I dress pretty much like a child on most days. Take a look at a school bus stop near you, and then take a look at what I wear to work every day. You’ll struggle to notice a difference (other than the balding hair line and aging face). Despite my propensity for dressing like an adolescent, somewhere along the line I got subscribed to the J Crew catalogue for men. Maybe they felt sorry for me.
I was flipping through the catalogue and I happened upon this bit of copy that I haven’t been able to get out of my head:
Stretch Jeans That Don’t Look Stretchy
That’s the title. And there’s a thin looking model dude bounding down some urban steps on his way probably to jump on a bike to grab some organic sushi or something.
“Thanks to top-quality Japanese fabric we source from one of that country’s original denim mills, they look just like all of our famous jeans. Which means now you can wear slim denim and eat doughnuts.” (emphasis in the original quote)
This copy bothers me on three fronts.
1.) The Settling
You know what? Forget it. Just wear stretchy jeans. You’ll never fit into regular jeans anyway. So here’s some stretchy fabric that might look decent for your fat butt and fat thighs and fat stomach. Fatty.
That’s what I read in this ad. Juxtaposed with the skinny dude accompanying the copy, I just find this offensive.
2.) Overeating = Only Reason Skinny Jeans Don’t Fit
The second thing that bothers me about this ad is the idea that eating to excess would be the only reason that someone can’t fit into some skinny jeans. Let me tell you something. Try to imagine an octopus on dry land riding a unicycle. That’s what I look like trying to put on a pair of skinny jeans. My ass and thighs just simply refuse to be associated with skinny jeans. They don’t want to be in the same room with them. They’re offended by the idea of skinny jeans.
And it ain’t the donuts.
It’s the squats, deadlifts, lunges, good mornings, Romanian deadlifts, and kettlebell swings. Don’t get me wrong, I can put away some donuts. But these thighs just ain’t ever gonna fit into skinny jeans. So why condescend to the people you’re selling to by suggesting that the only reason one might not fit into skinny jeans is that they overeat? I get it. It’s supposed to be funny. But, no. That’s a swing and a miss.
3.) It’s Just Bad Marketing
The thing I can’t shake about this copy is that it’s just bad marketing. It doesn’t fit the brand. J Crew usually seems to be marketing to a relatively sophisticated group of people who care a little about the fabric, the aesthetic, the origin of the clothes they’re wearing. Right? So why would you wink and nod to a guy sitting on the couch with his hand down his pants mainlining powdered donuts? It’s just the wrong audience.
Sometimes when you’re selling something, especially an aesthetic, cute just isn’t the way to go. And if you’re going to wade into what I think are the much needed waters of sizing clothing for a diverse group of bodies, don’t insult the very people to which you’re ostensibly marketing. I don’t know much. But I know that.