for distressed denim, suede ankle booties, and vintage-looking button-downs — had a 14 percent sales increase in 2014 at stores open more than year, growth that is vastly better than what was seen at most specialty apparel retailers. It appears that Drexler sees Madewell as something of a pet project and that he is intensely focused on making it the next big thing in American casual apparel.

The company is also rapidly growing its lower-priced Factory outlet business, with plans to add 21 more of these stores in 2015. And it is cautiously expanding the presence of the J. Crew brand overseas, with a Paris store in the chic Marais district and plans to grow its footprint in Britain and Hong Kong.

But even if these other strategies help make up for slowness in J. Crew’s women’s business, the company remains determined to win back its core female shopper. “She is loyal as hell until we go wrong,” Drexler said. 
So many interesting points being made throughout this article (of which I highlighted). The most important is that *finally* J.Crew recognizes that it's important to make their customers happy.
If I sound pretty harsh, it is because for awhile it felt like J.Crew was catering to the fashion editors and fashionistas from Fashion Week more than the base of loyal aficionadas.

It is fine to mix in high-end, fashion forward pieces for the Collection line, which is what it is meant for. However, J.Crew started to make some questionable moves with their regular collection like when they retired the classic Cece Ballet Flat (which they had to bring back!) from their offerings. No matter how many back-to-back sales and promotions, items were not selling. You had to start wondering who was making the bad calls at J.Crew. More importantly, why were they not being fired.

It is clear from Mickey's comments that he recognizes they have gone too far. The question is can they fix it? I think they can. Get the right mix of product that customers, their base of customers, really want, and you will see sales rise. Just look at the Chateau Coat- that was one item they got right during the Holiday season. It never went on sale and it keeps selling out! But as for the rest of the Holiday offerings? Meh. The color palette was drab. The styles were over-sized. Bring back the rich hues! Bring back the tailored tops!

Lastly, I find it interesting that Madewell performed so well. I am a Madewell Aficionada as well and I can see that the quality and fit are in those pieces. I hope Mickey pays a bit more attention to J.Crew to make sure J.Crew sees a rise and in their quality and fit.

What are your thoughts on this article? Any points you found interesting? Anything you agreed or disagreed with?

89 comments:

  1. I was most surprised to see that an IPO is in the cards again. Didn't they just go private?

    Bring Madewell to Canada already, please.

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  2. I buy from jcrew from time to time, but most of my money has gone elsewhere, due to poor construction, cheaper fabric and questionable design. This s makes me sad, as I used to spend almost money there. Correcting those things would get me back, but Mickey has to spring for quality and a new head women's designer.

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  3. I'm sad to say it, but I don't love J.Crew any longer. I have been a loyal shopper since the days of the roll neck sweaters. 95% of my closet was J.Crew. The decline in quality coupled with the over sized, bedazzled and odd fitting clothes made me search elsewhere. Another thing that drove me batty was the change to the website. I used to search the sale section while I drank my morning coffee, but it became too frustrating. I'd come back ( and even re-open my J.Crew card) if they stepped up their game on quality and style. I agree with Wendy, it's time for a new women's designer and a focus on quality.

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    1. I have "lost that loving feeling" for all the above reasons. I hate to be a complainer but I believe teh old J CREW IS GONE AND IS NOT COMING BACK.. I have moved on...

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    2. Yes, agree with the above. The quality is NOT there anymore. Every time they bring back a "classic" it's ill-fitting, cheap fabric and construction. Years ago I was willing to pay full price at JC (and remember how they never had sales?) because their quality was so good and the fit SO flattering. Those days are gone.

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  4. I hope they don't muck with Madewell. Their last rollout looked really boring and drab to me (online - I haven't seen it in store). A big part of the appeal of Madewell is that you've found a small, indy kind of brand that everyone isn't wearing. Another appeal of Madewell is that it doesn't look like it's trying hard to be cool, but when the company starts trying hard, it's going to change that about the brand. I'm not looking forward to any Madewell changes or even expansions.

    Mickey is wrong about people who don't buy the Minnie and Pixie not buying J. Crew pants. J. Crew offers, and women have a need for, other types of pants. J. Crew took away the Cafe Capris and seemed to replace them with nothing comparable. I don't need suiting, which they do seem to offer some normal looking pants in, but I don't need tight pants very often either. Cafe Capris, heavy- and light-weight cargo pants, casual/linen beach type pants, these are all pants I buy and wear from J. Crew (in addition to the denim).

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    1. And the chino pants, those have been kind of missing lately too. I love the Scout chinos, they're the best, but this year's boyfriend chinos aren't getting great reviews because of fit issues. Has anyone tried them? I'll ask in the Reviews thread.

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    2. Agree about Madewell's recent offerings - drab, boring ... yawn. A far cry from their first couple of years when I lusted after almost everything. Sad, but Madewell is already heading down the J.Crew low-quality-path.

      I still love some of the classic stuff that JC offers. But as someone already pointed out, the frequent sales say it all.

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    3. Cate, I agree re the the pants. I could wear Cafe Capris every day. I'm not that comfortable wearing Pixies or Minnies in my every day work wear- which is more conservative. Ive even written letters via my VPS requesting that they bring them back. I wish they would listen! Thanks!

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  5. Hasn't Mickey been saying this for several seasons and several roll outs now? We're going to change, we're going to listen to our customers, the color and fit is coming back. I remember thinking Fall '14 would be different. It wasn't. I still love the brand but I've lowered my expectations and I do shop at other brands where I used be 99% Crew.

    It's fine to say these things publicly to soothe jittery investors who are watching sales tank, but you have to have a plan to actually DO them. Increasing quality and bringing back the delightful attention to detail that I used to love is just not likely because they can't raise the price point given their competitive situation. Improving the fits and color palette would be improvement enough but I'm still waiting.

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    1. ruffles I agree! I feel like this sort of thing has been said over and over by Mickey Drexler, but where's the plan? Where are the improvements?
      I thought last fall would be different as well, I was not wowed overall that's for sure. And now the spring line has so much polyester everything.
      Still holding out hope for JCrew and still wearing so many of my older items!

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    2. Yes yes yes - right on ruffles. I'm waiting and waiting and waiting. I realize that it takes a while to right the ship, but it feels like it has been several seasons now that Mickey has been promising change.

