Favorite Things: Day 10 Fashion basics from long-standing companies with impeccable streamlined design and craftsmanship.
A few years back, J. Crew was a washed up and predictable catalog company losing its grip on the loyal following it had garnered from its inception in 1981. Then along came Jenna Lyons, who gave the brand a massive booster shot in its creative arm and began resuscitating the company by infusing her own quirky aesthetic to the clothes and styling. "Jenna's Picks" became a highly anticipated feature of the catalogs and website, and entire blogs are devoted to her practiced look of high high heels, rolled up jeans, long boyfriend cardigan over a tee and layers upon layers of chains and costume jewelry.
Her second move was to begin collaborating with various other companies that have a long history of quality products, getting them to specially design pieces for J. Crew, selling them as collector's items. This appeals to shoppers such as myself who love investing in pieces that you will own for a long time a). because the quality of the pieces withstands the test of wear and tear and b). the design and function is so great that the item is always "in".
One of the first of these collaborations that I remember were pretty floral blouses using Liberty of London fabrics. Now, in additions to more Liberty items offered, J. Crew is partnered with old faithfuls such as Jack Purcell (who makes these fabric dyed Converse just for Crewcuts),
Belstaff (a company founded in 1924 and known for its hardworking jackets, duffel bags, and shoes, and especially coveted by motorcycle enthusiasts for its waxed coated jackets & boots that keeps the rain away).
Can't make it to France this year? Then console yourself with a St. James Breton stripe tee, specially made for J. Crew. This is the same tee that Picasso wore and painted in and it's been around since 1850...mainly because of its ridiculously soft yet durable cotton and strong stitching- it's an icon of the French look, an old fashion standby. I. Want. This. Shirt. In a men's size small so Ryan and I can share it.
I was impressed to see the Parisian based Bensimon, purveyor of impossibly cute and comfortable kids shoes is retailing exclusively through J. Crew. I heartily wish these came in my size.
I know the price tag on these items is pretty hefty, but think about this...I've had my J.Crew oxfords and boots for 12 years now and despite needing a good polish, they are as good as new. Considering I wear them all the time, I'd say I got my money's worth, wouldn't you?
This leads me to...