Shopping challenge: Searching for goodness at J. Crew

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I know a lot of you agree that this is a brand that has seriously lost its way. First, they over-leveraged the sequins-and-khakis Jenna Lyons aesthetic (which I actually liked a lot of at first, but which eventually jumped the shark) and now that Lyons is gone, they just seem a bit all over the place—less specific and more mass. What made J. Crew good was the same thing that made the Gap good in its heyday: You could find classic pieces and adapt them to your individual style easily. These days that’s a bit more challenging, but not impossible. Also, I will say that they are being a lot more size-inclusive these days, which is lovely and long-overdue, and they’re even using models with real-sized bodies occasionally (although I won’t consider this serious progress until I see a size 14 model in a swimsuit). Anyhow, enough of my opining; here’s what I like, starting with a very smart tuxedo blazer.

Several of you just yesterday mentioned that you like J. Crew’s nine-inch rise toothpick jeans, and this pair is made with something called Thermolite, which makes them warmer and therefore very tempting to me.

A buffalo check shirt jacket is very tomboy-cool.

And this corduroy puffer couldn’t be a whole lot cuter.

This sherpa toggle coat looks insanely cozy.

This cocoon dress is a slightly weird piece to show in December, but the floral print is aces, and maybe you’re going somewhere warm soon, in which case I envy you.

This metallic pleated skirt would be pretty fun to wear to a New Year’s party.

 

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22 Thoughts on Shopping challenge: Searching for goodness at J. Crew
    Tamara
    20 Dec 2018
    2:22pm

    Ok….I’m going with the kimfluence and trying the blazer…happy holidays…

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    Linda B Kerr
    19 Dec 2018
    9:29am

    LOVE the tuxedo blazer, and it’s within my price range. Sadly, there are very few sizes left, and they’re not mine!

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      Mamavalveeta03
      20 Dec 2018
      1:07am

      Oh man! It’s gorgeous, looks way more expensive than it is, and yes…sold out in my size. 🙁

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    c.w.
    19 Dec 2018
    11:22am

    Your postings are showing up in my e-mail, but not on GOCA website which I have bookmarked. Also, sometimes my comments appear, sometimes they don’t. Am I the only one?

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      Kathi
      19 Dec 2018
      12:29pm

      I don’t seem to be having that problem, c.w.

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    Kimberly
    19 Dec 2018
    11:35am

    I shop Jcrew a LOT because I’m five foot, and they’re one of the few places that offer almost everything in petite sizes. Sometimes their stuff is really great, sometimes it’s just ok. Quality has definitely changed, and sizing can be inconsistent, but it’s still a standard for me

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    MaryAlice
    19 Dec 2018
    11:53am

    I totally agree about J.Crew losing their way, but I keep hoping because they have been such a good resource for well-made basics. I will say I think their graphic T-shirts are pretty cute this year, but yeah, they need to declare a moratorium on sequins.

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    JenCobb
    19 Dec 2018
    11:54am

    I asked for the Fair Isle Sweater you posted about a few weeks ago for Christmas – I can’t wait to get it. I recently bought their skinny boyfriend chinos and was surprisingly delighted at how perfect they are. They slouch perfectly, wash perfectly, I’m in love and ordered two more pairs. I’m digging their “straight from the archives” items like boyfriend sweaters (two I still own and wear from 1994) and bathing suits, but I agree on the quality of some items being less than ideal. I hope they can survive.

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    MimsyB
    19 Dec 2018
    12:51pm

    I snagged the tuxedo jacket in a tall size and already wore it with a sparkly top to my office holiday party. It is a perfect borrowed-from-the-boys look, tailored nicely for a woman’s body!

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    EW
    19 Dec 2018
    1:19pm

    I’ve found myself giving a re-look and picking up some nice quality and well priced basics from both JCrew and Banana Republic this year. Merino & cashmere basic tops, a few pants & denim….lately, every time I stop in there is some 40% or more off sale situation. Agree on the over use of sequins! sheesh

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      KHD
      19 Dec 2018
      1:22pm

      Totally concur with you. Quality had gone down, it seemed, but I have picked up some pieces recently (V-neck cashmere, graphic sweat shirt, Point Sur pants) that have been flattering, good quality. I hope they keep up! I’ve been shopping from them since the 80s and am rooting for them! Yes, please stop the sequins and school-marm-styled flower dresses!

