Friday, September 19, 2014

J.Crew Reviews: Merino Wool Asymmetrical Zip Sweater, Pleated Bib Top, Zip Pocket Mini, Classic Duffle Coat, Classic Fedora, Bailey for J.Crew Felt Hat

I decided to stop by my local store yesterday after swearing off (retail) J.Crew for more than a month. They were running two promotions: the 25% off full-price items (with exclusions) and 40% off sale.

The sale section was decently large and comprised primarily of tees, denim, and some tops. There wasn't much that caught my eye so I grabbed the following two items before heading for the new arrivals.

Merino Wool Asymmetrical Zip Sweater 
(Heather Brownstone XXS)
When I first saw this sweater online, I didn't appreciate those zipper details at all. In person though, I liked the way it looked with the zippers closed and open. I'm not sure how this complete 180 happened. Maybe I've been brainwashed by too many J.Crew ads! Closed this looks just like a long-sleeve Tippi but open it becomes cool and edgy. The online description said this was relaxed fit, but I took my usual XXS and it's not oversized. In fact the sleeves are a close fit. This color is the same price as online but with 40% off. Now I'm eyeing the bittersweet chocolate color.

Verdict: Surprise like, true to size

 Pleated Bib Top (White 00)
$59.99 in-store vs full price online
It's no secret that I love tuxedo blouses so naturally I was intrigued by this pleated bib top. I like that the silhouette is quite slim in contrast to the boxy tops J.Crew has been making recently. There were no underarm gaps for me in the 00, and the side view wasn't too shabby either. The white is a bit sheer but manageable with a nude bra. The starched ruffles come up high on the neck, and the buttons on the bib front were a little tricky to do and undo. I also have mixed feelings about the high-low hem, but my main reticence is the overall length and the stiffness of the fabric. To me this top looks too long untucked but too bulky when tucked. I wish J.Crew had made this in silk with a slightly shorter length and even hem. Could still look lovely on taller ladies who don't need to tuck.

Verdict: Regretful meh

Zip Pocket Mini (Heather Stone 00)
I added this skirt in chartreuse to my wishlist the moment it showed up online. I couldn't find that color in store so I grabbed this one instead. First of all, this skirt runs a little large, particularly in the waist. Secondly I'm very disappointed by this year's double-serge material. This mini may look like a shorter version of the Sterling skirt from a few years ago, but they feel completely different to the touch. This year's material is quite thin, enough that you can see my belly button in the pictures above even though the skirt is loose. I wonder if that's also the case this year for the popular double-serge pencil skirt.

Verdict: Dislike

Classic Duffle Coat (Navy 00)
I saw this on my way out of the store and stopped to try it on, because I think toggle coats are cute, and they're one of the only styles I don't own. This classic duffle coat was full of promise but failed to deliver due to poor fabric choice and fit. The wool blend material was more felt-like instead of dense and plush, which is shocking given the price point. Size-wise I usually wear between a 00 and 0 in J.Crew coats. This 00 coat was tight in the shoulders but very boxy in the torso even when layered with a sweater. Furthermore it's just not functional for most cold climates. In the Midwest this weight is only appropriate for September through late October, maybe early November. In warmer climates it may serve as a light winter coat.

Verdict: Dislike

Bonus Reviews
I also tried on two hats but forgot to take pictures. In general I love hats and would like to wear them more often, but I'm very picky about what I buy. They have to look just right on my head. Because I have a reasonably large head and face, I prefer wide brims. People with small heads/faces should go with a smaller brim and vice versa. I also dislike hats with tall crowns, because they look very unnatural. Hence the popular J.Crew panama hat doesn't work for me. Instead I usually wear a men's panama hat I got from Target during the summers. For reference my usual hat size at J.Crew is medium-large.

Classic Fedora - I saw the black one on a display by the duffle coat and grabbed it on a whim. As soon as I perched it on my head and looked at myself in the mirror, I immediately yanked it off and put it back on the shelf. I'm not a fan at all. In my opinion the name is a misnomer; I wouldn't have described this as a fedora. To me it looks more like a smallish boho semi-floppy felt hat. The brim was too short and kind of wavy, because the fabric didn't have enough structure. It might be nice for someone else, but I was looking for a structured wool fedora.

Bailey for J.Crew Felt Hat - Unlike the previous one I'm in love with this hat, especially in the olive mix color. The quality was great (and unfortunately the price is equally high to match). The wool felt thick and substantial with lots of structure. I've tried on this style before in black and felt it looked too severe on me. However, the olive mix color is a great neutral that's not too dark and should be easy to pair with other colors. The brim size was just right too. I would probably wear it a little further back on my head for a casual vibe. Currently excluded from all promos so it's wishlisted and I hope it goes on sale soon!


  1. Thanks for the reviews. I wasn't sure about the sweater either when I saw it on-line, but it looks great on you. It looks like it's easy to layer a shirt under it. Any thoughts on how it would work solo? Did it feel itchy?
    Thanks again!

    1. It feels similar to the wool they use for the Tippi, which is a smooth merino. I didn't notice any itchiness, but I also don't have sensitive skin. I think this sweater can probably work solo as long as you stick to darker colors since the light ones are a bit sheer. Of course then I would keep the zippers closed.

  2. Hi, sorry to hear that you don't like the zip-pocket mini. I did order both the mini and double serge wool No.2 pencil skirts in chartreuse. Based on my observation, these two are exactly the same material (The SA mistakenly told me that the no. 2 pencil is more of suiting wool material. Or maybe I misunderstood it). I repurchased the zip-pocket mini in chartreuse in store with the 40% off yesterday and still like it. I'll try to snap a few pictures soon.

    For the hat review, if you like Bailey for J.Crew Felt Hat, a possible cheaper alternative might be Biltmore & Madewell double-ribbon felt fedora It is more affordable with the current 20-30% off promotion:-)

    1. Sometimes different colors feel slightly different so maybe the chartreuse is better than the stone color I tried on. I can't believe how quickly it went to sale though. Maybe that's why there were none left at my store to try on. The stone one was still full-price. Also thanks for the hat suggestion! I'll have to check it out at some point.