Most of us have a favorite place to shop. It is familiar. We know our way around. Most importantly, we know that what they offer will augment our present wardrobe with a new color or style but it will look like it belongs. Then, something changes! When you shop, you discover “head-scratching styling, poor garment construction and fabric quality, and inconsistent sizing” to quote an article in the WSJ about J. Crew.
Women have had such brand loyalty with J. Crew that it has become exclusively where many shop. Michelle Obama catapulted the company into the headlines early in her tenure as First Lady. The clothes were classic and versatile without costing your entire paycheck.
They fit the needs for women in a more dressed down office environment. They were ideal for most women’s leisure activities. Women who do not live near a town with a J. Crew store, rely on on-line catalogues knowing which size to order and assurance of the quality they will receive.
But lately, something has changed. Ladies lamented that the sizing is no longer consistent resulting in the need to make frequent exchanges or to order the same item in different sizes in order to be sure one fits. One mail-order customer stated that she is simply buying less to avoid a huge charge on her credit card by ordering multiple sizes. Another customer lamented that more recent purchases do not hold up well, required repairs after being worn just a couple of times. Some customers are choosing to shop for their favorites on E-Bay or resale shops and avoiding new merchandise in the stores. Dissatisfied customers have resulted in the need to offer ongoing sales, prompting many to avoid full price and just wait until the next sale is offered.
Obviously this is a cause of alarm for the company but it may be an opportunity for those loyal customers.
We all like familiar. We don’t like surprises, especially when they are negative ones. In recent shopping excursions with clients, I have discovered new brands and great values. Many newer brands offer fresh, creative styles and still have affordable prices. If your favorite brand has ”sameness” from season to season, maybe it is time to venture into the unknown. Wouldn’t it be fun to add some creativity to your style? No one is insulted by sincere compliments from friends or co-workers. Once you know which styles work with your body and your personality and you know your color palette, you can step outside the box with confidence! That’s turning lemons into lemonade!