What’s up with Macy’s On 34th Fashion Brand?

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I was scrolling through fashion at popular department stores to get inspiration for my fall to winter closet as well as future Wardrobe Oxygen style advice posts. I have been impressed with Macy's this fall and headed over there and it seemed like every piece that caught my eye was from the brand On 34th. You know me, I had to investigate the brand On 34th and wanted to share what I learned about this Macy's private label, the good aspects, the not so good, and IMO the best styles this season.

Tell Me About On 34th at Macy's

Prior to the pandemic, Macy's realized it needed to figure out a strategy to revitalize its reputation. Inspired by another big box retailer who has won year after year with fashion, Macy’s hired Target Design Director Emily Erusha-Hilleque, who led many private labels and designer collaborations over her 21 years with the company. Macy's also contracted a brand agency founded by a previous Target exec. (Source – Retail Dive)

In August of 2023, Macy's released its newest in-house fashion brand, On 34th, hoping it will create brand loyalty with its style, accessible pricepoint, and size range. Remember the film, “Miracle on 34th Street?” The name is inspired by the flagship Macy's department store starring in that film and still standing tall in Herald Square in Manhattan. Prices for On 34th range from $18.50 to $300, and sizing ranges from XXS to 4X and 0 to 26W. Shoes will be added to the On 34th collection come Spring 2024.

a 2023 press photo for Macy's private label brand On 34th.

Over the past two years, Macy’s conducted customer research, with over 100,000 online surveys, 35 days of digital community engagement, and hundreds of hours of in-store fit research and shop-alongs. This is in hopes that On 34th and the other Macy's private brands will provide better fit, style, and value to the customer.

Erusha-Hilleque, in a statement about the brand, shared, “On 34th was created with inspirational and modern design, informed by the voice of the customer, and built for real life. This new brand is designed by women for women who run their world, with confidence and joy. The launch of On 34th is an important milestone in Macy’s journey to elevate and reimagine our private brand portfolio which is designed with intention and executed with attention. We are developing unique and relevant product design that is distinctively aligned to brand DNA and infused with multiple points of inspiration, data, and the intuition of a talented team. All in service of fostering brand love for Macy’s.” (Source – Macy's press release)

What is the Macy's On 34th Aesthetic?

So you can read all the articles and press releases online about On 34th and you will think it's a bunch of gobbledygook about real women and real style (which actually sounds a lot like Wardrobe Oxygen so maybe I shouldn't call it gobbledygook). But as someone who looks at apparel brands regularly, here's my thought comparing to well-known brands.

My first thought was this looks like what I wish J. Crew Factory was. The pricepoint is below J. Crew and the pieces aren't as elevated/sophisticated as current J. Crew but On 34th has that color, quirkiness, and fun mix of staples with statement J. Crew is known for. Sort of like J. Crew of the 2000s with 2023 trends. Add to it a bit of pre-pandemic Boden with feminine dresses and statement coats, but more like a Boden Factory version. You'll also find pieces that look similar to items currently available at Madewell and Universal Standard, though in different materials and colors.

best picks from On 34th, a new Macy's private label available up to size 4X

lime turtleneck & pink cords | trench & wide-leg sweatpants | sheath dress (link to misses) & poplin shirt | Breton striped top (link to misses) & wide-leg jeans (link to misses)
tipped jacquard cardigan & ankle jeans | pink crewneck sweater (link to misses) & sequin midi skirt (link to misses) | trench & ponte leggings (link to plus) | lime crewneck sweater (link to misses) & wide-leg jeans (link to misses)

You can see the Target vibe all over Macy's On 34th private label. Fun colors, classic prints, pieces designed to look good on a size 2 and a size 22, pieces that can be wardrobe staples but wouldn't be considered boring or basic. If I am comparing On 34th to “Factory” versions of J. Crew and Boden, I'd also compare the brand to an elevated/designer collab version of Target.

For years, Macy's has been a retailer that filled the space between Target and brands like J. Crew, Boden, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor. It's just that as fast fashion hit the scene, malls began to die, and work fashion became less stuffy, Macy's didn't keep up with the times. They kept throwing spaghetti at the wall with cheap Juniors labels, higher-end brands found at Nordstrom and Dillard's, celeb collabs that felt just off, and trying to reinvent the classics in budget-friendly ways. On 34th actually feels like what Macy's has tried to be, but pulling it off.

four women wearing different colored short sleeve t-shirts from the Macy's private label On 34th

Problems with Macy's On 34th Private Label

In 2023, I have no idea why a brand will have separate links for the same garment in misses and then plus sizes. At least do what Ann Taylor and Lands' End do and have a button to go directly to the other page with additional sizes. Any brand that says they are inclusive and separate sizes in such a manner is just “inclusive-washing.”

This is extra frustrating considering the average woman in the United States hovers between misses and plus sizes. Any of us who are midsize know that sometimes we're a 12, sometimes we're a 16, and sometimes we're an XL, but depending on the style we may fit better in a 0X or 1X. To not have it easy to look at size charts and reviews to determine which size we are is poor website design. To be fair, select pieces like this button-front shirt has all the sizes on one page.

