Monday, August 4, 2008

Look! It's a Fashionable Beanpole.

When I abandoned the left coast for college in New England, being of modest means and a rural, farming town background, I relied on J. Crew catalogs to instruct me on how I should dress in my new Ivy League life. I remember visiting a friend at Tufts, rolling my eyes at the J. Crew lady models ripped from the catalog adorning his dorm wall. I remember another friend who had just come out as a lesbian, paging through the magazine, jabbing at the photos, suggesting that there was an obvious lesbian subtext (I'm amazed at how on this, as well as in many other advertising campaigns, she was right on). The point is this: I've spent a disgusting amount of time being loyal to J.Crew. Unfortunately, it's a small but not insignificant part of how I identify my fashion self, how I know what I'll be comfortable wearing. But in the last few years, the models have shrunk. To the point that I am turned off, disgusted. They're no longer the rosy cheeked hotties taped to my friend's dorm wall. They're beanpoles, with kneecaps larger than their thighs. They look like they were attacked with an overly ambitious graduate of Air Brush Me Away Academy.

Admitting this is hard, because fashion is like this. It's obvious. I should disown J.Crew and move on. But I, and I suspect, many other women, are stuck with this conundrum. By disowning J.Crew, we're disowning ourselves a little bit. But then you flip a few more pages in the catalog and see the junior J.Crew models, all of six and seven years old. And you know it's only a matter of years before they identify themselves with J. Crew, Senior. And there's no way they'll manage to live up to the incredible shrinking J.Crew model. And fashion, which used to be fun, will make them feel like crap.


Eden From Sweden said...

J Crew responds:

Dear Eden Bainter:

Your inquiry is important to us and we sincerely apologize for the delay in responding to your email. We apologize if you have been offended. We do not intentionally try to portray or encourage unrealistic body images
in our catalog. The issue you raise is very important and your concerns
and comments along with a copy of your email will be given to our
feedback group.

Thank you again for contacting us with your concerns. We appreciate the time taken to notify us of this important matter.

If we can be of further assistance, please let us know by responding to
this email at or calling a J.Crew Associate at



janet said...

I can identify with what you are saying, but it has always been that way, sorry to say. Or at least in the last 40 years or so. In "my day" it was Twiggy who was so impossibly thin, but so famous and unreachable. I wished I could be her, but unfortunately I took after my Dad's side of the family - the porky ones - and I never did get to see what it would be like to have kneecaps larger than my thighs. At this point, if my kneecaps matched my thighs, I wouldn't be able to walk!! Ha!