Shopping: A Stop at J. Crew

I know. I know. I just went on about how I purged my closet and got rid of stuff. What am I doing out shopping? Well, I was out and about, wandering around the city, when I decided to pop into J.Crew and take a look at their newest offerings. Buying anything at this point in time wasn’t really the plan.

Although at one stage in my life J.Crew pretty much the backbone of my wardrobe, I haven’t really purchased much from it in a while, as all the clothes either seem the same or fit me in a really strange way. I hoped that wouldn’t be the case today with the three things I tried on, but it was.


First up: the sleeveless side-zip top.¬† From a distance, the shirt looks like it will be a good basic, made more exciting by the two zippers that run down either side. Up close, it’s another story.

Anyone watch Elementary, the CBS version of Sherlock Holmes with Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson? I’ve spent probably way too much time analyzing the costuming choices for her character. In the first two seasons, she wore a lot of loosely fitting outfits, flowy tops paired with little¬† skirts. Her look now is a bit more structured, but really that is the subject of another piece. Although the fabric of this top is a little stiff, it reminded me of an early Elementary era Dr. Watson, especially paired with a flippy mini skirt. Sadly, it was just too big all over. Then again, maybe I just needed a smaller size.

Zipped, unzipped
Zipped, unzipped

A feature I did like about the top was the two zippers on either side, which made it a tiny bit more interesting than a basic white top. But, even the zippers weren’t enough to save the ill-fitting top, which by the way, was also very thin and see-through, from the reject pile.

Tilly sweater and pleated skirt
Tilly sweater and pleated skirt

Perhaps the most disappointing thing I tried on during today’s visit was the metallic pleated midi skirt. Where to even begin with this one. Okay, let’s start with the positives. It fit, was a good length (guess I can wear skirts below the knee), and is one of my favorite skirt styles.

On to the negatives: the fabric was cheap and the construction left a lot to be desired. The website describes the fabric as a poly/viscose blend, but the tag on the skirt itself describes it as cotton/viscose. Which to believe? It doesn’t even matter. It’s knitted and has a decent drape, but it’s also coated in foil, which gives it a plastic-like feel. It looks like it’s trying (but not very hard) to pretend to be leather.

A closer peek at the fabric - inside and outside.
A closer peek at the fabric – inside and outside.

Here’s another big negative: there’s no lining in the skirt, as you can see in the picture above. They had a mannequin wearing the skirt in the store and as I walked by it, I could see the light shining through the hem. Pass.

The only thing I kind of liked that I tried on today was the Tilly Sweater, in olive green, shown with the midi skirt. It’s merino wool, which is my favorite type, very soft, and comes in a number of colors. It’s a bit cropped, and designed to hit at the hips, but on me, it hit just below the waist, making my torso look a little short. Maybe if it was offered in a tall size, it would work. I do like the feel of the fabric, which is saying something at this point.

Everyone’s style and tastes change over time. Maybe I’m just at the point in my life where J.Crew isn’t a good fit for me or where I just can’t make their clothing work. Or, maybe the brand just doesn’t interest me as much anymore and will need to fix up a few flaws (like unlined skirts) before it catches my eye again.