I am also disappointed to see that plus sizes don't always have the same fun color range as misses. For example, this misses sweater blazer comes in 6 colors, but in plus it only comes in black and cream.

Reviews make me concerned that fit is inconsistent. For example, with these wide-leg jeans that were really appealing to me, some reviews say they run big, others say they run small. In general the reviews for these jeans are positive, but that discrepancy about fit makes me cautious.

Positive Features for Macy's On 34th Fashion Line

Another thing that grinds my gears about “inclusive” fashion brands that offer misses and plus sizes is that they often charge more for the plus sizes. I understand that it costs more to have a separate plus size fit model and patterns, but I think it's fairer to just increase the price in general than charge a “fat tax” for plus sizes. We don't see petites costing more, and they too require the same additional steps as plus size garments.

Macy's On 34th collection is the same price, whether it is misses or plus size. I really appreciate this and hope this is the beginning of a trend amongst fashion brands.

Wardrobe Oxygen's picks for the best fashion pieces from On 34th Macy's in house private label for women's apparel

orange-red tank & jeans | polka dot trench coat (link to misses) | leopard blouse & wide-leg pants | striped rugby shirt & wide-leg jeans (link to plus)
red dress | plaid car coat, green t-shirt (link to misses), & wide-leg jeans (link to misses) | orange sweater & leopard slip skirt | Breton striped top (link to misses) & navy wide-leg pants

I really love seeing an entire model in multiple poses. So many retailers show a body with the head cut off, the pose wooden, rarely seeing the back or side view. The models for On 34th are overly animated, but I appreciate it because we can see the pieces on a moving body from a range of angles.

Also, On 34th plus-size pieces are modeled on plus-size bodies. It's frustrating when a label carries plus sizes but only shows the pieces on a Misses-size model. Those models may be on the smaller side of plus, but it's better than having a size 24 person try to guess what a dress will look like based on it being worn by a size 2 model.

On 34th is budget-friendly. While the press releases say the label carries pieces up to $300, there aren't any even close to that pricepoint currently on the site. Most items are under $100, and even pieces like a genuine suede moto jacket are reasonably priced at $275 (and currently on sale for $165).

What I Like from Macy's On 34th Collection

How can I discuss a fashion brand without sharing my picks? On 34th has some real winners, and some pieces that look very generic or meh. They may be right for some, but they didn't catch my eye. So let's focus on what I think to be the best picks from this new Macy's private label:

  • This sequin midi skirt. I saw an influencer wear this on Instagram, and while this doesn't look like it costs $500, it doesn't look like junk. And it's the perfect piece to glam up a sweater and boots already in your closet for holiday dressing. And because of the color, style, and that it's sequins, you can wear it year round. It would also be cute with a cami or fitted tank, a graphic t-shirt and a moto jacket, or a short-sleeved cashmere tee and sneakers.
  • This cardigan. I discussed the popularity of this style of cardigan for 2023, and this is a wallet-friendly option that is actually of the same textiles as similar sweaters twice this price offered from other brands. A plus is this one is machine washable.
  • This button-front shirt. I love a pink button-front shirt and this color of pink is delicious. I like the longer tunic length, it gives room for creativity. Wear as a swim coverup, like a jacket, tie at the waist, pair with leggings, have the shirttails hang out under a sweater or vest. For some, you may be able to wear it like a dress!
  • These wide-leg pants. Available in regular and short lengths up to size 16, these get rave reviews for looking more expensive than their pricepoint.
  • This modal turtleneck. I love a slim-fitting lightweight turtleneck to be a base layer under sweaters or to give a bodysuit effect under blazers. This one looks like a perfect choice and gets good reviews when purchased as a base layer or fitted style.
  • These plus size jeans. I'm all about a brand that carries shorts, talls, petites, and longs in plus sizes. These high-waisted straight leg jeans come in regular and short lengths! FYI, these jeans also come in Misses in regular and short lengths.
  • This card case wallet. Especially the colorful one, it would be a great addition to a gift card. The holidays are coming, it makes sense to start thinking about gifts like this now, especially at this great price!

Have you tried Macy's newest private label, On 34th? If so, do share your thoughts in the comments to assist us all in being more informed consumers!

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16 Comments

  1. I bought the Breton striped top in XXL misses since I’m always on the hunt for the perfect Breton! I really wanted to like it. The colors are great, and the material is nice and thick. But it was cut too short and too wide for me. The sleeves are cut wide too which I thought made me look wider. In addition, the armholes are cut too low so that when I raised my arms, the whole top rode up. Definitely going back. But I’ll keep looking at the On 34th line which is mostly my taste.

  2. I will definitely check these out although I am disappointed that there are no petite sizes. Short lengths are nice but I can hem pants, but sweaters and jackets not so much. It seems like fewer brands are coming in petite sizes these days.

    Thanks for the review. The silver sequin skirt looks like fun and I always like seeing nice basics.

  3. Macy’s could take a lesson from Talbot’s on toggling between sizes on their website. Agree, no higher prices for plus sizes! I looked at 34th at the store but didn’t buy anything. Now that I know the story of the name, I will look again.

