Reviewing the Reviews Part 2: J.Crew Circle Mini Skirt

Let’s do another review of the reviews, shall we? A few months ago (in March), I ordered and reviewed the J.Crew Circle Mini Skirt in Crepe. At the time of my review, I admitted to being skeptical about the skirt’s quality, but also pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t the train wreck I was anticipating. Here it is again for reference:

J.crew circle mini skirt in crepe

Review Revisited: J.Crew Circle Mini Skirt

So, flash forward about four months. How’s the skirt holding up?

Eh, not so well, I’m afraid.

In my original review, I said this about the fabric:

The fabric is a poly/viscose/elastane blend. It’s got some texture to it and a soft hand. I’d be afraid my cat would snag it, but he snags everything, so that’s not really an issue. The skirt is lined, which adds some heft to it.

Some texture and a soft hand equals a nightmare for cat owners. Every time I wear this skirt, it gets covered in cat hair. COVERED. It’s like a cat hair magnet. Even if I don’t pet or cuddle with my cat, the skirt winds up looking like a mess. I must spend about 15 minutes before leaving the house lint rolling the skirt and applying packing tape to it to remove the hair.

It’s not only cat hair that’s the problem, though. The fabric just seems to pick up every stray piece of lint and dust in the world around it. Keeping it looking clean and decent is pretty difficult. It’s dry clean only, so it’s not like I can just toss it in the wash and hope for the best.

I’ve gotten to the point where I wear the skirt at home and change into something else before leaving the house.

Yeah. That kinda sucks.

It’s not just that the skirt is a lint/cat hair/dust magnet. It’s also got some quality issues.

The grosgrain ribbon waistband I was so concerned about is holding up fine. But, the tag inside the skirt has fallen off. I have to say that this is the first time I’ve had a tag fall off of any piece of clothing. That sounds like a minor issue, but if I wanted to sell the skirt at some point, it would be a problem. Not that anyone wants to buy this skirt, given that it looks beat to crap after just four months of wear.

Another deal: the fabric is pilling in spots, notably on the sides of the hips. Blugh.

I think this circle mini skirt is the proverbial final nail for me. I’m done with J.Crew. It’s one thing to sell cheap, low quality clothing and fully admit that. It’s another to sell them while at the same time crowing about your commitment to quality and the like.

 

That all said, if anyone has any recommendations for a well made, black skirt, I’m all ears.

Reviewing the Reviews

Sometimes, when I read other review bloggers, I wonder what happens to the stuff they rate highly. Do they end up keeping it and wearing it? Or, does it end up in the back of their closet or cosigned/donated/trashed within a few months or years? To that end, I thought it might be worthwhile to look back at a few of my reviews over the years and give an update on the stuff I really liked, from pencil skirts to shorts, and let you know what happened to them.

pencil skirt

J.Crew Seersucker Pencil Skirt

Remember this (it’s totally fine if you don’t)? I got the seeksucker skirt from J.Crew when it was on sale for $59.99 – 40%. A week or so later, J.Crew took 75% off sale prices, so the pencil skirt went down to $15. Annoying.

At any rate, I mentioned that I got an 8 in my review and that it was too big. I didn’t think the slightly oversized fit would be an issue. But, guess what: it was. So, I ended up selling it after a few wares. I found the skirt difficult to style because it was so loose and long. Plus, the lavender color was so light it was almost not even worth calling the skirt lavender.

All in all, a purchase I regret.

pencil skirt

Anthropologie Telephone Print Pencil Skirt

Good god, people, I loved this skirt. It made it into my fall capsule and I wore it a lot – despite the eye-catching, vibrant print. But, here’s the sad thing about the skirt. It was just not very well made. The lining – made of acetate – ripped the first time I wore it. I stitched it up, but. . .

I had thought the skirt was dry clean only, then I rechecked the label. It was washable! So, I washed it, using cold water, and line dried it. Things didn’t go well. The hem fell out, so I stitched it up.

