Saturday, September 12, 2015

J.Crew Factory Reviews Part I: Striped Boatneck Tee, Fair Isle Sweater, Walking Elephants Tee, and Pleated Skirt

On Friday I visited J.Crew Factory to return the striped ponte dress I bought back in August (see my original review here). Even though I really like the way it looks, the fact that it shrinks in water (mentioned in a few of the online reviews) and hence is dry clean only ultimately dissuaded me from keeping it. On a different note, the floral eyelet dress I purchased last month (see my August budget post) is amazing! I wore it to a bachelorette party recently, and it was perfect for the occasion. I could see it being suitable for a lot of other events too. My usual 00 fit impeccably, and the 100% cotton material kept me cool despite the sweltering heat. It also did really well in the wash. I threw it into a cold load and then hung it out to dry. I was worried that it'd come out all crumpled, but it's completely fine. Anyway, I can't recommend it enough.  

Onto the actual reviews. Fall is my favorite season, so I was excited to see this latest rollout. There are definitely a few things I'm interested in, but I'm holding off on buying until prices drop a little more. For fit reference, I'm 5' 4", 32C-26-34. My usual sizes at J.Crew Factory are 00 and XXS.

Oat Navy Spring
XXS - Front View
XXS - Side View
XS - Front View
XS - Side View
This is the second time we're seeing this tee at J.Crew Factory, which is a good thing for anyone who missed it the first time around. The initial release on the Factory side was during Fall/Winter 2014-2015. I actually liked it so much then that I purchased it near full-price. When I saw this tee on Friday, I had to try it on again to see if anything had changed. I'm happy to report that it's the same tee I own and like. First of all, this top sports dark navy stripes on a cream/oatmeal background. It's made of 100% cotton and features a boat neck, long sleeves, as well as small side vents. It's medium to heavy weight and is completely opaque. In my opinion, it's too heavy for summer but great for fall/winter. The sizing can be a little tricky. In my regular size XXS, the tee feels tight in the shoulders/arms, but the torso is perfect - casually loose. If I size up to XS, the arms feel fine, but the fit through the body looks sloppy. My recommendation is to go with your normal size if you have thin arms, but consider sizing up if you don't. If you're in between sizes like I am, I suggest trying this on in store. Since there's usually some manufacturing variance, grab all of the available ones in your normal size and one size up to find the perfect fit. Also, since this tee is 100% cotton, it does shrink in the wash. A little, not a lot, but remember to factor that into your final decision. Great tee though.

Verdict: Like. Tricky sizing, and shrinks in the wash. Great tee though. The red one is on my wishlist.

Fair Isle Sweater (Item E0325)
Pewter Navy Mist XXS

I feel like Fair Isle is one of those patterns that you either love or hate. Personally I love it! This sweater is a good example of the technique. I especially like the color combination - different shades of grey, black, and unexpectedly mint. Since the overall color palette is neutral, I could see pairing it with a lot of bottoms. I also really like the fit. I found it true to size and fitted without being overly tight. It can be easily layered over a tee or thin button-down. For anyone who's interested, the material composition is 37% viscose, 35% nylon, and 28% merino wool. I didn't detect any scratchiness, but I also don't have any sensitivity to wool. Overall, great sweater. I'm hoping to add it to my wardrobe once the price drops.

Verdict: Like, true to size. On my wishlist.

Navy XXS

I actually have the retail version of this tee that I like and wear all the time. When I saw this in the Factory new arrivals, I was interested in finding out if the quality of the Factory tee could match that of the original. Sometimes the Factory version is almost identical while other times they're completely different. In this case, it's close but no cigar. The Factory tee had a flatter lighter blue background (the original was dark navy blue, and the fabric had an ever-so-slight texture to it), and the length was much too long. The foil elephants looked the same, but the one I tried on was printed a little off-center. It could be worth a try if you really wanted the original and missed out, but personally I'd pass.

Verdict: Meh. True to size but pretty long. Not as good as the original.

Pleated Skirt (Item C7199)
Navy 00
"Tucked" Top
Untucked Top

This is another item that was initially released on the retail side. I tried on the original but wasn't in love with it enough to buy. Having tried it on again, I'm still not really into the style. To my eye, it looks strange paired with tucked tops, so I would always have to wear my shirts untucked. If you like the style though, I think the quality is nearly identical to the original retail skirt. The only detectable difference was the quality of the polyester. The original one felt more silky, while this one was a little more grainy and rough. It's not a dealbreaker though, so if you like the style, I say go for it. I found it true to size.

Verdict: Meh for me, but it's a great dupe of the original.
True to size.

What have you been liking at J.Crew Factory lately?


  1. I realllllly like that fair isle sweater! I just may have to get it myself...

    1. Isn't it cute?! It's a little expensive right now since it's a new arrival. I hope I can get it eventually for under $35. Let me know if you see a price drop!

  2. I ordered that boatneck striped shirt! It's backordered online, so I don't expect to see it for several weeks, but I'm looking forward to trying it on.

    1. I hope it works out for you! I just ordered the red striped one last night when the promo flipped.

  3. Good to know that the boatneck tee is just as good as the last release. My current navy striped tee is nearing the end of its life, so I'd like to try JCF's as a replacement.
    I've been tempted by a few other things at JCF lately, particularly their embroidered 3/4 sleeve tees and all the flannel :)

    1. I've been liking JCF more than J.Crew lately. Their materials seem to have gotten better. I'm seeing more things in 100% cotton or wool.