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 20, 2006

J.Crew - A Quick Store Visit

347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

As I noted in a revision to my previous post, Finding Petite Stores - Where Can I Go?, J.Crew does not in fact, stock petites in any of its retail locations. They do, however, have a petite selection that can be ordered either online or over the phone. I decided to take a closer look at the large J.Crew on Madison to check out the quality of some of the items in person.

This store is one of J.Crew's largest in Manhattan. It's really close to several other traditional suiting stores due to its Midtown location near Grand Central. Brooks Brothers, Paul Stuart, and Ann Taylor are literally across the street. The store is laid out all on one floor and includes both men's and women's selections. I found the staff there to be extremely nice and helpful. Yet again, I discovered another thin salesperson to commiserate with - she also has to get 0's taken in! She was very good about explaining the alterations policy to me.

Alas, J.Crew is rather miserly and won't pay for any alterations on non-full priced items. And even for the full priced merchandise, only basic hems are free! Hmph! But I did walk out of there with the card for the store's tailor. Not only does he do all the alterations for this store, he also has accounts with other retailers so I'm pretty sure he's good. J.Crew and he have an arrangement so that if anything happens to mess up the garment, it's handled so you won't get screwed. I'll have to give him a try some time on some stuff I have already.

Right now, they're running a summer sale, but the only things I actually took a fancy to were the cheap ribbon belts and the men's bowties (yes, you read it correctly). I never got the impression that the 'J.Crew Man' wore bowties - but I guess that's why they're on sale. I snagged a ribbon belt for myself, and two bowties - one as a gift and one for me as a gag. Yes, I do know how to tie one!

I poked around the non-sale items but wasn't particularly impressed there either. Ok, I fully admit that I really don't like J.Crew merchandise in general - but its traditional suiting and work wear is definitely classic and wearable. A few seasons ago, I was taken with the quality and pricing on the Super 110 suits they had. If only more of its corporate stuff fit!

Searching a bit, I latched onto a J.Crew's cashmere sweater. I honestly thought they were better than Ann Taylor's or Banana's. And they're about the same price (this one's $138), if not cheaper. Pity, as it seems a cruel joke that none of the sweaters in any fabric or style are made for petites. So, this woefully huge XS cashmere sweater (at least on me) is as close as it gets for me in J.Crew. In the picture, you might be able to tell that I'm trying to extend my fingers as far as possible. Yeah, sleeves are way too long (19" from armpit to cuff) and wide, along with everything else!

I promise! The review for my petite phone order at the J.Crew store will be up very shortly!

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Blogger Steven Swain said...

You might have to stick that sweater in the dryer. It's way too big on you.

July 23, 2006 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anderkoo said...

Bowties are fun, but I think you have to be a tall, lanky Southerner over the age of 50 to pull it off. And they're not that hard to tie: they are basically big fat shoelaces. :)

July 24, 2006 11:32 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Actually Steve, I have been known to daringly (since there's the possibility of killing your sweater) try to shrink wool or cashmere sweaters. This is a last resort technique, but it does usually work up to a point. But this sucker would never have shrunk down enough to even bother!

July 25, 2006 1:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post. J Crew's sizes are getting to big! The petite inseams are way too long! Even though I'm probably on the taller end of petites (5'3"). The irony is that a few years ago, I wasn't able to wear their petites because the hems were too short.

At the store they always point out that you can get things altered, but I don't think that's the best solution. First, it's expensive, and second, even if you get them hemmed up, the shaping at the hip or the knee still won't curve at the right places.

Thanks for your blog! I'm also a petite and like your reviews.

April 28, 2007 3:17 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Thanks! I still haven't hit up the J Crew children's stores yet, but I suspect I'll be better served there.

It surprises me that even you are finding things too long!

April 28, 2007 6:15 PM  

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