Then, I packed it away for winter, thinking all was fine, only to find, when spring rolled around, that the little spin in the washer had not only made the   hem come undone. It had also shrunk that stupid acetate lining. The skirt was now too tight, at least in the lining.

Sadness of sadness. But, unlike the J.Crew pencil skirt, I don’t regret purchasing the telephone pencil skirt. I just wish that it had had a longer life.

Banana Republic_Marimekko_Kivet_Shorts

Banana Republic/Marimekko Shorts

Given that Target has recently launched its own collaboration with Marimekko, it seemed like a good time to look back at my first review for  this blog, of a couple of pairs of shorts from Banana Republic’s collaboration with Marimekko. I was pretty happy with the shorts at the time of purchase, and probably pretty ecstatic about getting them, since the collection sold out so quickly.

Flash forward a year or so, and I only have one pair (the black and white dots pictured above) left. I sold the other pair to ThredUP, because I didn’t wear them all that much. I’m actually  not so sure about hanging on to the black and dots either, because there’s something about printed shorts that just screams suburban to me. We’ll see what happens this summer. I’ll most likely end up selling them if I don’t find myself wearing them all that much.

Do I regret the shorts? No, since I did get a season or two’s worth of wear out of them. Would I say they are my style and buy them again? No.

Kate_Spade_Saturday_peplum_dress

Kate Spade Saturday Sleeveless Peplum Dress

Aw, man. Kate Spade Saturday. My heart kind of misses the brand, which closed last year, but my wallet is kinda happy about it. I  tried on the black version of the sleeveless peplum dress during a visit to the brand’s store in Soho. I really wanted the purple, but they were sold out of it. After trying to convince me to get the black, or to get the purple skirt version, I ended up leaving empty  handed.

But! I did end up getting the dress, in purple (er, grape), just before Saturday shut down for good. And, I love it. The peplum feature is actually two front pockets, so it’s not your basic, boring peplum. The purple color is vibrant, the fit is good, and the dress washes well (line dry, no need for dry cleaning, although you can, if you prefer).

I’m so glad I waited to get the purple dress and didn’t settle for the skirt or get the version in black.

Reviewing the Review count: 5 garmets

Still in my closet: 2

Sold: 2

Fell apart: 1

Not too bad, but not that great, either

Shopping: Boden Richmond Shorts and Spring Sale

Boden just wrapped up its mid-season sale, so I’ve got a few reviews for you, including the Richmond shorts, colorblock pencil skirt and two cardigans. I actually ordered the shorts way before the sale, but they shipped from the UK and the post office temporarily lost my package, so they arrived just a few days before my sale order. Shipping drama aside, here’s what I thought.

Boden richmond shorts

Richmond Shorts

Shorts? When it’s barely 60 degrees out? I have to admit,I was thinking of my summer capsule (which feels so far away!) when I ordered these.

Boden offers its Richmond shorts in three lengths – 4 inches, 6 inches, and 9 inches. I ordered the 4 inch short in navy spot, in a size 6. I wasn’t sure whether to go with the 6 or 8, but am glad that I picked the 6, as the 8 would have been too big. Once again, Boden’s size guide came in handy (it describes the size 6 as having 31 inch waist and 38 inch hips). The shorts are meant to sit slightly below your natural waist, and these do.

The fabric’s nice and thick and all in all, these are a solid pair of shorts. But, I returned them. I think I want myself to be a person who can pull off shorts, but I always feel like something’s not quite right when I wear them.

richmond shorts

Plus, there’s that. I’ll spare you the full on backside view, but I felt that the shorts definitely made my ass look huge. It might be all the little dots playing tricks on the eyes, but it was definitely not a flattering look.

boden colorblock pencil skirt

Colorblock Pencil Skirt

Can I just say that Boden completely dropped the ball with this colorblock pencil skirt? By which I mean, it’s an amazing skirt and they totally didn’t promote it enough. They didn’t have any of their promised “360 degree views” and this is the catalog image they used for the skirt:

I mean, you look at that and it’s just like, what the hell is going on in that picture. Why is she pressed against the wall? Does she need help?

