Like a bright conciliatory light at the end of a dark and ominous election tunnel, the J. Crew holiday collection is reminiscent of the '90s and early aughts when things were easier and the economy was as bright as a pastel cardigan.
Before the mall brand's recent higher-end "Collection" and mis-sized Tippi sweater fiascos took the limelight the past few years, J. Crew was your dependable spot for preppy basics that didn't break the bank. Their array of essentials and accessories seamlessly complemented any white collar wardrobe -- from office attire to weekend wear when urbanites want to look like they're going for a New England stroll but really it's just brunch.
As fast fashion became the status quo for successful retailers like Zara, H&M and the like, J. Crew left the warm embrace of cableknits and corduroy. Opting for trendier, less cohesive pieces that were too expensive for their customers who expected to wear their clothing longer than a season. Sales and brand sentiment fell, and there was a moral outcry for things to go back to the way they were -- a "make J. Crew great again" populist voice if you will (too soon?).
Well, it seems what normcore dreams are made of has returned — the recently released J. Crew holiday collection harkens back to a simpler time.
Closet staples reemerge as more traditional autumn patterns, textures and weaves like plaid, brushed flannel and herringbone. Tailored, modern silhouettes find their niche as key elements of a classic wardrobe. In short, J. CRIZZLE IS BACK, Y'ALL.
Behold, the photos from the company's most current lookbook:
Look familiar? It's because those are the clothes that are already built into your wardrobe that you will keep wearing time and time again. Fewer bedazzled polos or sweatshirts or shrunken silhouettes, it's the looks you know and love. While one may argue that wearing iterations of the same thing is boring and complacent, it's all a matter of personal taste and these traditional looks are proven to look good. They're classics for a reason.
Case in point — this cover of the Holiday 2009 catalog.
This could have been from this year (aside from the image quality and typefaces) and you never would have known. Same with the following:
AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST — Patrick Dempsey in all his 1997 glory
From what year do most of the "vintage" low-resolution J. Crew catalog images -- stuck to Pinterest boards like an altar to normcore -- come from? Does it really matter? Aside from the tailoring on Dempsey's gingham, this nearly 20-year-old shot could very well be current.
In our current vitriolic political climate, I see nothing wrong with sticking to comforting elements that won't upset or surprise you. As in physically comforting, like shawl collar sweaters, luxe scarves and bright corduroy pants that will turn off 50% off the population but nevertheless make me happy. When nothing else is consistent, at least J. Crew will be there to welcome you in its light wood paneled interior, greeting you home into the faux cabin aesthetic you already own a piece of.