Ms. J.C. Penney Cleans Up Her Act
Last week Dappered and full clutch took field trips (everyone stay together and hold your buddy’s hand!) to JCPenney to check out the new clothing and layout. In case you’ve not been keeping up on your commerce current events, in a calculated and much-publicized move, JCPenney has eliminated the cluttered, haphazard look it formerly excelled in, as well as its coupons. In exchange, JCP is featuring wide aisles, clean displays, and “fair and square” everyday prices (i.e., no more coupons). This week, Dappered and full clutch are reporting back with the dirt from our own experiences on the JCP floor.
Full disclosure: I have never been a JCPenney customer. A few times I’ve darted in and out when I couldn’t find a product or garment in any other department store, but each time I got hopelessly lost among the racks and ran away as soon as I saw the light showing the way out.
So when I stepped into my local JCP and saw this display front and center, I was quite impressed. Nice presentation and color grouping, and most importantly–no clutter! The aisles are very wide, the tables aren’t groaning under the weight of polyester-blend sweaters and plastic belts. This reminded me of the way The Limited displays their wares. So I was excited to try on a few items from the MNG by Mango line.
Because I’m committed to the most stringent standards in journalism, I’m bringing you photos of everything I tried on…including the heinous pictures. A moment while you acknowledge my sacrifice….thank you. I really loved the Volume Print Top shown above–beautiful print in a silky-feeling material–on the hanger. On my body, not so much. It was very baggy, but too short for my torso, and apparently I have chubby elbows, because I could hardly get the tapered sleeve up my arm. Not a great look for me, but on someone smaller and shorter, it could be a cute look.
I had better luck with this black cardigan with white edging, also MNG by Mango. Nice heavy material for warmth and to keep the sweater’s shape, but still a very sleek look. Comfortable fit, and really reasonably priced at $30. My only complaint is that the buttons pulled even though the fit was right-on. Unfortunately, it’s not available online.
From the JCP house brand, the Modern Wool Peacoat for $70. Although this coat is shorter than I typically buy my coats, I liked it. It runs a bit large, and it’s certainly a boxy cut, but it was comfortable and surprisingly heavy for a peacoat. Available in other colors online, but in-store it came only in this camel color.
Another heinous photo (I promise I’ll get better at this) in which my breasts appear to be responding to different gravitational pulls. Super. This was actually a nice sweater, material-wise. A cashmere blend for $30? Right on. The fit was not right for my body, but it seemed to be a high quality garment. Again not available online, but here’s a similar look.
A couple more shots of the layout of the store…JCP really has come through on their commitment to a cleaner look. This is the type of display I’d expect to see at Macy’s. Some of the brands like Worthington and a.n.a. haven’t changed from the old JCP in that their name is just stuck on the wall without further ado, but that’s not necessarily a drawback.
A shot of the shoe department. Very small, but nicely displayed, again, in the manner of a better department store. Great prices, too. There were several tables of attractive shoes for $30.
And finally, the Sephora in the middle of JCP. This isn’t new–JCP has had Sephora boutiques within their department stores for some time now, but this is a much bigger, more fully stocked Sephora, almost like going to the real deal.
The new JCP is looking good. I’m definitely impressed with the improvements. It’s not on par with the best department stores out there, but I don’t think that’s their goal. If they were hoping to improve quality of clothing, and the shopping experience, while maintaining low prices, they’ve accomplished that. Hopefully consumers will agree.