STORE WARS: J. Crew vs. J. Crew Factory
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.
EDITOR’S NOTE: It happened. Again.
What can you say? It’s a repeat of last year’s final… J. Crew vs. their more affordable little brother. If a J. Crew vs. J. Crew Factory final was a sign of J. Crew’s dominance in men’s retail last year, then what conclusions can you draw if it happens two years in a row? The tournament format even changed this year, with “regions” of similar stores going up against each other. And it’s J. Crew vs. Factory once again.
For any critics of this final… remember that most of the competition wasn’t even close. Factory did have their hands full with Nordstrom, but they led wire to wire. J. Crew even stomped UNIQLO in the semis. Feel free to assess in the comments.
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. Wasn’t as easy in round 2, but they still beat Banana Republic by a good sized margin. Had a surprisingly large margin of victory over UNIQLO in the semis.
Strengths: A finalist from last year. Their flagship Thompson suit separates (in wool-blend, all wool, and cotton) are as good as it gets for around $200 (if not much less). Their tweed-like winter blazers and merino wool v-necks are cold weather staples for many of us. Factory is also smart enough to NOT make their jacket sleeve buttons functional, or even bother with any accent stitching around them… that makes for easy tailoring. Lots of sales and codes, so if you’re patient and play the 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. $5 flat rate shipping is one of the lower shipping rates out there.
Weaknesses: Sometimes the fabrics used on the fall/winter blazers can disappoint (but other times, they’re great). Quality of their accessories seems to be lacking. They play the code game so you’ve got to be patient. Some of their basics (like tees) can seem strangely expensive. Suit pants can be a little baggy, but they have come out with a “slim” option for many of their suit pants in the last few months.
Your votes determine who goes on to the next round. Cast your ballot below. Voting closes at midnight ET.
Store Wars CHAMPIONSHIP: J. Crew vs. J. Crew Factory
- J. Crew (51%, 1,417 Votes)
- J. Crew Factory (49%, 1,343 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,753