Winter Casual: Talbots cashmere (& review) + spotted pants


Talbots cable turtleneck in Petite P (similar starts in XXS), H+M pants (last seen here) and gloves
Burberry coat, Chanel WOC, YSL wood heel pumps (similar), 10mm pearl earrings from eBay

Just a quick post today of a recent weekend outfit – I wore this to a triple date brunch in the South End on one of our windiest afternoons. No hair tie resulted in constant spatting hair out of my mouth and mostly photos like this: yellow_spots4
This winter I’ve been in dire need of warm sweaters, but have been patiently waiting for quality ones at a good price. I’ve been wearing my lone cable crewneck from 2011 to pieces, even though the material is quite itchy and requires a layer. After trying a few similarly itchy or pilling-prone options from H&M;, I swore off fast fashion brands for a staple that I’d ideally want wear for years to come.

I don’t remember how I ended up on the Talbots site (it rarely happens), but I stumbled across this cable turtleneck that looked remarkably similar to a J.Crew option I’ve been admiring for months. The J.Crew had sold out in my preferred size/color early on, even at $60+ for viscose/nylon/wool blend – and this one was similar in price for 100% cashmere. I was late to the sale and may have grabbed the last one, but in case it comes back the style # is 252490 in “English Mustard.”
I would say that Talbots in general is for the more mature woman, around ages 40-60+ (although public perception is apparently even older). Despite this, the quality of the brand has been consistently good in my experience, and there are gems and bargains to be found. On the accessory front, I have spoken highly of their shoes starting in sz 5 and non-tarnishing costume jewelry (worn here, here, and here).
Their apparel, however, is a little harder for the younger demographic to pull off. Talbots has an extensive petite line that goes down to a size Petite P (XS) or 0 (the P0 is online only), but unfortunately most things I’ve tried on were cut very generously. This sweater was the first item I’ve found that fits fairly slim, like between an XXS-XS from other stores, but even Nick’s first comment was “looks old person-ish.” I love the soft cashmere quality and the casual fit, and will just be sure not to pair it with my velcro SAS shoes.

Talbots wrap blouse, before alterations (“after” not yet ready…), Ann Taylor skirt from last season

talbots2The second item I picked up (which also disappeared online in Petite) is this jersey faux-wrap top. I initially put it in my “returns” pile, but later decided to keep and DIY alter after seeing how versatile it was with items in my closet. I’ve had many outfits that could use a wine-colored top, and this wrap style adds a nice, feminine look.

For Talbots sizing reference, this jersey blouse in Petite P measured 15″ shoulder to shoulder, 24″ sleeve length, 22″ total length, 17.75″ armpit to armpit, and 16″ across the waist. I slimmed both sleeves and down the sides of the torso, and will need to add more ruching to the shoulders to make them narrower. As such, I would recommend Talbots clothing mostly to those who are at least one size up from me and a little taller. It’s too bad about the sizing, as I really do like their quality and colorful yet conservative options for work.

Readers – Have you had luck with Talbots clothing? I’d love to hear your experiences with their sizing, quality and styles.

66 thoughts on “Winter Casual: Talbots cashmere (& review) + spotted pants

  • YANXIN WANG January 31, 2013 at 9:56 am

    gorgeous <3

  • Professionally Petite January 31, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I started reading the article about Talbots – it's too bad that they are probably going out of business. I don't personally shop there but my mom does and loves the store. The last time I went in there with her I saw they were even following the colored skinny cords trend. I guess most people have their preconceived ideas of what type of clothing Talbots sells and are unwilling to give it a chance. I like when you showcase a random item from a somewhat random store like Talbots to show readers that if you look hard there is something at these stores for everyone, whether it's the quality shoes or costume jewelry, or in this case a good deal on a cashmere sweater.

    Professionally Petite

  • Rachelle January 31, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Tablot has an outlet store by my house I should check it out and they had a big sale sign as well. I love this look, this sweater look nice and cozy.


  • Anonymous January 31, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Hi Jean. I like your purple skirts. Do you have a link for that?

