STORE WARS: J. Crew vs. Banana Republic
Starting March 18th and running through April 7th, Dappered.com is hosting a bracket based tournament with the purpose of eventually crowning the all around Affordable Men’s Style Retail Champ for 2014. 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: The defending champ, and probably the odds on favorite to repeat. Has been one of the top leaders in men’s style for the past few years. Blazer & suit construction is terrific, with substantial chest pieces and canvassing. Many of their suit jackets, blazers, and even sweaters come in high quality fabrics sourced from English or Italian mills. Non functioning buttons at their jacket cuffs make for easy tailoring. Cuts are already modern, but they make an even trimmer “slim” cut in many styles. Sales & codes seem to now be pretty plentiful, and if you’re good at playing the game, you can land high quality goods for a very fair price. Some of their in house shoe offerings are made in Italy and/or have stitched (sometimes Goodyear) soles. Their 3rd party “in good company” offerings showcase brands outside of their own corporate umbrella. On trend but doesn’t veer into crazy-town that often.
Weaknesses: Prices sure seem to be going up. Suits are real pricey compared to competitors like Suitsupply. Basics like shirts and sweaters can be crazy expensive… ($88 for a dress shirt that doesn’t even come in neck & sleeve sizes?) until they go on sale and an extra % off code gets posted. Leather goods can feel flimsy. Their watches are awfully expensive for being quartz. They killed off the plain, but still sharp-as-hell Super 130s Ludlow Navy blazer. And as much as some like their Ludlow suit jacket/blazer/sportcoat design, it might be time to widen those 2.5″ lapels a bit, and extend the jacket tail some too. At least on the suit jackets.
How they got here: Took down GAP easily in Round 1.
Strengths: 2012’s champ and a semi finalist last year (they lost to J. Crew Factory). You can’t please everyone, but Banana Republic comes pretty darn close. They’ve got that Goldilocks thing going on. Not too trendy, not too stuffy. Almost everyone can walk into a Banana Republic and find something they’d like to have in their closet. Other strengths: Their tailored fit cotton blazers. Their trench coats and (while not that thick) wool coats in the fall. The fabrics and blends that they use like the new linen/silk v-neck sweaters. The luxe touch polos. They’ve started to offer even slimmer fits like their “tailored-slim” line. The perfect, not too thick, not paper thin line of pima cotton dress socks. Their sales associates seem to walk the line between fashionable (pencil skirts!) and down to earth. They’re incredibly accessible, they offer free shipping at $50 from their website, and returns are free if you drop the item off in store.
Weaknesses: When’s the last time they ran a code that didn’t have a billion exclusions? Blazers, one of their strongest offerings, are almost always excluded from promos. Suits are oddly expensive and jackets (same with the blazers) can be stiff and fused. Plus, they’re often fully lined in polyester. Functional sleeve buttons on many of their blazers can be deal breakers for many due to tailoring issues. Sometimes their slim fits don’t fit so slim. Perpetual sales have conditioned most if not all of us to ignore their retail prices. They seem to have increased the presence of their Elephant Logo on many of their polos.
How they got here: Handled Brooks Brothers with some amount of ease in the first round.
Your votes determine who goes on to the next round. Cast your ballot below. Voting closes at midnight ET.
Store Wars: J. Crew vs. Banana Republic
- J. Crew (63%, 1,375 Votes)
- Banana Republic (38%, 825 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,198