J.Crew has been a major player in the industry for decades. But how much do you know about J.Crew — and all the ways to save money on the brand? Before you spend a dime, let’s go over everything you need to know about the beloved clothing company. For as much as there is to love about J.Crew, the company had been struggling to keep up in the retail market even before the COVID-19 pandemic, as reported by CNN Business. So once they had to close their doors due to quarantine, it became clear fairly quickly that J.Crew had to take action, according to Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at the Columbia Business School. He explained, “The retailers who were wandering around aimlessly pre-pandemic are going to be substantially less likely to muddle through than they were before.” To that end, J.Crew filed for bankruptcy on May 4, 2020. But that doesn’t mean the retailer is done for, according to J.Crew Group CEO Jan Singer, who said in an official statement: “We will continue all day-to-day operations.” J.Crew also has every intention of weathering the bankruptcy storm and coming out afterwards as a profitable company once again. So, for now, we can rely on shopping at J.Crew. Before J.Crew filed for bankruptcy in 2020, it was already reported to be in a bit of a financial pickle. With many retail behemoths like The Gap downsizing, it can be a bit of a gamble to fall in love with a brand only to watch it shrink. And J. Crew is no exception — the brand has waxed and waned throughout its existence due to shifting fashion trends and shopping methods. According to Business Insider, the first J.Crew catalog launched its preppy wares to near-immediate success in 1983. As the popularity of catalog shopping waned, J.Crew saw the writing on the wall and launched brick and mortar stores in the late ’80s. Throughout the early 2000s, the brand tried new partnerships, launched a wedding line, opened sister store Madewell, and attempted to go a little more high-brow. Some efforts were successful and others were duds, but ultimately, with the success of Madewell and some restructuring plans, the J.Crew family of brands stuck around. J.Crew works to both support its communities and make sure that the work it and its partners do is conducted ethically and thoughtfully. The popular brand works to support communities through efforts like fundraisers, donations, and volunteer opportunities for associates throughout the company. The brand also offers a matching program, providing money to match either volunteer time or cash donated by employees. Also, J.Crew takes ethical sourcing seriously. The brand holds partners to the same standards, as its website states, “We’re committed to sourcing our products in a legal, ethical and responsible manner — that’s why we aim to partner with suppliers who share this belief and work with them to promote better working conditions.” Specifically, J.Crew employs a Vendor Code of Conduct and monitors conditions in partner facilities, aiding in improving conditions that fall short of those standards. J.Crew has multiple categories when it comes to shopping options. First up is the old stand-by, J.Crew retail stores, like the ones commonly found in shopping mall settings. The second is J.Crew Factory, which sells lower-priced items. Under the Factory umbrella is also the brand’s store J.Crew Mercantile, which sells nearly identical merchandise as those sold at the Factory locations but are located outside of traditional outlet mall settings. In addition to J.Crew and J.Crew Factory, J.Crew boasts Madewell as its younger sister brand. Launched as a women’s “denim-centric” J.Crew subsidiary in 2006, the brand took off quickly. Selling wardrobe staples rooted in a workwear tradition like jeans and button-down shirts, the brand is simple and timeless, and in September 2018, Madewell also launched a menswear line. On Madewell.com, the company boasts, “Simply put, we make great jeans. We also focus on all the things you wear with denim, like effortless tees, keep-forever bags, cool jewelry and compliment-worthy shoes.” Environmentally savvy shoppers might be interested to know that J.Crew takes great measures to assure that it is working to lessen the negative impact that their stores may make on the planet. The J.Crew website lists its three key objectives in working to ensure J.Crew and sister brands are environmentally friendly as quote, “facility and product impacts,” “supply chain performance,” and “associate and customer engagement.” They employ four key strategies to reach those objectives. First, J.Crew tackles energy efficiency. In J.Crew offices and retail stores, steps are taken to lessen energy use by installing technology like energy-efficient lighting and sensor lighting, as well as low-water volume restroom features. Second, J.Crew provides responsibly sourced paper products. Since the company utilizes paper shopping bags and catalogs, it also works with suppliers in a commitment to monitor the percentage of products that are recycled and how they are sourced. J.Crew’s third strategy is waste minimization, as the company works to reuse or recycle products when possible. And finally, in strong partnership with businesses in the supply chain, J.Crew works to ensure that environmental impacts are reduced from the top down. If size inclusivity is important to you as a shopper, J.Crew and its subsidiaries are providing some of what you crave. The J.Crew brand, along with Madewell, launched extended sizing — up to size 35 — of some denim offerings in early 2018, but, at the time, it was only available online and sold out immediately. “Thank you! Thank you for defending a woman’s right to use her body however she chooses!” Realizing the market and demand, they began rolling out more plus-sized options in the following months of 2018. J.Crew also launched a partnership with plus-sized clothing producer Universal Standard to offer a broader range of sizes in the latter brand’s simple style. J.Crew’s chief merchandising officer told HuffPost, “We’re on a mission to make great style available to everyone.” The initial collection ranged up to 5X and included 37 different