The reality is, it’s a fantastic piece of clothing. And, it’s now on clearance for just $59 and available in most sizes, so worth it.

Since Boden didn’t really show the skirt off, I will. Here’s one side:

boden colorblock pencil skirt

Here’s another:

Colorblock pencil skirt

And there’s the front if you don’t kick out your leg so that the little bit of mint green shows:

boden colorblock pencil skirt

Size wise, it runs pretty true to Boden’s usual sizing. I’m in an 8, which has a 31 inch waist and 38 inch hips. The waist is a bit wide on me, so the skirt sits just below my natural waist. I was concerned at first that it was going to be too snug in the hips/thighs, but ended up finding it comfortable enough.

The fabric is a heavyish polyester-viscose, with a bit of elasticity. My one complaint is that it does attract some fuzz/dust, but I have a cat now and that’s just what my life has become.

Another concern I had was the versatility of the skirt. I almost got the navy/black/bisque color instead, but I have found the bright blue is more wearable that I though it would be (I’ll have a post on different ways to wear it, soon).

boden cropped cardigan

Favorite Cropped Cardigan

I’ve been interested in trying  Boden’s cropped cardigans for some time now, but was concerned that they’d do that awkward gapping thing across my chest if I wore them buttoned up.

During the sale, even neutral colors like black and navy were discounted a pretty good amount, so I thought, it’s now or never. I ended up ordering an 8, just to reduce the risk of gapping, and I’m pretty glad I did. It might be a little loose on the sides, but I’ll take minimal bagginess over gapping any day.

Although I’m wearing the cardigan hear with a skirt, I think it might be best suited for wearing over dresses, at least on a taller person. It does expose some skin if you lift  your arms up, unless you’re in a very  high waisted skirt.

The fabric, a mix of cotton and nylon, is very soft and fairly substantial. I’ve had cotton/nylon cardigans in the past that were flimsy and that wore out quickly, but I have some high hopes for this one.

boden fifties cardigan

Fifties Cardigan

The fifties cardigan is a more demure, retro style that the favorite cropped cardigan. It’s got fancier buttons, a wider waistband and cuter sleeves. As with the favorite cropped, I got the fifities cardi in an size 8. And, like the favorite cropped, it’s a little loose on the sides, but the bigger size means no gapping at the buttons.

The fabric is a mix of cotton, nylon and silk, which is soft but pretty delicate. After one wear, I did notice some pilling on the sides and sleeves, which annoys me, especially since Boden charges more for this sweater than the favorite.

 

boden_fifties_cardigan_dress

The wide waistband definitely gives the sweater a flattering fit, though, so points for that. Here, I’m wearing it with the Toi Dress from MM LaFleur.

Although the Richmond shorts were a bust for me, I’m pretty happy with my new cardigans and am absolutely thrilled with my skirt.

Reviewed in this post:

Shopping: J.Crew Circle Mini Skirt in Crepe and “Flouncy” Skirt

Thanks to the ravages of time and general wear and tear (RIP, pleated BCBG skirt, 2010-2016), my wardrobe was missing a basic black skirt. I had one skirt “gap” in my spring capsule wardrobe and I wanted to fill it with a flared or circle skirt.

I saw that J.Crew had a circle mini skirt in crepe and I thought it would be just the thing, though I was concerned about the length. I was also a bit wary because was online only and my experience with the ‘Crew lately (like so many other people’s) has been anything other than great.

After a pretty fruitless search at Century 21 and a local consignment store one weekend, I decided I might as well go ahead and order the circle skirt. It was on promo, so $10 off the full price, plus there was a 30% off sale promo going on. The second skirt in my order was definitely a whim and I probably should have left well enough alone.

circle mini skirt in crepe

Circle Mini Skirt in Crepe (Black)

I had a few concerns about the circle mini skirt. One, would it, at just 17.5 inches long, be too short? Two, would the grosgrain waistband be flimsy?