  4. I so agree with every point of your assessment, Alison. Without knowing anything about the new line, I was a little puzzled about the intent behind it and if it was replacing another line. The background info you shared was very informative. I definitely picked up on the ‘upscale Target’ vibe which was not necessarily a bad thing however, the handfeel of several of the pieces made the garments feel of rather low quality. The line is very much geared towards a business/professional look which isn’t my current need so I haven’t bought anything yet.

    Rena

  5. I was intrigued by this brand when I saw it recently in a Macy’s outside of Chicago, but there was very little stock and not much size selection in the store.

  6. I purchased a dark green henley t-shirt when I was first notified by Macy’s about this new brand. When it came I loved the color, loved the knit fabric, loved the style. But it was much too tight for my apple shaped body, and I returned it. Sad.

  7. It’s disheartening to filter for Plus. It just is. From 279 items overall, to just 49 when you filter for Plus. Ugh.
    Having said that, there are definitely some fun items there, and I appreciate when you get into the “how and why” behind this kind of new launch. Hot pink and citron yellow galore, too 🙂
    And, fwiw, I purchased a chambray dress. It’s hard to find one that doesn’t look like a prison matron dress on me and I like the fit-and-flare one they have available.

  8. I have the breton stripe shirt in white/black and it’s really great! Love the boat neck, wide (but not statement) sleeves), and a little shorter. I like the boxier fit and would buy more but don’t like the colors at all! Also have the jeans paired with the orange tank, which look and feel really good on me though the waist is higher than I’d like. I’ll look for more of their pieces. They’re solid, not amazing.

  9. Agreed. I hate clicking between two different listings for the same item, different sizes. What’s even worse is when the item is named something slightly different and there’s no indication on the first page what to click to find the second. Grrr! This Macy’s in-house line seems young-ish and not something I’d order to experiment with — but if I had a Macy’s nearby, I would definitely check it out in person.

  10. Cute styles. The prices look great.
    A bit flummoxed (ok, a lot) by the sizing of those pink cords, which look great. The size chart given is typical but there is zero indication of what the pants sizes 25 up to 33 actually correlate to: is it waist size? Hip? Some other sizing model? And why does the size chart not offer any clue?? The description doesn’t give any hints on selecting the size either.
    There don’t seem to be petites in this line, at least not judging by the handful of pieces I clicked on.
    I do dislike having to search for the missy/plus/petite versions of a style. To even tell if a style is offered in other size categories. Lands End has it right, just put them all on the same page with direct links between the size categories.
    And I absolutely haaaate when a brand offers a dozen on trend colors for the Missy range but only offers like 5 “staple” colors for plus/petite/plus-petite.
    It’s a cute line and shows promise but it’s not there yet for me. TBF I’ve become super picky. I’m even ticked at Talbots lately for pulling the same stuff, including not offering all styles in all their size categories, and not deigning to put plus models in their print catalogs, tho they do online; and I’m a Talbots die-hard usually.

    1. I AGREE! I love those pink cords and would have snapped them right up but what freaking size would I be? And why don’t the TWO size charts give any indication of how that sizing goes? What a pain!

    2. 25-33 means waist size like menswear and a lot of jeans these days. Here’s a size chart that breaks it down. I found a 32 fit me when I was a 12 and sometimes 14, a 33 was better when I was a high 14 or 16. I was a 30 in jeans when I was a size 8/10.

      1. Thank you for clarifying that, Alison. It’s interesting that the sizing is odd-sized numbers as standard missy sizing usually is based on even numbers. And the lack of explanation and the utterly useless size chart given for that product kinda tick me off (tbf a lot does about retail these days). That kind of carelessness makes me not want to order anything on principle. If they can’t even bother giving an accurate size chart to sell a product what else aren’t they bothering with?

  11. I have bought three pieces from the brand I love (all shirts!). They fit well, the price is right and the quality is solid.

    I did buy one jumpsuit and the sizing is all wrong. But that is the risk in general with jumpsuits.

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I tend to really only shop Macy’s for sale items for my kid (they have great salves for kids shoes and things like pajamas), but I will definitely be browsing this section before I check out from now on.

  12. Hi, there are some nice clothes there. But from across the pond I am increasingly confused. I know the difference in sizes between UK and US ( typically, a UK 16 is a US 12) and if I concentrate I can tell the difference in shoe sizes. I had to read up on ‘misses’ and I think I get it, although still a bit hazy. And you lost me on ‘factory versions’. Help, confused of London! (I’m not planning to buy any of these, I would just like to understand. In fact, I am trying hard not to buy clothes at all…)

    1. I go down two sizes from UK to US and usually do well. As for factory, a lot of apparel brands have factory stores at discount/outlet malls. These used to be stores that had last year’s items for drastic discounts but they started creating lower-end clothing in the same aesthetic to fill the stores. Now retailers like Banana Republic and J. Crew have factory stores online. Some pieces are good, but a lot are cheap versions of the originals that don’t hold up.

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