January 30, 2010

Missing Tattoos and Other Musings, J.Crew Edition

Last night, I made the decision to brave the elements and venture out to J. Crew to check out the new spring merchandise in person.

:: image via googlemaps, obviously not indicative of the current climate ::

J. Crew on Grand Ave. (St. Paul) isn't usually my first choice when it comes to shopping a comprehensive (or as comprehensive as J. Crew will allow in Minnesota) men's collection. I'll usually refer to the Mall of America or Southdale for the widest selection of current pieces alongside a well-stocked sale section. But Grand Avenue is cute because it's a freestanding store that blends in quite well within this small but "high-end" shopping district -- there's a Pottery Barn nearby, Aveda hair salon, Restoration Hardware, a yoga studio, a few coffee shops and nice sit-down restaurants, there used to be Smith & Hawken too before that company went under (and I learned, now fully absorbed by Target, heh)...ok, you get the picture. So perhaps I was more in the mood to be in the midst of a certain type of shopping experience as opposed to actually do some serious shopping.

Needless to say, the men's section was poorly stocked, pretty empty -- it was beyond obvious that with multiple tables featuring the men's catalog spread across the front edge, this was one store still waiting from some type of post-holiday thaw pick-me-up. I walked out with just a copy of the current catalog in my hand. Which is just as well. More than half of my appreciation for J. Crew stems from the editing and styling they channel through their catalog and also from the casting of their models...oh, hey there Liu Wen! I see you've replaced Du Juan these days as the token Asian J. Crew honey...you must've really impressed them with your previous stint over at Madewell...I love the fact they put frames on you...

:: source for this and all other remaining images ::

Lo and behold, this morning, I received one of their routine (seriously, you'll know doomsday is approaching if you haven't heard from their listserv in more than a couple days) emails, this time, advertising one of their newest additions, the Jaspé Tee. I'm usually game on clicking as long as there isn't that white lie splashed across the headline advertising "FREE SHIPPING"...I've made my heart quicken one too many times thinking yes, the days of rampant any-total-is-game codes have returned...but I've wisened up now and will be nobody's fool no longer...no sir-ee...

I felt the Jaspé jersey material last night (it was in long-sleeve form at the store)...it actually feels quite nice and substantial... But what really caught my attention this morning, was that this beautiful model's body artwork had gone rogue!

:: inkless, email version of image ::

I remember paging through the catalog last night and admiring the fact that his tattoos were intact and untouched by photoshop...I remember thinking the tats gave the man a much more worldly dimension and added complexity...that perhaps beneath that clean cut charmingly mainstream (and safe) exterior was a guy who wasn't afraid to shop at OAK on the weekends while wearing his Complex Geometries shrouded tees and Corpus drop-crotches, perhaps with The XX on his playlist and some smudged eyeliner from a previous night of crazy...not that anybody would notice, because he'd have a pair of Alexander Wang's new shades on...preferably the cat-eyed pointed ones. A dandy with a not so straightforward stride.

:: "ink"-tact, as it appears in the catalog ::

This is the dichotomy I strive to achieve in life. Apparently it's one J. Crew would rather leave out when it comes to certain modes of advertising.

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