Sunday, May 31, 2009

J.Crew-at-the-Beach In East Hampton

As mentioned in an earlier post (refer to "J.Crew Email: See you at the beach..."), J.Crew has opened a new store in East Hampton, NY recently. The Curbed Hamptons has an article, with several great images of the new store, which are shown in the slide show below (click here for original article):

RackedHampton: J.Crew-at-the-Beach Moves Around Corner
by Nicki Donato
May 22, 2009

J.Crew-at-the-Beach in East Hampton is movin' on up. This morning, they turned over their smaller quarters at 20 Newtown Lane to sister brand Madewell 1937, and opened up in the former home of Rumrunner at 14 Main Street. Though a stone's throw away, this new (HUGE, we might add) store won't open without celebration: there'll be some sort of free gifts all weekend, and—wait for it—ICE CREAM. (Per the PR, "The J.Crew Ice Cream cart will set up shop in East Hampton on Memorial Day, from 10am to 4pm.") With the same feel as the upscale J.Crew Collection on 79th Street in Manhattan, this two-level store has room for many more J.Crew summertime staples for men, women, and the Obamas. Not in East Hampton or wary of traffic? The Southampton store remains in its same location at 86 Main Street.

I love seeing interior shots of J.Crew stores to see how they layout merchandise. I also like looking at the merchandise- to see if there are new arrivals yet shown to the public! :) Incidentally, the presentation of the shoes at the East Hampton store reminds me of the shoe set-up at the Collection Store in NYC (refer to this image in this post)- which are both beautiful!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Seek & Find: Will you visit J.Crew this Weekend?

This is the weekly "sale watch" post, to help each other find sale items at our various local J.Crew stores. ;)

If you are stopping by a J.Crew store this weekend to see what's available in the Spring sale, or to see some new Summer arrivals {wahoo!} in person, maybe you might be willing to share that with us in this post. In particular, if you could share with us a few of the noteworthy items that are available, at what prices, and potential sizes the store is carrying (as well as the store location)- that would be fantastic!

Also, please let us know if your local store is carrying an additional percent off sale. Thanks in advance!!! :)

P.S. I noticed that many of you have already been reporting sale items (and in which stores) in other posts which by the way "thank you!" :) I really appreciate how helpful we are for each other!

Madewell Email: It's only a week away...(+ 20% off jeans)

"Thanks!" to Marietta who shared with us this email from Madewell.

Madewell is having a "Denim After Dark" event this Thursday, June 4th at their SoHo (in NYC) store (between 7-9PM). What is great about these events is that they are offering clients:
  • 20% off any pair of jeans
  • Free denim hemming & custom embroidery
  • Denim styling & fit consultants
  • Complimentary Madewell Martini Bar (ooh la la!)
To RSVP for this event, email Incidentally, I have a feeling that other Madewell stores are offering similar events. So it may be worthwhile contacting your local Madewell to find out. :)

What do you think about the "Denim After Dark" events? Have you already attended one of these events? If you live in the NYC area, do you think you will go?

Friday, May 29, 2009

J.Crew's Weddings & Parties Preview {lovely!}

J.Crew has offered a preview for its Wedding & Parties Fall 2009 collection (click here). Some of the dresses are gorgeous!!! And for convenience, below are the photos from this preview:

Are there any dresses that you particularly love or dislike? Are you surprised by the color palette or styles chosen for Fall 2009? Are there any styles you were hoping to see? :)

J.Crew Math {brilliant!}

Paper Bag Princess has a {great} blog called "pudding and the paper bag princess". Every so often she comes up with {fantastic} math equations featuring various J.Crew pieces.

The image used in the post is just one of many {brilliant} posts, the following are some more:
These posts really are great and bring out the LOLs. And in many cases "spot on" with the transfer of properties! ;) You rock Paper Bag Princess! :)

How much do you love these math equations!?! :) Do you have any of your own J.Crew Math equations?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

J.Crew's First Quarter Fiscal 2009

J.Crew has come out with their First quarter (fiscal 2009) results (click here). Some highlights include:
  • Revenues increased 2% to $345.8 million. Store sales (Retail and Factory) increased 5% to $240.7 million, with comparable store sales decreasing 5%. Comparable store sales increased 2% in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Direct sales (Internet and Phone) decreased 6% to $95.4 million. Direct sales increased 17% to $100.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2008.
  • Gross margin decreased to 42.2% of revenues from 46.9% of revenues in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. The decrease in gross margin is primarily related to increased markdowns as a result of beginning of quarter inventory levels.
  • Operating income decreased 34% to $35.3 million, or 10.2% of revenues, compared to $53.0 million, or 15.6% of revenues, in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Operating income in the first quarter of fiscal 2009 includes a charge of $1.3 million for severance and related costs associated with our workforce reduction announced in February 2009 and non-cash asset impairment charges of $1.0 million related to underperforming stores.
  • Net income was $20.4 million, or $0.32 per diluted share and includes the impact of severance and asset impairment charges of approximately $0.02. Net income was $30.5 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2008.
Millard Drexler, J.Crew's Chairman and CEO stated: "We are relatively pleased with our first quarter results and while earnings were lower than last year, we did experience an improved trend in our business. We think it is clear that there is no choice in this environment than to continue to be creative and figure out where the customer is going, not to respond to where he or she has been."