  • Col January 31, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I bought my classic navy interview suit at Talbot's Petites, no alterations needed (size 2P)! But usually if I shop there, I'm looking for something for my mom.

    Btw, I'm a new reader also from the Boston area. I love your blog– very fun and inspirational, especially your alterations. Very nice!

  • 99 Boxes of Shoes on the Wall January 31, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Love the whole look Jean! Spotted pants + mustard was a great choice, and the burgundy gloves add a nice touch. Have always loved your style!


  • mai January 31, 2013 at 10:45 am

    i love how this turtleneck fits slimly. i've always found that cable knit sweaters fit me really boxy and are quite unflattering. i don't really shop at talbots but have checked their shoe collection online, and they usually are pretty good!

  • January 31, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Loving this look!

    Check out our giveaway on The Glitter Life!

  • Anonymous January 31, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Wow, great outfit! You are so right, Talbot's clothing is very hard to pull off for the younger gals. Myself at 41 has touble making purchases there, I do not go there often, however I agree that their quality is wonderful and I have found a couple of gems and love wearing them. I'm so sad that I cannot fit their shoes. 🙁 I really like some of the styles but sadly my tiny size 4 feet can only dream….

  • Nancyswall January 31, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I love your review of the cable sweater. Cable sweaters are my main staple item and it's always hard to find the perfect non-pilling ones. Always on the lookout…

  • sophié January 31, 2013 at 11:40 am

    both outfits look great! I love the cable knit sweater with the coat and the chanel bag, and thanks for disclosing the itchiness factor. I found that anything with polyester or acrylic is virtually unwearable on me. The Primark stuff for example look nice in photos but provide no warmth and after 5 minutes you want to rip them off and take a shower. Sorry but it needs to be wool, cashmere, silk blend or similar to tempt me.

  • sarahsreallife January 31, 2013 at 11:52 am

    The only time I spend in Talbots is when I'm helping my mom shop there…haha, I guess it's true it's meant for an older demographic. But actually when I'm there with her I usually notice things that I would like for myself! Funny story: my 22-year-old sister was on the hunt for the perfect mustard yellow cardigan and couldn't find one anywhere. My mom got her one at Talbot's that she ended up LOVING but she's embarrassed to tell people where it came from 🙂

    ~Sarah of the New and Improved Sarah's Real Life

  • Elissa January 31, 2013 at 11:53 am

    This has to be one of my favorite outfits to date. You and Wendy (wendyslookbook) are starting to make me think that I do like animal print on some level. Both of you pair it so smartly that I'd love to try it out for myself some time. I think what makes this dalmatian print so wearable is the spots are not necessarily overly powerful, so to speak.
    I've never been into Talbots, but I agree that often enough when we venture off our main street of clothing we can find some gems.

  • Kathleen Lisson January 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I'm wearing a Talbots plaid dress today, and it would be too big if it weren't for the tie belt. I agree that their sizing is too generous. The only other items I own are two boatneck tops in PP from last year.

  • Anonymous January 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Love the outfit! I don't think the sweater looks "old-personish" at all.

    I used to have the same feelings about Talbots being for the 'more mature' consumer; however, I've picked up a bunch of items this year: two velvet blazers ($24 each), sleeveless cotton top ($10), three super soft tees ($7 each), two wrinkle resistant oxfords ($19 each), cotton sateen shirt dress ($17). I also turned 40 this year, so maybe that explains it . . .

    I like Talbots quality on most items, and they have made efforts to appeal to a younger crowd. The regular prices are a bit expensive, but the sales are very good. I'm 4"10, 32-25-36. I have more success with tops than bottoms at Talbots. I haven't bought any shoes.

