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Annie - San Francisco, CA

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Entries in J.Crew (16)


It's Back: J.Crew Catalog Theater

Now that the FashFilmFest is over (but will return in 2013!) I'm back to blogging! What better way to get back into the routine than with a favorite? By request and popular demand, I've got a new edition of J.Crew Catalog Theater, from the April catalog... The models are sad, sassy, confused, and wearing things we've seen before. But don't hold that against them! They're models, they can't do any better...


J.Crew Spring Catalog Theatre!

It's been a very long time since the last episode of J.Crew catalog theatre and the only reason I can give you is that the stylists at J.Crew have seriously upped their game of late. I'm not going to lie - they've done a great job at making their pages both appealing and shoppable. That is, until now... (I hope my sister and her New York crew enjoy... I hear they love it when I get sacriligious.)

I was so happy to find this issue in my mailbox full of odd, ackward poses, models who are both pale and hungry, and very very strange styling choices.

There's a lot of ground to cover here, so indulge me. And yes, I edited out a few pages too - there was just too much good stuff...







What I Wore: Accessorizing F21

The jewelry rack at Forever 21 can be a bit of a minefield. The quality can be inconsistent, and, unless you're 14 years old, a lot of the pieces (while temporarily adorable) are not exactly anything you'd wear. But then, once in a fast-fashion blue moon, you spot something that is not only unique but especially luxe. The smug satisfaction (is it really only $12.90?) practically comes out of your pores as you dodge your way through the checkout queue, lined with a spectrum of nail polishes, toe socks, and neon-colored hairbands en masse. At least this is the feeling I got when I found this cut-leather flower necklace the other day...

Okay, so it's probably not really leather and the questionable metal backing might give me a rash if I wear it too much, but still - it's a find.

To pull it together I dug out some old favorites for the arm party: the famous Tarina Tarantino carved rose bracelet, "Fashion can be bought, style one must possess" bracelet by Jessica Kagan Cushman, and a yellow enameled bracelet from J.Crew.


What I Wore: Gazelles, Not Reindeer

Jeans: Gap, Always Skinny

Shirt: Marc by Marc Jacobs

Vest: Sanctuary Clothing

Shoes: Nine West

Necklace: J.Crew

Bracelets: J. Crew, Banana Republic, Marc by Marc Jacobs

Everyone seems to think this shirt is covered in reindeer, especially at this time of year. In fact, they are "running gazelles" according to Mr. Marc Jacobs. Also, I'm not really wearing heels because heels are bad for me right now, but they look the best with the outfit, so it was too perfect NOT to photograph it that way...


What I Wore: Sparkle Plenty

Sequin Pullover: J.Crew
Denim Shirt: Banana Republic
Jeans: Gap Forever Skinny
Shoes: Banana Republic
Necklace: Kate Spade
Bracelets: Louis Vuitton, J.Crew & Banana Republic

It's getting to be that time of year when the sparkles come out to play...I've already got a head start with what's already in my closet (never could pass up a bit of beading), but this little J.Crew pullover is a lot of fun! I decided to go with the khaki colored version because unlike the midnight blue or black (both very covetable), I thought this one would work more for daytime. And it does! It's the perfect dose of glamour for an otherwise boring work day...


What I Wore: Holiday Velvet Three Ways

Here's a look at the three outfits that got me through this holiday season. I'm completely in love with my black velvet skinny jeans from Banana Republic! They're warm, comfortable, and very chic. They also help to keep things simple, letting me switch tops & accessories to create something with no fuss!

Holiday Red:

Velvet Skinny Jeans: Banana Republic


Shoes: Steve Madden

Rings: Kenneth Jay Lane

Earrings: Monet at Macy's

I love wearing red all the time, but it's especially appropriate during this time of year. It's festive & fun! The rose detail on this top makes it especially eye catching, and you don't have to worry about necklaces...

Holiday Blue:

Velvet Skinny Jeans: Banana Republic

Top: Chelsea Flower

Shoes: Steve Madden

Rings: Kenneth Jay Lane & Burberry

Earrings: Silver Soirée by Stella & Dot

I found this Chelsea Flower top at the Barney's Outlet and thought it was totally not my style. But, I thought it had potential and I was loving the dolman sleeves and braided neckline detail with the silver chain. This bit ends in a low draped "necklace" at the back with a knot and two tassels, making it a very sexy look. So, while it's altogether simple it packs a punch!

It's been a long time since I had a pair of fun party shoes, so I treated myself to these glitter pumps from Steve Madden this fall in anticipation of the season. They have been getting compliments non-stop! Although they look silver, they're actually a multi-colored glitter which instantly made me think of a pair of pumps my Grandma had in her closet years ago. They're new but with vintage attitude, which I always like...