      While I agree with Alexis about the need for color and tailoring, I disagree a bit about the J Crew line being too fashion forward. I think there is plenty of room for a more fashion forward approach to some items as long as it is mixed with classics. My core objection is that the bulk of the offerings (especially the mid-priced stuff), are dowdy and cheap-looking. The mixed houndstooth dress of last winter was so horrible that I wondered if it was the beginning of the end for J Crew. (Try to imagine Jenna wearing that!) The Carson loafers of this season make my stomach hurt.

      I am holding out for some change, but so far I'm not seeing the color and the prints that I have always loved so much. I promise that I will open my wallet when those return.

      And I'll stay on my soap box for one more plug - put stores on the street (like in NYC) and get out of the failing malls!

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    3. Sorry - the Collins loafers are the ones I think are dreadful.

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  6. For years, the majority of my clothes were from JCrew. However, in the last couple of years the styles, colors and quality no longer appeal to me. Additionally, as a taller than average person, the skirt and dress lengths do not work for me. JCrew offers tall sizes, however, it has been several years since there was anything of interest to me. It is time for a change in design.

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  7. Wait, there are Madewell outlets? Where?!

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    1. The outlet in Arden, NC carries many Madewell items. The store is divided into a J.Crew section and a Madewell section.

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  8. It's nice to hear Mr. Drexler acknowledge these things publicly. I don't mind that J.Crew has gone more and more boxy and tomboy with time...it's just not my aesthetic at all. It's so weird that they always mention preppy in these articles as I'm a prep dresser and I see very little of that at the Crew right now. I wish that J.Crew would think of maybe 3 customer profiles -- this boy-meets-girl thing they love so much, the sophisticated city girl they were dressing very well about three years ago, and perhaps a classic fan who wants closet staples. They know how to do this. I believe in them.

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  9. I had some of these very thoughts as I was in a JC store this past weekend. I never used to be able to leave the store without purchasing something- the past few times I've shopped, I left empty handed. I know I now spend a fraction of what I used to. I've been burned by FS a few times, so I'm leery to shop the sales, but things get reduced so quickly, I don't want to shop FP. Quality has definitely dipped- I bought the merino ribbed sweater and it pilled so badly that, by the end of the day, it looked like a 10 year old sweater. No amount of clothes shaving fixed it. I'm still pretty devoted to their shoes and jewelry. BR and the Gap are definitely getting a lot of my attention and clothes budget these days- Gap has really stepped up in the jeans department!

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  10. Breaks my hurt to finally admit I've lost the love. I echo what everyone else says - the quality just sucks. I've been a long time collector of the long sleeve cashmere tees...I recently bought a few and they are so scratchy and thin compared to my old ones. Also, the "timeless" items have gone away - I always counted on JC for classic leather ballets and suiting. And I'll spare a tirade on here about the pricing games they play. I still love Banana Republic and am happy to see Marissa there, but I feel like they are playing the "let's all dress like Jenna" game with Marissa. I want classics, not to look like a tomboy.

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    1. I agree. So sick of the tomboy look. So much of Jcrew this fall/wiinter was about that. Big, long, pinstripe collar buttondowns etc. I realize I bought quite a few things but only kept one or two (including the chateau parka). Banana has improved but they are indeed playing the "let's dress like Jenna" game.
      Banana's fit doesn't suit me, but that's a whole other story.

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  11. I left J.Crew for Boden several years ago. Love their skirts that come in a LONG. The only thing I bought from J.Crew in the past few years are the favorite tanks online. Now I'm going to have to start looking for those Elsewhere because they haven't had white in over a year in stock.

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  12. Women's wear has been performing poorly for some time. The writer seems not to have known that J.Crew hasn't had any serious preppy offerings in some time. Remember the "Little Edie at Girl Scout Camp" catalog? Jenna may "dream in sequins" but I still have nightmares about the puffy lederhosen with woolly tights and spike heels.

    What's missing is quality control at all levels, sourcing, cutting, production... There's been a gradual decline, I would say, since at least 2010. The cult of personality - stories about DL's ranch in Montauk, JL's former house in Brooklyn - goes way back, but it is a symptom, not a cause.

    So while I think the article may accurately report what Dear Leader said, I also think the background research to put the fallen numbers in context was simply not done. The real story is how did this happen? Hasn't anyone been watching the store?

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    1. I don't follow the financial side of it closely, but I was under the impression sales had been declining for several years, not just in 2014 - coinciding w/the decline in quality/style of product.

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    2. LOL on the lederhosen thing! I guess I must've missed that! I really didn't get into J Crew until around 2007.

      J Crew would be well advised to start reading reviews and blogs like this.

      I do think they need to offer some fashion forward designs, but they also need to sell high quality basics (cashmere sweaters: I'm looking at you.......).

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  13. My top reasons for fewer purchases has to be the cut and quality, but not so much aesthetic or style. It's as if they have given up on any segment of the population who has some thigh! Almost all of the casual pants are too slim in the leg for me and so I find myself at Loft with options for someone not shaped like a 14 year old boy. I'm also frustrated by cropped everything in terms of pants. Unlined wool pants, more poly, and some major pilling in new sweaters has me second guessing the purchases I do make. Don't even get me started on the Cece--a great leather lined shoe turned into a cheaply made shadow of itself.

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    1. Kim, I so agree with you about the pants and the dreadful reincarnation of the Ceces! I wear a 2 or 4 in the skirts at jcrew but have to buy a 6 or even 8 in their pants to fit in the thighs. So, I pretty much don't buy any pants there. Also, I have a few pair of the old Ceces that I wear constantly and I tried the "new" ones and couldn't believe how horrible they were! They are definitely not worth what they are charging for them. I think that's why they've been on promo such much lately...because they know that too!

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    2. I second your pants comment. I dont mind a great capri but who wants to wear capris in the winter and does every pant have to be a capri?! And then the capris I do like are not offered in tall. JCrew doesnt even make full length pants anymore unless they are a part of a suit. I remember they used to have cute cords, and lined wool pants with cute sayings on the inside ribbon.....

