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Carmine, Cream, and Navy

June 02, 2016

In April I emailed J. Crew's CEO Mickey Drexler after he solicited feedback from the brand's email subscribers.

My email (excerpted) below:

...How has J. Crew determined the fit of its styles, and what is it doing differently to correct issues of fit?

And the response (from someone on J.Crew's social media team, not from Drexler) in its entirety:

Thanks so much for your note – appreciate you taking the time to write. As I’m sure you can imagine, the perfect fit is probably the trickiest component to get right every time and of course, no two people are identical in this regard. That said, we have a dedicated “tech” team who does nothing but review the technical specs of each item to achieve the best fit possible (with as few misses as possible). With their expertise in partnership with many other areas of our business (design, merchandising and of course, customer service/feedback), we do our very best to create an assortment of items that work for as many people as possible, keeping in mind the best individual fit. We even tweak fit season to season based on product reviews and other customer feedback. Hope this answers your question and of course, here if there’s ever anything you need.

Corporate boilerplate aside, I am sympathetic to the challenges that J.Crew faces trying to dress mass market shoppers. And I do see the tides turning in favor of J. Crew (some styles are selling out at full-price, like my Fringy Tweed Jacket and this ladylike Gingham Shirtdress), though my concern is that these incremental changes may have come too late and the industry forces/macro factors inexorable.

But shoppers tend to be forgiving (if not plain fickle) in a healthy economy so it's possible that J. Crew's "Back to Basics" campaign will be successful. If nothing else, the J. Crew brand has considerable goodwill. But (as a fan) I hope J. Crew's leadership team will remind themselves periodically that "fashion" hinges on (perceived) novelty (even if trends recycle). While everything old can be made new again, nostalgia is a gimmick, not a corporate strategy.

J. Crew Fringy Tweed Jacket | Alice + Olivia Wendy Lace Blouse (old) | J. Crew Martie Pant in Bi-stretch Wool (here in cotton) | Chanel Jumbo Flap | Salvatore Ferragamo Vara Pump
Not that I need an incentive to shop, but biannual designer sales at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale's make it hard to abstain from shopping. The current discount is 40% off on most (seasonal) designer styles.

Happy shopping!

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