Holiday Ice:

Velvet Skinny Jeans: Banana Republic

Top: J.Crew

Boots: Jessica Simpson

Ring: Kenneth Jay Lane

Necklace: Self-made from vintage chandelier drops & ribbon

Jacket: Coffee Shop at ModCloth

I made this necklace this past summer after finding a box of chandelier drops at the Alameda Flea Market. They're strung together with ribbon and tulle, and knotted between each drop. I wasn't sure if it would work, but the effect is a definite winner, especially with this tank from J.Crew. With the jacket and boots, this was a way to keep warm and still look party-ready!


Spotted & Wanted: J.Crew BonBon Coat

I opened up the charming J.Crew fall catalog this weekend and found many things to love. Sadly, the styling this year is much more rooted in reality than in past seasons, so while I sought some fodder for a gentle P&C-style ribbing, I found none! There were a few sneaky moments of socks with high heels, but I'll let that slide.

Anyways, a striking standout was the BonBon Coat in Spicy Russet. It seems to me that this coat:

is trying very hard to be this coat:

or even this coat:

both of which were designed by Hubert de Givenchy in the early 1960s. As we all know, both of these coats have launched a million fashion obsessions the world over. The bold, warm color, simple details, dolman sleeves, and clean seam lines are exactly the thing that hold one's attention for oh...decades. They're what makes a classic.

J.Crew has been positioning itself in the "affordable American classic" category for some time now, so this coat should be no surprise. Double brested? Check. (But only to the high waistline, making it flattering for almost everyone.) Funnel neck? Check. Dolman sleeve? Check. Swing-y shape so particular to American sportswear? Check. While the product description cites a 1950s inspiration with a "vintage" feel, I think props should be given to Monsieur Hubert.

So, do I want one? Absolutely. In fact, I'd love the "spicy russet" one for fall, and then a plain black one for the rest of the winter. But, when it comes to great coats, I'm greedy like that.

Images: scanned from J.Crew catalog,, film stills from Breakfast at Tiffany's - Paramount Pictures 1961, and Charade - Universal Pictures 1963.


What I Wore: Renegade Craft Fair

Jeans - Gap Easy Straight - ripped boyfriend jeans, rolled up

Tee - Gangs of San Francisco "Playland" - purchased at last year's Renegade

Jacket - J.Crew

Shoes - patent oxfords from Steven by Steve Madden

Scarf - Liberty of London for Target


Two Days in Paris

My friend Mary Ray sent me an inquiry this evening, asking what I'd pack if I was jetting off to Paris for two days in June. Since we all know how much I love a jet-set, here-and-gone sort of jaunt to another continent, I had to voice some advice on the matter. Remember that the magic number is two! Two of everything (except for pants - those can double-duty) and you'll be set. Otherwise, keep it simple, easy, and bring just a few extras to liven things up. C'est tout!

First, I'd bring two dresses: one for day and one for night. Anthropologie has a perfect selection. They're really good at this sort of thing; every spring it's like "Hey Anthropologie, I'm headed to Paris for two days, can you design me a collection?" Of course, they're so obliging. A lot of their designs are a bit too ethnic though, and the last thing you want in a cosmopolitan city is a tropical motif. It's best to stick with solids, neutrals, or retro prints. In this vein, I chose the Two-Wheeler Shirtdress for day because the penny-farthing print in cream and navy is perfectly Parisian, connoting Phileas Fogg and Passepartout. The full-ish skirt is breezy and cute and the perfect thing for catching the breeze off of the Seine. For night, I like the Subcontinent Dress. The vivid fuschia pink with orange is the ideal splash of color for evening, and the gold-sequined sash is the perfect way to add a bit of metallic shimmer without worrying the point.

Next, I'd bring just one pair of pants - white capri pants to be exact. Try these from Banana Republic. These are perfectly polished and crisp, and always versatile. For day, add a swishy floral-print tank like this Plains Coreopsis Top from ModCloth. For night, get creative and tie a colorful Hermés scarf as a strapless top - it's amazing how a 36" square of silk can convert into a million different things. This is the essence of Parisian chic AND the essence of traveling light.

All you need are two layering pieces because in Paris it rains almost every day - especially in June. Let me indulge in this memory for a bit... There was one morning when I woke up in my dorm room in the Cité Universitaire to an overwhelming thunderstorm. It was like the sky had split open with all of the rain coming down. I opened the windows wide and stood there in my pajamas just watching it all. Then, just as suddenly as it began, it ended. Within minutes the sky was clear blue and all of the limestone buildings were scrubbed clean by the deluge. Yes, there's nothing quite like a summer rain in Paris.

