Tuesday, September 30, 2014

J.Crew Reviews: Vintage Cotton Tees, Schoolboy Blazer in Houndstooth, Gingham Utility Shirt, Rib-Stitch Open Cardigan

I stopped by my local J.Crew over the weekend to pick up a few vintage cotton v-neck tees. Even though the fabric is thin and some of the colors are sheer, I just love the way they drape. Personally I like the v-neck silhouette best. The scoopneck version is a little too low and open for me, and the crewneck one comes up too high. Some colors are currently on sale for $19.99, and the rest are on promo for $24.50. I tried on a bunch of different colors in my normal J.Crew size of XXS to gauge the sheerness. Here's a summary.

Too sheer: light pulp, white, heather ballet, black
Not too sheer: autumn maple, heather graphite, dark olive, pink clay

I don't understand why the black was so sheer across the chest, but I could definitely see my nude bra underneath. Ultimately I settled on pink clay and heather graphite. After the 40% off final sale and 15% off student discount, they came out to be $10.19 and $12.50 before tax respectively.

My checkout experience was rather unpleasant though, because the in-store sales associate kept trying to charge me a higher price for the heather graphite tee. I asked her to match the online price of $24.50 before discounts (because there's no reason to buy it in-store if it's cheaper online), and she begrudgingly did so after calling over a manager but only applied 30% off. I told her that the CARDSONLY code should give me 40% off and offered to do a mock checkout on my phone. She looked at me with suspicion and then informed me rudely that it was only 30% off when she did it on their tablet (because they don't have a J.Crew credit card as the payment option). I showed her my phone that says 40% off for cardholders, and she told me in a nasty tone that I would have to wait for the manager again. Finally, everything got all sorted out. It took me over 15 minutes just to buy a t-shirt! What ever happened to treating your customers politely? Especially if they're loyal enough to have your credit card. Anyway, I was very underwhelmed by the poor customer service that day.

Enough complaining and onto the reviews. Since I was in the neighborhood, I thought I would try on a few other items for anyone who was interested.

Schoolboy Blazer in Houndstooth (Style B0664)
Size 00 (front view)
Size 00 (side view)
Size 0 (front view)
Size 0 (side view)
Size 0 (collar up)
I love schoolboy blazers, especially in fall/winter fabrics, so I was excited to see this houndstooth version in the sale section for $179.99 before discounts. I grabbed my usual schoolboy size of 00 as well as one size up, which is what I take when the fabric is thick (like for last year's black watch plaid schoolboy). If I were looking to add another winter blazer to my collection, this heavy wool one would be a great choice. I thought the houndstooth pattern in the plaid was quite subtle. If I wasn't looking for it, I would have thought it was just a plain brown plaid. The wool fabric is quite thick and warm. As I suspected, the 00 was too tight and pulled across my stomach and upper back (see first 2 photos). The 0 was much better, even leaving room for additional layers. The sleeves seemed a tiny bit long though albeit still acceptable. My favorite part was when I flipped up the collar and saw an unexpected pop of orange! Overall, well executed.

Verdict: like, size up

Gingham Utility Shirt (Style A9902)
Authentic Navy 00 (front view)
Authentic Navy 00 (boxy front view)
Authentic Navy 00 (side view)
I love a classic navy gingham shirt, so this version with utility pockets seemed promising. I thought the fabric would be flannel-y, but it felt sort of cool to the touch. According to the website, this is made of a cotton-linen blend, so that would make sense. My main issue is just how huge the shirt was! I look like I raided Engineer W's closet, and not in a cute menswear-inspired way. It was way too oversized and billowy. It's a pass for me.

Verdict: dislike the fit, size down

Rib-Stitch Open Cardigan (Style B2827)
Black XXS (front view)
Black XXS (side view)
I vaguely remember seeing this cardigan on Gigi a while back and liking the way it looked. Then I completely forgot about it until I saw one hanging on the rack in my size and knew I had to try it on. This sweater is knitted from an incredibly weighty and smooth cotton yarn, similar to a gray Theory sweater I thrifted three years ago. Because the material is cotton rather than wool, the sweater doesn't feel as warm overall as I would have expected given how heavy it is. The sleeves were a good length and reasonably slim, but I suspect they may eventually bag out at the elbows from prolonged wear like my other sweater. Nonetheless, this is quite flattering. It doesn't look too overwhelming on my 5' 4" frame, and the shawl collar wasn't too bulky from the side. I could also see wearing it belted at the waist. Adding to my wishlist.

Verdict: like, true to size

How do you feel about the vintage cotton tees at J.Crew? And have you ever had a difficult time getting an in-store sales associate to match their online price? Please let me know in the comments!


  1. Thank you for all the reviews! Sorry to hear you had such a poor customer service experience. A lot of the sales associates really seem to be a bit clueless about the promo-priced items, discounts, price matching, etc. You would think that J.Crew would include that as part of their training before putting them on the floor, but apparently not, since so many JCAs report experiencing the same issues over and over again.

    I have several of the vintage cotton tees. While they are comfy, I find them to be rather delicate, and have tossed out a couple due to holes. I would not pay full-price for one, but at sale price they are a decent deal.

    1. I think the rude SA I got must have been new, because I know most of the regular in-store staff by sight (an embarrassing sign of how often I visit), and I didn't recognize her. The experienced employees are usually happy to oblige requests like this. Sigh.

      As for tees, do you have any other recommendations? My vintage cotton ones are holding up fine for now, but none of them are that old yet. I also got a mesh laundry bag to wash them in, so hopefully that'll help.

    2. I've been wearing the favorite tees and henleys from Gap. The fabric is substantial so they have been holding up pretty well. They are an online only item though. I tend to stock up on them when they have an extra 40% off and are on promo, as well. I've gotten them for $8 at one point.

    3. I used to have some Gap tees that wore well, so I'll have to look into these. They look similar to the Banana Republic timeless tees that I like.

  2. Thanks for the detailed reviews and photos. I blazer looks particularly nice on you. The orange under the collar is such a fun detail.

    I don't know why SA's give customers so much trouble. I would think it would be in their best interest to be polite and helpful. I rarely go to my local store, mainly shopping on-line to avoid the type of situation you experienced.
    I'm glad you got the discount you deserved!

    1. Thanks, maryeb! I also frequently shop online, but it's worthwhile for me to go in person when my local store has what I'm looking for in stock and is willing to match the online sale price plus apply my student discount. I've snagged a number of great deals that way. The usual staff at my store are pretty good, but every once in a while you get a bad apple.

  3. Hey there! Love the flats! Where did you get them?

    1. I found these Me Too Patty flats at Nordstrom Rack last summer for about $30. I also own a pair in black. I think they're sold out everywhere now, but you may be able to find some on Ebay. Alternately J.Crew Factory sells a similar looking pair. Thanks for stopping by!