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  14. I have come pretty close to quitting J.Crew for good over quality and style concerns. I think I might have 3 items I actually kept over the past year. As noted in the comments of the Washington Post article, I just want a simple white t-shirt that is not see through and that does not end up covered in holes after 1-3 wears. I tried every single style of white tee J.Crew offers this year and not a single one was opaque. :(

    Even more frustrating, this fall, I purchased 5 sweaters, including 2 cashmere (against my better judgment and in hopes that the pilling issue had been resolved). Unsurprisingly, one of the cashmere sweaters split along the cuff within 5 wears and the others were quickly covered in the nasty, unremovable pills only J.Crew sweaters seem to develop (you know the ones- not the larger, puffy pills from quality knit that are easily picked off, but the ones that make the entire sweater take on a fuzzy texture and cannot be removed by any device or dry cleaner).

    Out over $600 on sweaters I was ashamed to wear outside my house after 3-4 wears each, I sent an email to customer service, not really expecting any remedy, but more because I was so angry/disappointed I wanted someone at J.Crew to know. While the first customer service responder was very accommodating and authorized me to return the sweaters, several other customer service reps proceeded to respond and tell me the pilling issues were NOT an indicator of poor quality, but instead a sign of the delicate, high quality threads used.

    I had to control myself to not blast out a response that my J.Crew sweaters from 2008 and earlier (and more recent sweaters from other brands) still looked almost new despite near constant wear, so obviously something must be wrong with their newer products as this has been an ongoing trend for almost 5 years now and I know from reading this and other blogs that I am not the only one with the complaint.

    In sum, there are very few women's items I buy from J.Crew anymore. I dislike most of the styles/ sloppy looks, and I am sick of wondering if my $150 purchase will be wearable a month from now. Boden, The White Company, Anthropologie, and even Lands End are getting my money (and some of J.Crew's old models) now.

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    1. Catherine, I second your comment about Lands End. Not the most fashion forward and you have to avoid the frumpy fits, but the lower rise pants and fitted tops have really upped their game. The dresses are great. The leather bags are unbelievably good quality. And the brand stands behind it's quality and customer satisfaction which I value a lot.

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    2. While I completely agree with you that the sweater pilling has been terrible (and Madewell is just as guilty of it), they can be removed. The Laundress sweater comb (item #39237) does a good job of taking them off, but it's a pain, and they come back.

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    3. The Laundress comb gets a real workout at my house! The trouble is, I shouldn't have to use it for 10 whole minutes on each sweater. Back in 2005 it wasn't necessary.

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    4. I totally agree, Liz. It works well, but we shouldn't have to spend so much time using it. I didn't buy any cashmere until the last couple of years, so it's all I know, but it shouldn't be necessary, particularly when they had a formula before that produced a quality product.

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  15. The fit and quality on everything seems to be off. Why would I want to buy something that makes me look bigger? Or that has large armholes that expose way too much? Or that has no darts, has dropped shoulders, and bunches at the bust? Or that I constantly have to sweater comb? And where are the pretty shoes? Bring back the classic ballet flat in cute prints. No more Birkenstocks or Vans. Real women's shoes. How about the lovely jewelry and bags? Now it's fringy jewelry and only totes. Where did the lovely prints go? Everything is either heather grey or a stripe. Don't even get me started on the fit of the pants and dresses. The elastic waist pants look like something my mother wore in the 80s. My wardrobe used to be 98% J. Crew. My last purchase was a tee shirt and a pair of pajamas back in December. It seems to me that the design team has gotten lazy and thinks we will drink whatever Crewlade they put out.

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    1. I completely agree on bringing back the classic ballet flats in fun prints!!

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  16. I really miss shopping at J. Crew. I used to love the catalogues and waiting for the new releases online. I have picked up a few pieces in the last 2-3 years. Not many though. When quality took a significant dip, lovely things turned out to be polyester and the styles veered much too far from fitting into my life, I looked elsewhere. I've got other options now and it's actually not likely I'd return to J. Crew no matter what they do. It would be like dating an ex-boyfriend. You can't recapture the old magic.

    I think Marissa Webb will revitalize BR for a time. She's creating a mini J. Crew over there only it's all synthetic fabrics and odd fits. It won't last.

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  17. My shopping has definitely slowed down at J Crew, but it honestly has more to do with a difference of a style opinion than with quality concerns. Yes, I despise sheer tees and pilling sweaters, but I have found that to be a problem in many retailers' lines. I am most disturbed by the repetitive designs, poly everything (I know it's an epidemic), strange colors, graphic tee proliferation, and sequin onslaught. I'm glad Jenna dreams in sequins, but I live in the suburbs, and neither my business casual office nor the baseball fields where I'll be cheering my children on for the next couple months call for bedazzlement on casual tops and tees. It feels like J Crew has design themselves into a corner-like they realize the devoted customer has enough boy and perfect shirts, merino sweaters, cafe capris and schoolboy blazers to last a lifetime, but we aren't enamored with any of the (sometimes strange) alternatives they've offered. That leaves them (and us) in a tight spot-I hope they are able to find a way out.

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    1. Very well said, Wendy! And I totally agree.

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  18. I do still heart JCrew, but it is harder to find things that I like and that have a good fit/shape. I just was on the phone with my VPS trying to track down a pair of the cropped patio trousers in navy - I got them in poppy and love them. They are full price, and mostly sold out - obviously, JCrew got those right (despite being a bit large, size down one size!).

    They had a similar wool option in the winter that sold out in my size before I ever got to order them - also full price. So when people want something, it sells without a promotion. The trick is to find cuts/fits/colors/shapes that people actually want to wear and feel good wearing!

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  19. I've said this before, and its possible that I don't know enough about retail production to accurately make this comment, but it seems like they make too much stuff. It seems like a lot of stores have this problem. What is the reason? Fickle shoppers? Trying to appeal to too many demographics? Keeping up with the Jonses?

    There seems to be so many iterations of a certain item -- ruffle sleeve this and that, ruffle bottom this and that. Why not make *one* fantastically designed and cut top that incorporates a ruffle [or whatever] design element and then make it in a high-quality, non-synthetic fabric in a bunch of great colors. It will sell out. Then make more. Two fantastic, well-fitting blazers a season. A great, high quality cashmere sweater.

    I just don't understand the need for 6 different similar, but flimsy and poorly designed items.