J.Crew is doing much better than its competitors- which I am happy to see! I am also listening to the conference call. Here are some notes so far:
  • Mickey Drexler kept reiterating the point of their commitment to quality & value. (Seriously, he must have mentioned this at least 10 times- no matter what the question. We get it already!) ;)
  • They are happy with the Crewcuts line. They will only open 1 additional Crewcuts store (in NYC) this year. The plan is to mainly keep it direct (online/catalog) as oppose to retail. They are also lowering price points in response to parents concern of costs.
  • Madewell is opening additional stores. The original concept had jeans priced at $98 and above, but they found that with the economy (and competitors), they should start to offer $59.50 and above (with their new line called Madewell37; coming in July).
  • Mickey knows they are less promotional than their competitors (e.g. less private and public sales), but they think this works for them. They also have been offering less markdowns and buying more "shrewdly".
  • J.Crew adjusted prices from being too high. Also, Mickey said that customers have a short term memory- if they see something they love, they buy it.
  • Discounting is a big issue. Mickey doesn't want to have their products discounted and sold somewhere else- that is why they have Factory Stores. (Um... so then why was J.Crew available in Marshalls stores awhile back?)

J.Crew's Summer Sale Has Arrived

J.Crew has updated its Spring Sale page to Summer Sale (click here). I am not sure when this change happened, but I think it was recent.

Mini Update: "Thanks!' to Marietta who let us know that J.Crew sent an email (shown below) with the subject line "Introducing Summer Sale. Hot. Hot. Hot" to announce the change in sale from Spring to Summer. :)
Hopefully we will see some new sale items added to the Summer Sale soon! :)

J.Crew's Jenna Lyons: Rules Of Style

A big "thanks!" to JB who shared the following {interesting} article featuring J.Crew's Jenna Lyons and her take on men's fashion & styles (click here):

Rules of Style: J.Crew's Jenna Lyons
The creative director on vintage watches, slim jeans, and the horror of pleats

By: Men.Style.Com
May 27, 2009

  1. There's nothing sexier than a blazer, a tie, and jeans. And yet most men can't put it together; they either end up with a suit and tie or jeans and T-shirt. Try taking half from one look and half from the other. Chances are you'll get something a little bit cooler.
  2. Men don't shop enough. Being current has everything to do with finding the place you want to shop, whether it's J.Crew or Tom Ford. You have to get off your duff and get out there, because styles evolve. Certain things are classics and they do stay, but men need to keep updating their wardrobe, because change is subtle. For example, denim is getting slimmer. If you're wearing jeans from two years ago, they probably don't look current. Get a new pair of jeans.
  3. Overplucked, overdone men are frightening to me. Women want a man who looks like he takes care of himself but doesn't look like he thinks about it more than she does.
  4. A pressed shirt signals work mode. But a washed-cotton shirt automatically makes you feel more touchable, more approachable. It's effortless. However, if everything is washed—that's not interesting. When washed is paired with a blazer and a tie, it looks amazing.
  5. Most men don't have a clue about tailoring. They hate to ask for directions and they hate to ask if something looks good on them. Learn to ask the salesperson. Ask a woman. Great tailoring always makes guys look better.
  6. Get dressed, then change one element. With a suit, wear a pair of Converse, or take off your dress shirt and put on a chambray button-down instead. You can also do the reverse. Try khakis rolled up with wingtips. Tweaking one thing is an easy way for guys to modernize an outfit, even if they don't know what the hell they're doing.
  7. Three subjects are off-limits to my husband: my mother, my ass, and my age. The worst thing you can do to a woman is to make her feel like she's not beautiful anymore. The best thing is to pay her a compliment.
  8. What women notice are the shoes and the watch. Go for understated elegance, whether it's a vintage Rolex or a classic Timex or a watch that was your grandfather's. It's the same with shoes. I love a pair that look like they've been resoled 10 times.
  9. A giant shirt is not cute. If it feels overly comfortable, it probably doesn't look so good. A simple fit test is to check your shoulder seam. It's designed to be on your shoulder line—not somewhere near it.
  10. We don't need you to be perfect. What we do need is for you to look a little bit more pulled-together. And no pleats, please, not ever, ever, in your life. Ever.
I have to say that I agree with most points, and completely agree with point one: that a blazer, tie, and jeans looks fantastic on guys! Also, Jenna's point number seven made me smile! ;)

What are your thoughts on the article? Do you agree or disagree with any of the advice she gave? Are there any pieces of advice, when it comes to style, that you would add? :)

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

Yes, it is that wonderful time!

