Review: J.Crew Kids (Crewcuts) Cable Crewneck Sweaters

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Crewcuts mohair cable sweaters in "natural" & "spiced chartreuse"
J.Crew Factory sequin skirt (similar in navy for $19), Ann Taylor loafer pumps (similar)

When readers ask me about buying kids clothing, I usually recommend against it. I also get a bit peeved when I hear "Just shop the kids department!" in response to small-framed women asking where to find clothes. Kids clothing is cut for kids...little humans with round tummies, possibly some baby fat, and no bust or hips. Although the overall sizing may suit smaller-framed women, I've come to realize (through experience) that the cut and details are usually not right for grownup bodies.

Last week, however, my search for sweaters led me to this J.Crew kids option. I wanted: a cozy cable knit in a casual cut, either classic colors like camel and navy or bright, fun colors, a small crewneck opening to layer over collared tops, and a good price. This sweater was on sale for $34.50 with great color options, so I decided to give it a shot.

Fit: As expected, the kids sweaters ran short and wide. To illustrate, I compared these below to a fitted Old Navy sweater that many of us may have, in size XS regular (see my post here and Kelly's review here). Please note that most Old Navy sweaters don't run so small - this one was a shrunken fit style.

Size 12: 12.25" across shoulders, 16" across armpit, 14.5" across bottom, 20" length and sleeve length.
Size 14: 12.5" across shoulders, 16.5" across armpit 15" across bottom, 21.5" length and sleeve length.
The kids 12 is comparable to some womens XXS's, and the kids 14 is comparable to some womens XS's. 
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The girls size 12 on me (5 feet tall, 32-24-32) fit well throughout (fitted, but not snug) but was slightly boxy in the torso and had room in the upper arms. The length hit me right at the hips, and sleeves hit awkwardly at an inch above my wrist bone. This could be addressed by layering a longer sleeved shirt underneath, or just scrunching up to wear 3/4 sleeve-style.

The girls size 14 on me was casually loose throughout and baggy in the arms. Length hit at my lower hips, and sleeve length was right below the wrist bone.

Left: Kids size 12                                              Right: Kids size 14
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Material: 46% acrylic, 24% nylon, 20% laine, and 10% mohair is soft but itchy against bare skin. I can't imagine dressing little kids in this itchy material. The knit is more frothy and airy, and not a dense close knit. As crazy as this may sound, I am okay with an itchier material for this sweater because I would never wear it without a layer underneath. I have an old cardigan from J.Crew in almost the exact same material, and I've worn it for years just layered over tops.
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Colors: In person, the spiced chartreuse is a bright yellow with hints of mustard and lime green. It's the same color as my old Gap cardigan jacket which is a wardrobe favorite. The "natural" is a light oatmeal. I love the yellow, but for a neutral I'd prefer a warmer camel, or a lighter winter white.

Verdict: Keeping the spiced chartreuse color, but unsure about size 12 versus 14. J.Crew has color options that I rarely find at any other retailer, so I am getting a color that I love, and slightly sacrificing fit and material in return. Since I'll be wearing this casually and layered, I don't mind the boxier fit or itchy material as much. I'll show examples soon of how I'd style these.
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 Jeans: J.Brand sz 24 (similarBoots: no brand ones from eBay (similar in sz 4-11Clutch: H&M

Old me would keep the size 12 without hesitation, but the more I look at the casually loose sz 14, the more I like it. My least favorite part of the 14 is baggy sleeves and bigger neck opening, and my least favorite part of the 12 is the shorter length and sleeve length. Shrinking in the dryer is not an option for this sweater as it's hand wash only, and I'd like to preserve the frothy material and vibrant color.
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Shop similar sweaters in adult sizing: 

Readers - Should I keep the spiced chartreuse in size 12 or 14?

66 comments:

  1. You should keep whichever sweater you have in the casual pictures. This is a great casual fit - but really for casual purposes only.

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  2. I love the looser fit of the chartreuse color. It doesn't even look like a kid's sweater! I'm looking forward to seeing how you style it :)

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  3. love the chartreuse as well =)

    also! i was at jcrew last weekend and actually saw the honeycomb cable sweater on sale and with an additional 30% off! and if you have a student id or are a teacher, you'll get an additional 15% off on top of it! you should definitely go to your local jcrew and see if they have the same sales =)

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  4. I actually love the fit of the 12 on you! I don't mind the fit of the 14 for casual wear and I love the color, but I don't think it will be as versatile to wear with skirts.

