Per Fortune Magazine, gift card giving was up, WAY up during the 2020 holiday season. I’d be willing to bet that a large percentage of us Dappered readers received some of that fantastic plastic. Yet each year, over $3 billion in gift cards go unused(!!). We’re here to change that. (I know, what an altruistic bunch we are. No?) In our annual series titled How to Spend It, we’re curating a bunch of items from a selection of stores you might/most likely got a gift card to (some very Dappered-y, some less so because Aunt Karen wasn’t sure). Our goal is to show you what’s worth it at various price points. You CAN spend it all in one place, dear!
Brand Note: If you’ve been a Dappered reader for any length of time, you know that J.Crew has been going through a rough retail break-up throughout 2019 and 2020. Filing for bankruptcy in the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic, they successfully emerged from a heavy debt restructuring plan at the end of 2020’s Q3 with a renewed focus and a pocket full of corporate capital cash to back it. The real-world results of this buyout remain to be seen, but from *this* couch, I’ve seen frequent large discount coupon codes and have purchased quite a few items this past year. As usual, stock up on their elevated basics when they’re on sale and snatch up any of the limited-edition collaboration items whenever they’re available in your size and within your budget.
- Performance no-show socks – $10/pair
- Pack of three nonmedical face masks – $18.00
- Slub jersey T-shirt in Deck Stripe – $36.50
- Garment-dyed slub cotton long-sleeve T-shirt – $39.50
- Blue-light glasses – $39.50 (review here)
- English linen pocket square – $42.00
- Garment-dyed slub cotton Henley – $45
- Boarding Pass NYC Hey Handsome shaving kit bag – $49
Elevated basics fill the sub-$50 tier and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with their slub cotton tees, garment dyed Henley shirts, and some of their excellent third-party collaboration merch. Personally, I like to stock up on the garment dyed slub cotton pocket tees when they go on clearance; they frequently drop to under $10 a piece!
- Vans for J.Crew washed canvas authentic sneakers – $60
- Stretch Secret Wash shirt in organic cotton – $42.50 ($69.50)
- Rugby crewneck shirt in chest stripe – $69.50
- New Balance X J.Crew Comp 100 sneakers – $75
- 484 Slim-fit or 770 Straight-fit stretch chino pants – $79.50
- Slim stretch organic cotton chambray shirt – $47.50 ($79.50)
- Cotton-silk pique sweater – $59.50 ($89.50)
- 484 Slim-fit garment-dyed five-pocket pants – $98
J.Crew’s pricing structure tends to ride an $80-100 median price point, so the bulk of their “classic” items should fall within this price tier. If you’re needing a newer, more casual wardrobe, then I highly recommend their stretch chinos, stretch five-pocket pants, and lightweight sweaters and hoodies for staying comfortable while working from home. No one should be able to see your shoes on Zoom, so rock those Vans! NOTE: Almost all of this stuff should drop significantly with J. Crew’s frequent 30%-40% off codes. The basics can get excluded from promos, but more often than not are included.
- Casio G-Shock DW5610SU-3 resin watch – $100
- 484 Slim-fit or 770 Straight-fit jeans – $128
- Everyday cashmere crewneck sweater – $138+
- Quoddy® boat shoes – $180
- Sussex quilted jacket with PrimaLoft – $148
- Wallace & Barnes Slim-fit chore blazer – $150
- Brunswick rain jacket – $158
- Everyday cashmere hoodie – $168
Outerwear and shoes tend to fill this tier, although some of their great third-party merch from Quoddy, New Balance, and even Casio’s G-Shock line is available here. I’m a big fan of their in-house Wallace & Barnes label, which tends to skew into the heritage or Americana workwear aesthetic like a budget version of Ralph’s Double RL.
- Ludlow Slim-fit or Classic-fit unstructured suit jacket in English wool-cotton – $248
- Kenton leather cap-toe boots – $149.99 w/ SHOPNOW ($298) (review here)
- Barbour Sylkoil Ashby jacket in “Navy” – $415
- R.M. Williams X J.Crew Gifford boots in “Bark” leather – $545
- Ludlow Slim-fit Italian wool suit jacket – $425 & suit pant – $225
If you pool your gift cards together towards one of these fantastic pairs of shoes, boots, suiting, or that “buy it for life” Barbour jacket, you’re doing J.Crew the right way. I’m fairly certain the Kenton line of boots and shoes is made for J.Crew by Grant Stone or at least it’s a white label in a similar factory. Very, very good quality. Those RM Williams Chelsea boots are on my wish list for 2021, in case anyone out there is feeling generous. Note that 3rd party items are often (but not always) excluded from codes. Yet their in-house shoes like their Kenton or Ludlow line CAN be up for some codes and promos. So play your cards right, and you can net some serious savings. Suits go on sale too, but not very often. So you might have to wait a bit on that Caspian Sea Italian wool number.
About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the heating and manufacturing industry, and he’s also Dappered’s resident shoe & denim expert. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, raw denim, and working on on his
dad bod father figure.