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    Caroline
    19 Dec 2018
    2:29pm

    Yup. I don’t really buy much there anymore. Madewell has taken its spot in my closet!
    However they do usually have reliably good denim/chambray shirts for men and women.
    Those still work for me.

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    Francine
    19 Dec 2018
    3:26pm

    I never shop there anymore. It’s just one big yawn. Between the sequins, ruffles, graphic Ts and overly chunky statement necklaces, I just can’t.

    There are so many other cooler options now…&Other Stories, AllSaints, Uniqlo…that are far more affordable and less “Oh, that’s from JCrew.”

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    Jenny
    19 Dec 2018
    3:42pm

    Every time I say I’m ready to dump J.Crew because of poor quality or CRAZY sizing, they come crawling back with a gorgeous one-two punch like that tuxedo jacket.

    I’m slowly convincing myself that it’s TTS and will fit me like a dream. The cycle begins repeating itself.

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    Jennifer
    19 Dec 2018
    4:26pm

    J.Crew did a reboot of some old styles recently, and the quality was so much better. I’m thinking of the Blythe silk shirt specifically. I wish they’d move away from the tissue-thin polyester and tissue-thin cashmere for more of their items.

    Although their suiting is fairly reliable and has flattering modern cuts, they’ve changed up the fabrics and styles on them pretty much once per year, which is kind of insane and really frustrating for consumers. If you want to add a pant or a skirt to an existing J.Crew suit jacket you’re basically shit out of luck. Seems like a no-brainer to keep sourcing the same material, at the very least, so the colors match.

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    Mae
    19 Dec 2018
    5:37pm

    I’ve had good luck with their footwear! Under my Christmas tree right now is a JCrew box with a pair of Nordic Boots in Leopard Calf Hair. I’m waiting until Christmas to open it. I got them for 40% off — hope they fit (they only come in whole sizes). Love me some leopard print on my feet.

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    Another Rebecca
    19 Dec 2018
    7:45pm

    I’ve gotten some really great quality stuff from J.Crew in the last year or two. It seems they’re really trying to earn their customers back and find their way again as a company. I hope they succeed.

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    Kelly
    19 Dec 2018
    11:37pm

    I don’t know how these retailers stop being profitable and decide “ok let’s just produce everything in the lowest quality nylon and polyester” and think no one will notice?! J crew used to have great quality suits and sweaters. And winter coats. I went to look at sweaters recently and there were zero wool ones, they all looked so cheap. I’m definitely a Madewell girl, but I’m bummed becuase the last time I was there they seemed to also replace the silk and wool with cheapo fabric. 😕 So frustrating.

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    Elisa
    20 Dec 2018
    7:55am

    I agree about J Crew, but I do keep going back for a few things. I love their Perfect Shirt, which I get in white and tall so that it hangs out of a sweater a bit. This year I discovered the men’s basic cashmere sweaters–I get them in M (I am a L or XL in women’s) and they are pilling minimally. The women’s basic cashmere doesn’t fit me as well (too skimpy), but if you are a women’s M or above, try the men’s.

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    Viajera
    20 Dec 2018
    5:00pm

    I haven’t kept up with what J Crew has been doing, so I’m not saying you-all are wrong … but I like sequins! Let’s not be hasty. ; )

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    Christine
    20 Dec 2018
    7:00pm

    I’ve noticed myself looking at their site more lately than in a long time, however I every time I order something the fit is strange (I can’t imagine the body type that the garments I’ve ordered would fit). I’m 5’8″ medium build. Can anybody comment on their experience in the last few month? Tuxedo jacket is lovely.

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    Joannawnyc
    25 Dec 2018
    9:11am

    I used to be a huge JCrew fan but then something happened and they didn’t have anything I wanted any more. I don’t think I’ve bought anything from them since the summer of 2017. Ironically, the JCrew site doesn’t always work for me now, either, which seems like some kind of poetic justice. I couldn’t buy anything even if I wanted to!

    Fortunately, there’s Madewell. I do appreciate that both of them have expanded their size range.

    Where do I shop now? Uniqlo, mostly. And Universal Standard. It’s a U thing!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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