Shopping: J.Crew Factory Pleated Wool Skirt

Outlet stores aren’t what they seem*, and after a few too many purchases from J.Crew Factory that left me with garments that shrunk, got holes or otherwise fell apart, I swore off outlet shopping pretty much altogether.

Until recently, when I saw this skirt at J.Crew Factory that I really thought I wanted.

J.Crew Factory Pleated Wool Skirt
J.Crew Factory Pleated Wool Skirt

Before I launch into this not-very-positive review, a bit of back story. I have a favorite skirt. It’s navy and pleated, falls a few inches above my knees, and I wear it a few times a week. I got it at J.Crew about three years ago. Since I’ve had it for awhile and have worn it so much, I’m always a bit nervous that it’s going to fall apart soon or that something bad will happen to it, and then I’ll be out of a favorite skirt. And sad.

So, I’m on the lookout for a backup favorite skirt. Which is how I came to order the Factory pleated wool skirt the other day. It’s very similar to my favorite skirt in several ways. It’s navy. It’s pleated. It’s kind of short, but not too short.

jcrew_factory_pleated_wool_skirtAnd it’s different from my favorite skirt in several ways. It’s made of merino wool, not polyester. It’s pretty thin and unlined. And, the quality leaves a lot to be desired.

jcrew_factory_pleated_wool_skirt_closeup
Close up of the not-so-great construction of J.Crew Factory pleated wool skirt.

Over at the blog Into-Mind (which is fantastic blog about personal style and smart shopping), there’s a Cheat Sheet for assessing the quality of garments. One of the things the cheat sheet recommends looking at is the stitching. Another is the fabric quality and a third is the fit.

To get a sense of fabric quality, it recommends holding the fabric up to the light. You shouldn’t be able to see things clearly through it. When I held the skirt up, I could see shapes and make out some details through it. Not exactly what you want from a winter skirt.

Additionally, the skirt’s construction isn’t so great. There are lumps and bumps on it at the seams and pleats and it just isn’t stitched together all that well.

OK, at this point you might thinking, stop whining. You get what you pay for, after all. And, this skirt was cheap (I got it for less than $30, including shipping). But here’s the thing. Factory claims it’s valued at $88, which while that isn’t earth shatteringly expensive, it also isn’t exactly pocket change.

Here’s the other thing. I’m pretty annoyed because I know that the quality isn’t there at Factory, and yet I still let myself get roped into buying something because it was cheap. So, really, I’m not annoyed with the skirt or with J.Crew. I’m annoyed with myself.

Fortunately, I got the skirt before it went on final sale, so I am able to return it. Though, I guess if I wasn’t, it would be a $30 lesson in remembering to always be cautious and conscious when shopping.

*Many brands make lower quality cheaper products for their outlets, according to this Racked article. back to top

1 thought on “Shopping: J.Crew Factory Pleated Wool Skirt

  1. I’ve bookmarked your Cheat Sheet so I can check it out later, but thanks for the brief summary. I’m glad you’re able to return this disappointing item — I’ve had purchases like this before and like you, I’m often drawn to a good sale price. I’m starting to make an effort to be more considerate about what I’m actually getting, despite the price. Would rather spend money on one quality piece than a plethora of sub par items. Little cheap purchases like this add up! Anyway, good for you for sticking to your guns!

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