J.Crew Has Officially Jumped Ship

by SAMANTHA QUEEN · March 5, 2008

giraffe necklaceWe all knew it was coming. It started with $130 ballet flats, and has fully arrived with a line of dog clothing and a new catalog shot in the Kaufmann House, “an icon of Modernist architecture.” Doggie sweaters? Modernist architecture? Remember when J. Crew was all about country and earth, leather, and human sweaters? Well, as far as I’m concerned, this newest catalog indicates that the unsophisticated, pedestrian J. Crew that we all knew and loved has officially jumped ship. They cashed in their middle-class appeal for a whole new clientele -- those eager to pony up for unsophisticated and pedestrian clothing that is also EXPENSIVE. Here is my problem with this whole thing:

while J. Crew suiting and career separates are solid, their higher-end stuff inspires ambivalence. I like some of it, but there’s NO WAY to wear say, the Double Strand Giraffe Necklace, without advertising the J. Crew brand. Their styling is so distinctive and their mass marketing so ubiquitous, that their brand will eclipse the personal style of anyone who chooses to don their more unique designs. People will spot the items and immediately think of the wearer, “Prissy, unsophisticated, suburban, yuppie.” It’s as if they have diluted their own brand. So, if their higher-end stuff is by its very nature passé, and they have seriously curtailed their offerings of more basic options, why should we still shop there? Well, the truth of the matter is that I’ve moved on to greener pastures, so I probably wouldn’t shop there regardless. As for everyone else, I just can’t say. Either way, I’m left asking the same questions: Modernist architecture? Doggie sweaters?

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