To prepare for just such a downpour I suggest two pieces that can go with everything. One is a sleek and simple open-front cardigan, and the other is classic trench coat. This light cardigan from The Gap is something I'm in love with right now - it goes with jeans and a tank for a night out, or over a sundress for a touch of warmth. J. Crew's Icon Trench is just what it's name says, an icon. I like the Pumice Stone color since it's more of a modern neutal. Since it's short and light it can roll up into a handbag and go with you everywhere too.


Speaking of handbags, when you're a tourist you always want to go with something lightweight, with lots of cargo room. For an added dash of fun for daytime, I love the Marc by Marc Jacobs Pretty Nylon Tote Bag - it's nylon material keeps things very light, but it's silhouette is designed to carry all of your souvenirs (and even a crusty baguette) in primo style. The bold zig-zag print sets the perfect tone for summertime, and if anything it wil bring a big smile to your face. For evening, stick to a neutral metallic like the Caroline clutch from Lauren Merkin in champagne metallic snake.


One of the most important things to remember in Pairs is comfortable (but stylish) footwear. For daytime jaunts through the flea market and Louvre, pair any of the outfits above with a sleek pair of Superga sneakers. I thought the Superga Classic in red would be an adorable splash of color with either the sundress or the pants-and-tank combo. For evening strolls by the river, I love the Cole Haan Air Phoebe Sandal; it's Nike Air technology makes it perfect for long walks, while it's simple metallic style is the perfect finishing touch for any evening look.



Jewelry for this trip should be simple as can be - that's the true essence of a jet-setter! During the day, pick up a lucite bangle or two. For evening, try a dramatic but neutral statement necklace like the Forest Shower Necklace from Anthropologie, or just some gold cuffs like the Gold Adele Cuff from Stella & Dot. After all, it's Paris in June and you're there to enjoy it - why gild the lily?

Bon voyage!


J.Crew's Florals Are Not Liberty (Yeah, Right)

J.Crew catalog cover - April 2010If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how entertaining I find the J.Crew catalogs. When it arrived last week, I knew the spring catalog would be a lark of styling and trite cuteness, and it did not disappoint in this regard. But I found what J.Crew wasn't saying in the styling and products to be the most interesting thing. There seems to be a pink floral elephant in the room and her name is Liberty of London, and while J.Crew is quite liberally borrowing from said elephant, they never get down to giving her a peanut of acknowledgment.

This is puzzling to me. Why would you go to the trouble of designing a collection that is clearly so influenced by Liberty prints, only to not mention it? It occurs to me that J.Crew wants to distance itself from the Liberty of London for Target collections as much as possible. Still, the similarities are obvious, so not stating the influence makes the brand seem foolishly out-of-touch especially given their style-savvy customer base.

J.Crew definitely takes its nods from many other designers and trends in the market. While their take is always fresh and wearable, they are frequently late to the party.

Looks from Louis Vuitton Spring 2007 collection. Images from

Most notable in this "lateness" is the cover. A lovely image of a lovely girl, true, but notice how very similar the look is to the Louis Vuitton Spring 2007 runway looks, full of flowered headbands and Liberty prints. Or, would it be best to just leave that out? I thought so.

Then there are the gigantic spreads of wispy floral separates, and even a model sitting amongst a makeshift flower stand that try to bring home the point. Yes, it's spring, yes, florals are on-trend. Thank you, J.Crew for making that abundantly clear.

Images from

To my eyes this styling looks a bit stale, especially after the lush and playful ad campaign Target sent out for the Liberty of London collection. It's easy to see that everyone has a fascination with the English garden party-reduxed-Alice In Wonderland-for the Brooklyn girl thing, so J.Crew's version looks like a mere footnote. Not coming out and owning the reference to Liberty prints makes this even more embarrassing.

Last spring's J.Crew catalog was also full of stylistic afterthoughts, which were so obvious to me that it was laughable. (Read all about it here.) To repeat the same level of performance again this year is truly disappointing. The brand is solid, so why not push it a little bit? I'm certain J.Crew has a lot of talent and creativity on-hand, so why do their catalogs tend to bore or send the eyes rolling with ridiculousness? Why does J.Crew's catalog team tend to play it safe and re-work old ideas and old styling?

Because of their popularity and brand power I think they are in the prime position to do more creative things with their marketing and product communication, and yet they always fall well below expectations in this area. It's especially hard to swallow when you enjoy and appreciate the brand's products like so many of us do.

What do you think?