Review: The JCPenney Spring 2013 Wooster Led Line

In person with JCP's new refreshed crop.

In Person: JCPenney Men’s Line – Spring 2013

2013 should be pivotal for JCPenney’s efforts to reboot their image, part of which is an attempt to appeal to the more style-conscious male.  And they’ve been making some moves.  They appear to be favoring the shorter “jcp” moniker (see their facebook update here) as opposed to their traditional JCPenney name, Nick Wooster is finally on board, and they just launched a new initiative posting “suggested” prices* next to what they charge.

Sidenote:  This “compare to” price thing is pretty murky.  The lack of specifics will have plenty of consumers rolling their eyes, even if the price at jcp really is a good deal.

2012 for JCPenney, stylistically, was great.  But they’re really getting after it now.  Lots of new arrivals have shown up, and they’re not just limited to their “jcp” line.  First reaction is broken up below into three parts:  The Great, The Gettin’ There, and The Going To Need Some Work.  Your take is welcome in the comments.

 

The Great: Claiborne Navy Cotton Peak Lapel Blazer – $65.00
Just enough polish.  Size shown = 38R

Just enough polish. Size shown = 38R

Could be the steal of the season.  97% cotton and 3% stretch.  Deep navy color.  Peaks that just barely extend out past the collar notch.  It’s sleek but not shiny, and has just enough structure.  Minimal shoulder pads, but the pads give it enough of a foundation so it’s not super casual like the Merona Kensington.  38R on my frame was almost a little too tight.

 

Stafford Slim Cotton Ties
A big jcp upgrade.

Visual proof JC Penney is trying hard.

Chambray like in their weave, looked to be about 2.5″ in width, and are priced in the mid $20 range.  These are the kind of thing that jump out at you when walking through JCPenney and make you think: “never seen something quite like that here before.”

 

Stafford made in the USA Silk Ties
Probably the best tie under $30 out there.

Probably the best tie under $30 out there.

Wider than the cotton ties, but not fat.  3″ or over most likely.  Also running in the mid to high $20s and made in the USA.  Major points for the small polka dot version.  Also not on the web yet.

 

Stafford Tailored Fit Easy Care Broadcloth Shirts – $15.00
asdf

Trim through the body, slim through the arms.

Look out Merona Ultimate.  You’ve got competition.  60% cotton and 40% poly that has a little bit of scratch to it but isn’t crazy bad.  The fit is the real winner here.  Actually trim fitting (unless you’re quite slim) off the rack.  Available in button down or semi spread collars.  Slim arms, substantial collars, and dirt cheap.  Two issues:  They could use some back pleats, and the fabric is thin enough that you start to see some skin tone through them.  Still, for $15? Worth a good long look.

Update:  Not sure if these are up on the jcp site yet.  The semi spread collars appear to be.  

 

Stafford Prep Chino Shorts – $22.00
Fabric has weight w/out being heavy

Fabric has weight w/out being heavy

We’re aways from shorts weather, but once it arrives, these might work their way into many a rotation.  10″ inseam that seems to wear a little shorter thanks to a nice fit, and both standard and bright colors available.  Part of the new “Stafford Prep” line, which is represented on some apparel by a gryphon/unicorn hybrid logo thing.

 

The Gettin’ There: Stafford Prep Chino Blazer – $50.00
A step up from Target's Kensington.

A step up from Target’s Kensington.

Also from the new Stafford Prep line.  No exterior logos on this one.  Looks and feels like an upgraded version of the Target Merona Kensington, yet still very casual.  Totally unlined.  No shoulder pads.  Not a polished cotton but instead a thicker chino.  Upgraded details include taping at the (non functioning) cuffs and a contrasting under-collar.  Fit is… decent.  The size medium (shown here) was good and trim in the arms but felt like it had a little too much room in the chest and body.  A trip to the tailor would be needed, but at $50, most will have the cash to have it nipped at the sides.  Description online calls it “sturdy cotton” and they’re right.  It’s almost too sturdy for a totally unlined blazer like this.  Just doesn’t seem to move as well as the Merona Kensington, but if you prefer thicker chino, then this might be fore you.  No visible logo.