As far as concern one goes, the jury is still kinda out. I mean, yeah, look at it, it’s short. I’m 5’10” and it’s probably five inches above my knees. But, it’s hardly scandalous, right? If you’re the type not to wear skirts shorter than knee-length, this is not going to work for you. I’m a little iffy about it with bare legs, but I’ll probably change my tune when things warm up.

Circle mini skirt

Meanwhile, I think it looks perfectly fine with opaque tights. A part of that is probably because you can’t see my weird looking knees when I have the tights on.

J.Crew Circle mini skirt

Another nice feature, as far as length is concerned, is that it seems to dip down slightly in the back, so the back side is a bit longer than the front. I don’t know if that’s super clear in the photo, but it’s visible in real life.

Let’s talk fabric and construction. I once had a skirt from J.Crew that had a grosgrain ribbon waistband. It was so flimsy, because it was literally just a ribbon. It would bend and bunch and I wasn’t impressed. The ribbon waistband on the circle mini skirt is double thickness and it feels as if there’s a bit of interfacing between the ribbons, so it’s pretty durable. I can’t see it bending or bunching or whatever.

The fabric is a poly/viscose/elastane blend. It’s got some texture to it and a soft hand. I’d be afraid my cat would snag it, but he snags everything, so that’s not really an issue. The skirt is lined, which adds some heft to it.

When I hear phrases like “circle skirt,” and don’t actually see what the garment looks like, I envision a skirt that’s been cut in the shape of a circle. That’s not so much the case with this one. It’s got swing and movement, but those come from the godet panels that are sewn into it. There’s a lot that’s circular about the skirt, it’s just that in my mind, it doesn’t live up to what I traditionally think of as a circle skirt.

Oh! I almost forgot. Sizing. This is a 6. I’d say it’s pretty true to size. It fits comfortably right at my navel and the hips aren’t too snug or loose.

After so many misses at J.Crew lately, I’m so happy to have skirt that seems well made and that fits my needs.

Speaking of misses . . .

j.crew flouncy striped skirt

Flouncy Striped Skirt

Marvel at that hot mess of a skirt. I saw the flouncy striped skirt when I was about to order the circle mini skirt and I thought, eh, looks cute, might as well give it a try.

When it arrived and I pulled it out of the packaging, my first thought was, hello vanity sizing! It was a 6, but it was the largest 6 I’d ever seen.

Case in point:

J.Crew Flouncy striped skirt

 

I’m trying to show how much extra room there is in the waist while also looking like a model in a commercial about weight loss.

So, it’s huge, it adds like 20 pounds, what else is wrong with it? Does it need to have anything else wrong with it?

Construction and materials-wise, it’s made from woven cotton and has a poly lining. The pleats were all wrinkled when the skirt arrived, so I’d imagine they’d be a pain to keep neat and flat.

So, J.Crew, you’ve had one hit and one (among many) misses this time around.

Reviewed in this post:

Shopping: Boden Reviews Fall 2015, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I ordered the Julia Patch Pocket skirt from Boden. Thinking, “hey, I’m tall,” I ordered the long version of it. As I noted in my previous review, the long wasn’t too long, but it was too wide at the hem, and the look overall wasn’t too flattering. So, I sent it back and re-ordered the skirt in a regular length, in the same light purple shade.

Julia patch pocket skirt, long length
Julia patch pocket skirt, long length
Julia Patch Pocket Skirt, regular length
Julia Patch Pocket Skirt, regular length

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The regular length version is much better. It’s less wide at the hem, so it doesn’t stick out so much. I also think having it fall a few inches above the knees is more flattering the the just above the knee cut of the longer version. The regular length still runs a bit big in comparison to Boden’s usual sizing – the 6R is a bit loose in the waist.

Boden fringed loafer
Boden fringed loafer

Every few years, a shoe style that I love becomes the trendy style for the season and they are suddenly so easy to find. A few years ago, it was menswear Oxfords. This year, it’s loafers. I ordered the fringed loafers in aubergine from Boden during their mid-season sale. Since I’m not sure of my shoe size, I went with a 42 (10.5). I could probably  have gotten away with a 41.5 (10), as these are just a touch too big. But, I was able to walk around in them for a while without developing blisters and without having them fall off of my feet, so I think we’ll be OK.

