Your own personal shopper -- free -- at J. Crew

The phrase "personal shopper" inherently has a certain air of snobbery about it, calling to mind that wealthy aunt who always bought the best Christmas gifts but whose over-the-top get-ups elicited constant eye-rolls from your mother. No more. J. Crew has quietly rolled out services that bring personal shopping to the masses -- by not charging for it.

For guys, there's "Jack Knows Best." Here, male customers can read basic tips on blazers and bowties from a company stylist -- but they can also email him about specific sartorial conundrums at jack@jcrew.com.

The company hasn't launched such an Internet-savvy business for women, but they can email erica@jcrew.com to set up complimentary in-store personal shopper consultations (so can guys). And, of course, J. Crew appoints a stylist to guide customers as they shop the bridesmaid and bridal collection.

All of this just in time for the onslaught of holiday functions and gift-buying. Of course, the caveat against personal shoppers, free or not, is simple: your bill's going to add up a lot quicker. So if you'd rather not be tempted, take advantage of another fabulous J. Crew fixture: the final sale.

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