Monday, December 12, 2011

Jack of All Trades

If, perchance, pink-and-navy stripes are your favourite thing in the world, then Jack Wills will soon become your favourite place in the world to shop. And even if, like me, you never considered pink-and-navy stripes could ever be a thing, maybe you will be won over upon stepping into a Jack Wills store. Succinctly put, Jack Wills is all about the pink-and-navy stripes.

That graphic trope aside, the brand, which opened shops in Causeway Bay's Leighton Centre and LCX in Tsim Sha Tsui at the beginning of this month, is aimed at college types, recent grads as well as older types with an affinity for the preppy-cazh British dandy-gone-downtown look. Not really my personal bag of tricks, but a popular aesthetic nonetheless, and also a great place to shop for peripherals -- the likes of underwear, nail polish, headphones, notebooks... or even a striped onesie you never knew you needed. When the PR Elle asked me what I would want if I had my pick of anything in the store, and I told her without hesitation, "the onsie," I think she thought I was joking. I was not. Other than being inconvenient for midnight pees, this thing is so awesome, I might even wear it out.

It must be noted that a big draw of the Jack Wills shopping experience is the atmosphere -- a statement-making mishmash of motifs and various objets d'art, in the form of stuffed animals (taxidermy-style, not snuggly), a giant striped Jeep with a movie screen instead of a front seat, and antler fixtures. There's a whole living room area, as well as Mac computers for people to surf the net... "people" being gentlemen forced to shop with their female partners. How considerate. And then there's the changing rooms -- the women's floor ones are nice enough, but the ones on the men's floor downstairs at Causeway Bay have BEDS in them. Given that most of Jack Wills' target clientele are in the age group at which they live at home with the parents and need places to hook up (cough, Hong Kong Park anyone? cough) this seems like a sort of sketchy idea. I totally did my makeup in one of them when I went to the media opening party, though, so it's convenient and comfortable for other things.

Clothing-wise, it's Abercrombie-meets-Gossip Girl, so loads of hipster plaid, slim-cut blazers and brogues for the boys; comfy-glam dresses, boho layers and preppy basics for the girls. The pricing, be warned, is slightly higher than the Abercrombie expectation (at least in the US) -- a pair of brogues rings in a $2500, a vneck wool sweater is ballpark $900. We, luckily, scored a $200 gift certificate at the opening, woohoo. That's totally going towards that onesie.

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