Crittenden clothing: low tech, high impact

by Karen Alberg Grossman

With so much focus on technology these days, how refreshing to receive a beautiful print catalog in the mail, promoting the fall 2021 Crittenden Collection of patterned sportcoats, vests, and trousers. The 18-page catalog includes 38 swatches of exclusive fabrics (shetlands, flannels, lambswool, camelhair, mid and lightweight worsteds) from Great Britain and Italy, the kind of carefully colored classics that define elegance and style. According to entrepreneur and former Oxxford president Critt Rawlings, his wholesale customers use these brochures to generate advanced sales with their top customers.

Back story: Rawlings notes that he’s been “doing what he loves for 60 odd years” and is “extremely committed to fighting the dress down movement.” As he tells it, 15 years ago he moved back to Kentucky’s beautiful thoroughbred country and, observing how gentlemen dress for the races, opened a shop in Midway, KY (“upscale shops and restaurants attract quality customers”) specializing in sportcoats. In only 330 square feet and during a pandemic, he sold 189 Crittenden sportcoats at regular price, matching last year’s seasonal volume. “Our jackets are fun and they fit everyone. We know the clothing business can thrive if you have the right product at the right price.” Suggested retails on Crittenden sportcoats average $695 vs. double or triple that for Italian-made; all Crittenden product is meticulously crafted in Portugal. Perhaps the tagline says it best: Wear Something Worth It!

In addition to his well-trained eye for color, pattern, and proportion, Rawlings is very much a salesman. “I believe small local retailing is the future: my customers buy from me because once they’re in the store, they can’t escape. I hang 200 sportcoats front and center and greet all customers by asking if I can show them a sportcoat. Often, they’ll say no, they don’t dress up anymore to which I say, ‘I can see that!’ I talk them into just trying it on and then say, ‘I bet you’re going to Heirloom for dinner tonight; look how beautiful your wife looks…’ And most times they end up saying, ‘Okay, I’ll take the damn sportcoat!’”

For more info: CrittendenClothes@yahoo.com or 859-583-4408.

10 Replies to “CRITTENDEN CLOTHING: LOW TECH, HIGH IMPACT”

  1. Love Critt, his elegance and style, his commitment, his beautiful shoppe and his positive outlook! I too believe once you get dressed, you get noticed, and you just feel great again! #GetDressed #GentlemenStyle

  2. Old Guys Rule! The most recent articles or guest editorials were from industry sages. Re-read comments made by John McCoy, Joe Barrato, Barry Wishnow and Critt Rawlings.
    Common denominator; all great merchant sellers with passion, knowledge and wisdom. Not a been there done that attitude but a make it happen optimism. Bravo gents!

  3. What a wonderful gentleman, with taste, style, patience, just a pleasure to know. Admiration for his accomplishments should flow freely, and well deserved. Just fantastic! Thanks MR, and thanks Critt– you are both one of a kind!!

    1. What a great gentleman. He was so kind to me when I was starting in the men’s business. I had been selling woman’s and he gave me great advice and helped me pic wonderful coats. I love his product. What an inspiration he is . Bravo

  4. In a world that has followed the whims of todays trends and rather a lack there of dressing, it’s refreshing to see some, like fellow man of the cloth Crit, have reminded us what dressing well looks and feels like. If you wear sweat pants then your results are probably gonna be such. It would be like a neckwear rep getting dressed for dinner, but instead going out without a tie on. It’s our duty as stewards of our industry to raise the bar, not lower it. Thank you Crit and all who have set the bar and shared it with us, we are grateful for your leadership and passion!

  5. Message for Critt from an old customer and friend, Jim Campbell.

    Critt, What a great arrticle in MR. mag., Just want to wish you the best. I feel priviledged to know you and to have associated with you from your beginning as a sales rep. I turn 84 this year and have been retired for over twelve years. I live in Florida on the Space Coast. Just want to wish you the very best.

  6. I would text or call Crits cell…. but I know better…..
    One of our industry’s great statesmen…. !!!
    It was so much fun spending money with him at Norman Hilton when I first met him… watching him work the line and work us!!!
    His knowledge, taste and style was part of his amazing signature in his career.
    The only thing that could equal all of that…. is Judy and the family.
    Crit, thanks for all the support and friendship over the decades.
    Gary Wasserman, Left Coast Tee

    1. Critt’s garments are front of my closet and the finest I’ve ever owned. What a privileged to also call him a friend.

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