J.Crew is offering free shipping on orders of $150+ with promo code JMS-950 & AC-950. This offer expires 6/6/09. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

J.Crew Dress "Spotted" In InStyle Magazine ;)

A big "thanks!" to annegav & Marietta (in this post) who let us know about one of J.Crew's new arrivals being featured in the latest issue of In-Style magazine. "Thanks!" also to Marietta who also scanned the image for us to view! (Click on the image itself or here to see it larger.)

The J.Crew item is a pleated cotton tank dress and retails for $148. It comes with a cute matching, white with black dots, belt. This is a new item, yet to be released online and is probably an "upcoming Summer" item.

I love the dress- from the style to the pattern to the length (which appears knee-length) of this dress! I can't wait to see it in person! :)

What are your thoughts on the new J.Crew dress (e.g. do you like/ dislike the pattern)? Do you like belted dresses in general? What is your preferred length for dresses? :)

Sneak Peek Into J.Crew's July Offerings {yey!}

A very big "thanks!" to SC Crew, who was kind to share with us this sneak peek into J. Crew's July 2009 new arrivals. There is a little something for everyone here: men, women, boys, and girls! :)

I am super excited about seeing these photos of upcoming new arrivals, even after J.Crew updated their website with some new summer additions just a few days ago (refer to this post)! ;) The men's items look fantastic!

What are your thoughts on the items slated for upcoming Summer 2009? Which items do you love or would leave? ;)

Madewell Email: We're coming to Westfarms (+15% off)

A big "thanks!" to D ♥ who was kind to share the latest offer by J.Crew's sister store, Madewell. The Madewell at Farmington, CT is celebrating its opening on June 9th and offering 15% off purchases. This offer expires 6/23/09.

The location for the new store is:
Westfarms Mall
500 Westfarms Mall
Farmington, CT 06032

Just click on the image above or here (which will take you to a larger version of the image) and print it out (so the associate can scan the bar code).

Happy {Madewell} shopping to all those in the area (including me!) :)

J.Crew Short Trunks Featured

"Thanks!" goes to J.Crew Guy in Canada who let us know that J.Crew was spotted at Valet Magazine (click here).

In particular, the Blue Madras Board Short (Item 15170; $59.50, now $39.50) is featured in the article for its "short style with a slightly longer, seven-inch inseam". I have to say, I like both the pattern and price point (especially since it's not $135; refer here).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

J.Crew Email: We've gone to great lengths...

A big "thanks!" to Marietta & Danielle who shared with us J.Crew's latest email. The email features the Ikat Halter Dress (Item 15197 ; $225.00) in "warm maize".

I have to say that I like the style of the dress, which reminds me of the Linen Halter Dress (Item 15198; $115.00). However, I am not a big fan of the print. I am not sure if the print would be overwhelming on the regular consumer, like myself. Too bad the Ikat Halter Dress is not offered in solid colors as well.

P.S. I think J.Crew forgot to edit (crop out) the mark (the red "T" indicating where the model should stand) in the email image above. ;)

P.S.S. Incidentally, this print is also available as a skirt, the Ochre Ikat Skirt (Item 16062, $88.00) to be exact. If interested, there are some {great!} reviews of this skirt by LizPoms (click here) and JTS (click here).

What are your thoughts on the Ikat Halter Dress? Do you like or dislike the style? Have you seen this dress in person? If so, please share with us your thoughts! :)

Quick Poll: Do you like the Ikat Halter Dress?

J.Crew's Internal Blogging Policy: Don't Do It!

A big "thanks!" to KL who shared with us an interesting article over at a PR industry blog, Media Bistro (click here), about J.Crew's policy on employees blogging:

J.Crew's Internal Blogging Policy Document
By Jason
May 21, 2009

With the explosion of Facebook and Twitter among all demos, especially the young and chatty, PRNewser has become interested in what both agencies and corporations are doing in regards to employees' opinions bleeding over in to potentially sensitive company issues.

The rapid-fire nature of these networks begs the question: what guidelines are given to workers when they walk through the door and who is in control of the voice you use on social nets?...

An interesting example of large company guidelines comes in the form of this propriatary document obtained from a J.Crew store employee who wished to remain anonymous. It was given to this clerk coincidentally, the same week the Domino's Pizza scandal broke.

Though it doesn't mention Twitter specifically, it seems to be the main concern as anyone with a smart phone can document occurrences or post opinions and photos in real time without the use of a company desktop.

I asked J.Crew's Senior Director of PR Heather Lynch McAuliffe a few questions about the document including whether or not it's just for the floor staff of the 300 or so stores and outlets, or if it applied to corporate people too.

McAuliffe declined, "The information that you obtained is proprietary internal company information that was provided without authorization and unfortunately we can not comment on it." ...