    I don't mind the third-party items. I like the Vans and the Birkenstocks and I've found some fun brands through J. Crew (Outdoor Voices, Catbird), but their own line has really suffered.

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    1. Agreed - JC needs to edit. For example, the sale section has an endless variety of jewelry catch-all plates and boxes - ceramic, leather and wood. I was in a store in NYC in January and they had literally hundreds of them on the sale table. Whose idea was that? Very strange IMO.

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  20. My shopping has definitely dropped at JCrew, mostly because their styles are just not what I want. I am a stay at home mom, and my lifestyle does not call for pencil skirts, yet years ago, I was buying them up because the prints were fantastic! Now, their designs, prints and quality are not what I want. My last order with them were all 50% off sale items. If you are offering me poly, I can get something similar at Old Navy and the Gap that is cheaper, with an additional 30-40% off too. I just bought ponte knit dresses at Old Navy for $15, and they do not have the exposed zippers in the back!

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  21. I haven't give up complete hope in J Crew, but a lot of their garments in the last couple of years are poorly constructed, lack lining, bad fit, and are made of polyester. Eww. I'm glad I bought wardrobe basics before the quality of their line deteriorated! I don't mind some of the more fashion-forward designs but they had better fit, be made of quality materials, and if wool - have a good lining!

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  22. I pretty much lost confidence in JC over the past year or two due to poor quality, iffy sizing, and pricing nonsense. I still check out their offerings, but rarely buy anything these days because their new items don’t measure up to the classic JC pieces already in my closet. Hope they right the ship before my “stash” of older JC wears out!

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  23. I don't know if I'd say I've fallen out of love, but the hot and heavy all-consuming early romance is definitely over. I've certainly been buying less. Gone are the days of staying up late or waking up early to check the sale section. Styles,quality, aesthetic, pricing and the overall attitude and vibe of J Crew all play a role. Styles just aren't appealing to me anymore (or at least I'm not buying to the idea that J Crew's version of the latest trend warrants spending more with them). All I see lately is oversized, boxy, dropped shoulder tops and skinny cropped pants I can't fit my 34" inseam athletic legs into. On top of that, over-inflated pricing that does not reflect the quality and materials have turned me away from the Crew.

    J Crew just seems so try-hard these days. Like they are desperately trying to be one of the cool kids, and it's just not translating to the customer. Honestly, I'm just bored with them. I can get the same thing for less at a dozen other places, so why be loyal to J Crew when other brands are working harder for my business? Quality, attention to detail, special touches are what used to set J Crew apart. Without that, they're just another mall store indistinguishable from the rest.

    I've been buying a lot more from Banana Republic, Boden, Ann Taylor, ASOS, Lands End, and yes... J Crew Factory (I figure if I'm going to pay for low quality poly the price better reflect that.). Until J Crew can show me that what they are selling is a.) better quality, b.) better style, c.) better fit, d.) better details/touches, I'm going to continue to " see other people" spend my money elsewhere and refrain from having a monogamous relationship with J Crew.

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  24. Retail has been pretty volatile lately in general, with C. Wonder, Kate Spade Saturday, and a bunch of "teen" retailers closing, and Marc Jacobs just announcing that the MbMJ line is going to roll up into the main brand, for example.

    I think there's a lot of disruption in the market right now, with everything from business models (fast fashion vs. the Everlane model) to ennui about current styles (a lot of people are tired of skinny jeans and tall boots, but there's nothing really zeitgeist-y out there to replace them right now) contributing to it.

    I work on a college campus, and girls seem to be spending their money more on workout clothes/athleisure looks these days -- lots of Lululemon, Nike, Under Armour, etc. in bright colors and prints. I used to see a lot of J.Crew walking around, but things have gotten more casual and multi-purpose, which probably explains things to some extent. NOT that I'm suggesting that J.Crew should randomly take up athleisure, mind you!

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  25. I hear you on the "stash" of older J.Crew items. I have the Katie sweater ( cotton, with ruffled hem and cuffs) that I wear in the spring. It's a work horse in my spring wardrobe and I get compliments every time I wear it. I had a lady stop me at the grocery to ask me about this week. I love it so much that I found a back up on ebay. That sweater was well made. A classic with a twist and still fashionable today and I'm guessing it's a least 5-6 years old. I went from multiple orders a week ( yikes!) to ordering a tee and pajamas in the last 6 months. I closed my J. Crew card and hardly look at their website. I really do hope they read this blog. Not many companies have a place to read free and honest feedback from loyal customers. I'd love to see them return to their former glory and I'd happily open my wallet again, but until they do, Anthro and Boden are getting my money.

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  26. Everyone's comments echo my sentiments. My true lust ended with the 2012 year, I still have the catalogs and are making a list of items I would like to still find on Ebay or JCA Exchange. My purchases are drastically down but once in a while I find something that generates a spark for me. II wore the geo print boyshirt out to dinner last night, the fit is perfect, the print stunning, and I love the cotton/silk fabric. I will continue to wear J Crew. my closet is 99% J Crew but it will be previous years items, with maybe a couple of new items. Like Cobalt, I am nervous that J Crew won't be able to get back on track before these items wear out. What really made me sad was the names of the people that posted, blasts from the past, who used to comment and post reviews all the time. That to me, is the true measure of how wrong J Crew is getting it right now.

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    1. JRSConifer, I was noticing the same things about the "old friend" JCAs commenting today. It's nice to see the posts from others who share the history on this wonderful blog about the brand.

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    2. agreed - we've missed you ladies!

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  27. My shopping at J. Crew has gradually tapered off to nearly zero. I only step in every so often to check the sale section for Crewcuts stuff for my kids. I think it's a combination of issues: the precipitous decline in quality and a change in my personal style. The quality is just not what it used to be. There's just too much polyester and many things feel very flimsy. I have even given up on the tee-shirts because the cotton feels rough on my skin. Also, I feel like the styles are pretty boring. Funny that Mickey Drexler mentioned the pants - I have never found a pair of pants at J. Crew that fit well and I gave up a long time ago on shopping J. Crew for pants. These days, I don't buy as much as I used to and if I do buy anything, it almost always comes from COS, Club Monaco or Zara. I don't think I can count myself as a true J. Crew Aficionada anymore :-( I don't even bother looking at the new roll-outs!!

