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Chaps...it's all in a name.

Ralph Lauren Chaps was created by Ralph Lauren as the affordable alternative to his Polo line...notice the recurring theme of Horses with Lauren brands (Pony, Chaps, etc.) Originally, Chaps brand bore Lauren's name, and at times, came close in quality to the Polo line.

Sometime later, in the 90's, the decision was made to convert Ralph Lauren Chaps into a name-licensing opportunity for other companies, and from then on Chaps was only a Lauren brand in distant name only. While this proved to be a highly profitably move for the Ralph Lauren company, the Chaps brand suffered from inconsistent quality & poor direction.

To protect the integrity of his other brands, Ralph Lauren removed his name from the brand and entered into an exclusive licensing partnership with PVH corp (which also manages Tommy Hilfiger, Izod, Calvin Klien.) Today with an improved and consistent quality more inline with the modern Izod, or Nautica brand...Chaps is now marketed as an Americana lifestyle brand.
 

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No disrespect intended to Hilfiger or Izod...However under the PVH agreement, it must be noted that Chaps have found a improved direction, or aim, for the entire brand. While some of the styling or material choices may be questionable, with the frequent discounts Kohl's offers the pricing is consistent with the quality.

This was my first posting, as I'm new to the boards...and my thoughts were better late than never to the OP :)
 

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No disrespect intended to Hilfiger or Izod...However under the PVH agreement, it must be noted that Chaps have found a improved direction, or aim, for the entire brand. While some of the styling or material choices may be questionable, with the frequent discounts Kohl's offers the pricing is consistent with the quality.

This was my first posting, as I'm new to the boards...and my thoughts were better late than never to the OP :)
Welcome to Andy's.
 

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Seconded. I missed that this was your inaugural post. ;)

No disrespect intended to Hilfiger or Izod...However under the PVH agreement, it must be noted that Chaps have found a improved direction, or aim, for the entire brand. While some of the styling or material choices may be questionable, with the frequent discounts Kohl's offers the pricing is consistent with the quality.
That's key, though. A garish-colored striped polo that might not last a year is hardly worth purchasing at any price.

On the whole, American Living (another RL sub-brand) remains superior to Chaps as well despite a similar decline.
 

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Indeed, American Living has declined quickly after showing initial promise. The AL oxfords had more in common with 80's era Gant, and unfortunately I do not see the brand going much further...as long as they are partnered with JCP. I have dug out a few vintage Chaps pieces from my Dad's closet, and am surprised by the level of quality and craftsmanship...all the same, even he has admitted the Chaps of today is a far cry from what it once almost was.
 

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With some of the staples, AL still attempts to mirror Blue label fare insofar as style goes, but that effort has waned to the point where more hipster/urban lines are becoming more prominent. Long gone are the early days in which some actual blue label merchandise was simply rebranded for a lower price point. I doubt many remember AL patch-pocket madras and cord sport coats, or OCBD fun shirts, but they did exist. It was a promising beginning.

I do have a couple of older RL-branded Chaps sweaters that have held up over the years; they are quite similar to contemporary Blue label offerings. Now, I wouldn't specifically seek out 80's era Chaps merchandise, but I might consider it at the thrift shop level. However, despite the higher quality back then, the name has been dragged through the mud to where it's not a label I'm eager for anyone to see.
 

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FWIW, the Chaps line of suits from Kohls can offer some OUTSTANDING value for the man in need. They are sold as seperates, come in Regular, Long, and Short, and 90% of men could, in a pinch, get a relatively decent fitting suit off the rack suit for under $100. If I were stuck in a 'foreign' land, and needed a suit fast, this would be my first stop.

A few years back, I started a new job to which I chose to wear a shirt/tie daily. For $1,000, I had 5 suits, 10 shirts, and 20 ties.
 

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On the whole, American Living (another RL sub-brand) remains superior to Chaps as well despite a similar decline.
I disagree. I don't think there is any substantive difference between Chaps and American Living. When American Living first came out, it was of a substantially higher quality, but as the brand crashed -- literally -- due to a series of missteps at J.C. Penney, the quality has plummeted. In fact, none of the American Living suits, blazers or sport jackets are wool anymore. At least there are still 100% wool Chaps suits out there.