As I’ve said before, I really love Boden’s shoes. They’re well made (leather, leather, leather), they fit well (even when you order a half size too large), and they come in interesting styles. These aren’t your basic loafers. Sure, they’re not those furry backless loafers Gucci made, but they’re also not your typical preppy penny loafer, either. The shoes feel very sturdy and I get the sense that they will last for years to come.

In case those don’t do it for you, here are a few more loafers, from the everyday and practical, to the less so:

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

Shopping: Boden Fall 2015

Although we’ve just gotten into fall, I’m already looking ahead to winter and what to wear in my winter capsule (if I end up deciding to continue the project; I’m still on the fence about the whole capsule wardrobe thing). Luckily, my winter capsule planning happened to coincide with a few sales at one of my favorites, Boden. Unluckily, the items I chose didn’t really work out.

Annabel Knit Skirt

Boden Annabel Knit Skirt
Boden Annabel Knit Skirt

I currently have a black, pleated skirt in my wardrobe that I’ve owned since 2010. It’s one of those items of clothing whose provenance I can distinctly remember — I bought it at the BCBG outlet in the Berkshires while traveling up there to see James Taylor at Tanglewood. It’s a great skirt, works with a lot of outfits, and I can bike in it, but it’s too lightweight (it’s a very light woven poly) to wear in the winter. I’ve been on the look-out for a heavier black skirt that isn’t a pencil skirt, and I thought the Annabel knit skirt from Boden would be it.

But — you know where this is going — it wasn’t. I guess it’s hard to convey the nature of a skirt using just words and pictures. I was expecting a ponte-ish, jersey-like knit. Instead, the skirt is closer to a sweater knit. It’s somewhat soft and fuzzy to start with and when I pulled it out of the packaging my thought was “this is going to pill like you wouldn’t believe.” And if it doesn’t pill, it’s going to attract lint and fuzzies like it’s no one’s business.

Boden Annabel skirt up close
Boden Annabel skirt up close. There’s no sewn hem on the skirt, just a finished knit edge.

The fabric of the skirt wasn’t the only thing that it didn’t have going for it. The fit was a bit off, too. Although I’m typically an 8 in Boden’s skirts, I looked at the measurements for the item itself and went with a 6. It has an elastic waist that is apparently 29 inches around. On me, the elastic is loose, so the skirt sits just below my natural waist.

The big issue isn’t the waist, though. It’s the sweep of the skirt. There’s just too much fabric. I’m already a bit pear shaped. This skirt enhanced that look and that didn’t make me too happy.

Julia Patch Pocket Skirt

Julia patch pocket skirt, lavender
Julia patch pocket skirt, lavender

Carven has this amazing light purple mini skirt this season. It was very 1960’s looking and something like $595, so way beyond my budget. Boden also has a light purple mini skirt this season, the Julia Patch Pocket skirt, which looks very similar to the Carven one (although also very different). It’s made of a wool crepe and I very much like it, except for one thing. I ordered the long, which is about 21 inches and just too much fabric for my taste. The long has a wider sweep than the regular length skirt (51.5 inches around for the long, versus 48.5 inches for the regular length), which I think makes it stick out just a bit too much at the hem. Like the Annabel skirt, this one seems a bit big by Boden’s standards. I ordered the 6,  not an 8, as the waist for the 6 is apparently 30.25 inches. It sits a bit low on me, which is fine, but is yet another reason why I think the regular length will be just fine.

boden_Julia_Patch_Pocket_Skirt_lavender_6L

My favorite feature about the skirt is the pockets, and I think that’s why part of the reason why I’m willing to try the regular length.  My partner said it looked like a cargo skirt. But, clearly it doesn’t.

I’ll close with a little sale update — I got these two during the recent “flash sale,” when everything was 25% off. The day they arrived, I also got a postcard in the mail telling me that the mid-season sale was to start on Monday (that’s today!) and things would be up to 40% off. I kinda rolled my eyes, but as it turns out, the flash sale was a better deal in some ways. The Julia skirt is marked down 20-30%, based on the color, while the Annabel skirt is only 10% off. A few other items I like in the sale are below:

Has anything at Boden caught your eye lately?