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  5. I'd keep it in a 12. It still looks casual, but the 14 seems almost too loose/big for you.

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  6. I say go for the size 14 :]
    I like the slightly slouchy look on you.

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  7. I prefer the casual fit of the 14 on you. I think the 12 falls somewhere awkwardly between fitted and slouchy. The 14 on me fit like how the 12 fits on you so I returned especially for that reason. Can't wait to see how else you style this!

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  8. I'm all for slouchy and loose but I'm not a fan of either. If I had to choose one, it'd be the 14. But acrylic/nylon blend? Deal breaker. Not just about the itch factor, but warmth, and the quality over time if worn on a regularly. But having said that, I've been getting super SUPER picky about my sweaters lately, just based on my experience of different sweater materials wear over time. Other people might not be so picky. :P

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  9. If you're planning on doing a lot of standing around with your arms at your sides, the 14 will be clearly baggy. If you're layering stuff under it and moving around lots, it'll be fine. It looks great with your jeans and boots. I think the sleeve length of the 12 is really odd, so keep the 14!

    Looks great though. I would definitely get one if I had access to J Crew.

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  10. i vote for 14, especially if you plan to layer a shirt underneath! great color!

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  11. You make such an awkward-fitting sweater look so amazing!! I'd take the 12 though.

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  12. Size 12 looks much better for a wider range of looks; size 14 is ok, but not nearly as good looking as size 12.

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  13. So glad you are deciding on the spiced chartreuse! I love how you styled it with the jeans and that necklace! I am curious to see the size 12 styled the same way to compare.

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  14. Keep the size 12. It fits better throughout since you're pulling up the sleeves on the size 14 for casual styling anyway.

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  15. I like the 14! How do these compare to the Gap cable sweaters that you posted about a couple of weeks ago?

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  16. definitely size 12. it fits better all around. love the colour, by the way!

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  17. i like the 12 better but if you will wear a shirt underneath, a 14 might be a better option.

    Please do a post on what to wear under. I love these sweaters but they are SO itchy...I am afraid wearing a layer will make me look bulky...

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  18. I love the baggy look on the size 14! However, I'd love to keep both actually because I love the color on the size 12 sweater, and it fits you like a glove. I'm so indecisive ;P

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  19. I think the size 12 looks like it fits you better all around. The way you styled the 14 looks really good, but I'm wondering if it only looks good if you wear it like that (sleeves scrunched up, waist slightly tucked in). If the 14 is worn in its natural state, it doesn't look as good. Perhaps a bit limiting?

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  20. Prefer size 12. I am very close in size to you and I always go with 12 for crewcuts. Fits perfect, albeit sometimes a little tight in the shoulders for me. Love their trousers too.

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  21. i vote size 12! fits you much better than 14

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  22. Size 14 because the sleeves are too short for size 12. but if you wear it scrunched.. then size 12. (I'm not helping, am I? LOL) Hmm... I guess in the end, I'd choose the 14 because I like how you tucked the front in : )

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  23. Honestly, I'd probably return both of these. I love the chartreuse color, and it looks great on you, but the fit would irk me. I tried on these sweaters last weekend, and I didn't like the bulk around the waist in both the kids' and adults' versions. I ended up getting the sweater I'm wearing in the fourth photo in this post instead because it was so much slimmer in the waist.

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  24. size 12! i would take more notice of the person who is wearing the clothes that show off the sexy curves, rather than the person next who is wearing the boxy outfit (not much to look at, right?). size 12 = sexier

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  25. i buy crewcut boy sweaters because i like boyish, androgynous looks. size 12 usually works for me just fine for sweaters or tees that are in a thinner material. size 10 works for chunky sweaters or the intentional shrunken look.

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  26. I like the size 12 on you better. Size 14 is too baggy. I personally have the J. Crew Honeycomb Cable Sweater in Small and it is a very nice sweater. Small runs a bit baggy, but I like to layer underneath anyway.

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  27. I prefer size 12. It fits you better.

