Is J.Crew Going Back To Its Basic Roots?

Comparing this fall’s look book with last year’s. In other words: more, less, or equal amounts of sequins.

In July, J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler publicly acknowledged that the brand has strayed, perhaps too far, from its preppy identity. The comment came in response to a Forbes article that went viral, in which a husband describes his wife’s complaint to J.Crew’s customer service email address. She wrote that she was “disheartened and disappointed that you are leaving your core values and styling and abandoning your loyal customers.” The customer is no doubt referring to the trendier sartorial direction the label took starting in 2008 after the hire of Jenna Lyons as creative director.

Drexler later emailed the woman, saying, “We are on it for sure, I hope you see a difference this fall.”

Less than a month after Drexler’s comments, “this fall” is here — with the release of the J.Crew September catalog. So, how does it stack up to last year’s issue? Has J.Crew made any aesthetic adjustments to better please the average consumer?

2. The cuts are more streamlined and flattering for “regular women.”

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Fall 2012

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A fitted shift dress is much easier to pull off than a loose-fitting drop-waist dress. Although, the one on the right looks like it would be amazingly comfortable.

3. And styling is pulled back a bit, creating a more basic look.

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Fall 2012

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Although the floor-length snakeskin-print dress and wool coat combo is a perfect “glamorous bag lady” ensemble, the printed dress on the left is cute, simple, and most of all, wearable.

4. This year’s catalog takes the focus off of print mixing.

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Fall 2012

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In exchange for coordinated separates and little visual noise.

5. Utilitarian outerwear replaces the fuzzy, retro coats of last year.

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Fall 2012

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6. And full-body prints are made more manageable by sticking to printed dresses rather than matching separates.

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Fall 2012

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Even with silver shoes, the look on the left just seems easier.

7. Instead of a bewildering fancy daytime glove, J.Crew favored bracelets for wrist accessorizing.

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Fall 2012

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Which, even with giant rhinestones, seems much simpler than elbow-length leather gloves.

8. This season’s bags are simple and rather anonymous in comparison to the fuzzy bowling bag of last year.

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Fall 2012

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Which is fun and all but forget about ever drunkenly setting it on a bar bathroom floor.

9. Looks went from ultra prim and a little stuffy to very casual.

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Fall 2012

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Sweatpants casual.

10. And bulky layers were eschewed in favor of sleeker silhouettes.

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Fall 2012

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(Which apparently caused some physical distress.)

All pictures courtesy of J.Crew via Racked.

12. Do you think the collection looks more mall store than runway darling? What do you think of J.Crew’s new old look?

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