From the Beauty Shelf of: Julie

we felt our beauty regime lacked a little je ne sais quoi,
so we asked Julie, our web designer and
impeccably preened Parisian transplant, to share
her beauty secrets (c’est magnifique!)
NUXE Crème Fraîche Concentrée: My everyday moisturizing cream.
Santa Maria Novella Rose Water: One of my favorite things in the world! I love to spray it on my face before going to bed—the smell is so soothing to me.
La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel: My mom and grandmother always told me not to wash my face with water more than once a week, so I use this gel every night instead.
Guerlain Super Aqua-Night Cream: My ultimate treat. I only use it twice a week (since it’s a little pricey), so it always feels special. Plus, it smells incredible.
Guerlain Météorites Powder for the Face: Illuminating face powder—a must-have.

Klorane Cornflower Smoothing and Relaxing Patches for Tired Eyes: Amazing eye patches for exhausted eyes. I use them twice a month.
Clarins Eye Contour Balm: This feels very fresh when you put it on and I believe it really does wake my eyes up in the morning!
Aura Cacia Sweet Almond Oil: My favorite way to remove eye makeup. It’s really efficient and totally natural, so it’s perfect for sensitive skin.

NUXE Rêve de Miel: I keep this at my desk and I use it several times a day (my coworkers love to use it too!). It leaves hands so soft and never sticky.
Dior Crème Abricot: My grandmother’s secret to keeping her nails perfect. I use this cream every night and haven’t had cuticles in years!
Dyptique Fresh Lotion for the Body: My favorite body lotion—the smell is to die for.

Biafine: A miraculous anti-burn cream that actually heals sunburns! I also love the smell.
Fluocaril Toothpaste: The ultimate toothpaste—I could never use another one!

Vacation Files: Nikelle’s Camping Essentials

Nikelle, one of our web designers, shares her
secrets to mastering the great outdoors…
Every now and then I need to get out of the city and hit the refresh button, so this fall a few friends and I took a camping trip near Bear Mountain—nothing clears my cache like layering on mounds of clothing and waking up under a brightly colored canopy!

Here are some of the camping classics I never leave town without:

Mast Brothers Chocolate—for the ultimate s’more.
Mint leaves—they’re a great natural bug repellent. I rub them all over my clothes and arms to keep me bite free (and smelling good).
Matt Bernson® Artika Boots from Madewell—the dirtier they get, the better they look!
Warm wool camp socks—J.Crew’s are beyond cozy.
A sturdy flask—for hot cocoa (or hot toddys).
A solar-powered crank radio—sometimes even nature needs a soundtrack.
Enamel pots and mugs—I love the blue-and-white speckled ones so much, I use them at home too.
A classic buffalo-check sleeping bag—a good night’s sleep is essential.
A sleek flashlight—Maglites are my favorite.
A cashmere hat and scarf—cashmere is warm and comfortable if you like to sleep in your hat like me.

(post by Nikelle O.; RV image via here)

From the Desk of: Nichole

after getting caught listening to the American Idol
soundtrack one too many times, we begged Nichole,
our resident music buff, for a playlist that won’t get us ridiculed.
she went above and beyond the call of duty…
My new tradition is to spend the week before Memorial Day in Barcelona for the Primavera Sound Festival. Friends fly in from all over the world and we spend a week basking in the sun, eating the most delicious food, drinking cava, gawking at architect Antoni Gaudí’s works and watching our favorite bands play right on the edge of the Mediterranean.

I spend about 90 percent of my vacation time following the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival around the world. The ATP Festival is truly unique in that it’s independent and closely curated by a band or an artist who is involved with every aspect of the festival. In addition, ATP is always based somewhere with an abundance of proper accommodations—no camping necessary! This past year, I’ve visited London, Tokyo, Minehead (in the United Kingdom) and Barcelona, all while following ATP around like a lost puppy. Most recently, I spent a weekend at ATP curated by Portishead in Asbury Park, New Jersey. At every festival, I always meet a band member or an entire band that loves J.Crew.

