Field Jackets And One Uppers: The Highs and Lows Of Shopping @ J.Crew


Although I have dialed back significantly on the coffee over the last few years (For the most part, I get by just fine on one cup a day.), the other day, however, I was noticeably dragging, so I begged my niece Nicole to pop in to Starbucks GC with me. Ever since they renovated and expanded their space in Garden City, it's become THE place to be. In case you have any doubts, let me tell you that same day we popped in, we saw 2 women there who were both carrying Celine bags - one canary yellow and the other cobalt blue. (Nicole sure can spot those Celines!) Status bags in colors other than black - If that doesn't say trend-y voguish place to be, then I don't know what does.

While we were waiting for our drinks - a Grande Skim Latte for me and a Grande Skim Iced Latte with a shot of Vanilla for her, Nicole saw someone she knew, so she introduced me. The girl has manners. (Don't think Nicole needs one, but if you know any twenty-something's who happen to overuse terms like basic bitch or post a few too many selfies on Instagram, then an etiquette book might make a darling gift. My favorite is one written by LizTyler and her grandmother, a well-known etiquette expert since before Liv was born to model/groupie Bebe Buell and Aerosmith's StevenTyler. Liz and Bebe were sort of like Rory and Lorelai of Gilmore Girls - if Rory had become a model/rising star actress and Lorelai had had affairs with Todd Rundgren, Steven Tyler, Rod Stewart AND posed for Playboy. But getting back to the book - it's actually pretty savvy about addressing many of the dilemmas of 21st century living, including people who insist on uploading to Instagram during business or family dinners and the like.)

The first and only thing this woman I've just been introduced to says to me after (briefly) glancing my way?

'Oh, I have that jacket!' (Strong emphasis on I.)

I had come in for a java jolt but had been hit with a tall order of Oneupmanship. Clearly, she wanted to let me know that my jacket wasn't all that - and neither was I - because she had bought it first. A classic one upper move.

You see I had been happily (practically care-freely) wearing my brand new DowntownFieldJacket, purchased at the J.Crew GC.

Until, that is, I ran into Ms. Oneupmanship.

When I first bought the jacket, I was absolutely thrilled. For several VERY good reasons. First of all, it's the perfect transitional - or what used to be called Spring - jacket. (In order to sound 21st century modern and updated, not unlike that etiquette book by Liv and her Gram, avoid using the term 'Spring jacket' at all costs - unless maybe you are talking to your Gram. It'll only make you seem completely and hopelessly out of the loop. And nobody wants that!) It's also a truly affordable version of a waxed water-resistant cotton jacket. Waxed ones from another well-known UK brand (Wink!) retail for as much as $400 or $500 a pop. Uh, yikes. This one is priced at a reasonable $148. And finally, it is machine washable. Uh, yay! That's key because you never have to worry about the possibility of your jacket ever getting blasted with chemicals and ruined at the dry cleaner's. (We all have our sob stories when it comes to that sort of thing. Believe me I've been there.)

Then Ms. Oneupmanship made me doubt myself and my love for this jacket.

All because I had bought it after her. One uppers have a real talent for doing that. They are expert at raining on other people's parades. (Or trying to anyway.)

Sometimes, in situations like this, I have to stop, yoga breathe and ask myself WWJLD? (What Would Jenna Lyons Do?). I've long admired Jenna's style (during her tenure as first Creative Director and now as both CD and President of J.Crew). Only recently, however, did I learn that she grew up in post divorce poverty and was bullied as a child because of certain medical conditions she suffered from. All of that makes me admire and respect her even more. The way I see it is she had to be one tough cookie to have gone thru all that and subsequently, been able to work her way up to become both President and Creative Director of J.Crew simultaneously. Quite the big deal you know.

So, maybe, Jenna, who went from poverty and being bullied to become one of the most influential people in American fashion and business today, would sidestep all the 21 century etiquette? Maybe she would simply call this woman a basic bitch and move on care-freely in her Downtown Field Jacket?

That's what I think.


*Photo Courtesy: The Downtown Field Jacket photo, J.Crew