I'm a long time fan of both L.L. Bean and Lands' End. I've been wearing Bean's Breton stripe sweaters for years, and I've dipped into Lands' End's kids uniform collection more than once to add some of the "shrunken schoolboy look" to my wardrobe.
This season, both of these classic American labels decided to up the design ante with more fashion forward capsule collections. Lands' End's is called Canvas, while L.L. Bean chose the name Signature.
Both offer some great pieces, but which comes out on top? We decided to pit them against each other in a three-round battle:
Designer Lands' End Canvas: Lisa Fitzgerald, executive vice president, Lands’ End merchandising, creative and design L.L. Bean Signature: Alex Carleton, creative director Winner: L.L. Bean. Carleton's hipster t-shirt and menswear brand, Rogues Gallery, gives him a one-up in terms of fashion cred. Price Lands' End Canvas: A pair of stretch denim jeans is $50. Canvas riding boots are $350. L.L. Bean Signature: Stretch denim jeans are $65. Leather stacked heels are $99. Winner: Tie. The clothes are a bit less pricey on Lands' End, but the shoes are more expensive.
Style Lands' End Canvas: The shoes--particularly the riding boots and the high-heeled sandals--are standouts, as is the women's boat neck shell and the trench coats. The bathing suits are boring, very run-of-the mill and could never compete with J.Crew in terms of styling. L.L. Bean Signature: The sweaters--particularly the textured pullover and the piped sweater jacket--are must-haves. The plaid dress and bird-print skirt are lovely as well. Winner: L.L. Bean, by a hair. While Lands' End's shoes are impressive, the clothes at L.L. Bean are more unique.
Winner of the Most-Promising Preppy Classics Brand Prize: L.L. Bean Signature. Bravo to Alex Carleton and his team, you nailed it!