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  28. This reminds me of the 80s when the quality of the GAP and Banana Republic started to decline.... Is is almost inevitable that it happens to a brand? I remember going to BR and knowing that I could find well made classic pieces that would last in great colors. I can't imagine that happening now. Sme thing has happened to JCrew.

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  29. I still love the fit of their pants, and the merino wool sweaters are always perfect. My favorite items have been very long-lasting, style-wise. I love Madewell, too, but their pants are all proportioned for tall people. I hope they get the regular J.Crew strategy back on track. I've never been anything but disappointed and distressed by my limited visits to Factory. It's much less of a bargain than regular merchandise on sale.

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  30. I do still regularly shop at J.Crew and can usually find items I like/love, but mostly because I think I'm the most comfortable shopping there. I think I struggle with my style changing over the past few years and keeping my wardrobe where I want it to reflect that style. Lately the struggle is with the latest drapey/loose styles - as someone who wears a size 12, I'm still trying to look professional but don't mind trying trends here and there. I'm fine with J.Crew doing what's trendy but I want to still be able to know I can go to them for a nice unique pattern on a silk blouse or skirt and add a well tailored suit or heels for work. I'd even pay a little more if they can make the pants lined and stitch them better.

    That being said, I never seem to be able to find my groove at other stores like the many listed by other people above. Maybe it's because I don't like to spend hours hunting and pecking for things that fit. I still can't get in to Madewell, mainly because I don't go to a store and my main need wardrobe wise is work staples. Banana is probably second in line for me and they too have struggled but I've been able to piece together a wardrobe mainly between the stores. I have never been one to shop at a ton of different stores, department stores overwhelm me.

    I agree with the comment that they seem to be making too many items...so many pieces end up lingering in the sale section forever. Someone is not making the right choices on the front end - as Alexis states, the beautiful pieces are selling out and not ever making it to sale.

    So, I haven't totally given up on J.Crew but may have to start actively looking elsewhere to augment my professional wardrobe. That being said...aside from those listed above where I don't have a lot of luck (Loft, AT, Lands End) I'm curious where anyone is shopping for their office appropriate work items? I'd love advice on where else to look.

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  31. Like many others here I have stopped shopping at J.Crew anymore. I don't even look at their catalogs, they go straight to recycling. And to think that just couple of years ago I was placing multiple orders a week! To be fair, part of it was caused by evolution of my own style in the different direction, but even if I find something I like at JCrew, I know I can get it for less somewhere else and if I am willing to pay J.Crew prices my money these days go to higher end stores like Nordstrom or online retailers like Shopbop. They still sell plenty of polyester but have better designs, wider selection and better shipping/return policy. J.crew used to be like an abusive boyfriend that somehow had me under a spell coming for more. Now, it has turned into and ex-husband and despite having accasional fantasy of getting back together I know that it would most likely not happen and the time has come to move on. The only thing I truly miss is this community, so unfortunate to lose friends in divorce ;)

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  32. I wrote most of this comment to Alexis a little while ago, so Alexis, please forgive the repeat.

    I've been thinking about J. Crew, past and present a lot lately. I've just come back to caring about clothes after several years of baby weight that kept me out of J. Crew. from about 2010 to 2014. Now that I am getting back into fighting weight, I am overjoyed to be able to get back into my old Crew clothes that had been just sitting under my bed in boxes. I had to do some updating, but most things have held up well.But they were all bought from J. Crew from 2002-2009.

    In updating the wardrobe, I have been so disappointed in new Crew. Some of it I know is because while I was busy with motherhood, the world changed. The feminine/Mad Men/MCM styling which suited my figure much better changed. My preference for quality fabrics became less important and polyester became popular again.

    However, I can't help feeling like there used to be an aesthetic that was being sold/marketed that no longer exists. I think about the Prague and Paris videos circa 2007/2008, and the shots of the Neutra House in Palm Springs. It was a cohesive vision. Perhaps it is an outdated vision. After all, who wants to watch a little fake-arty movie of girls walking around in Prague when you can look at a thousand images of street fashion online? Well, I guess I do, but then again, I am old.

    But a recent trip to the B & M actually made things make a little more sense. Jenna and Co. are still trying to market an aesthetic, and it is so close to right! In and amongst all the clothes and shoes, there were many art books and objets, all clearly designed to evoke a playful yet modern NYC Guggenheim vibe. It is so close, and yet...

    I've also read some of the stuff Tom Mora and Jenna have said about recent collections. I loved the idea of last Fall 2014 being in some way about Weimar--a fascinating period in history. Or the Exhibit of Women Artists that inspired the new fragrances. And I loved the idea of the more elegant parts of the 1970's being inspiration for Fall 2015. I could be SUPER into all of that, and in some way it seems like a natural evolution from the old Crew that could be really great...

    The issue is not just that the clothes are cheap and illfitting, which many are. Or that they are WAAAAYYYY too many items and that becomes exhausting. But there used to be cohesiveness between clothing and vibe.

    It somehow just feels like they are trying too hard, and in doing so that they miss the mark completely. I mean, if the idea was Weimar, why did they shoot the Fall catalog in Greece and Scandinavia? Berlin and Germany, with the World Cup win and the anniversary of the falling of the Berlin Wall were TOTALLY having a cultural moment last year. Tea Collection children's clothing (my J. Crew equivalent for my son) got it--and put out some adorable stuff associated with Bauhaus and German fairy tales. If they had run with the ball, how awesome would a Christmas catalog in Germany been? All the leopard print oxfords and moto jackets would have fit in perfectly with the U2 Achtung Baby stuff surrounding the Wall. Why not put some of the Weimar stuff into German nightclubs? I have to think there would be a way to pull that off without it becoming too kitchy or too much of a pastiche. Jenna and Tom should go watch "Wings of Desire"---I'm sure they could have come up with something that fit.

    Other companies have tapped into that same kind of vibe. Gucci put out a fab little video with Lykke Li that felt current yet romantic for the Ladies of the Canyon moment that is happening right now. (Gucci is having it's own troubles, but from what I have read, that particular SS15 collection is connecting and selling. God, I would kill for a good quality knock-off of their Suede trenchcoat!)