I find significant inconsistency in Chaps. I have walked into Kohl's and seen the exact same Chaps suits made in multiple countries depending on the size.

Chaps isn't limited to just Kohl's. Bon Ton-owned stores carry it and I've seen it in Canada too.
 

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Indeed, American Living has declined quickly after showing initial promise. The AL oxfords had more in common with 80's era Gant, and unfortunately I do not see the brand going much further...as long as they are partnered with JCP.
J.C. Penney hardly markets it anymore. The brand's unveiling out was bumbled from the beginning. It had so much promise too. I've written J.C. Penney's chief executive officer, both the former and the current, twice with suggestions and complaints, but have never once received a response. Most companies at least send you a form letter response. I refuse to patronize J.C. Penney now.
 

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With some of the staples, AL still attempts to mirror Blue label fare insofar as style goes, but that effort has waned to the point where more hipster/urban lines are becoming more prominent. Long gone are the early days in which some actual blue label merchandise was simply rebranded for a lower price point. I doubt many remember AL patch-pocket madras and cord sport coats, or OCBD fun shirts, but they did exist. It was a promising beginning.
I do remember those days. I bought a lot of American Living back then. I still have a couple nice sport jackets. They have held up well and still receive compliments. Back circa January 2008, when American Living came out, many of the offerings were simply knock-offs of Polo Ralph Lauren offerings from the previous season. I recall buying a pair of shorts in the summer of 2008 that were virtually identical to a Polo Ralph Lauren pair of shorts from 2007. I also have two insulated Barbour-knockoff coats from American Living that are fabulous.

American Living went downhill about 16 months ago. It's not even worth my time anymore.
 

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:icon_smile_big:

I disagree. I don't think there is any substantive difference between Chaps and American Living. When American Living first came out, it was of a substantially higher quality, but as the brand crashed -- literally -- due to a series of missteps at J.C. Penney, the quality has plummeted. In fact, none of the American Living suits, blazers or sport jackets are wool anymore. At least there are still 100% wool Chaps suits out there.

Chaps isn't limited to just Kohl's. Bon Ton-owned stores carry it and I've seen it in Canada too.
On the whole, I still feel AL's selection is still more appealing in style than Chaps; I'm just not limiting it to suits or jackets. I've stepped into both JCP and Kohl's (I think you'll agree it's probably the biggest seller of Chaps. Just visit chaps.com) in the last year, and there is still a marked difference between the two brands in as far as presentation and style. Chaps stopped emulating Polo a long time ago, but, while AL continues to decline, you can see that AL is still trying to emulate Blue label in core offerings. It's just the corner cutting, such as fisheye buttons on polo shirts, and growing urban-themed items that are truly killing it. Again, we're agreed that AL is in freefall, but I feel Chaps has already reached terminal velocity.

J.C. Penney hardly markets it anymore.
The AL link atop JCP's webpages has disappeared within the last few months. I doubt that would happen if all was well, although americanliving.com is still a redirect to JCP. Also, the last time I visited JCP, I noticed encroachment of other merchandise across the "invisible barrier" established by the white lacquered AL displays that I never had seen before. AL clearance was also being mixed into regular clearance sections.

Back circa January 2008, when American Living came out, many of the offerings were simply knock-offs of Polo Ralph Lauren offerings from the previous season. I recall buying a pair of shorts in the summer of 2008 that were virtually identical to a Polo Ralph Lauren pair of shorts from 2007. I also have two insulated Barbour-knockoff coats from American Living that are fabulous.
Actually, some of the merchandise from the first couple of seasons were more than knock-offs. I wasn't kidding about rebranding. They actually sold some relabeled Blue label and Polo Sport merchandise. I can't help but wonder if the plan was to cut corners after a season or two from the get-go by replacing the rebrands with the knock-offs you speak of.
 

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I was in JCP yesterday & noted that the American Living displays looked pretty sad. Most of the stuff was piled up on sale, something you never tend to see at Polo store @ Macy's. This has come up before that the CHAPS line was sold off by RL a long time ago, but in store advertising at Kohl's still trys (???) to create the prep image of its former owner!
 

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I have a suit from Chaps. Fused. Probably late '80s, early '90s. It doesn't really look like it apart from the 6x1 front. No low gorge or low button stance.
 
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