My musical taste varies a lot, and most of the bands I love stopped being great (or being together) in the ’90s. Here’s a short list of songs that are either always in rotation or have been in rotation recently, in no particular order:

“In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” Neutral Milk Hotel
“The Sweat Descends,” Les Savy Fav
“Don’t Cry No Tears,” Neil Young
“It’s Real,” Real Estate
“Incinerate,” Sonic Youth
“Gold Soundz,” Pavement
“Good Fortune,” PJ Harvey
“Te Amo,” Atlas Sound
“Believe,” CANT
“Lovely Day,” Bill Withers
“Trouble (Chad Valley Remix),” Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
“My Love for You,” ESG
“Real Love,” Factory Floor

As for my karaoke playlist—that’s a completely different ball game!

Blogger We Love: Lizzie of Tomboy Style

chatting with Lizzie, the sartorial spitfire behind
one of our favorite blogs, Tomboy Style
On her blog’s beginnings:
I jumped around in the lifestyle journalism world and felt there was something of a void for a girl like me—I was always more interested in what my husband was reading. I love nail polish and earrings, but I also love sports cars, classic cocktails and duck boots. I wanted to start something that struck that same kind of balance.

The quintessential tomboy is:
Adventurous, confident, rebellious and plucky.

Daily must-reads:
There are so many great blogs out there, but these in particular are some daily reads:
Quite Continental
Miss Moss
A Well Traveled Woman

On her upcoming book with Rizzoli:
I’m so excited about it! There will be some sneak peeks on the blog very soon. I’m just about done with it—I’m actually taking a quick break from writing photo captions right now.

Dream interview for Tomboy Style:
Is this an awkward time to ask if you know Jenna Lyons?

Looking back at it:
My first job in publishing was an internship at W Magazine, where one of my duties was to transcribe hours of interviews for an editor. At the time, I thought I’d really made it in the publishing world! I guess I would tell my younger self that things get better and more rewarding, but maybe that would have ruined it.

1. Infinity scarf
2. Authier® Tom’s vest
3. The Classic California Casa
4. Lizzie sunglasses by Winter Check Factory
5. Maison Boinet belt
6. Perfect shirt in Black Watch plaid
7. RGB nail polish in camp
8. Cambridge satchel

(Image credits: 1. Ali MacGraw by William Claxton, 2. Françoise Hardy, 3. Lee Radziwill by Harry Benson; scan via Tomboy Style, 4. Coco Chanel from the 1996 book Chanel; via Tomboy Style)

All About Kate

Kate, an assistant designer known around here for her
signature hats and eye for vintage finds, shares her style
inspirations, from getaways Française to American classics
On the summer 2012 Weddings & Parties collection:
We were inspired by the feeling of the French Riviera; we wanted the collection to feel like a fun vacation spot. We used a lot of light, gorgeous linens, colorful stripes and breezy silhouettes to give women the right attitude to deal with the summer heat.

On her secret source of inspiration:
I love looking at vintage hats for inspiration. Hats are always playing around with proportions, materials and trims and inevitably give attitude to whoever’s wearing them—so I like trying to translate those ideas into clothing.

On the classics:
I love American sportswear, and that’s my go-to for silhouettes. I like taking classical styles that have lived on from decade to decade and changing them with unexpected fabrications and proportions. I play around with different closures, trims and beadings in order to give clothes a feeling of familiarity while still feeling surprising.

Take a peek inside Kate’s handbag at

On Top of Spaghetti…

John, our master of store training and self-proclaimed
pasta enthusiast, reveals the best pasta from his travels and,
more important, how to get it
To this day, I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant in the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome where I first encountered this noodle. It was long and hollow, and I didn’t know what to expect, but when I took the first bite of bucatini all’amatriciana, I was hooked.
How to Make It: Click here for my go-to recipe (I like how few ingredients there are).
Where to Get It: Since I can’t remember the name of the first place where I ate it and I don’t make it to Rome often enough, I head to Otto in New York City to get my fix.

