It was started in 1983 as an alternative to Polo Ralph Lauren for an audience that might have been attracted to Lauren’s WASP aspirations but intimidated by his lofty “designer” status. J.Crew joined a slew of catalog retailers including L.L. Bean and Land’s End purveying well-bred Americana tinged with the look of moderate success. It’s summers on the east coast, camping in the mountains, trots on the beach, and apple picking – not all that different from the imagery used by Ralph Lauren but strangely distinct in its normalcy and lack of grandiose romantics. The whole look is reassuring, allowing a sense of stability and ease far removed from the fuss of fashion. You could call it “generic”, but amid the blur of schizophrenic fashion mood swings, that adjective is almost appealing.