Some Small Sense

Shopping experiences and store reviews by a very petite woman. Indeed, it sucks. 4'10", 87 pounds, and full grown - is it a surprise I have trouble finding clothes?

July 24, 2006

J.Crew Phone & Online ordering review

In my last post, I did a mini-review of J.Crew's retail store, to get a peek at all the stuff short people can't buy in store. Because of a complete lack of petites in store, I decided to chronicle my experience with J.Crew's mail order service.

It's possible to order J.Crew's merchandise through its catalog, online, or over the phone at 800-562-0258. However, all 3 of these methods require you to pay extra for shipping. Now, I don't know about you, but I get annoyed whenever I have to pay extra to purchase something I may not even wind up buying (incidentally, there is free shipping with code NFS-100 until August 4th with some restrictions...but this is very rare!). Since most of the special sizing selection is only available through the mail, I don't consider free shipping a perk anymore. It's bad enough that stores don't stock my size or enough items in my size - stores should definitely comp for the shipping and extra annoyance!

One little know fact is that if you can actually get free shipping to your home if you order on the red phone in any J.Crew store, as long as at least one item is full price. If you don't want anything, you can return everything in store as well. It's a pretty straight forward process; the only annoyance is that size 0P clothing disappears quickly (not one dress was available), and the sales associate on the phone with you can't filter by size - only by style number. If you're cheap like me, my suggestion is to browse online, and jot down all the style numbers you're interested in. After purchasing 2 sets of suits and a blouse, I waited for my order to arrive.

My order arrived in less than a week to my apartment. I was very impressed with the packaging job. As you can see, everything was on an individual hanger and then plastic wrapped. The hangers were good quality - the pants hangers even had a rubberized elastic that held my slacks in place. I typically order from Ann Taylor or Banana Republic, and J.Crew definitely did a better job with wrapping its mail ordered items.

Unfortunately, I didn't wind up liking the clothing very much. Everything was huge on me. This short-sleeve French Oxford Shirt was a size 0P, and needed to be taken in a lot! Even so, I thought that it was a a pretty good quality shirt and not terribly expensive at $58.

I wasn't particularly impressed with the wool twill suiting or the wool gabardine suiting I got either. Besides the fit issue (when is it even not an issue for me? - just look at the photo at left), I didn't particularly care for the fabric itself. On the plus side, while I was returning everything, I learned that all J.Crew button cuff jackets are actually functional - so you can 'roll' up your jacket sleeves a bit. Price wise, they weren't that bad, at $228/$198 for the jackets, $128/$118 for the pants, and $98 for the skirt. But without any subsudies for alterations, J.Crew suits are a costly option for me.

Sizing is just obsurd - the pants in particular were just falling off of me! In fact, a nice strong tug would have them swimming at my ankles. I literally would need to have them taken in 4 1/4" to fit correctly. They measured 30" around - completely unfixable unless I were to get them taken in through the back (the seat was too big as well) and through both side seams. On a particularly outraged note, the size charts for J.Crew indicate that a size 0P should have a 23" waist and 33" hips. In reality - according to its size chart, the true measurements indicate that the pants should accurately be sized as a 6P.

All in all, aside from the sizing, I found this crop of suits from J.Crew a little disappointing, but not terribly so. The suits were, after all, well constructed and shapely. I wasn't fond of the fabric choice, but I am admittedly a fabric snob. When the Super 110's come out again, I'll be pawing at the suits again. It's just a shame that I'm really too small to wear them.

If you're a bit longer limbed than me, J.Crew might be a good option for you. Fit really is everything, so if it works for you, its not a bad price for the quality. If all you need is a hem, then this is a great bet. Otherwise, I would suggest a trip to Brooks Brothers, where old-school suits come with cheaper alteration options. Finally, it is again worth noting that J.Crew doesn't carry any petite sweaters, which is truly a shame. I'm glad I made the effort of looking at its items - but for me, J.Crew just won't cut it unless it makes its business attire smaller. Hopefully, J.Crew will be willing to create a size 00P like Banana Republic did last year!

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Blogger Steven Swain said...

J.Crew (among others) does a fair amount of vaintiy sizing on certain items so that larger people can feel smaller because they fit into a "smaller" size. It's grat for the large, but not exactly wonderful for petites.

July 28, 2006 1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if you'll get this comment, but I figured I'd give it a try! Were the 0P pants 30" across? I'm trying to figure out my size and I ran across your blog. Help a petite sista out! Thanks.

April 03, 2008 1:24 AM  

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