My senior year of college, I got my hands on Delilah Winder’s mac and cheese recipe (aka Oprah’s favorite), and I’ve been making it ever since. With seven cheeses and two hours of work, this is a recipe that only comes out when specially requested but never fails to wow. It’s mac and cheese on a whole new level—what else can I say?
How to Make It: Click here for the no-fail recipe and get ready to start grating all seven cheeses.
Where to Get It: I’m not sure I’ve ever had a mac and cheese quite like this one at a restaurant, but when I’m craving it and don’t have time (or energy) to make my own, S’Mac always serves up just what I need.

Two things to admit up front: first, this pasta is life changing, and second, I haven’t actually made it myself. There’s a restaurant in Florence, tucked away behind the Duomo, that was recommended by friends who had lived there much longer than I did. It was one of the best choices I’ve ever made: pear and cheese ravioli. In my day-to-day life, I manage to pick up fresh ravioli from Eataly and toss it with some butter and cheese.
How to Make It: I’m saving this one for a day when I’m feeling adventurous enough to make fresh ravioli; click here if today’s the day for you.
Where to Get It: For me, it’s got to be the original—the next time you’re in Florence, head to Coquinarius.

This was one of the first recipes I copied out of my mom’s copy of Marcella Hazan’s Marcella Says, so the credit for the city has to go to the town where I grew up. I made it for a group of friends in Brooklyn after an evening out, and it became an instant go-to hit. Plus, it might be the easiest pasta to make, which is ideal when you’re having what Hazan calls la spaghettata della mezzanotte—a midnight spaghetti party.
How to Make It: All you need is right here.
Where to Get It: OK, so I’ve never had anything quite like this in a restaurant (probably because it’s so easy to make at home), but if you’re in the mood for a spaghettata of your own, go for the spaghetti with veal meatballs at Café Testarossa—it’s unbeatable.

(post by John Hadeed, image credits: bucatini, elbow, ravioli 1, 2, spaghetti 1, 2 )

Jean Shop

last week, we took you inside the Manhattan outpost.
here’s an in-depth look from our In Good Company
guru at what makes our latest collaboration
“not just another pair of jeans.”
As far as we’re concerned, their classic, highly coveted jeans set the standard for all others past, present and future. Here’s an up-close look at some of the things that make these jeans so special…

1. Woven on narrow Japanese selvedge looms (this means the edge of the fabric is along the outer seam of your jean, so they look better and feel better!). It takes 21⁄2 hours to weave the fabric for one pair of jeans.
2. Hand-dated “born on date” inside each pair and lined pockets, so you won’t pull out a ball of fuzz instead of your change.
3. Hand-stitched leather patch.
4. The first company to use Riri zippers on jeans (usually they are on designer handbags and leather goods), guaranteed for life!
5. Custom fabric, designed by and made for Jean Shop…down to the yarn.
6. The narrow chain stitch on the hem creates the perfect amount of tension, so the hemline wears in perfectly.

(post by Tracy Rosenbaum)

Jean Shop

inside the in-jeanious Meatpacking outpost
of the cult-favorite denim brand
Co-owner (and denim industry vet) Eric Goldstein oversees Jean Shop’s small but obsessed-over selection of super-customizable hand-sewn jeans and shirts made of high-quality Japanese selvedge. A visit to the West 14th Street location reveals a store that’s equal parts rock ’n’ roll and gritty Americana.

1.The Jean Shop mascot is clearly the pig. In a nod to the neighborhood’s fleshy past, vintage oinkers of all kinds—in ceramic, brass and iron—dot the shelves.
2. The door to the top-secret wash room—site of raw denim transformation, where the raw denim is washed, sandpapered and whiskered to each customer’s specs—is kept firmly shut.
3. Goldstein points to Charles C. Ebbets’s iconic 1932 Lunch Atop a Skyscraper as a major source of inspiration, and even the figurines from a metal model based on the photo have been given the Jean Shop customization treatment: Witness the signature orange selvedge trim.

A few quick questions for Eric:
Q: Who is your dream customer?
A: My dream Jean Shop customer is Bruce Springsteen, and I’m happy to say that that dream has become a reality.
Q: What’s the most outrageous customization request you’ve ever gotten?
A: We were asked to bedazzle a pair of jeans with the words “Eric Clapton” running down the leg in rhinestones.
Q: Did you do it?
A: We didn’t. While we hate saying no, we have to draw the line somewhere.