    Ok, those are my thoughts about the decline of J. Crew, coming to this issue after having my head in the fashion sand for a few years.

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  33. I wonder if all retailers that gambled hard on recent seasons' trends are struggling with selling them. Several people here have said that their style has diverged from J. Crew's offerings, but I think it might be the opposite: J. Crew's style changed to follow the runway trends, which were quite different than what customers were used to. It wasn't just J. Crew, other retailers did it too, but maybe J. Crew went more all-in than some others. And then the stuff didn't sell.

    My theory is that the J.Crew customer didn't really like the current trends. I wonder how brands like Lands End, LL Bean, and Boden did, compared with J. Crew. They stayed the course, true to their aesthetic, and didn't chase the trends. I wonder if their sales were more steady (or if they grew).

    J. Crew could have experimented with trends while holding steady on their staples. I think that's where they went wrong - too few of the things that made them great and too many gambles. The balance was off.

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  34. I bought 2 things this year, a Tippi and a Jackie. Both had to be ordered, given J Crew's biggest mistake: taking the classics/baiscs out of the stores. I bet if they do basics in appealing colors and stock them in stores (n2 pencil skirts, jackies, shoes, etc) and stop cutting corners on the quality of these basics the numbers will go up dramatically. But what do I know, I'm just a flaky cutomer that's not loyal in spending my money at the crew when they don't produce appealing products.

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  35. I still love JCrew - not every roll-out and certainly not every item, but it's still my favored place to shop.

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  36. I hate to say it but count one more for the "out of love" side... The colors and the styles make me sad, not to mention the quality of fabric especially the abundance of poly and pilling cashmere. Where are the classics with a twist? Sleek silhouettes? The fun colors? The QUALITY? I was given a generous gift card for Christmas and I have yet to spend any in J Crew retail. I'm a cardholder and smack in the middle of what I'd consider their target market. I've had such a love affair with them over the years but now they just leave me cold...to the point where I see other women in the mall with J Crew shopping bags and think to myself "What on earth are they buying?!?"

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  37. I still love Jcrew but maybe just not as much as in the past. You really have to search for the quality these days. Sometimes you still can find it with some of the collection items, like the rainbow tweed pants this winter, or the collection wool dresses. There is much more polyester in the basic offerings which is off-putting. I really think all retail missed the mark with the slouchy baggy trend this past fall, JCrew included. They should just go back to copying the classic Prada shapes and knock them off so we can afford them :)

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    1. Those Rainbow Tweed pants sold out so fast. And they never popped back. I watched and watched and watched. So nobody was returning them. Those pants prove J. Crew still knows how to do items like that.

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    2. I wanted those pants too. Cue the sad trombone.....

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  38. I love j crew and still buy a lot of items to wear with designer items in my wardrobe. J crew is my favorite place to shop for cheap clothing that looks nice. I think one of the major problems for j crew is that their core customer got older and want j crew to resemble talbots, lands end and boden. Meanwhile j crew wants to market to younger generations to keep the brand alive. Younger women aren't wearing talbots, lands end or boden. So, j crew needs to decide who they are going to be and market towards. Older women who want preppy, basic clothing or younger women who want trendy fashion forward clothing. Personally I think the old j crew is outdated, but i understand people who want that back. The other major problem is the economy and how consumer shopping habits have changed. The reason so many brands are designing sportswear now is because Americans have become much more casual. Half the women in grocery stores and running errands are in workout clothes, which i thought were for the gym. Fast, disposable fashion has also changed retail. Women are buying a few investment pieces and the rest of their wardrobe is from h&m, zara, forever 21, old navy......... Stores like j crew are taking a beating. I think madewell is doing better for now because it's newer, marketing towards younger clients and it's more casual. I know a lot of people mention quality on here, but quality is not their top problem when they can't even decide who their client is. Personally i think their quality is great for their price point. I'm not expecting perfect quality for a $30 tee. They're much better than a $15 tee at old navy, but just about as good as a $100 james perse or rag & bone tee. J crew is having an identity crisis and need to decide who they are in 2015. If they decide to be trendy and younger they are going to have to totally rebrand themselves; if they decide to stay with their older customer base and carry classic preppy clothes they need to get rid of all trendy and fashion forward clothing because that customer doesn't understand it.

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    1. I don't think it's a matter of not understanding J.Crew's fashion forward clothing as much as outright rejecting it. Fashion forward clothing is great if it's high end and special or if it's cheap and disposable after a season. J.Crew is neither, and they need to stop trying to be.

      When I was in my early twenties, I chased trends and wore whatever was fashion forward at the time. I cringe at some of outfits I wore. As I matured, I preferred more classic, refined and timeless pieces, and J.Crew offered smart and sophisticated styles that reflected the type of woman I had become. What they did well was offer clothing that was modern yet classic, and preppy with enough edge to be cool. (Ie: those crackle-metallic Mary Janes that I probably maxed a credit card out to buy full price) It was a sweet spot that no other retailer could compete with, and hence the birth of a cult-like consumer base.

      I reject the notion that unless you want J.Crew to be extremely fashion forward and trendy, you should shop at Talbots, Boden or Lands End because you are outdated. I'm a young, well-educated small business owner and I have never found these brands to be remotely appealing. The fact that you equate J.Crew's consumer base with those retailers is actually quite emblematic of the type of corporate thinking I imagine has led J.Crew to such a dramatic decline in sales in the first place. Clearly, Mickey, Jenna, Gayle & Co don't understand who their core customers are.

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    2. I was simply stating they are having an identity crisis and don't know who their customers are, which you seem to agree with. I'm a professional woman in my 30s and love to wear what's currently in style while still looking smart and sophisticated; you can do both! I NEVER said you should shop at those other stores if you don't want j crew to be trendy, you can shop wherever you want to. In fact i said j crew needs to decide who they are and I said the older j crew customers want j crew to resemble those styles. i picked those stores as an example because many of the people on this site shop at those stores and refer to them often. You completely misinterpreted what I said. I also NEVER said you should shop at those stores because you are outdated. I actually said, i personally think the old j crew is outdated in todays fashion market. And "The fact that I equate J.Crew's consumer base with those retailers is actually quite emblematic"; I used the consumer base from this very site and the retailers THEY equate to j crew. Like i said in my comment before, J crew is having an identity crisis and need to decide who they are in 2015. If they decide to be trendy and younger they are going to have to totally rebrand themselves; if they decide to stay with their older customer base and carry classic preppy clothes they need to get rid of all trendy and fashion forward clothing because that customer doesn't understand it. You say they reject it, I stand by my original statement and say they don't understand it. You seem to separate fashion forward trends with looking smart, sophisticated and refined; you can do both which is a perfect example of not understanding it.

