Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Wonder of it all

I don't even remember when the New York based, pseudo preppy/trendy boutique C Wonder popped up on my radar, but I was a little bit suspect right from the very beginning.  There was something oddly familiar and a smidge cheap looking about their flashy gold-plated "C" logo that had a certain Tory Burch air to it, however slightly lacking in quality.  First one blog, then another mentioned their fashion forward preppy style as well as their affordable pricing and lack of pretention.  I had to admit, their boutiques were cute and lamented the fact that there wasn't one close by that I could visit.

As far as clothing went, it seemed as though they tossed Tory Burch, Kate Spade and J Crew into a blender and then skimmed off some of the quality.  The home decor items, on the other hand, appeared fresh, fun, cute and very reasonably priced.  I took the plunge on one tortoise shell nut bowl that was an absolute steal:
I have to say that I wasn't disappointed, either with the quality (they are hand blown) or the customer service.  My shipment was sent immediately and very well packaged.  Onto my pending Pinterest wishlist I added:
The tortoise shell belt buckle and...
Reversible belt.  Forgive me, but doesn't this have the whiff of a certain product made by a certain high end leather goods company that uses an "H" on their buckle?  Yes, it does and as much as I love the orange horse, this is MUCH more reasonably priced AND I get to use my own initial.

Fast forward to this morning while watching the news, I was half paying attention when I heard the name Tory Burch.  I immediately gave Good Morning America my full attention while they explained that C Wonder is owned by Tory Burch's ex husband Christopher...hence the "C".  Suddenly, it all made sense!  The newscaster went on to explain that Tory was suing her ex for stealing trade secrets and designs and that he was suing her for breach of contract.  Really?  Yes, some of the stuff is similar to hers and here is an example:
This is Tory's Continental wallet. 
And this is C Wonder's Continental wallet.  Yup, they are almost identical.  This would be noteworthy if they weren't also identical to every other Continental wallet on the market including the Kate Spade example that lives in my bag and the one I saw in J Crew the other day.  Tory Burch is big in the Main Line area of Philadelphia.  Her Reva flats, tunics and handbags surround me on a daily basis and I am told there is a raging debate over whether or not she is truly "preppy".  Personally, I can't decide.  I know there are some items that I truly like, such as this Tiffany hued iPad case:

And others that are so flashy and trendy, I can't figure out what the heck she was thinking when she approved the design.  The bottom line is, yes, his products are very similar to hers, but they are very similar to other brands as well.  Case in point, the navy blazer.  This is C Wonder's blazer:
And this is J Crew's:

They are virtually identical.  They are exactly the same price.

I bought a navy J Crew Schoolboy blazer this year and I really love it.  The quality is excellent for the price point--fully lined and nicely finished with a great petite fit and the fabric is very soft.  I remarked to LAM that I was concerned that J Crew's quality had been going down a bit, but this item reassured me that they are making the effort.  Perhaps it's competition from the C Wonders of the world or possibly they are motivated by some other factor.  No matter--the end result is a nice product and I can't complain about that.

Stay prep!

All photos are courtesy of their respective retaliers.

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