Shopping: J.Crew Fall 2015

I’m not supposed to do any shopping this month (more on that later), but then J.Crew released this blazer in tweed, with elbow patches, and announced a 25% off sale. Admittedly, 25% off is nothing at J.Crew, when things are often marked down 30 to 75% off, but sometimes things sell out, and it seemed that would be the case with the Campbell Blazer, especially in the Tall size range.

I was all set to order the blazer online on Thursday night, but convinced myself to sleep on it, since I’m trying to curb my spending. In some ways it’s good that I slept on it and in some ways it’s bad: I woke up to find that the blazer was suddenly excluded from the promotion.

Boo on that. I decided to pop into the store in Philly to see if they  had the blazer, if a regular size would work on me, and if it was 25% off.

As it turns out, I’m actually not that keen on the fit and cut of it, so in the end, I’m glad the vanishing promo kept me from ordering.

J.Crew Campbell blazer in tweed, size 6.
J.Crew Campbell blazer in tweed, size 6.
J.Crew Campbell Blazer in tweed, size 4
J.Crew Campbell Blazer in tweed, size 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gah, it looks pretty awful. Particularly in the size 6, on the left. The 4 looks better, but only because I’m wearing a different skirt and am standing at a slight angle. Maybe it looks better unbuttoned, but I didn’t think to snap any pictures of that. I’m really glad I didn’t order the Tall 6, as both the regular 4 and 6 were a bit roomy on me.

As a side note, the tweed comes from Abraham Moon & Sons, which is the same tweed-maker Boden uses for its British Tweed Blazers. Boden’s blazers are cut differently, they are shorter and more shapely. I might give that a try.

Usually, when I’m at J.Crew, the associates ignore me, which I kinda like, especially since these days I rarely buy anything there. This last time, the associate was very  helpful, and went out of her way to recommend stuff for me to try. Unfortunately, one of her recommendations was a Tippi sweater.

J.crew Tippi sweater
J.crew Tippi sweater

Tippis just never work for me.  They always add weight to my hips and waist area. I’m showing you all the picture of it tucked into the Donegal Tweed Skirt because the photo of it untucked was just too awful. The tucked-in picture looks bad — you can see the sweater bunched up beneath the waist of the skirt.

The trip wasn’t all gloom and doom, though. I liked the dark green version of the tweed pencil skirt when it was pictured online and just happened to chance on the black and grey version in store. The fabric, a blend of wool/poly/silk is really soft to the touch and has a good weight. In one of the online reviews, someone said it felt like wearing a carpet. But I didn’t find that to be true. The 6 fit pretty well in the hips, but was a little loose in the waist.

J.crew Drapey v-neck silk blouse
J.crew Drapey v-neck silk blouse

I also really liked the drapey v-neck silk blouse. The silk is a nice weight and has a good hand, although I didn’t look at the stitching that closely. I’m in a 4 here, and there was just enough drape without it being too blousy. The sleeves were also a good length.

J.Crew keeps saying how it’s returning to the classics, and in fact, that’s the theme of its latest catalog. With the exception of the blazer, everything I tried on fit well and was made of quality-ish materials (the jury is still out on the tweed pencil skirt. I do wonder how it would  hold up). The blazer itself was fine, I just didn’t like the fit. I didn’t buy anything this time, but I might in the future.

Shopping: Banana Republic

There was a time when most of my wardrobe came from Banana Republic. Although I still have a few pieces from the store, that’s really not the case any more. The amount I’ve spent at Banana has also dropped drastically. For the past few years, I’ve (embarrassingly enough) qualified for Silver status on my Gap card, all because of purchases made at BR. This year, I won’t come anywhere qualifying (and that’s OK — all it really does is give you free shipping on any order and a few other features that I don’t use).

