Thursday, November 8, 2012

Penney's Change

Hopefully you've heard by now that J.C. Penney's, now under new management, has dropped its "American Living" brand.  Manufactured by Ralph Lauren, American Living was meant to be an affordable choice for chic folks.  Reasons for its cancellation include poor sales and questionable quality.

I own several American Lving pieces and have had no issues with quality.  Actually, its 'Newsboy' jacket is a perfect copy of a 1930s reversible belted back jacket and is very nice quality.  Check out the photos below.

click images to enlarge

Soft, thick flannel in a classic color and pattern.

Cotton twill on the reverse side.

But even with demise the chic and classic though flawed American Living brand and the restructuring of its leadership, J.C. Penney's is still full of classic and even vintage-inspired clothing.

Before the rebranding I was a bit dissatisfied with the suit selection.  Narrow lapels, notched lapels, neutered peaked lapels, dark colors, boring fabric patterns, and uninspiring fits dominated the racks.  However, now after the rebranding I see more satisfying changes.  Yes, while the above list of complaints still does exist it is not as widespread.  Becoming more apparent are bolder classic patterns (plaids, windowpanes, houndstooth, etc), cuts, and features.

I was at a smaller Penney's recently and found multiple plaid, windowpane, and other bold patterned sports coats. Most had a 1960s aesthetic going on though a couple looked more from the 1930s.

I really like the suit/sports coat shown here. The silhouette is maybe the best thing about this jacket: pretty good looking dimensions and it fit me well. Labelled as "slim fit", it has a more vintage (shorter) length than most modern jackets, nicely shaped medium width peaked lapels, a ticket pocket, and dual vents. Nicely balanced 1930s aesthetic to my eye. Made by Stafford. 

Sorry for the poor quality cellphone photos.

Not easily seen in the above photo is the Prince of Wales check AKA plaid.  Really traditional colors and pattern sizing going on.  Here's the online link for this jacket.

Unfortunately the matching trousers are still stuck on trendy: low rise, flat front, extreme taper, and no cuffs.  Hopefully the trousers will soon swing back towards the traditional like the jackets have.

I rather liked this blue windowpane sports coat. Again, made by Stafford and also labelled "slim fit".

Both jackets are surprisingly made of medium weight material: the plaid sports coat is worsted wool and the windowpane sports coat is tweed-like.

Penney's has a lot more to offer for the budget-minded man looking for classic clothing and suits.  Ties, knit wear, and dress shirts looked quite nice and quality-made.  The shoe department also showed some positive changes, in my mind.

If you haven't in a while, stop by Penney's and see what you can find.

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