Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Slew of J Crew Reviews, plus the Ann Taylor Loft Sequin Tank

So melissa molasses' question about the Knox sweater jacket made me realize that I have been woefully behind on reviews...since I've been behind on blogging altogether. One of these items has already gone back and most of the others are currently under review. I'm trying very hard to be more intentional about my purchases and scale back. As my earlier post said just trying to keep all things in moderation. So let's knock a bunch out, shall we?

J Crew Dream Cabin Cardigan (#20609, $148). Oh how I wanted this sweater to work. I even was ready to pay full price. The gorgeous creamy heather fog color. The very cool motorcycle-inspired detail. The soft dream knit. That perfect balance of soft & edge.

Darn you, J Crew!! It's just too darn short. I tried...I really tried...I really really tried to make this work. I must have put this on and taken it off so many times trying to make it look right. But no dice, so back to the store it went...the next day.

At 5'10", it just was not long enough - it looked short. Maybe over a dress, worn open - but not for FP. BTW, I took an M - width was fine. Those of you on the more petite side...I now have another grudge to add to my J-Crew-minis-are-too-short list, so enjoy! Quite a few bloggers have posted on this cardi, I can't remember them all - sorry. I can't believe it's actually still FP since it's been out long enough. Interesting...

And now something that worked for me. Ok, a short sleeve dress in December. I know, I know, but we'll get back to why this is a smart choice. J Crew Flutter Scoopneck Dress (#, orig $78, curr $59.99). This dress is a catalog/internet only item. And sorry so delayed on this one - as of this exact moment, it's only available in L in navy. But we all know how the popback goes, so I will provide the info.

I ordered an M in the dress. Navy was the only available color, so I went with that. (I think it was during one of the 20% or 25% off promos, so the cost was closer to $45 or $48.) Fit? Perfect! Just long enough, just fitted enough, just enough room. Very pretty pleated layered detail at the neckline. I will live in this in the summer.

And yes, this is the 2nd summer dress I have purchased in two months (1st was the Gap dress with the F&F). Why? In November and December? Well, I have said this before - I love dresses...especially in summer and winter. Interestingly enough, I don't do them so much in fall & spring - probably because I can never decide what legwear to go with. But summer is made for dresses. And honestly, I had trouble finding perfect dresses this past summer - that's why I ended up getting the dressy jersey strapless dress in 2 colors. So for me, a very wise choice.

You can also see the dress on dinagideon here. She mentions winterizing the dress with tights, boots, & fierce jacket. I think that would work great with the raisin, but not so sure about the navy. But I'm sure I'll wear it enough anyway.

J Crew Tivoli Cardigan (#20967, orig $78, curr $49.99 sold out online at this moment but available in many B&Ms). Hmmmm, don't know about this one. Still undecided on whether to keep or not.

The good - (1) I love this color combo - the amber & gray. (2) As Slastena has shown us on Polyvore, this cardi looks *gorgeous* with the heirloom antique flora earrings so many of us have. (3) I love long cardis. (4) It's very warm. (5) I like the boiled wool - I admit I think of boiled wool from the 80's in Nordic-style fitted jacket paired with plaid skirts, so this is a very modern take on it.

The bad - (1) do I really need *another* long cardigan? i.e. is this just a wasteful purchase? (2) I definitely need a tee with this - too itchy to wear a tank only. (3) I took a size M, but it doesn't always look "smooth" over jeans in the midsection when buttoned, so that's going to make me hesitate before choosing this sweater. (4) It seems like this cardi has already started to pill just hanging in the store, so I am afraid of how it will pill IRL. Anyone have info on that? (again been bad about catching up on blog reading, so if anyone has posted, please share.) Or is it just the different look/feel of the boiled wool?

I'm thinking that if I am so on the fence about this, it really should go back - it's not like I'm exactly lacking in the sweater category. And I'm trying to be a little smarter fiscally.And now some holiday dressing...

J Crew Keaton Tuxedo Cardigan (#20631, $118). Really torn on this one, too. I ordered this with the 25% off sweater sale, so it was under $100, but still. I love the whole idea of this - take a traditional jacket, the tuxedo, but make it as a sweater. And the lapels are silk crepe de chine. Very pretty. But in this case, I think I liked it better on the table than I do on me.