  • Tara January 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I'm 21 and totally understand the bias towards Talbots, but I grew up going into the store with my mother and have always appreciated their petites section (granted, I do have to buy Petite xxs to make it work!). I consistently find items on sale there that fit into my wardrobe wonderfully- I may be more conservative than a lot of women my age, but I'm most concerned about buying classic pieces that will last, especially with my college budget. Talbots definitely stocks a lot of clothing for women much older than I am, but many of their more fitted pieces flatter young women even better (think Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn inspired). I buy sweaters there every year at their red hanger sale, and their sale shoes are a steal at around $25 (leather soles!). I hope more people begin to give Talbots a chance again because it makes me so sad to see such an established company losing so many stores. A lot needs to be done to turn their target audience around, but I hope it happens for them!

  • Jackie January 31, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I love the yellow sweater! It looks very nice on you. I think pairing it with the spotted pants was a smart choice to make the outfit look "younger".

    Yes, last time I was at Talbots Petite I found that the line runs extremely small! (To my delight) I need a size 4 in their pants! But yeah, a lot of the clothes are obviously target to older (than me anyway) women but I will be shopping there more and more as I get older for sure.

  • Ana January 31, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I love this whole outfit! I would be afraid to try the bold pattern on the pants, but the rest of the outfit really compliments the pants very well. Also, I love how you pair your very posh items like Burberry, Chanel and YSL with H&M; & eBay. Great look!

  • Anonymous January 31, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Do you always curl your hair? I like your hair somewhat wavy. I love your outfit.

  • Anonymous January 31, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    could you tell me what kind of camera/lens you use for shooting outfits on your blog?

  • Abby January 31, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I can't wait to see the "after" of that top. Knits are extra scary…I remember you did a good job with that dress, though.

    Still haven't gotten to altering my own stuff yet. I've got my pile of stuff and know what I want to do. I've got my chalk and other supplies. Got the parts I needed for my machine…Just need to start…

  • Stephanie Lam January 31, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Love the chunky knit!! It does resemble J.Crew's chunky turtleneck!! Great find!!


  • Jyoti January 31, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I hear you on the generous sizing. That sweater is really classic and gorgeous though! I don't think it looks old person-ish at all the way you're wearing it!

  • Annette Vartanian January 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I have had no luck with Talbots clothing. The regular sizing is too big and the petite sizing is just off on my body. Although I think the brand is for the mature woman, I think you've pulled off the sweater as young and fun!
    xx Annette

  • Jessy January 31, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I love this, Jean! So classy and mature : )

  • rebecca January 31, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    i love how the sweater looks on you ever since seeing it on instagram. surprised to hear that Nick's first reaction was that it looked old person-ish. it comes to show the power of good pairing because the H&M; pants and cashmere combo looks very chic yet classy.

    i've had a few very nice purchases (read cheap for good quality) at talbots and find no problem with their size for tops — as long as it's in PP. though no such luck for pants and it's too bad because the quality is truly very good.

  • Vi and Ollie January 31, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Ann Taylor has been selling some jersey faux-wrap for around the same price, I purchased one in XS(P), it fits well without any necessary alterations. Although it didn't come with a collar.

  • Fauxionista January 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Love the sweater, both the knit and the color! However, I've not personally shopped at Talbots and based off the measurements of the top that you listed, sounds like it would fit me, although not sure about the sleeve length and I'm not exactly petite. Hmm…

  • Anonymous January 31, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Νice post. I waѕ checking conѕtantly thiѕ weblog
    and I'm inspired! Very useful info particularly the last part 🙂 I maintain such information much. I was looking for this certain info for a very long time. Thanks and best of luck.

    Here is my web page … buy toilet seats
    Feel free to visit my blog posttoileting aids

  • Anonymous January 31, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    LOL at the SAS velcro shoes comment!

  • Janki January 31, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I have never shopped in a Talbot's store, but have found great luck online with their ridiculous 90% off sales at the end of the season. Last year I scored a cute wrap dress and a great pair of nude pumps. One of the thrift stores I love gets a lot of its clothes from Boston and oddly enough there is a LOT of Talbots clothes! At first, I shied away, but now have been looking at them for some classic pieces.
    I think the key for folks under 40 is to mix these classic pieces with other funkier but well made styles. I'm edging on 40 but even I don't dress head-to-toe Talbots.

