Fashion flashback on J.Crew

Perhaps it was the idea of creating stories for the whimsical creatures that always graced the J.Crew catalog that made receiving the catalog during different seasons so exciting. Or, the myriad of outfits that I could create by buying one shirt, skirt, or pair of shorts. But, one thing is for sure, once the J.Crew catalog arrived, a huge smile would appear on my face and there was a definite spring in my step as I thumbed through the pages. Reading through the catalog and marking things that I wanted (even if I wasn't able to actually buy them) felt so... grown up. It signaled to me the ability to have the power to create an image for myself and, along with that image, a life. 

So, while I wouldn't characterize my style with any one adjective, I would venture to say that many might write me off as old school prep (Ha! Not including that last picture that I've uploaded where I'm channeling the 'Mad Men' era), I'd like to think that I tend to dress preppy with an edge. Who can resist studs on apparel or the occasional leather jacket or skirt? Not I! Though, I must admit, my brand loyalty is steadfastly J.Crew. Blame it on the fact that I worked for the brand for multiple summers while living in San Francisco, but there's something so fresh about putting a new spin on a polo or taking their tweed to the next level. About 90% of the clothing that I own is from J.Crew, or looks J.Crew inspired.

So, imagine my excitement when J.Crew's own Jenna Lyons was featured in Fast Company recently. The article takes a long hard look at the brand since Jenna took the helm and what type of manager her underlings would define her as. And, in truth, I remember the change in  brand direction (it was during the time that I started working as lowly Sales Associate) during those years. Suddenly, J.Crew started adding chic animal print sweaters and cargo pants (back when they were cool, I promise). I remember the "old guard" of J.Crew buyers being deeply upset by the change. Like someone had all of sudden told them that their beloved frozen yogurt was actually ice cream (Seinfeld, anyone?). Oh, the HORROR! Those subtle changes have NOTHING on the changes that J.Crew as a brand has undergone since. The brand is chic without being trite, fashionable without being too trendy, and unique without being inaccessible. Yes, I unabashedly LOVE J.Crew. Though, with this re-vamping, has come a hefty price tag....literally. I don't know that I can justify paying $250 for a pair of lace up sandals, simply for the J.Crew name emblazoned on the sole. I'm also a bargain hunter (#sorryi'mnotsorry), in which constantly conflicts with my J.Crew love. Solution? Thrift shopping (Cue: Macklemore song)! Or, as the hipsters would say, up-cycling. I have some scored some AMAZING finds this way. No joke.

Anyway, coming across that article brought me back to a time when I longed for the apparel in the J.Crew catalog (Catalogs--so vintage) and would dance around with it until I greedily soaked up every image. Not to sound like an old lady, but I do miss the days of the tactile feeling of receiving the catalog in the mail, instead of browsing online. Though, in the space of the catalog, I'm one of those people that still must go into the store to browse, try on clothes, and see what feelings are evoked from particular items--which, let's be honest, doesn't happen often. I'm incredibly impatient--I have a hard time waiting to receive an item that I've just purchased. I like the idea of going home and twirling around in a bit or even wearing it later that day. My wallet is much happier with online shopping being among the primary way to consume, since I almost never do it. I'm great at talking myself out of an online purchase, since it doesn't seem real.

Just wanted to share my little trip down clothing memory lane with y'all.

What brands/clothing bring back old memories for you? 


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