Walking down the aisle soon or just feel like hoarding a slew of dresses like shiny, silky skeletons in your closet? Well we have some good news and bad news. Judging from the headline you've probably gathered that J. Crew is shuttering its bridal business, but now the entire line of bridal and bridesmaid dresses is up to 70% off online.
J. Crew (or J. Crizzle as I've referred to it in my darker hours) has been tackling the bridal business since 2004, exclusively selling online until it opened its first bridal boutique in 2010 in its Madison Ave, NYC boutique.
While this is a blow to the brides planning their nuptials in the middle of an Instagram-worthy looking J. Crew ad, the brand's departure the saturated bridal market makes sense. When J. Crew announced its bridal line amid much fanfare in 2004, there weren't a ton of decent off-the-rack dresses for bridal parties that didn't want to blow a ton but still look good. Now there's a ton of options to choose from, including BHLDN (URBN) , Ann Taylor, ASOS, Kate Spade, Reformation, H&M and just about anywhere shilling white dresses and party frocks. And a lot of the time they're cheaper (ASOS) or, honestly, chicer (BHLDN). The mall brand also needs to pull itself out of its slow and steady decline. According to Business Insider, "J. Crew's revenue declined 4% in the most recent quarter to $569.8 million and sales at stores open at least a year declined 8%, following a decrease of 11% in the same period last year."
Thanks to status quo wedding Instagram hashtags, Pinterest and social media in general, getting to see everyone's weddings is a click away. The wedding industrial complex blew up, and a lot of brands understandably wanted in on the cash cow. People are willing to blow a ton of dough on something they're assuming they're only doing once.
Racked has also reported how expensive it is to make bridal gowns:
Materials like tulle, sequins, and lace are costly, and, when you think about it, the bridal sector is prone to bleeding money: The amount of women shopping for wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses is a fraction of those looking for special occasion attire.
J. Crew was also averse to cheapening their line, to which I say good for them. I've worn the below bridesmaid dress below and it doesn't look or feel cheap and photographs well. J. Crew has mastered classic cuts that appeal to different body types well, and it'll be interesting to see how their special occasion collection shifts to cater to brides and their horde of bridesmaids.
While this is a blow to the more classic off-the-rack bride, I'm sure she'll find herself in the warm embrace in any of the other million retailers willing to take her credit card number. In the meantime, I'll be buying this "bridesmaid" crop top, because YOLO.