I love the whole idea of the sweater as an easy dress-up piece. With jeans & a tee, plus some great jewelry...effortless. But I don't think the fit is exactly right...or something's off. I'm not sure about the single hook & eye closure - would it have been better if it were either open or closed with a button instead? Plus - and remember I'm definitely *not* in the well-endowed category - it tends to gape open wider at the bust, like it's framing the girls. I can't imagine how that would work on someone who is curvy.

So again, if it's not totally perfect, maybe that's telling me that it should go back...esp at FP with only 25% off.

By the way, I will give kudos and mention that the packaging when I ordered this sweater online was fantastic - on hanger, folded around cardboard to reinforce shape, plastic bag to protect, all inside box. This is in marked contrast to my recent Land's End order of a cashmere sweater that was in a plastic bag that was stuffed in my mailbox behind all the regular mail. See picture below - I carried it in exactly as it was in the mailbox - wanted to have proof. Thank goodness it was a knit sweater and not something totally wrinkle-able. But still...not happy at all about this.

Ann Taylor Loft Sequin Sparkle Tank ($60, sold out online). I got this one with the 30% off F&F. Very pretty top. Like the fact that the back is jersey knit, not a sweater, so less (no) snagging. The neckline and armholes are trimmed in chiffon. The sequins are sewn on very well and they are just fabulous.

So why am I not jumping for joy over snagging this great top at just over $40? Weeeeelllllll, I'm just wondering if I really need it. I mean I like it a lot. But I'm mentally going through the holiday events, and I've kinda already allocated outfits to each event. And not drab, crappy outfits - but fun & festive outfits. And I'm not 100% sure that this is so special that I wouldn't be able to find something else I really love next year.

Again, this is one I've been going back and forth on. If I had somewhere to definitely wear this and I was dying to do so, I would definitely keep it...but I think it is going back.

Ok, so that's where I'm at. Hope some of this helps some of you as I work through my choices.


Genny said...

Well, your mailman/lady should not have stuffed your LE bad in your mailbox like that. I order from LE all the time and I mean ALL the time. I have 7 packages right now coming to me...I have NEVER seen anything like that. 90% of my items. Even a knit scarf I ordered came in a box. I have gotten the occasional plastic bag but my mail lady always sets it on the porch NICELY. I would be on the watch for my mail (person) and have a polite word with them. Also, LE customer service is EXCELLENT. Give them a call if you feel they need to be "told".

Genny said...

BAG not bad! :O It is too late.

HeidiG said...

Genny - "bad" I think that was a Freudian slip! Good suggestion to speak to the postman and also to call LE CS. I think I will call them. I have dealt with them before and they are extremely gracious. But I guess this is what can happen when something is shipped in the mail and can be stuffed in a mailbox vs. UPS or FedEx where it's left on the doorstep. I don't know who to fault - the package wasn't labeled fragile or anything, but at the same time, common sense would seem to dictate placing it at the bottom of the mailbox and then putting the other mail on top, not shoving it in the back. I don't know... And yes, it is late...I need to go to bed.

Kathy said...

I was considering the sequin top during the F&F promotion, it is lovely. However, I did not buy due to my lack of any place to wear it. Looks like it fits you nicely and it's so pretty! You look great in the dress, I returned the tivoli, and you are correct on the first sweater, too short on you.

Anonymous said...

I just laughed so hard when I saw the picture of that package.

I think the Tivoli cardigan is so pretty and you are tall to pull it off, I am so short that when I tried it on, it looked like a dress on me :(

I would keep the ATL sequin top, very lovely on you.

Pamela said...

I like The tuxedo cardigan. It's very classic and something you won't get tired wearing. I also love that ATL sequin tank. I must have went back several times during F&F and tried it in. I ended up passing only bc I couldn't think of more than two times I'd wear it. If you some events or places to wear it KEEP it!!! It looks gorgeous on you and it's nicely made.

Anonymous said...

I have seen my LE packages stuffed like that, Lands End should have sent that in a box to you, like they send bras in a box to protect them.

Speaking from my experience when you have doubts about something you bought, returning it is usually the way to go, it will not be worn as much as the clothes you love.

dinagideon said...

Oh, how I love most of these on you...and I still think the first cardigan looks good, but I hear you...if it is too short, and you are not comfortable with that, a return is the way to go!

Can I say I really wanted to get the ATL sequin shell but it was sold out before I got on-line. Sigh. Maybe ebay one day??? ;)

Have a great Thursday!