Insider tip: While the Jean Shop jeans at J.Crew already feature a custom wash you can’t find anywhere else (and that we think is pretty perfect), if you crave further custom enhancements, talk to the good people at Jean Shop at 212 366 5326.

(British) Music to Our Ears

you may have noticed our office has had a touch of Anglomania this month
since we started shipping UK-side (check out our British Things We Love post for details).
well, our across-the-pond passion didn’t end there. we enlisted
Sara and Nadia of the London-based label Young & Lost Club—known
for launching indie sensations like Noah and the Whale—to compile their
ultimate UK playlist and show us how to rock out Brit style.
1. “Tomorrow,” Being There
A brand-new London band—their sound is an amalgamation of lo-fi ’90s guitars and wry, bittersweet lyricism.

2. “Modern Love,” David Bowie
This or “Let’s Dance” is always guaranteed to jump-start a dance floor.

3. “Give It All Back” (Live from RAK Studios), Noah and the Whale
Taken from their new album, The Last Night On Earth, it’s an exuberant piece of nostalgia.

4. “Stutter,” Elastica
The most effortlessly cool band of girls, ever.

5. “All Day and All of the Night,” The Kinks
Probably the most staunchly English of their ’60s contemporaries. This has been covered to death but the original is still best.

6. “Moon Crooner,” Egyptian Hip Hop
A ridiculously young Mancunian quartet that is the culmination of a whole host of English influences.

7. “Babies,” Pulp
Currently wowing the festival circuit with reunion shows, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp has now achieved English national treasure status.

8. “The Magnificent Seven,” The Clash
No playlist could possibly be complete without The Clash; “The Magnificent Seven” was influenced by old-school hip-hop.

9. “Set Fire to the Rain,” Adele
The musical phenomenon of the past year and such a London girl!

10. “Just Decided,” Hudson Mohawke
At the absolute forefront of music, Hudson Mohawke is influencing everything from clubs to Chris Brown.

11. “The Look,” Metronomy
Off the album of the summer for many—The English Riviera—it’s a tribute to the Devonshire coast.

12. “Don’t Bring Me Down,” ELO
A 1979 rock classic from the man who also wrote Olivia Newton John’s “Xanadu.”

13. “Shuffle,” Bombay Bicycle Club
Only five years after forming (when they were only 15), they’re already on their impressive third album.

14. “More Than This,” Roxy Music
Years later and Bryan Ferry is still infinitely chic. This song also features in the memorable karaoke scene in Lost In Translation.

15. “Cruel Summer,” Bananarama
Lifelong girlfriends who started by performing impromptu backing vocals for punk acts like Iggy Pop.

16. “I Wanna Be Your Man,” The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones released this Beatles cover a few weeks before The Beatles themselves did. A perfect snapshot of “Swinging ’60s” London!

17. “Moth-Eaten Memories,” ExLovers
Hailing from all over England, ExLovers now reside in London and are the epitome of laid-back, grungy cool.

18. “Tell Me a Tale,” Michael Kiwanuka
Michael Kiwanuka is a formidable new talent, with an exciting take on retro soul.

(illustration by Jim Datz, special thanks to Young & Lost Club)

Mask Party

Web designer and mask marauder Rachel
gives us the skinny on her customizable, downloadable
Halloween masks (for kids and kidults alike)
One of the highlights of working on the Web design team? Using our collective store of markers, pens, tape and ribbon for impromptu craft sessions—like the one where we decorated the Halloween masks I made for our crewcuts site.

For the original inspiration, I pulled from some beloved classic Halloween motifs like the Marx brothers, masquerades and Alice in Wonderland and combined them with playful, surreal optical patterns. The heart mask is my favorite. (I think it might also reveal a subconscious longing for this Comme des Garçons sweater?)

Download the pdf here, then show off your creations on our Facebook page.

(post by Rachel Domm)

© 2014 by J.Crew. All Images and materials are copyrighted by J.Crew unless otherwise noted.

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