Floral and Fuchsia (& shrinking the J.Crew Cafe Capris)

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J.Crew Wool Cafe Capris, H&M; blouse (review) & clutch, Theory blazer (similar)
Louboutin pumps (similar) (similar in plain nude, sizes 4-12), thrift store chain necklace

I haven’t been posting much lately, but am still sharing on-the-go finds / quick reviews via Facebook and Twitter (see twitpics). Please feel free to follow through either of those to receive updates : )

This is my third post featuring J.Crew’s cafe capri pants. You’ve seen the Crewcuts kids versions which I adore, but I was initially drawn to this womens pair in a rich color and a more “grownup” lightweight wool material. Unfortunately, they suffered a bit of damage from at-home frying in the dryer, but more on that later.
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And as for this blouse…I wasn’t sure about it initially, but changed my mind after seeing how much fun it adds to otherwise solid outfits. I also couldn’t believe how similar it is to this Equipment blouse for a mere fraction of the price (given, that one is 100% silk)!
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Several of you have asked why I don’t show pants more often, and the answer is not because I don’t like them. When done right, pants can be very lengthening on petite women (especially boot-cut trousers with heels that hit right above the ground), however…

– Pants that fit my body type (or most body types, for that matter) well are incredibly hard to find.

– Waist/hip/leg alterations can be tricky and may go wrong, unlike those for basic pencil skirts. Out of all my pants that have gone through alterations (~7 pairs?), only 1 pair came out fitting perfectly.

– I commute to work in flats (gotta balance on the jerky subway), and long trousers drag on the ground.

Therefore, I went overboard with J.Crew’s cafe capris and grabbed three pairs in one month. The color/print options are unique, the ankle length means no yucky dragging, and the Crewcuts versions with adjustable waists are some of the best-fitting pants I’ve tried. If you missed out on the print ones, their solid cotton version comes in 8 colors.

Ann Taylor neon exotic belt (very similar here in 5 colors)

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Unfortunately, the one pair I purchased in womens sizing ran rather generously. I fully expected this, knowing J.Crew’s history of vanity sizing and having seen less-than-promising reviews on Sydney and Kelly. I paid around $33 for these (planned on shelling out another $15-20 for waist alterations), and have to say they’re not worth much more to me. Especially not the $118 retail! Just as Sydney pointed out – the wool is thin (so thin it feels like I’m going to wear holes into the butt from sitting down), unlined and itchy, plus the cut did nothing for my behind.

Also, after trying these pants on, I realized that they needed a bit more than just waist alterations. The entire hips/butt/thighs were roomy on me, and the rise was high. I knew I couldn’t visit my tailors until June (they work rather leisurely hours), so I decided to attempt DIY shrinking via the dryer. That worked well for these LOFT wool ankle pants, and I wanted to try my luck again.
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I didn’t do much research (shame on me) and hand-soaked these pants in hot water, then machine-dried on high heat. Literally the moment I submerged these pants in water, the wool started to look felted and worn. The tag says dry-clean only, so I knew the risks and take the blame.
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On the plus side, these pants did shrink slightly in the aspects of length, thighs, hips, rise, and waist – at least to the point that I don’t need to Steve-Urkel them. The rear is also more flattering now than before when the rise was high. During the drying process, I stopped the machine and checked every 10 minutes, to make sure these didn’t over-shrink. If you’ve ever had beloved wool sweaters become teddy-bear size, then you know the importance of monitoring!

floralfuschia1Readers – Have you tried shrinking items at home? If so, please share some of your stories and tips!

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84 Comments

  1. Joy wrote:

    I have a dryer story that is quite funny. I live in a bldg where the dryer has some…issues. Luckily for me, that issue is, if you press the start button, it just starts to work, without payment…
    Lol anyways, the downside is it keeps drying and does not stop, so you will just have to time it the best you can and turn it off when you think your clothes are done. One late night before I found this out, I kept checking to see if my clothes were done, but the cycle never stopped. I accidentally fell asleep, and a couple hours later when I woke up, it was still whirring away. I worriedly removed my clothes. Most of them were fine and didn't even shrink at all, to my disappointment.
    However, a pair of plain, black dress pants were coming apart at the seams from the center of the seat of the pants…darn it…my staple item for work.

    Posted 5.8.12 Reply
  2. Mindy wrote:

    Really appreciate that you shared that shrink-drying experience! I've been trying to shrink a pair of jeans that stretched out and looks terrible now. No luck! But I loved that pair so I'll keep trying when exams are finally over. Wish you luck on finals as well!!! 🙂

    Posted 5.8.12 Reply
  3. Nice shoes..!! ; )

    Posted 5.8.12 Reply
  4. If I want something shrunk, my husband is guaranteed to be able to do it without trying. Lol. He has killed so many clothes. I lol'd at your Urkel comment. Love the colors on you. Xox P

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  5. Peggy wrote:

    Hi Jean… I saw in one of your former posts that you ordered the Origami sheath from J. Crew. I have been eyeing that dress for a while and as a petite around your size I'm wondering how the fit worked out for you. Would be much appreciated 😉

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  6. Glad you did this post b/c I contemplated whether to return that H&M; blouse! I think it's a keeper now.