RatsOnParade said...

The sequin tank looks so pretty on you! Even if you do end up returning it, I appreciate the IRL pics. I don't have anything like that, and (assuming I could even find it!) it would be the perfect addition as a "festive" piece!

I just ordered the Tivoli cardigan the other day - it looks sooooo long! It looks long on you and you're tall! I have a feeling it might be going back. So sad! Another one of those that looks so cute in the picture, not so much IRL. Oh and happy belated birthday! :)

Anonymous said...

Heidi, I felt the same about the asymmetrical cardi. I returned mine for the same reasons, it was too darn short, other than that I loved it. Minis don't work on me either, and I'm 5'6". I can't imagine being 5'10" and dealing with the short skirts. You do a fabulous job though, and the dresses look lovely on you.

I kept my grey sequin AT top to wear with casual outfits, running errands etc. It's too cute and inexpensive not to wear it out during the holidays for a little pick me up. Keep!!

Anonymous said...

Heidi--what a great review of items! You always look sooo HAPPY in your dresses...before I even read what you wrote about the Navy dress I knew you liked it from your picture!!!!
The Sparkle Tank from Loft is beautiful...but where and when to wear it does pose a conundrum!!!

sweetsy said...

OMG, Heidi..I have the same predicament and I am in the same frame of mind..trying to be more aware of each purchase and ask questions of it. I took Tivoli back for all of the exact "cons" you named. I have the sequin ATL top in both grey and rosette and I am on the fence. I really like the tops and the price cannot be beat but my intention was to choose one color. I am struggling as they both have their way of fitting into the closet (one cool/one warm) but ultimately, this is not something I have even given a thought to wear (even to run around) as it screams cold & fussy! Obviously, I would layer it under a sweater/jkt/coat but I tend to wanna put on easy, casual, warm knits when it's this cold out. Am I talking myself out of this thing?? Anyway, it does look fabulous on you so that is no help..and obviously I am of no help! Why did I even write anything? LOL:)
Let me know what you do. I would love to see what people wearing the cami casually are doing. Bring on the Polyvores;)

tastymoog said...

garnet hill has a similar motorcycle cardigan, but I think that might be too cropped for you as well. I haven't seen it in person. Might be worth checking out if you are still jonesing for that style?

dinagideon said...

Okay, so I found the one on ebay and made an offer of 45 instead of 50...and they now I own the golden version of the sequin top!!! YAY! I look forward to doing some returns of my own soon...

gigiofca said...

I *think* you're taking opinions, so I'll add mine. Too bad about the dream cabin cardi. It's so cute on you except the length. It's such your style, imo. Black dress, totally you & cute on. Return the Tivoli. I don't think you'll wear it. Same on the tuxedo cardi. I'm basing my opinion on what you share that you wear & love. I can totally see you in the sequin tank. I think it is a spring piece, too. Brunch? Your husband just cooked a wonderful spread and you're in the tank w/chino capri pants. Don't you own them in the black and/or white? You look good in that one. Keep it and think casual, like cdp, not events. At least you have 60 days from the date of purchase to decide :-)

Emily said...

I just received an Ann Taylor sweater that was in a plastic bag so I can totally relate to your disappointment.

So sad the dream cabin cardigan didn't work out for you in term of length. I hate when that happens.

Personally if I can find more than one thing that I don't like about an item I immediately return it. I find that I don't wear the item as much if at all.

txmom said...

Heidi, All of the items look good on you, but I know from my own experience that if I am not totally comfortable in something and am not anxious to wear it right away (and just "know" it's right), it should go back. I bought the Tivoli cardigan thinking it would look cute with the grey tissue striped tee underneath. I returned it, though. The fabric was kind of "stiff" in the middle and I thought it made me look chunky! Not the issue for you, though! Good luck.....and I really like the sequin tank. Wish I had somewhere to wear something like that!

HeidiG said...

Kathy - thanks!

Rosa in DC - I admit, I would love to have seen the Tivoli on you. :)

Pamela - thanks for the input!

casual-crew - you are so right about the doubts.

dinagideon - and now you have snagged it on ebay - yay you!!

