Starting March 13th and running through April 2nd, Dappered.com is hosting a bracket based tournament with the purpose of eventually crowning the all around Affordable Men’s Style Retail Champ for 2012. For a full introduction see this post. The bracket on the right will be updated as the tournament progresses. Click on it for the full size. Make a case for your preferred competitor in the comments section, but don’t forget to vote at the bottom of each match up. On with today’s showdown:
Strengths: If you wanted to, and some would, you could build an entire good-looking wardrobe from casual to dressed up to everything in between out of stuff found at Banana Republic. Short of watches, they’ve got it all. They’re the top floor of GAP’s three story brand structure, and in the past year they’ve pulled even further away from mid-level GAP in terms of style. Prices remain relatively low as long as you hang out for sales and play the promo-code/coupon game. Their modern fit blazers and suits come with a welcome contour, higher than normal armholes, and slim shoulder pads. They’ve really stepped up their suiting game lately. The Italian fabrics used in some of their garments are superb. Outerwear is usually outstanding. Sweaters are right up there. Shopping experience in-store is usually clean and professional. Everything online ships free over $50. Returns are free in-store.
Weaknesses: Like all GAP brands, you’ve got to play the code and sale timing game, and then sometimes the exclusions can be numerous. Paying full retail at BR should rarely happen. Most of their goods are made in China. Many have complained about bad quality for their shoes. Mad Men/Monogram markup is steep.
How they got here: Breezed past Amazon in the first round and did well against Thrift Stores in round 2.
Strengths: Overall style and fits are pretty close to J. Crew, at much more palatable prices. Especially if you wait for one of the many extra 30% off codes. Went online in the last year or so and now everyone has access to them. That’s huge. Their 80% wool suiting is phenomenal for the price. Their summer cotton suit is also quite good and can be had for a song. Merino V-Necks held up well this past winter, and speaking of winter, their tweed sportcoats from this past winter were fantastic for $125 on sale. They’ve had an incredibly good year. So much so, that they might be the best overall place to shop for those making $35k or less.
Weaknesses: The entire “we’re not open until the weekend” thing. Yes they take the link off JCrew.com, but all you have to do is go directly to their webpage, or simply google up “J. Crew Factory” and you’re there. Stock and sizes can go extremely fast when something good goes on sale. Some have raised concerns about quality, especially when it comes to accessories like ties and belts. Shipping can get expensive quick.
How they got here: Bounced stalwart GAP with ease in the first round and won easily against Macy’s after that.
Your votes determine who goes on to the next round. Cast your ballot below. Voting ends at midnight ET.
UPDATE: So this one was close. You might notice that the vote totals/results don’t seem to match up. Our “election officials” (aka tech guru) will be looking into this today. We’d ask the Supreme Court to hear the case for each side, but they seem to be a little busy right now. Standby while we take a look at these dimpled and hanging chads.
UPDATE II: The election officials have spoken. After looking at the logs, 549 votes were cast for Banana Republic before the deadline. J. Crew Factory received 548 (549 + 548 = 1,097 votes, so that matches up.) Here’s a quote from our man looking at the votes: “Long story short: BN wins. Dappered voting is still more sophisticated than what’s in place in Russia… just a quirk and a really, really close one.” Thus, Banana Republic moves on to the final.
Store Wars Semis: Banana Republic vs. J. Crew Factory
- Banana Republic (52%, 565 Votes)
- J. Crew Factory (52%, 575 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,097