The Blogging Policy document is (below):
Blogging Policy

Blogging has become a mainstream way of communicating thoughts, experiences, and opinions. It has become imperative that as a company we define the imact of blogging as it relates to our business. Blogging, in relation to this policy, is defined as posting information on your own, or on someone else's web log, journal or diary. It also includes any other form of posting information on the Internet, such as postings on a personal web site, business networking, social networking or affinity web site, on a bulletin board, or in a chat room.

Associates who engage in blogging, even if done off premises and while off duty, should be aware that any postings related to J.Crew could have an adverse affect on the company's business interests. The risks include that information posted could be confidential or that people could view you as a spokesperson for the company.

Any concerns or complaints should be raised and resolved in productive forums available to every associate. Associates may speak with their manager, HR, or contact Open Talk Hotline (1-XXX-XXX-XXXX). Each offers the opportunity for resolution to issues raised. Blogging about such issues does not allow for dialogue that facilitates a healthy conclusion. Rather, blogging about such topics can make situations worse.

We ask that you ovserve the following guidelines:
  • Do not engage in blogging using any company resources.
  • Refrain from referencing J.Crew in any personal blogging.
  • Do not represent yourself as a spokesperson for the company, intentionally or unintentionally. Identifying yourself as an associate has the ability to confer "insider" status to your thoughts and opinions.
  • Information gained from work activities or company communications is confidential, and should be treated accordingly.
  • Do not defame or otherwise discredit the company, its products, services, associates, customers, and vendors.
  • Do not use the company's logos, trademarks, proprietary graphics or photographs.
For awhile, I had been told by J.Crew associates (who use to post once in awhile on the blog to clarify a policy and the like), that they were asked by corporate to no longer share any information, specifically with the J.Crew Aficionada blog. As a result, I started advising associates to check with their superiors before posting anything on the blog (since I didn't want anyone to get in trouble).

I also joined a Facebook page created by a J.Crew employee (called "The J.Crew Facebook Group"), where the moderator was personally asked to close the group because the "company wants to keep there information and the distribution of its information within the company". (Incidentally, the moderator did not violate any use of information.)

I completely understand why J.Crew would want to prevent employees from sharing private, proprietary information with the public. However, I think it is also fine to have employees clarify current policies, state the qualifications (or limitations) of new promotions, or notify the public when new arrivals are expected at local stores.

What are your thoughts on the "internal blogging policy" of J.Crew? Do you disagree or agree with it (or aspects of it)?

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {looking to sell}

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who want to swap/sell/share among yourselves. This post is where you can mention your items and outside listing/ auction site (like eBay and eCrater & the corresponding user ID). Please note: this posting is not for resellers.

Please note that any transactions are independent of this blog. (Especially since you will be using an outside listing/ auction site like eBay or eCrater.) I have no dealings or interactions with any of the potential communication, listings, or transactions. :) Moreover, please limit comments about items to swap/sell/share to the "Great (Weekly) Exchange" posts. (Refer to "A Quick Note to J.Crew Aficionadas" post.)

Do you have any items you would like to swap/sell/share among yourselves through your outside listing/auction site?

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {looking to find}

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who are looking for and interested in buying certain items. Please feel free to share a J.Crew store location and/or your outside listing/ auction site if it matches the requests made in this post. Please note: this posting is not for resellers.

Also note that any transactions are independent of this blog. (Especially since you will be using an outside listing/ auction site like eBay or eCrater.) I have no dealings or interactions with any of the potential communication, listings, or transactions. :) Moreover, please limit comments about items to swap/sell/share/finding to the "Great (Weekly) Exchange" posts. (Refer to "A Quick Note to J.Crew Aficionadas" post.)

Is there an item (or items) that you are looking for and interested in purchasing?

Last Day For J.Crew's Private Sale

"Thanks!" to Marietta who shared with us an email that J.Crew sent its card members on Friday. The email also reminds us that their "private sale" of 20% off your entire order of $175+ with promo code SUMMER, ends today.

I ended up not taking advantage of this offer. I think I am "shopped out" for awhile. ;)

Did you take advantage of this recent offer? Are you still planning to take advantage of it today? :)

P.S. Have a great (& safe) Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

J.Crew's Debut Of LemLem

As mentioned awhile back (refer to here and here), J.Crew has partnered up with LemLem, a children's clothing line designed by Liya Kebede.

A big "thanks!" to SanFranciscoCA who shared with us a link containing 20 images about LemLem's debut at J.Crew back in April (click here):
Creative Director Jenna Lyons (L) and Liya Kebede attend a celebration for the debut of Lemlem With J.Crew at the J.Crew Collection store on April 8, 2009 in New York City.

I have to say, I really like Jenna's outfit (the black shorts & tights with the jacket) at the debut. Sometimes she can rock a look (refer here) or totally miss it (refer here).

Quick Poll: Do you like Jenna Lyons' outfit at the event?

