In the first corner we have:
In the opposite corner:
Let's break it down...shall we?
$435-630 vs. $20-35
Enamel from world famous artisans in Austria vs. the vague title of "import" on the website description
18K gold vs. 12K gold-plated brass
Hermès is synonymous with quality, craftsmanship and exclusivity - the opposite of mass-manufactured goods. They're one of the only fashion houses to not head to china where labour is cheap and results in often mediocre quality.
J. Crew is cute and accessible, with factories in counties like China where goods can be churned out in big batches. No air of exclusivity with stores in every suburban mall and frequent mark downs that devalue merchandise from season to season.
What has to be noted in the battle of the bangles, however, is that to the untrained eye, the bangles are nearly identical. Neither my boyfriend nor the average person on the street would really get the difference or understand why one would pay so much more for something that appears to be not so different.
Either way, I must say that:
I do own enamel bangles from both Hermès and J. Crew; the former was a special birthday present and the latter was an impulse purchase at the counter.
Where I get off declaring Hermès to be the winner is in the fact that I know I will continue to wear my beloved Hermès bracelets well into old age because they are timeless, emotionally significant and instantly recognizable, whereas my J. Crew bangles are not really any of the above. They're fun and easy to collect with superb prices, but I don't think I'll be passing them on to my grandchildren.
PS- For more information on how most luxury goods are no longer the elite products they claim to be, read, Deluxe: Howe Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas. It's an eye opening book that details how the opulent products we deem to be worth our hard-earned money is often a total sham (with the exception of Hermès course!)