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    3. I really don't understand the conflation of "classic" with "preppy".

      One can wear a well-made V-neck with a pair of capris and ballet flats, or one can go HAM and wear it with flares (which, oh wait, J.Crew isn't even offering in all of its fashion-forward glory), an ear chain, and a Mansur Gavriel bag, after all.

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    4. I am part of the over 50 set - I don't shop at Talbots or Lands End. There are many styles in between classic and fashion forward. I prefer to think of my style as eclectic with a mix of what I like. By this point I know what fits and looks good. I shop many stores and price points. What I miss about the J.Crew of yore is their colors and prints and quirky classics that do appeal to women of many ages. And for what it's worth, I'd definitely shop at Madewell if they did petite sizes. I may be "older" but I am not frumpy or preppy!

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    5. Jenna Lyons is about 45 and Mickey Drexler is about 70. They should know very well, especially Jenna, that J. Crew's older customers don't want to look like they shop at Talbots or Lands End. They want to look current and modern if they like J. Crew.

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    6. I think Katie has a good point. It's not just J Crew it's me too. I am not sure that the demographic I was in 10-15 years ago when I shopped mostly at J Crew isn't still spending a large portion of their budget at there. Fashion retail spending is down across the board and although JC managed to buck the trend for a while now they are now on par with economic times. Anyone see Ralph Lauren profits figures lately. Ouch.
      J Crew isn't planning on growing old with me but that's ok I will go to Eileen Fisher. I'm not going to talbots or landsend , LOL that hurt Katie.

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  39. JCrew doesn't need to pay for market research it is all right here. Like so many here at one time my wardrobe consisted of 95% JCrew, but my spending is WAY down. I actually went through my JCrew purchases over the last couple of years and they consisted of: jewelry, Jackies, Tippis, and the odd button down or popover. I used to buy everything: sweaters, skirts and dresses with the exception of pants as they have never really fit me right (I blame my larger thighs). Why haven't I purchased sweaters other than Jackies or Tippis? Inexcusable quality and fit! Don't listen the nonsense that JCrew's PR dept is spinning about pilling and quality. QUALITY sweaters DON'T pill after one wearing and they should be called out for it! I have sweaters (some JCrew) that are 7 or 8 years old and they still look great. In terms of style, I'm not a fan of drop shoulders, or boxy cuts...and if they are going to pill after one wearing anyway...I'm not going to buy at any price.

    Why haven't I bought JCrew skirts? Fit and style. I still wear my vintage JCrew pencil and a-line skirts all the time. I still love the prints and colors and they still fit and most important they FLATTER me. I feel good in these skirts, they are versatile, I can wear them to work or dress them up or down. I feel like JCrew has given up on knee length skirts...enough with mini, maxi, and pleated styles. Bring back beautiful printed pencil skirts and true a-lines (no pleats please...unless they are done really well they just add weight) and I will buy them (at full price).

    Why don't I buy JCrew dresses? Fit and style. I live in the NE, I would like options with sleeves. I have a chest, give me options with darts that aren't too low cut. Correct the the enormous gaping arm hole issue on sleeveless styles and I might consider them more often.

    Where am I spending my money? Honestly, the quality of women's clothes has declined so rapidly everywhere that my overall clothing spending is down...I'm finding that I am more selective with my purchases. The good news for JCrew is that no store is really doing everything well in my opinion. I've had good luck with Loft dresses. I find the cuts flattering, but I don't love their colors (muddy), prints or fabrics. I also have had success at Anthropolgie, but I am more preppy than boho and it sometimes it's a love/hate there as well. I flag a lot of items in Boden's catalogs...I am attracted to their colors and prints but have found their fit a bit wonky (If I find a style I like I have to order 4 different sizes...my usual smaller/larger size in both regular and tall lengths and that usually ends up being too much work and I don't end up ordering). I have had good luck with Lands End tees (I think they are called slim fit, others I tried were frumpy)...they wash well and they aren't sheer. I have never been a BR fan, I occasionally have success at Gap with jeans or khakis. I have picked up a couple of work dresses at Talbots, but you do have to be careful of the frump factor. I like Madewell's bags and shoes...and I have picked up a casual top or two but most of their skirts and dresses are too short for me. I have also had zero luck with JCrew factory due to quality and fit issues. (Yup, enormous gaping arm holes are a major issue there as well)

    Overall as others have stated I think women's retail is more competitive and with declining quality across the board JCrew just isn't doing enough to set themselves apart anymore. If their quality isn't any better than other brands then they have to spot on with styles and fit and they continue to miss and miss badly. It is time to swallow your pride Mickey and actually listen to your customers then gather your managerial courage to make the changes needed.

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    1. I think Anthropologie suffers from similar problems as J. Crew. Most of their clothing is poor quality (so. much. polyester) and falls apart or looks really raggedy after a few wears. Everything kind of looks similar (no inspiration). They also used to do a certain aesthetic really well and they simply don't anymore. I think fast fashion retailers and e-commerce really messed with both of these brands and they strayed from what they did well.

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  40. As others have mentioned, I am tired of drab, shapeless, and poorly made pieces. When I think of how I'd describe my ideal wardrobe, I think feminine, tailored, versatile, and durable. J. Crew of yore used to fit that bill, but lately I'm turning elsewhere. Boden is hitting some of those notes, and occasionally Loft, but if J. Crew could capture their aesthetic from 2011 and earlier, I would come running back in a heartbeat. (And for those who speculate we've been "aged out" of the main demographic, I'm still in my late 20's).