J.Crew Email: See you at the beach...

"Thanks!" to Marietta who shared with us an email from J.Crew reminding those in the Hampton's area about their J.Crew stores:
84B Main Street
Southampton, NY 11968
(631) 287-2869

East Hampton
14 Main Street
East Hampton, NY 11937
(631) 324-5034

The email image definitely reminds me that "bathing suit season" is coming. Ugh. I have to start cutting back on my nightly Häagen-Dazs. ;)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Seek & Find: Will you visit J.Crew this Weekend?

This is the weekly "sale watch" post, to help each other find sale items at our various local J.Crew stores. ;)

If you are stopping by a J.Crew store this weekend to see what's available in the Spring sale, or to see some new Summer arrivals {wahoo!} in person, maybe you might be willing to share that with us in this post. In particular, if you could share with us a few of the noteworthy items that are available, at what prices, and potential sizes the store is carrying (as well as the store location)- that would be fantastic!

Also, please let us know if your local store is carrying an additional percent off sale. Thanks in advance!!! :)

P.S. I noticed that many of you have already been reporting sale items (and in which stores) in other posts which by the way "thank you!" :) I really appreciate how helpful we are for each other!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

J.Crew Updates Website With Summer Arrivals

"Thanks!" to many of you, including jcbellemarie, GigiOfCa, & Genny (in this post), who let us know that J.Crew updated its website (click here). There are new arrivals for men (click here), women (click here), & the J.Crew Collection (click here).

In addition to having new arrivals for men and women, J.Crew also provided the latest June catalog online (click here to view). I am all for new summer arrivals. And how pretty does the model look with that flower!?! According to the website, "We used these one-of-a-kind flowers for our shoot- we simply couldn't resist (not available for purchase)."

What items are you most excited about and why? Which items are you surprised to see? Which items did you hope would be included? Also, did you receive the latest catalog?

Happy Memorial Day! {celebrating with J.Crew?}

Happy Memorial Weekend Everyone! Okay, once again I am early with this, but I still wish everyone a great Memorial Day and safe travels. :)

Since a lot of us will be attending various outdoor parties, parades, and traveling to visit family and friends throughout the weekend- I thought it would be fun to get ideas of what to wear during the weekend.

Depending on how the weather turns out, I plan on wearing the Dressy Jersey Grecian V-neck Long Dress (Item 12613; Regular $88.00; click here for product review) in "Chocolate" with a pair of "White Nappa" Leather Capri Sandals (Item 72868; was $49.50, now $39.50) on Memorial Day. This way I can be dressy but comfortable. (I still have no clue what I will wear the other days.) ;)

What are you planning to wear this Memorial Day weekend? Are you planning to go "head to toe" J.Crew or parts J.Crew?

Madewell Email: All the single ladies love...

Madewell sent an email featuring their Ex-Boyfriend Jeans. The jeans are described as "worn, torn, and perfectly broken-in- this is one pair you'll want to keep around" and retails for $95. Although the jeans work for the model in the email image above- I am not sure if the tapered, rolled-up leg, and torn look would work for me. Moreover, I would feel uncomfortable paying close to $100 for any pair of worn, torn, & broken-in jeans, let alone these.

Other items styled on the model include the Timeworn Tank ($38), Embroidered Panel Scarf ($58), Cardigan Vest ($54), Cardigan Vest ($54), Minin Stud Belt ($42), and the Strappy Summer Sandal ($98). What is interesting is the Cardigan Vest- I remember rockin' the vest look during the early 90's (remember Blossom?) ;) Is that a look that is coming back now?

Lastly, Madewell is letting us know that they are now on Twitter (

What are your thoughts on Madewell's Ex-Boyfriend Jeans? What are your thoughts on the Cardigan Vest? Are either of these looks going to last beyond the summer, or is this just the latest trend (that will come and go)?

Off On A Tangent: Gap's Offer For Memorial Day

Don't worry, I am still all about the Crew! But sometimes there are codes from other retailers that might be useful for some J.Crew Aficionadas & Aficionados, like now...
Gap is offering 25% off any purchase of $100+ AND free shipping when you spend $150+ with promo code SUMMER. This offer expires 5/25/09.

Happy {Memorial Weekend} Shopping!

P.S. How much would you l-o-v-e it, if J.Crew offered this promotion?!?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


A big "thanks!" to Dina, HeidiG, Marietta, & Kim, who let us know about J.Crew's most recent Memorial Day promotion. :)

J.Crew is offering 20% off your entire order of $175+ with promo code SUMMER. This offer expires 3/25/09.

Some of you JCAs have been waiting for an offer just like this. And I am happy to see this promotion too. :)

Do you think you will take advantage of this offer during the holiday weekend? If so, what items are you planning to get? If not, how come (waiting for a better offer, nothing interests you)?

