Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The A-Team? Nope, the J-Team!

A big "thanks!" to Gem Twin who shared the following article & video about J.Crew's Creative-Team over at Details (click here).
Tastemakers: The J.Crew Team
Jenna Lyons, Frank Muytjens, and Andy Spade on the American classics they can't live without

Photograph by Rebecca Greenfield
June 2010

On the one hand, little has changed for J.Crew since it published its first mail-order catalog in 1983: It's still the go-to purveyor of preppy staples. On the other hand, the brand has grown into a $1.6 billion enterprise and spawned a slew of copycats. All of which provides the company's brain trust—executive creative director Jenna Lyons, head of men's design Frank Muytjens, and collaborator Andy Spade—with the challenge of keeping the label at once classic and ahead of the pack. We asked this trio of style arbiters to weigh in on what to wear, eat, and do this summer.

Alden for J. Crew white suede bucks: "They're completely masculine and elegant. They go great with shorts or jeans, and they will look even better with age."—Frank Muytjens

Lemon and beer: "Adding lemon and ice to a beer makes for the most refreshing summer drink you can have."—Jenna Lyons

Straw hat: "I wore one when I was a lifeguard and just never took it off."—Andy Spade

Vintage army tent: "In my back yard in the country, I'm putting up an old canvas tent that I bought on eBay. When it gets too warm in the house, I'll spend some summer nights camping in my own yard—that's my way of roughing it."—Frank Muytjens

California Baby sunscreen: "It's the only sunblock that doesn't wear off."—Jenna Lyons

Bermuda shorts: "They're part of my summer uniform—always have been and always will be. Those really short shorts are for roller skaters."—Andy Spade

Saint James striped T-shirt customized for J.Crew by Mister Freedom: "Saint James is based in France and is known for its classic Breton striped sailor shirts. Christophe Loiron of the vintage Los Angeles shop Mister Freedom added graphics to them. We call it the tri-laboration: It's like Picasso meeting Jacques Cousteau."—Frank Muytjens

Barbecued ribs: "My husband, Vince, does the best barbecue: He makes dry-rubbed baby back ribs, applewood smoked for four hours in his Stump's Smoker and finished with a North Carolina barbecue sauce. There's nothing better. It's the perfect summer meal, especially because I don't have to do anything."—Jenna Lyons

New Balance running shoes: "I'm tired of the crazy-colored-sneaker trend. New Balance is like Switzerland—neutral. They're also semi-orthopedic and allow me to run on the beach without getting much sand in my shoes."—Andy Spade

Philip Johnson's Glass House in Connecticut: "It's such an iconic, quietly powerful place, and it is now open to the public. I can't wait to be able to actually walk in it."—Frank Muytjens

Polaroid camera: "I love capturing a moment with friends and then being able to let them take some pictures home. It's the perfect memento from a great weekend."—Jenna Lyons

Classic books: "Even if you're not at the beach, you can instantly get away in a really good vintage bookstore. I love losing track of time in one. They keep me inspired."—Frank Muytjens

I give credit to Jenna for wearing those sequin pants again. Why? Because she truly shops her closet and I actually like that message. It's great to see a piece of clothing being worn in various ways, to get the most value out of it. As for the $650 sequin pants (only 4 in production!) ...it's a pass for me. ;)

What are your thoughts on the article? Are there any quotes you found particularly interesting? If so, please share. :)


  1. I just found this article. It seems particularly appropriate to our experiences and expectations. Enjoy!

    The Globe and Mail - Marketing to Women

  2. Is it just me or is this article really stretching for material. Straw hats, running shoes, bermudas? Who would ever have thought of those for summer?! :P

  3. She must love those sequin pants because she wore them the other week when she was in the Twin Cities (Mpls/St. Paul) with Mickey and visited the St. Paul store. They were in town to visit Red Wing boots. She wore the sequin pants with the striped T, just like on Oprah. Every girl has her favorite outfit each season and this one must be hers!

  4. I agree, the article is just a bit of fluff. I want inside info on upcoming trends, or at least something we haven't heard before. They seem to recycle their material in a lot of these so called interviews.

  5. Call me Silly, but $650 for a pair of pants with only four put into production actually sounds like a deal.

    The same pant from Herrera or de la Renta would be in the thousands.

  6. jenna really is putting those pants to work! i love that they did a "mini" version of those pants as shorts for girls. reminds me of my tap costumes when i was little. mind you, i never wanted to wear those costumes to school but to each her own!

    OT: alexis, what have you been buying from j.crew lately? i know you sometimes pick out certain things from new roll outs that you like, but i'd love to know what you purchase and wear. :)

  7. Unrelated, but is anyone experiencing really slow shipping with this promotion? I placed an order right around midnight on Sunday and was expecting it to ship yesterday morning and get here today. Still not shipped :(

  8. Jenna's showing a bit of side boob. OK, so not the look I have known to love jcrew for!

  9. LOL- I was going to post the same comment-"boob shot!" No wonder England thinks JCrew women are more interested in the bedroom than the boardroom. (whatever, I appreciate women and their diverse interests. But I guess I don't prefer seeing the sexy-heroin chic-remember that from the 80s)

  10. Look how well put together the men are? Is it any wonder that the menswear is so much more classic than what they try selling to us.

  11. SC, you're absolutely right! Remember, Frank was the head of women's design before Jenna. Sometimes she looks like she should be designing for 'Liberace for Ladies'. I'll take Frank's women's designs anyday! :)

  12. LOL at the comment about white bucks getting better with age. IME they just get really dirty and nasty and they're impossible to clean.

    I hate the sequin pants but Jena obviously loves them.

  13. silver_lining: I am still laughing 'Liberace for Ladies' how true!

  14. Megha: I still shop way too much at J.Crew. ;) I always mean to do a Product Review post, but never getting around to it. But I will now! I will work on one for tomorrow with a few items and publish it for the afternoon. :)


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! :)