styles, such as wide-leg jumpsuits, tunics, and tees. The partnership launched with the hashtag #SetYourStandard. Like the 2018 collaboration with Universal Standard, J.Crew has a rich history of partnering with other brands to offer unique products. For instance JCrew.com has listed more than 60 brands in their Brands We Love section. Examples include Le Specs sunglasses, dog collars from The Knot House, and even a Carhartt fanny pack. But that’s not all! Starting with Nike, J.Crew launched a series of popular sneaker partnerships. The Nike Killshot model has continually sold out quickly, and brands like Vans, New Balance, and Asics are now in on the action as the sports casual trend continues. J.Crew has also been lauded for launching a non-traditional marketing initiative with WeWork and LinkedIn. The collaboration included co-presented business and networking events as well as pop-up shops to directly reach a professional crowd, offering discounts to WeWork employees. Former First Lady Michelle Obama is famous from coast to coast for her impeccable taste in clothing. NPR’s Renee Montagne reported on a Harvard Business Review study for Morning Edition regarding the former FLOTUS’s effect on, quote, “29 publicly traded companies whose clothes she’s worn,” and the findings were staggering. “The magazine says so far the First Lady effect is worth an additional $2.7 billion for the combined stock of those 29 companies.” That’s why when Obama came out early on in her husband’s first term sporting J.Crew offerings, the brand’s notoriety and stock prices rose significantly. According to NPR’s Code Switch, when the Obamas made their very first official trip to the U.K., she donned a J.Crew “jeweled cream silk cardigan over a pale green pencil skirt,” and the sweater sold out within hours of the photos hitting the news. You might want to consider taking the plunge and signing up for a J.Crew credit card so you can purchase your way into some serious rewards. Here’s how it works. There is no annual fee associated with the card, and it has convenient online bill pay and account management, as well as the ability to add cards for authorized users. The card carries a standard variable APR of 26.49 percent. The application process is pretty standard and easy to navigate, but it does require the user to be over 18, have a valid ID, tax ID, and mailing address. Now for the rewards. The first purchase made with the credit card gets 15 percent off. From there, cardholders who are enrolled in the J.Crew Rewards program get double the points. This means that for every dollar spent, two points are earned. And, if you spend $100, you get $5 worth of points. Standard shipping is always free for users, and you also get access to free standard alterations, a birthday surprise, and access to exclusive deals and priority customer service. If you are looking to drop dough with a brand that is representative of the diversity of the world, J.Crew is making efforts to do just that. Often criticized for its exclusive “New England preppy” look, the brand is aiming for a more inclusive marketing strategy. With Lauren Hutton as a longtime face of the brand, J.Crew has attempted to erase age boundaries in their ads and online presence. “I want to do it because I think it’s important for my whole generation of women.” By working with plus-sized models surrounding the launch of Universal Standard, the brand looks to do the same in regards to representing an array of diverse body types. Creative director Johanna Uurasjarvi spoke to Vogue regarding the brand’s strategy in 2018, saying, “J.Crew is a well-loved, iconic American brand, and we’re updating it to reflect the America of today and of the future to be more inclusive, more diverse, and more modern.” Though J.Crew has been making the effort, the company doesn’t always get it right. In 2017, there was serious online debate regarding the hairstyle of a model of color on Madewell, with many suggesting that J.Crew, quote, “didn’t hire someone who knew how to style her hair,” according to Cosmopolitan. J.Crew apologized via Twitter. If you purchase an item or receive a gift that doesn’t quite work for you, J.Crew has several options to resolve the situation. According to their return and exchange policy, items can be returned or exchanged within 30 days of purchase if they are “unworn, unwashed, undamaged or defective,” regardless of where the initial sale was made. J.Crew also allows online returns, though they do charge a $7.50 fee for return shipping, which is deducted from the return total. It can take up to two weeks to get a refund processed. If you received a gift you don’t love, the return or exchange process is the same but they do require a gift receipt. It is important to note that items bought at J.Crew cannot be returned to J.Crew Factory and vice versa. Thankfully, price adjustments are offered if your recent purchase just went on sale with the stipulation that it was full price when you bought it, if it is “within seven days of the retail purchase or mail-order ship date,” and if you have the original receipt. While J.Crew’s incredibly popular wedding collection sadly shuttered in 2016, after 12 years in operation, the men’s suit department remains open for business. So while brides may be out of luck with the brand, the grooms are swimming in options. In fact, GQ listed J.Crew’s linen Ludlow suit as one of the magazine’s top picks for summer wedding suits in June 2019. Beyond wedding outfitting, J.Crew offers a robust array of suiting options. The J.Crew retail site lists different suit jackets, suit pants, and tuxedo jackets, while the J.Crew Factory site has suits and tuxedo jackets listed at lower prices. With fabric options ranging from cotton and wool to plaid and herringbone, there is something for every season and occasion. And, according to Men’s Journal, when J.Crew Factory has a sale on, it is a fantastic time to nab a suit as products may be up to 50 percent off. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more List videos about your favorite brands are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the bell so you don’t miss a single one.