Questionable Item of the Week: Jeweled Chino Short

Jeweled Chino Short
Click here for product page
Regular: $88.00
Item 15024

A big "thanks!" to Crewbie who suggested these shorts for a "Questionable Item of the Week" post. ;)

Described as "a supersoft and lovingly broken in style with a frayed hem, brilliantly dressed up with jewel details", these shorts seem all wrong (in my opinion). I mean, cut-offs AND jeweled? It just seems like a weird combination.

And the "jeweled details" are completely random on the front of the shorts. I would be constantly brushing them off, thinking they were crumbs or something. At least the jewels on the back seem "planned". (Although, how comfortable is it when it comes to sitting? Also, how secure are those jewels? Would a few sittings loosen them?)

Lastly, the price tag ($88) for these cut-offs (that's right! cut-offs!) seem expensive to me.

Do you think I am being overly-critical? What are your thoughts on these shorts? Would you buy it or leave it at the store? Have you see this first hand, and if so, what are your impressions?

Quick Poll: Do you like the Jeweled Chino Short?

Frank Muytjens & The Men's Shop

A big "thanks!" to J.Crew Guy In Canada who shared with us two great posts from the {fabulous} blog "A Continuous Lean".

The first post (click here) has lots of additional images of J.Crew's new Men's Shop in NYC (refer to the "J.Crew's New Men Shop (In NYC)" post). The interior of the new store looks fantastic!

The second post (click here) showcases J.Crew's Frank Muytjens at the opening of the Men's Shop and his fantastic {wardrobe} style. I have to say I love the jacket/tie paired with jeans look! :)

If you are in the NYC area, have you visited the new store? Do you like Frank Muytjens outfit for the opening? :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

J.Crew Email: Memorial Day Weekend Sale (up to 50% off)

A big "thanks!" to AnneG who was kind to share J.Crew's latest email concerning their Factory Stores.

J.Crew Factory Stores will be holding a sale, where you can "enjoy up to 50% off great summer styles". This sale begins tomorrow, Wednesday, May 20th and will last until Monday, May 25th. (No coupon is necessary.)

I have not been to a J.Crew Factory Store in years. I am not sure if the stores are worth it. I noticed that the reviews of JCAs are mixed- some JCAs really appreciate the quality for the lower prices & finding styles from past seasons, while others are not impressed with the quality. I will say that if a Factory Store was closer, I would check out this sale. ;)

Will you stop by your local Factory Store to check out the offerings & take advantage of this Memorial Day sale? If so, please share! :)

Product Review: Frenchie Slicker

Frenchie Slicker
Click here for product page
Item 11293
Regular: $165.00
Now: $89.99-69.99

I loved how this jacket was styled in the America catalog (see image below). It was just so pretty that I had to seek it out.

When I saw the "perfect lightweight jacket for spring showers" in the store, I felt it was w-a-y too lightweight for the $165.00 price tag. However, when this jacket went on sale, I couldn't resist anymore and ended up getting one in the Light Khaki shade. ;)

When it comes to size, I sized down and went with a size 0. I am normally a size 2 in jackets, but as of lately I have been a size 0 in J.Crew jackets (with no changes in weight). This is because the jacket is actually swingy, with an A-Line shape. (Incidentally, I saw a store associate wear this jacket without the belt- and she looked fabulous in it!) The belt is definitely great for me- as it cinches the jacket nicely (and I like jackets to be more tailored in style).

As for the cotton fabric... For starters it is thin (hence, the "lightweight jacket"), but surprisingly thin (e.g. this jacket will not work for chilly Fall days). I have worn it in the rain a few times and it does seem to repel water. It is also crinkly- what I mean is that it has a crinkly sound when you wear it. (It's not bad- but its definitely there.) The real down side of the material is that it wrinkles easily.

The length of the jacket does fall at the low hip. Moreover, the jacket is lined.

What I also love about the jacket is the ruffles around the collar and full-length sleeves. There is just the right amount of ruffles that it does not overwhelm the jacket.

I would definitely recommend this jacket now that the price has dropped. (I liked this jacket so much that I ordered it in the Papaya color as well.)

What are your thoughts on this jacket? Were you planning on purchasing one in the future? Do you already own this jacket? If so, please let us know what you think of it. :)

J.Crew {Happy Ending} Customer Stories

I think we all can agree that J.Crew has one of the best customer service in the retail industry (even with the occasional mess up-- that we have all definitely encountered at one point or another). ;) The following are some customer stories that I think are great to share:

The first customer story comes from Liz:
So, I've been buying cashmere from J.Crew since about 2003. For the holiday 2008 season I bought about 6 sweaters and noticed they were not holding up as well as previous seasons: they were pilling happened almost immediately and did not seem as soft. I saw other comments on this blog regarding the cashmere quality so I knew I was not alone in thinking things had gone downhill. I finally got sick of just complaining about it and decided to take action, so I wrote to Mickey. My aim was not to get my sweaters replaced or refunded, but to let him know that something had changed in their construction and I wanted him to get to the bottom of it.

