Starting March 19th and running through April 8th, Dappered.com is hosting a bracket based tournament with the purpose of eventually crowning the all around Affordable Men’s Style Retail Champ for 2013. 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.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Huh. Well look what happened. Seems like they must be doing something right. Let’s try and answer two extremely understandable questions:
Q: “Why did J. Crew get two entries in the tournament?” A: Well, so did GAP inc. And a suit or blazer from J. Crew is a much different animal than a suit or blazer from J. Crew Factory. Sure, some of their goods are similar, but one could say the same about B.R. and GAP. Plus, J. Crew has their curation/”in good company” angle, and their sales usually apply to that stuff. That starts to push them from just pure brand into a different category.
Q: “This sucks, this is boring. What a lame final. Wouldn’t it have been better if one of the J. Crews took on another brand?” A: I disagree with it being a bad final. This is proof of how dominant the J. Crew parent brand is. You can’t say the same about B.R. and GAP, Lands’ End and L.E.C., Ralph Lauren and the now defunct Rugby, etc…
Feel free to leave additional thoughts on what this all J. Crew matchup means, if anything, in the comments…
Strengths: The leader. Out of all of the competitors, J. Crew has most likely had the most influence on how a guy’s clothes should fit (and therefore look) in the 21st century. And they’ve done a hell of a job. Esquire recently summed it up this way: “Everyone Wears J. Crew“. The construction of their suits and blazers is phenomenal, and if you catch a sale, a fused-suit budget can snag a piece of the canvassed & quality-chest-piece high life. Their “in good company” curation and collaborations with brands like Red Wing, Danner, Billykirk, and Barbour. Their slim fit section trims up their already well fitting stuff for those who are on the real slim side. Many of their own in-house shoes are made in Italy with stitched soles. Their outerwear, like the Mayfair Topcoat and University Coat.
Weaknesses: Prices. They’re up there, and a lot of their goods are just flat out of reach until they hit the sale section. Sometimes it feels like they take themselves a little too seriously (see how soaring and over the top the language can get in many of their item descriptions). The price of their Quartz watches. Dress shirts can get expensive. The heck is Wallace & Barnes anyway?
How They Got Here: Despite vocal support for the opposition, they dominated Thrift Stores in round 1, and then showed their strength against the heritage heavyweight Brooks Brothers in round 2. Nordstrom and their free shipping/returns were no match for the Muytjens Machine in the semis.
Strengths: Easily could have been a #1 seed. Some have understandably questioned why J. Crew and J. Crew Factory are separate competitors. The price ranges and level of quality (most of the time) are different enough, plus J. Crew Factory has such a strong presence that with a different name, they could easily stand alone as their own brand (they’re almost Banana Republic’s GAP). They’ve been online for awhile now, and that means access for everyone to their flagship Thompson suit separates (in wool-blend, all wool, and cotton), their tweed-like winter blazers, and merino wool v-necks. Factory is also smart enough to not make their jacket sleeve buttons functional, or even throw any accent stitching around them… makes for easy tailoring. Lots of sales, so if you’re patient and play the code game, you can get some great looking stuff for an extremely reasonable price. Seems like they actually responded to requests by those of you who wear a 36R or 36S to start making their suit jackets and blazers in that size. $4.95 flat rate shipping is one of the lower shipping rates out there.
Weaknesses: They can sometimes miss on quality. For example, plenty reported not being happy (at all) with their herringbone wool blend blazer from this past fall, yet the grey tweed-like blazer was up to snuff. Some accessories like belts, sunglasses, and ties have also been disappointing to some leaving feedback in the comments. Not everyone is head over heels for the Thompson (it’s fused, and can be a little stiff at first in some fabrics).
How They Got Here: Beat up on Amazon in Round 1, then cruised past Bonobos with surprising ease in Round 2. Took down Banana Republic, the defending champion, with a solid win in the semi finals.
Your votes determine this year’s champion. Cast your ballot below. Voting closes at midnight ET.
Store Wars: J. Crew vs. J. Crew Factory
- J. Crew (52%, 1,245 Votes)
- J. Crew Factory (48%, 1,139 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,384