  • phiphis blog January 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    that's too bad about talbots as well, and fighting a public perception of being "older" is probably not assisted with cuts that are boxier than the norm. i do love the pieces you find there though. they are classic and gorgeous!

    xox P

  • Erin January 31, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    That turtleneck looks very high quality! I thinks it's classic and not "old" looking. That's great to know about the non-tarnishing costume jewelry too!


  • Petite Adventures January 31, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Great pants. Love them paired with the mustard sweater!

    Kate xo

  • Visceral Maze January 31, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    talbot clothes do not fit me and I just gave up trying their stuff.


  • Michelle January 31, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Thanks for the reviews. I was curious to check them out again because I received a mailer for free shipping. I have only ordered from them once…it was a gorgeous silk sash on mega sale. This was a couple years ago when I first "met" the petite online community. 🙂

    Lol! at the velcro shoes. My husband would have the same "old person-ish" reaction as Nick. But balancing it out with something tight on bottom (like you did) helps.

    Hope you guys have a great weekend!

  • Suzie Q January 31, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Absolutely love the outfit. I love mustard yellow and the dalmation spot pants are cutely paired with the sweater.

    Suzie Q

  • Anna D Kart January 31, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    I love your pants! perfect outfit…

  • kathy January 31, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    I am neither petite nor as young as your or your readers, so maybe that's the reason I've had success with Talbots. I do find their clothing to be of good quality and when they have sales, things can definitely be gotten for a steal. I agree with one commenter that they can be for younger women who like the Jackie/Audrey style.

    Anyway, this outfit is beyond fabulous. I saw those pants on sale at H&M; and couldn't imagine what I would wear them with so I passed. How I wish I had seen this post prior to that.

  • GJ S January 31, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Awesome review! I have been to Talbots maybe once with my mom 🙂 But I'm not above trying out stores if others have good experiences! Why not? I do see some of their things come into TJ Maxx (my go-to shop) on occasion.


  • fwum fwum January 31, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Your purse is very charming! I noticed that your purse sits at your hip. My bags tend to hang low. I was wondering if you ever get your purse straps altered (is that even possible) or do you look for purses with shorter straps?

  • Carla Krae February 1, 2013 at 3:38 am

    The yellow sweater isn't old-lady at all. It's just a sweater.

  • Mary-Irene February 1, 2013 at 6:42 am

    I agree completely with the sentiment here about Talbot's. I am probably older than many of your readers, so I've had some pretty decent luck there in the past, but have not gone to their page or to their stores since my Mom passed away. Buying for Mom was the usual reason that brought me to Talbot's.Once I was in the store, I could usually find something high quality, and I like their jewelry. My mother really liked that store, but the amusing thing is I can vividly recall her saying "this store is trying to appeal to younger, career women!""Nothing fits anymore and I can't find a thing". Which, as a marketer, led me to the obvious conclusion that unfortunately Talbot's had put themselves in no-man's land. Not quite hitting the younger demo, and perhaps no longer meeting the older demo's needs (sample size of one here, but one who had been a loyal consumer her whole life)…

  • Kim Powell February 1, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Talbots is definitely defined in my book as "an older crowd clothing store." However, I also stumbled upon the company randomly and I must say, I really like quite a few of their pieces. While they appeal to an older demographic there are definitely pieces that are on my wishlist. I've bought a few items from them and I wear them all the time. I go for pieces that are a bit more mature as oppose to aged. Some things even have a vintage feel which I love!

    I should create a Polyvore Set with some of my favourite items!


  • valley February 1, 2013 at 9:08 am

    one of your best looks! thanks for always doing amazing reviews.

    cake & valley

  • Melanie February 1, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Very nice outfit 🙂

    Love xx
    Melanie ~

  • lisacng @ February 1, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I appreciate your thoughtful review of Talbots. Perhaps I will give the retailer a try! Great sweater, in cashmere, awesome!

  • Life in Petite February 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Love the pop of mustard against the black&white;, and what a great deal for a cashmere sweater!