I love J.Crew cashmere, but there was no way I could ever justify buying more unless things improved. So I sent my email. Within two hours I had the email ...from Mickey as well as a message from him on my cell phone, plus an email & voicemail from a woman on his production team. This amazingly quick response blew me away. I have always been a J.Crew fanatic, but because they took my concerns seriously and responded immediately, I am a fan for life. That is the kind of response a longtime customer should get, because we give them a lot of money over the years!

To wrap up the story, I've been in contact with the production team and elaborated on my concerns. I also loaned them two of my sweaters so they could examine them and see if anything has changed: a long sleeve cashmere tee from 2005 and one from 2008. Since then, they've identified some "opportunities" (I don't know exactly what these opportunities are, but I am hopeful) and said that changes will be reflected in the summer rollout cashmere. They are also sending me a test sweater to wear and report back on. I am eager to receive it and be able to say that it is better constructed than before!

My point here is that if you have a legitimate complaint about J.Crew, tell them. As my experience shows, they take constructive criticism seriously and the products may change for the better as a result.

The second customer story comes from Melissa:
Since I am a huge J.Crew fan ... I wanted to take a moment to contact you about my recent experience with J.Crew. I had my J.Crew Robin wedding dress (size 6) altered and it was completly RUINIED by my seamstress!! My wedding is one week from today (Monday, May 18th) in Maui. Since the dress is compeltely unfixable I had to order a replacement. To make matters more complicated, I live in Anchorage, Alaska.

I called J Crew Sunday to order a new dress in size 6 petite and requested overnight FedEx shipping. J.Crew normally will not overnight ship to Alaska. After 35 minutes on the phone I was told that although I could place the order they could not guarantee that it would arrive until Wednesday or Thursday at the latest! I was also told the dress would not even ship until after 4 pm Monday. I leave for Hawaii this Friday so that seemed to be cutting it awfully close!

I begged and pleded but the person in Special Events wasn't able to make an exception. I placed the order but was disappointed and worried I wouldn't receive it in time. I decided to make a call to J Crew's corporate office in NYC. I ended up finding a number for Jill Hennessy-Brown, the VP of Operations. I left her a message explaining the situation and asking for an exception to be made. I was delightfully surprised when she called me first thing Monday morning! She assured me that she had spoke with someone at the Richmond facility and the dress was being FedEx overnight shipped to me! Hopefully the dress will get here on Tuesday leaving me time to make changes if they are needed.

I was just so suprised that Jill Hennessy-Brown took the time to call me back and make sure my order would arrive in time. Later that morning I received a follow up call from Ellen in the Special Events department. She let me know that my dress had shipped and would arrive by Tuesday afternoon! I'm hoping you will post this email so I can share my experience with J Crew's WONDERFUL service!! A big thank you to Jill Hennessey-Brown for taking time out of her busy day to help a frazzled bride!

Melissa goes on to add that: I was so thrilled with the service I received from Jill Hennessey-Brown that I sent a thank you e-mail to Mickey Drexler and got a response from him later in the day!!

A big "thanks!" to Liz & Melissa for sharing their personal stories. I love reading these stories- it really makes me appreciate J.Crew. The retailer definitely does go above and beyond to make their customers happy when the special situation arises. And you got to love that CEO Mickey Drexler takes out the time to respond! :)

What are your thoughts on these customer stories? Do you have a customer service story that you would like to share?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Interesting Article About J.Crew & The First Lady

There is an interesting article over at the Big Money (click here) about J.Crew:

There Is No Michelle Effect: J.Crew is having a great year, but that’s got little to do with the first lady.
By Caitlin McDevitt

May 18, 2009

Every time Michelle Obama wears a cardigan, it happens again: a nationwide gush-fest over the way that the first lady is boosting retailer J.Crew (JCG). Michelle Obama Lifts J.Crew! Can Michelle Save the Fashion Retailer? The First Lady Brings J.Crew to London! The Crew Cashes In!

The theory that the first lady has saved the preppy clothing store from a recessionary doomsday fits nicely with the fact that J.Crew stock has doubled in value since the inauguration. Shares have risen from $9.61 per share to $19.23. And TBM for this reason included J.Crew stock in its tongue-in-cheek but successful Obama portfolio.

But is Michelle really the cause here? In a recent research report, courtesy of JPMorgan (JPM), you can find a collection of 10 myths "that along with Easter Bunny," one retail analyst writes, "we're not sure we believe in either." The "Michelle Obama Bounce" is fourth on the list, suggesting that she's had no meaningful impact on the financial standing of the company. In a November earnings conference call, J.Crew CEO Millard Drexler acknowledged Michelle Obama's endorsement as a publicity boon but admitted, "I can't say she drove plus comps," meaning any increase in sales at stores. Her name wasn't mentioned at all in the most recent earnings call in March.