I think one of the reasons why I’ve lost interest in the store is that a lot of it is the same old, same old, even though they’ve brought  in Marissa Webb and things are supposed to get better. Another part of it is that  a lot of the things I try on just don’t work for me.

BananaRepublic_cobalt_pencilskirt_6 BananaRepublic_cobalt_pencilskirt_8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case in point: the blue square jacquard pencil skirt. I really liked the way the skirt looked on the site, but in person it was just eh.

A part of the problem is the fit of the skirt. A few reviews had posted before I ordered, noting that it ran small. Some people claimed to need two sizes above their usual BR size. To play it safe, I ordered a 6 (my usual size, pictured on the left), and an 8 (on the right).

Both kind of fit, but in different ways. The 6 was very fitted at the waist, meaning I wouldn’t be able to wear it on a “puffy” day. The 8 was looser at the waist in a way that just looked weird. You can see the weirdness of the waist better in the photo below.

everlane_tank_tucked

The waist is sitting away from my body and it’s my hips that are doing the work of holding up the skirt.

I was curious to see if the size 6 skirt was really actually smaller than size 6 Banana of the past, so I compared it my favorite skirt from the brand, a green Sloan pencil skirt.

BananaRepublic_cobalt_skirt_comparison

The two skirts were actually pretty close in size, with the major difference being the height of the blue skirt’s waist. I guess the big issue with the new pencil skirt isn’t sizing, but the fact that I’m not used to wearing such a high waist. Suffice it to say, I returned both sizes and am not any closer to achieving silver status this year.

Shopping: Anthropologie

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve long admired Anthropologie from afar, but never really purchased anything there, save for a telephone print pencil skirt, which I wear quite a lot. I ended up dropping by the store across from Rittenhouse Square this weekend, since I wanted to get some new knobs/drawer pulls for an Ikea dresser I recently moved from a closet to the living room.

anthro_drawerpulls_dresser

Cute, right? My favorite part is that the drawer pulls combined cost as much as the dresser itself (It’s the Rast from IKEA). Oh well.

Since I was there anyway, I figured I might as well try some stuff on. I really liked the way the Brynn Shirtdress looked on the model online. This was a drses that I was ready to buy, full price, sight unseen.

Um, I’m really glad I didn’t do that. On me, the dress was a different story altogether. It was super unflattering. I look a little round in the hip area, don’t you think? The skirt portion of the dress is lined, which I think contributes to its poufiness.

anthropologie_brynn_shirtdress

I easily look 10 pounds heavier in the dress. I wondered if it was a sizing issue – I’m in a small – but I doubt going up or down a size would have made the situation any better.

The puffy skirt wasn’t the only issue. The dress is made of a woven rayon and there were a lot of loose threads on it. The invisible zipper was a bit sticky and, strangest of all, there was a weird bulge in the fabric on one side, near the bottom of the my rib cage. You can kind of see in the picture below.

 

anthropologie_brynn_shirtdress_closeup

You can also see it if you look at the close-up view of the model on the site. I had gone in planning on buying the dress, but it was just such a hot mess on me that I ended up leaving it behind.

anthropologie_pencil_skirt

I also ended up trying on the Parfait Pencil skirt, which was also a bit of an “eh.” It just felt kind of flimsy and cheap. It’s made of a somewhat textured woven polyester, with a sheer panel between the two green stripes. The fit is slightly wider and looser than your average pencil, but that could also be because I picked up a size Medium, and it was a little too large on me. I somewhat liked it, but not enough to see if the next size down would work better.

anthropologie_cedez_top_untucked

Since I was wearing a dress, I grabbed a random shirt that looked like it would match the pencil skirt to try on. Funnily enough, the shirt, the Cedez Tank, was probably the thing that I liked the most. I really loved the color  (deep emerald green) and the multiple layers. You can leave it hanging out for an interesting look with jeans or tuck the longer, lower portion into a pencil skirt so that it looks as though you’re wearing a cropped shirt, as in the blurry photo below. anthropologie_cedez_top

The only drawback of the shirt is that it’s a somewhat heavy polyester crepe. So, not the best fabric ever, but also not the worst.