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  28. Love how you styled the chartreuse sweater with the tan boots and bead necklace...so interesting and flattering. Initially I would have thought the 12 would work better, but I like the looser fit of the 14 when styled casually. I would keep the natural one for preppy outfits though- the fit and color really suits you.

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  29. Hi

    Size 12 looks good on you too but the way you wear size 14 with boots and jeans looks really great on you. I wanna see you have that sweater on with other stuff, maybe skirt? too!

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  30. It doesn't appear that the shoulder seams hit you correctly in the 12 (too narrow). For some reason the sleeves seem cut too baggy for the rest of the sweater in both sizes. I think the only way this sweater works is in the 14 and with the sleeves scrunched (as you are doing) or perhaps styled some other way that the baggy sleeves won't be noticeable. Love the chartreuse color!

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  31. Seeing the first 3 sets of fit pictures, I was going to say return. But then I saw the last two sets of you in jeans, and my mind did a 180. Keep! That size along with the proper tucking/posture/je ne sais quoi looks great on you.

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  32. @Erica

    I'm with Erica. I think it's the way you styled the 14 that makes it look good. In the unstyled photos of the back, the 14 adds about 5 pounds of visual bulk to your frame. I love that bright yellow on you, but I think you already have a great option for a yellow slouchy-fit sweater with your gap sweater. I'd return both and keep looking for something with better fit and quality.

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  33. Hm that's a tough one! The sz 12 fits a bit better but the sz 14 looks great styled casually. I like the bright color though! I'm sure whichever one you pick, you are going to be able to make it look cute!

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  34. I actually really love the Size 12 natural one a lot. It looks really warm but not as fun as the spiced chartreuse one. :p Yeah, kids cuts are usually too kiddish. Sometimes I hate the cheaper material they use on kids clothing too, but sweaters are probably easier than tops :)

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  35. Before I saw the styled look, I would have said size 12! But after I saw the styled look, I loved the loose look! So I'd say either one looks great depending on which look you like better.

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  36. Keep the size 12, size 14 makes you look fat on the back.

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  37. first time i' m commenting now, both are not that great, doesn't flatter your figure at all, even in a slouchy manner, can be returned. btw, love ur latest on ann taylor discount code, tks!

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  38. haha @".little humans with round tummies," super cute way to describe kids.

    The sweaters you picked out fit you well. Looks super casual and relaxed. You also paired it very well.

    I like the chartreuse as well, good choice. personally I like the fit of the 14, more relaxed.

    ---
    www.poserseries.com

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  39. With the skirt both look weird in my opinion. With the jeans the yellow is lovely!!

    The Life After

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  40. Size 12 is better for sure! The underarm fitting from 14 looks horrible, especially if you look from the back. Go and get a chartreuse in 12! PS: I found the Girls' cashmere tipsy-turvy popover from J.Crew incredibly chic, should look very posh if it's the right cutting. Unfortunately the largest size is 12, and I'm almost 5'4 and need a 14. Are you interested in trying it and give us some feedback?

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  41. I really like what you did with the chartreuse sweater in the second look. It looks questionable with the skirt, but just right with the jeans This was a really helpful entry, because I have similar measurements on top and I've been wondering for awhile whether I could fit a crewcuts size 14. Now I know.

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  42. Keep the 14 and just have the sides taken in (from armpit to hem) for a slimmer silhouette. The size 14 sleeves fit you better. The size 12 makes it look like you have something on that doesn't fit well.

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  43. oh i totally feel the same way about kids clothes. they're always too short and wide in the torso area. hmmm this one is a tough call on which is better. after seeing you wear it with the jeans, i'd say keep the 14.

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  44. i like the way the 12 fits you, but if it shrinks, you're toast ;P i like how you scrunched up the size 14 sweater, though.

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  45. The size 14 sweater looks more comfortable and the slight oversize look is cute for casual wear. The spiced chartreuse is a nice splash of color. :)

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  46. Love the fit of the size 14! It has just the right amount of styled slouch, if you know what I mean.

    http://streetcake.wordpress.com/

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  47. i think the size 12 looks better. I'll admit that I shop at the kids section. I have an awesome target sweater from a couple of seasons ago from the kids section. It's funny bc so many people tell me how much they love the sweater. haha. But you're right though. kids clothes are not made for people who are petite.

    http://shopfrugalista.blogspot.com/

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  48. I like the size 12 on you, great pairing it with skirt and pants!