RatsOnParade - thank you!

cdp - oooh, you are in the nether region of no minis or uber-long cardis. Good thought to go with the sequin tee as casual wear. Hmmmmm...

yogagirl - I do love my dresses, you are so right about that.

sweetsy - well, hopefull cdp & gigi have given you some ideas to start. for me, the color was a no brainer b/c the warm gold color looked almost peachy to me in person and just did not work with my skin. and you are right - the price is hard to beat. I am thinking I will hold onto it a little longer to see if inspiration strikes. And check out Polyvore, too.

tastymoog - thanks for the suggestion. I think the problem may be that this style is supposed to be on the shorter side, so it will be hard to find one that's not too short.

gigiofca - yes, I am taking opinions and I do always welcome any feedback - so I definitely appreciate yours. Very good points all. I am going to sit on the sequin tank a little longer before deciding (well, not literally...) Love the spring wear idea, too.

Emily - I like that rule - if you can find 1 thing wrong take it back - very true!!

txmom - thanks for the feedback! sorry the tivoli didn't work for you either. it does feel stiff - that must be the boiled wool.

OneFashionistaDiva said...

i so understand how you feel right now..i get like that too. i have the trivoli sweater, but i haven't worn it yet. i think that you should keep that. the tuxedo sweater...cute, nice concept, but i don't know. and your LE package...WTF?!

Chasing Davies said...

I am so jealous of that sequin tank! I want it!!! So cute.

I have that JCrew tivoli cardi and love it because it keeps me so warm! I paired it with a navy skirt and even tucked it in. I think it'd be cute over navy pants too.

Lady Cardigan said...

I like the Tivoli cardigan. That's a nice color on you.

Suzy said...

Hi Heidi!

There are always so many new and great sweaters at JC that if you are not 100% happy - return them! If it is meant to be, you will find it further reduced later!
The dress looks great, as does the tuxedo cardigan (I wish my orchid sequin scarf cardigan would come!!!).

My comment about the lands end package - ask your mailman if they can leave it on your porch or by your door. My mailman does that. But you have peaked my curiosity...what was in the LE bag? haha

As for the sequin top - if you don't have one (I have the JC Holiday 08 version), keep it. I love mine. It looks great with a shirt (white, denim, black) underneath with jeans or casual skirts. I think it is a piece I will use for years. (vs. one season, haha)

Great reviews! How oh how do you find the time?
Take care!

AnneG said...

I have the ATL Sequin Top in both the pewter and the rose/pink color and LOVE them. The way I see it, a classic sequin tank never goes out of style. I have one I bought at Ann Taylor from years ago that I have worn over and over under suits at a business cocktail reception or dinner and/or parties and it works every time. Even if you don't wear this season, you will find places to wear that tank many times throughout the year. And, you can't beat the price AND the quality -- SO MUCH better than the Crew version. On the Tivoli cardi. I have this color and the grey/navy and from the moment I saw these, I loved them. I was swimming in the Large so ended up with Mediums as well, a slimmer fit but doesn't "lay flat" as you say and hugs the bum. It's definitely a figure hugging cardi but I think that's fine as opposed to "boyfriend fit." The sweaters do pill -- like crazy. My sweater shaver has gotten a work out. But, I still love these cardis all the same and the mustardy yellow is such a great color.

Patina said...

Thanks for all the fantastic pictures. I'm so behind on my blog and others, so forgive me. That sequin tank looks fantastic on you. I'm sorry I didn't jump on the band wagon and order it before it sold out. It's a keeper. As for the other items that you are on the fench about, return them. KEEP THE SEQUIN TANK!!!

HeidiG said...

Ladies - thanks for the additional comments and suggestions! I appreciate it! I have officially decided to *not* make a decision yet on the sequin tank. I have until mid-January to "think" about it. :)

AnneG - I do agree with you on Loft vs. JC - the JC one this season just didn't look nearly as nice or well-made at the Loft one.

Jcrewcrazy said...

That sequin tank would look great with the grey silk J Crew pull on skirt that you have!

Summerilla said...

You look great in the JCrew flutter dress. I also think you look beautiful in the ATL sequin top but maybe I'm bias because I have it too. I have yet to wear mine, I'm thinking of holding on to it for New Years if I don't find a dress I like. If I do find a dress maybe I'll wear it to a family Christmas party I have this saturday.

Beth said...

Pretty sequin tank top!!!
You look great in it.



kittykat said...

I have the ATL sequin top in black and love it. It looks great on you, so think about keeping it. I think you will get more use out of it then you think.

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