Indeed, it may well be that J.Crew has done more for Michelle Obama than she has done for J.Crew. By wearing the retailer's reasonably priced clothes every now and then, she has convinced American women that she understands them—an invaluable reputation in a recession. While J.Crew is undoubtedly pleased with the free publicity and occasional single-item sales bumps that she provides, the retailer would be doing just fine without her.

So, if it's not Michelle, what has kept the company afloat? There are a few likely explanations. For one thing, the retailer is cutting back. In February, it eliminated 95 positions, stopped matching contributions to 401(k) plans, and sacked merit-based wage increases. Another reason for stability: J.Crew isn't anchored to the sinking shopping mall: Approximately 30 percent of sales come through its catalog and Web site, Such sales not only offer higher margins, but they can pick up the slack for weak mall traffic. Also, according to analyst estimates, 20 percent of J. Crew's sales come from its outlets, which offer markdowns that are especially appealing in a downturn. And, in its standard stores, it has lowered price points for popular items like ballet flats and jeans.

However, unlike other retailers, J.Crew hasn't had to dramatically slash prices to keep sales up. There are some new customers who think of J.Crew as a bargain anyway: those shoppers trading down from ultra-expensive luxury brands. Like suddenly cost-conscious hedge fund wives, says Tatiana Boncompagni, author of the recently released book titled, well, Hedge Fund Wives. "Most of the women I know whose husbands or boyfriends work in the industry have become sudden acolytes of internet shopping and J.Crew," she writes. The arrival of the well-heeled has not gone unnoticed by the company. "There's a big migration going on," Drexler told shareholders in November.

Not everyone would agree that J.Crew is affordable, but that reputation has been its key to surviving the retail sector's toughest stretch in decades. And it's also what makes Michelle Obama's association with the brand so sticky, despite the fact that she has worn J.Crew only a handful of times since the inauguration. "It's quite special that women readily have access to very same clothes the First Lady of the United States wears," says Mary Tomer, creator of Mrs. O, a blog that tracks outfits worn by Michelle Obama.

Even if it's overblown, her endorsement will be milked by J.Crew for whatever it may be worth. The company created a landing page breaking down the elements of the outfit Michelle wore on The Tonight Show and another after she wore J.Crew in a Vogue photo shoot. The retailer has also purchased Google ads linking to that appear alongside searches for "Michelle Obama."

Still, it seems that the frenzy to buy the items she has worn fizzles quickly. Either the items sell out almost immediately or they linger on the Web site and lose their appeal. Two pieces she has recently worn, a yellow argyle cardigan and the same sweater in purple, have been demoted to the sale section on As for the rest of the Obama family, J.Crew is making sure that the publicity they've provided isn't as short-lived. The retailer has only recently begun to take orders for the pink and blue J.Crew coats that Sasha and Malia Obama wore to the inauguration four months ago. As for the silken white bow tie that the President wore that night, J.Crew won't put that up for sale until September.

The author, Caitlin McDevitt, contacted me about this article, looking for a few of the items Michelle Obama wore that are still available at J.Crew. [I ended up suggesting the Featherweight Cashmere Argyle Cardigan (Item 11507; was $188.00, now $99.99) in silver olive salt & lavender stone salt-- And I am happy to see she was able to incorporate them into her story.] The article is very interesting in that J.Crew helped First Lady Michelle Obama as much as she helped the firm. :)

What are your thoughts on the article? Disagree or agree with any of the points made?

J.Crew Email: Best dressed (starting at $78)

"Thanks!" to many of you, including Marietta, who let us know about J.Crew's latest email, sent this morning.

J.Crew is showcasing their knit dresses, by featuring the Dressy Jersey Strapless Dress (Item 14982; $78.00). Although I have not tried on this particular dress, I am a big fan of J.Crew's jersey viscose fabric (refer to the "Product Review: Dressy Jersey Grecian V-neck Long Dress" and "Product Review: Flowy Jersey Bateau Dress" posts).

What are your thoughts on the Dressy Jersey Strapless Dress? Do you like or dislike? Are you a fan of J.Crew's jersey viscose fabric?

The Great (Weekly) Exchange {looking to sell}

This post (of weekly posts) is for individual members who want to swap/sell/share among yourselves. This post is where you can mention your items and outside listing/ auction site (like eBay and eCrater & the corresponding user ID). Please note: this posting is not for resellers.

Please note that any transactions are independent of this blog. (Especially since you will be using an outside listing/ auction site like eBay or eCrater.) I have no dealings or interactions with any of the potential communication, listings, or transactions. :) Moreover, please limit comments about items to swap/sell/share to the "Great (Weekly) Exchange" posts. (Refer to "A Quick Note to J.Crew Aficionadas" post.)

Do you have any items you would like to swap/sell/share among yourselves through your outside listing/auction site?