Let’s look into my love and hate for James Perse. A brand that remains the epitome of SoCal casual. Slub t-shirts, perfected lounge pants, and super-soft fabrics truly are the core of the brand. After a little research, I learned that James Perse (the person) started his brand after spending so much time in his father’s ultra-hip store, Maxfield, in LA. How lavish.

Having been in a few of the stand-alone James Perse stores on both coasts, they are designed to mimic the LA atmosphere. White walls, blonde wood, and natural light fill the boutiques with an airy feel. Design-wise, it’s basic perfection, much like a Malibu beach bungalow. Some stores (Mainly California) even offer surfboards, cruiser bikes, and furniture.

The downside to the brand is the pricing of the clothing. $85 for a pocket t-shirt? Extraordinary! $85 for a pocket t-shirt that is outsourced and appears to be no different than the $6 t-shirts from Old Navy? Disaster! Even if the cotton quality is much higher, I still cannot see price gouging for such basics. Those previous mentioned cruiser bikes? $2500. Yikes! Even if I had the money, spending that type of money is just unimaginable, when I can go to American Apparel and get the same for MUCH less.

Returning to apparel, the fits for men is relaxed. Looking through the collections from season to season, the fits rarely change, and only a handful of new products per season. The t-shirts remain loose, as do the lounge pants, and heavier fleece products. The color palette is pretty bland with only a variety of greys available.

For women, the collection is a tad more varied, with dresses, pants, and t-shirts that come in a larger variety of styles and fabrics, but also with a limited choice of colors. One dress in particular, The Slub Pique Dress, may be perfection…A fantastic dress that can be casual or proper, depending on the need.

James Perse found a niche in comfy clothes that have a lux factor. I love idea that James Perse exudes. Yet, I ask myself, if American Apparel can afford to mass-produce state-side, and offer a vast amount of styles at a decent price…what’s stopping a brand like James Perse from doing the same, especially when it’s MUCH smaller than AA?

From the looks of business, they’re not struggling…They’re even opening another Manhattan outpost on Mercer Street in SoHo. New Yorkers might just be a little more skeptical to the overpriced bikes than others. I guess, my love/hate relationship will just continue.



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