 

Stafford Slim Fit 100% wool Suit Separates – $180 total
Left: 40R.  Right: 38S.  Needed a 38R.

Left: 40R. Right: 38S. Needed a 38R.

This one’s inconclusive simply because the brick & mortar store didn’t have a 38R to try on.  A MASSIVE improvement over the Stafford sportcoats and suit separates they had in the fall.  Two words:  Shoulder Pads.  They decreased the mass on these things by at least half (or, at least that’s what it feels like).  The wool is nice, lightweight, and moves well.  Arm holes could be a little higher, but they aren’t Alfani low.  Absolutely worth a look, but… why the loud pattern?  Couldn’t they have started with just a plain navy or light grey?

 

 jcp Snap Mock Neck – $35.00
Left: Small.  Right: Medium.

Left: Small. Right: Medium.

100% midweight cotton that feels much better than the 90% cotton / 10% cashmere blend they’re using on their cardigans (more on those in a second).  Stitching at the snaps looks & feels a little suspect.  Another piece of proof that you’ll want to size down with the jcp line.

 

Stafford Khaki Sportcoat – $80.00
Size shown: 40R.  Need a 38.

Size shown: 40R. Need a 38.  Still seemed boxy.

Another inconclusive due to lack of sizes in-store.  But for a “slim fit”, a 40R still fit pretty boxy.  Mid weight chino (lighter feeling than the Stafford Prep Navy sportcoat).  Functioning buttons and patch pockets.

 

Stafford Classic Fit Wool/Poly/Linen sportcoat – $95.00
40R again.  No 38R to try on.

40R again. No 38R to try on.

This one is labeled as a regular fit.  Size shown here is also a 40R (once again, no 38R on the rack) and doesn’t look all that much diffrerent through the body than the “slim fit” khaki cotton.  Inconclusive because of that lack of a 38, but the 60% wool, 30% poly, 10% linen was a nice, lightweight material with that linen blend texture.  More proof that JCPenney is trying and trying hard to mix it up.

 

Stafford Prep Straight Leg Chinos – $30.00
Size shown: 32x30

Size shown: 32×30

A nice, basic, straight leg medium to thicker weight chino.  The weave is starting to lean towards denim, but isn’t quite as thick.  5 color options including this not quite bright white “Stone” color.

 

The Going to Need some Work: Stafford Prep OCBD – $28.00
Cuff details are nice, but drowning in the arms & body.

Cuff details are nice, but drowning in the arms & body.

Hope these aren’t replacing the jcp OCBDs from last season.  It’s just not as good in fit.  A medium was too big in the chest and through the sides, which wasn’t the case at all with the jcp OCBDs.  Sure there are some fancy details, which the online description calls “so classic they might even get you into Yale“… ‘kay… but all of us would gladly trade those details in for a perfect fit.  Which the jcp version had.

UPDATE:  Word from Ryan B. via style tip is that there is a new version of the jcp oxford lurking out there somewhere.  He picked one up for $25 in store yesterday and writes: “the new version has a thicker fabric with a much more substantial feel than the old ones. Same great fit, but added details like a back collar button and locker loop.”

 

Stafford Prep Patterned Poplin – $28.00
stafford prep poplin

Nice details again, but fit seems more generous than jcp.

See OCBD.  Same deal.

 

jcp 95% cotton / 5% cashmere cardigan – $35.00
Size down if you choose not to skip it.

Size down if you choose not to skip it.

The fabric is so thin it’s wimpy.  Feels like a Target clearance cardigan that’s been hanging on the rack way too long.  Felt like I was going to blow out a seam just getting it on.  Size shown: small.

Did you happen across these new arrivals this weekend?  Like the direction jcp is taking overall?  Got any predictions for the store and its brands in 2013?  Leave it all in the comments.