Thank you for coming to celebrate J.Crew. While we are here grieving its death in 2020, it did have a good life — more than 35 years since it was born in New York City in 1983.
That was the first year I was introduced to J. Crew. After the song and movie “Valley Girl,” my friends and I formed the Valley Girl Club. We were in sixth grade and we carried copies of “Fer Shurr! How To Be A Valley Girl — Totally!” to guide us on how to speak, how to act, and most importantly, how to dress. J.Crew was a preppy kids’ store. And, if you could babysit enough to buy a bona fide J. Crew sweater to dangle around your neck, you were instantly cool in school.
I remember when I left for college in Boston — the epitome of preppy places — J.Crew became my go-to when I needed an outfit for a date, which back then was a good blazer to wear over a button-down or body suit with dark jeans for a pub. J.Crew’s clothes were classic; I could count on it when I needed, or wanted, something new to wear.
Who else remembers its cropped pants and shorts of practically every color imaginable? They could even have embroidered and whimsical patterns on them, such as lobsters or crabs on a pair of Nantucket Reds meant to be seen from the bow of a sailboat while sailing off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island. J.Crew’s helped us fit in and look the part of the lives we were living.
And who can forget J.Crew’s help with all those weddings we attended throughout the summers of our mid-20s? Not only did J.Crew provide us with flowy and romantic designs that looked great in photos and helped keep us cool when it was 90 degrees in August, but it even developed a wedding line with gowns for brides and bridesmaids. Of course, the styles were classic: Strapless or spaghetti straps on always-flattering A-lines — thank you J.Crew!
No one will ever be able to understand why J.Crew started to go down the wrong path. Why it began using cheaper materials, why it began to get a bit too whimsical, why it seemed to mimic brands that didn’t carry the same weight. Who knows why these things happen? But there was definitely a time when J.Crew may have been cheaper than Ralph Lauren, but still as admired by friends and family. Those are the memories we should keep.
It may comfort us all a bit to realize that in our closets, we may all still find a label from J.Crew. Heck, I have clothes from the 2000s that I still wear today! Not only do they still fit, but they are still stylish.
So, as we say goodbye to a fashion brand we grew up with I’ll leave you with this message that hopefully heals our wounds: “Those we love never truly leave us. There are things that death can never touch.”
Goodbye, J.Crew. You will be sorely missed.