    I love looking for accessories (have picked up some belts) at Talbots. It's too bad their sizing runs so generously for clothing because they do have some nice basic staples at reasonable prices!


  • Mary Ann February 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Jean – I never visited Talbots until I started reading your blog. I like to check them out during the huge clearances. I've gotten 4 pairs of shoes – awesome deals when they retail for $150-ish and I can get them for less than $35! I bought a dress during the summer clearance last year that I've yet to wear – I need to hem it. But it's a wool blend dress than retailed for $200 and I got it for less than $20! 😉

  • Jackie Cheng February 1, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    What's the name of your Burberry coat? It's gorgeous!

  • newpetite February 1, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Love the outfit on you!

  • Midnight Cowgirl February 1, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Love your pants!

  • Dream Poppy February 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    As a 24 year old young professional, I adore Talbots. The majority of my work wardrobe comes from Talbots. The quality is far superior to Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. I love classic pieces and get loads of compliments on my Talbots pieces. No one thinks I look old ladyish, most people are surprised I shop at that store. Even Michelle Obama has been spotted wearing Talbots! I sincerely urge you guys to give Talbots a try instead of thinking of it as stuffy and dated.

  • Joy February 2, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I love your coat! I've never purchased anything from Talbots, because it does look like a store for more mature women, but perhaps I'll give it a try one day.

  • Jessica February 4, 2013 at 8:45 am

    i just love this! xx

  • Emily February 4, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Wow, nice saving on the mustard cashmere sweater, over $200 off!

  • aliami February 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I've only been into Talbots once or twice with my mom. Generally, I'm not sure what kind of audience that store is supposed to cater to because almost all the sizes were too large for me (I'm petite; 5 ft 93 lbs) and the styles were actually too mature for my mom (late 50's) as she tends to prefer more modern cuts and patterns. I think that Talbots needs to realize that just because women might be more mature it doesn't mean that want to dress in a way the screams 'older lady.' That said, I do think your mustard sweater is very nice. I was actually surprised to hear you got it from Talbots, a great find indeed!!!

  • Jenni Lee February 4, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Talbots is hit or miss. I usually have good luck with shoes and short boots. Many times I find the cut is too generous in the upper arms, crotch and thighs. Overall their quality is very good and prices reflect good value. I'm very petite too, age 36.

  • goodbadandfab February 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Just lovely! =)
    personal style and fashion musings of a LA fashion lawyer living life in the fab lane!

  • Caroline Goldingham February 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I couldn't love this outfit any more! I want to go and buy the sweater, pants and gloves ASAP, and we're still in summer in New Zealand!
    – I did tell you

  • chiara February 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I generally don't like printed pants, but those are gorgeous. I also love how you styled them: the yellow sweater is really an unexpected touch.

  • Anonymous February 5, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I am 30, and an attorney. I have been practicing 5 years. With that said, I've bought many clothes from Talbots, and still do. When I was younger, the looks were tailored, fitted, and helped me gain confidence– i.e. looking the part without easily looking like I was shopping at Forever 21 suit section. Now, I have a number of pieces from them, and I buy staples there. Recently a paid of grey trousers/wool for $20 at the outlet store, a pair of ivory trousers/wool for $20 at the outlet store, $6 for blouses (cotton, and simple with basic embellishments). These are staples for me and easy to mix and match with my wardrobe. I also have one of my interview suits from Talbots and I get compliments on it all the time. It's hit and miss there, and I think that the best is to get some basics there, and mix and match with more trendy pieces

  • Jasmine Punia February 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Love the mustard sweater!!!!! The pants also work well with it.

    -Jasmine Punia

  • L'Iconoclaste February 6, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I love mustard and printed pants ! This looks is flawless and you really look gorgeous ! 🙂

  • Anonymous February 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I'm another Talbots fan. While I'm now 35, I have been shopping there since college. I often get asked about my clothes, so I don't think I'm frumpy/old-ladyish.

  • office space in liverpool March 13, 2014 at 3:56 am

    Perfect colours and nice design.

Comments are closed.