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  41. I'm still relatively new to J Crew, having only started shopping there when they came to Canada a few years ago, and they're technically a little out of my budget most of the time and not necessarily a good fit for where I am professionally right now. But even then, when I look at what I used to buy and what I buy now, I used to buy more items in general and a broader range of them -- everything from dresses to skirts to basic tees to hair accessories. I think there were even times where I was willing to save up over a long period of time to get a more expensive item I really liked at full price to guarantee I wouldn't miss out, especially if it never ended up going to sale. I did buy a scarf and two tees this roll-out so far, but basically sat out the last few due to there being nothing I liked in terms of style or fabric -- I get really antsy with synthetics, so the sheer amount of poly was a deal-breaker for a lot of items for me, from what I remember. And definitely at that price point. Personally, I thrift most of my clothes now, and can find a lot of great stuff from good brands in natural fibres and good condition, and at a fraction of the cost.

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  42. From the comments here I think there are two type of customers: those for whom the quality is everything and those for whom the style is everything. I am in the last category, I don't really care if my clothes will last a lifetime because I will get bored of them anyway. I want clothes that I feel good in right now, not in ten years (this doesn't mean that I don't care of my tee shirt develops holes after one wear, mind you). I think Jcrew is looking after this kind of customer. BUT the problem is that they aren't making clothes I feel good in. Everything is ill-fitting, and it usually takes very little for me to find clothes that fit me well. Drop-shoulders non sense, pants too short (even for petite me), big armholes, no seams etc. are all guilty of making us look not at our best to say the least. Also, the clothes lack a sense of novelty, nothing has vowed me in a long time. The designers seem to have a lack of inspiration so they go back to what they already did, with a few variations. There isn't really a vision that supports their collection anymore. Add to that the fact that everything goes on sale so fast, and that everything or almost in the end pops back and I am not even interested in buying full price the few things I like unless I can wear them this minute. I hope it is just a phase though and that they will fix this. Fall 15 looks promising...

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    1. I agree Ema. I am looking forward to those fall runway styles!

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  43. I'm not sure I have anything more to often beyond all of the points many of you have already brought up. I still have a bit of a soft spot for J.Crew. Yes, I've shopped there since college, and I just turned 40, but I guess I don't associate myself with a specific demographic. People like what they like, and it shouldn't matter if they are 20, 40, 60, or 80. I myself have definitely learned that quality does matter in clothes, but that's something that wasn't on my radar in my 20s. If I pay $20 for a sweater that pills after three wears, then yeah, I did get what I paid for. But if I paid almost $100 for a sweater, only for it to pill after three wears? Not cool. (I do have that Laundress sweater comb, and it's awesome, but I can't tell you how many sweaters I haven't worn because I don't always have the time to invest 20 minutes to groom them in the morning -- I've to places to go and things to do!). I always liked J.Crew because I felt like the store was bad-ass larger version of my closet: versatile staples in both punchy and neutral colors, cool of-the-moment styles, a variety of cuts in both pants and skirts, and must-have accessories (both classic and trendy). I like any store that offers me this kind of variety. And of course I'm not going to like EVERYTHING -- that's true of every single store I shop at. I don't mind that J.Crew started mixing even more trendy pieces into their collection, but I'm sad that the quality overall has suffered. It doesn't matter if it's classic or trendy: if the cut is wrong, the fit is wrong, and the quality is bad, then it's not worth the price. At least that's how I feel. I think J.Crew can appeal a broad age range of folks and offer both classic and trendy pieces as long as they are doing ALL if it well. I recently purchased the Firework Floral skirt. That skirt is NICE. Heavier fabric. Lined. Pockets! I can wear it with booties for a bit of an edgier look, or style it with heels or D'orsay flats for a more dressed-up look. It's versatile for me. I get a load of compliments every time I wear it. It's worth what I paid. I'm sure not everyone liked that skirt, but there are definitely pieces that other people love and aren't for me. That's OK! J.Crew can offer a something for everyone -- they don't have to cater to the long-time shoppers OR the new shoppers. But they do need to make sure the clothes are worth their price point, whether it be a $39.50 painter tee or a $500 collection skirt. I really do hope they can turn it around.

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  44. Late to the party as usual but here are my thoughts. I still heart Jcrew but I think they and other designers took an unfortunate wrong turn lately. Most women want clothes that make the most of their figure and huge, polyester, drop shoulder, giant armhole, sagging crotch & poor quality clothes are not the way to go. I love that Jcrew shows at fashion week and their collection pieces are some of my favorites. I used to love that fold out card with their collections and it was fun to see at the end of the season which pieces made it to my closet that the designers thought were runway worthy. Anyone remember those? In addition, I am finding it harder to find replacements for my basics. Every woman needs a perfect white shirt, black pant or great fitting jeans. I searched all fall for a true navy sweater and I would love to have an ivory cotton blouse. The pants have been dismal and I have bought few at Jcrew or any store. I want nice lined wool and I really miss the cafe capri that fit my body type the best. Skirts and shorts in the appealing prints are many times too short for a woman over 20. I don't want to look frumpy, but desire a well tailored classic look for my basics. At the same time, I want to look polished, current and relevant and appreciate the fashion forwardness of Jcrew. I don't want to wear workout clothes all the time even if I feel overdressed when I go to the grocery. No other retailer at their price point appeals to me as much but I am not finding as much to like lately and my spending shows it.

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    1. Very well said and I agree with you on everything!

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    2. Agreed and you know I miss those Cafe Capris too!!

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    3. Lindsey, I thought of you when I was posting this!

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  45. As I read all the comments something that seems to be a common theme is most of the posters have already found their personal fashion style. They are not struggling to find what works for them, bodywise, lifestyle and budget etc. They are not just chasing current fashion trends and wearing them unless the item works for them. If I was running a company selling clothes, I would be working towards keeping those people that have a high percentage of J Crew already in their closet (and I don't mean just from way back) and hoping to capture the hearts and money of some more along the way. I would not be trying to cater to a fickle group of customers that only have a smattering of J Crew items and have not yet developed their own personal style.

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  46. I still love J. Crew, and I have a lot to say about this topic, so I decided to do a series of blog posts. Check out my Crewlade Confessions, Part I

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  47. I don't shop J.Crew AT ALL anymore, except on eBay :) I am so over it! It's too bad. I used to buy everything there, but I REFUSE to wear polyester, and while I loved them from 2006-2009, they just don't make anything I like anymore. I buy most of my clothes at the thrift store anyway :)

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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! :)