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  49. I love the size 14 more on you but I don't know about the boxy cut. My vote would be to keep the size 14 and have it taken in just a teensy bit in the torso.

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  50. In the first few pictures the sz12 looks better but once you roll up the sleeves and start moving around, the sz14 looks ok too. I am looking for some cropped crewneck sweaters too but haven't found any that flatter me. :(

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  51. Sz 14 is definitely the one. Neither size can be used for anything but casual wear. While the size 12 looks like you're borrowing someone's (a child's) clothes, the 14 looks like a relaxed fit sweater perfect for a busy day running around town to hanging out with friends. Nothing you do about the size 12 will make it look right. If you scrunch the sleeves, it will look like an almost fitted sweater that is weirdly baggy on the upper arms despite the short hem and good fit on the hips. It will still look like a borrowed kid's sweater. Meanwhile, for the size 14, oversized tops are flattering for slim women. Pairing it with skinny jeans or ponte leggings will accentuate your legs and slim figure. Throw on boots as you did and your legs look miles long! I love the styling with the jeans and tall boots. Exactly how I would have done it!

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  52. this is really interesting, especially the pic where you layer the different sizes to show the variations :) At first glance i preferred the 12, but i think the 14 looks a bit more 'grown-up', & you might be able to style it more eg tucking the front in slightly to jeans as you did here, or even a skirt..

    Katie x

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  53. I still have quite a few kids' size things - it really depends on the store and who made them re: fit and sizing. I have size 14 shirts with sleeves that are long and I'm 5'2".

    The one thing I frequently find now with girls' sizes is that the neck is tight for my head and neck unless it's a v or scoop, etc. Didn't used to be made that way in the '90s, but kids crewnecks have smaller openings now.

    Old Navy kids' department has shirts petite women can wear, or at least they did a few years ago. And Arizona girls' jeans at JC Penney fit nearly the same as the Arizona juniors pants. Jeans at Kids R Us were my go-to for years, as well.

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  54. I have to be honest, neither looks great on you. It doesn't flatter your slim figure at all. The sleeves are loose and shapeless. If i were you, I'd return both and skip the children's department altogether, as you originally planned:)

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  55. I promised I'd come back and show you my yellowy-pumpkin-colored, toasty, and not-too-bulky J.Crew sweater when I finally got around to posting it.

    It is an adult regular XS, but it seems to have a bit of a shrunken fit, which makes it more petite-friendly. Honestly, between the sweater I linked above in these comments and this one, both were miles above the Crewcuts sweaters. I'm not sure if it's my particular body type, but I just can't wear the Crewcuts, as sorely tempting as they are!

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  56. I prefer the sz 12, but I have one just like it.
    I usually shop the kids section. I think H&M kids in the Netherlands has some really great stuff. The fit is better because the sizing is based on height, so the proportion is better. You should check out their stuff sometime.

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  57. I love this skirt so much, it provided inspiration for these matching nails: http://granola2glam.blogspot.com/2011/12/merry-christmas-eve.html

    Thought you would appreciate it :)

    merry christmas!

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  58. definitely size 12 on you. i think it suits your frame more. i'm very similar to you in size and i usually prefer 12 over 14!

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  59. You've probably decided already, but just my two cents: the size 12 looks like a kids' sweater on you while the size 14 looks like you bought a sweater for a casual fit on purpose.

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  60. Both sweaters look really nice!

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  61. Size 14! of course you make both work very well here but size 12 looks a bit odd.

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  62. Discovered your blog only recently, but loving it. I have in the past bought clothing from kids sections of shops, and I know what you mean. It depends what it is, but if fitted can be shaped wrong. Though with these jumpers they look fine and it works out ok for some items.

    I also read your post of making a shirt into a blouse and was inspired to do the same, I'll post in on my blog soon and send over the link.

    http://surfjewels.tumblr.com/

    Thanks for the inspiration, I'm still reading back through your older posts...

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  63. I agree with your comments about being told to shop in the kids section. It's an insensitive and ignorant thing to say.

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