    For a future blog, can you please provide tips on what to ask for at the hairsalon? I have been to several, and each stylist seems to have a mind of her own. Wondering what I can do to achieve better results. This last one was highly recommended, and while I told her exactly what I wanted, she proceeded to chop away at her discretion. Would greatly appreciate! Thanks 🙂

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  7. i have the same pants in blue! i got it on one of the more recent j crew sale. i agree, i wouldn't buy these pants full price. the rise is a little too high for me.

    love your blog!

    cheers,
    yvonne

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  8. Great look and awesome blog! I love how you're not afraid to mix up different colors, patterns and cuts for a look that's truly your own!
    xL

    http://themarcystop.blogspot.com/

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  9. My Style wrote:

    love the outfit! specially these shoes with the pants! amazing!

    xoxo
    Mady

    thegirlfromthemirror.blogspot.com

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  10. Kat wrote:

    Jean! Great outfit choices as always! I know that it must be hard finding things that fit and then having to alter the heck out of it but… you're doing great! Happy studying!
    aneyeforfashion.blogspot.com

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  11. newpetite wrote:

    Nice shoes! Haven't tried shrinking anything yet but My husband accidentally threw my merino wool top into the washing machine and drier. Now it will fit a 5 year old and looks perfectly fine 🙂 I'm going to save it for my daughter!

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  12. Jackie wrote:

    Ah yes, at-home shrinking. All us tiny ladies have done it. I recall Kelly having a post on at-home shrinking!

    The worst is when you buy something that's already tiny and you DON'T want it to shrink but it does anyway. >_

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  13. Love that blouse! The length is perfect for wearing with leggings, but the H&M; coupon (a few weeks ago) didn't apply to special collections 🙁 And bf didn't think the price was worth it (it was $35-40 in Canadian dollars). Did you find it bulky when you tucked all that length into your pants (or skirt)?

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  14. You look amazing in this outfit!

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  15. Anne wrote:

    Yeah, if I shop and can't find a shirt that's my size, I buy whatever's there, and try to put it in the dryer a couple of times to shrink it. Normally I always buy a size up anyway b/c I fear that everything shrinks before I wear it. hehe.

    Btw, I saw your reply up top about going to the Philippines! That's awesome. My parents are from there, and I miss shopping there. You'll love it! Definitely try to go to Glorietta (in Makati) and Mall of Asia.

    xo Annie
    http://inspiredbythesethoughts.blogspot.com

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  16. lisacng wrote:

    What a beautiful outfit of fun colors but still appropriate for work! I haven't shrunk anything in the dryer that was on purpose anyways 😉

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  17. Anonymous wrote:

    Nice shoes!

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  18. You look gorgeous, the colors are so pretty. I've tried shrinking before and it usually never ends well. Your pants came out great!

    xo, Yi-chia

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  19. I have only had mistakes in my shrink drying experiences. I just gave one of my 'teddy bear' sized sweaters to charity.

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  20. sbl wrote:

    I'm just like you… i always throw things in the drier (if the materials allow me to) in hopes of shrinking things down. I often have to tailor things because of my petite size as well. YOur blog is amazing. I love your outfit and could never pull of fuchia pants like you do. so pretty! xO!
    http://www.thehautecookie.com

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  21. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean.Always looking fabulous. Please post those pictures from your trip to the Philippines. I am from over there and miss home sometimes. I love it when you have some trivia about Nick and the Philippines once in a while. At least Nick is proud to be part Filipino and not like other people I know that they don't care about part of their culture. More power to your blog. Also I wanted to start my own blog but just don't have the courage to do so.

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  22. I do not dare to shrink items in the dryer. If it's not worth the alterations, I usually return it.

    I have not purchase a Capri pants from J. Crew but I have bought the Minnie. It fits good but it is also very itchy. I just thought it was my pair.

    Is it all J. Crew pants that have itchy fabrics? Are the Crew Cut ones made with similar material?

    Helen

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  23. So glad you did a post with these pants! I got them on sale too but haven't worn them yet. Also – Turquoise and Caicos by Essie on your nails??

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  24. i love that blouse on you. great purchase…i think i may have to go pick it up now. 🙂

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  25. Samantha wrote:

    I always throw my "dry clean only" items into the washer (and gasp – sometimes the dryer… repeatedly!) Always. What can I say, I live on the wild side. I have noticed my trousers have shrunken significantly to where now I only dry them after several wears and otherwise line dry them. It works for a cheapo grad student 🙂

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  26. I tried to shrink a few things at home before but they weren't made from wool. Wool is a little trickier to care for in terms of washing and drying. I always forget how tiny you are =) These pants were totally doable on me. Although, they would have looked nicer if they were a bit slimmer in the legs. I wasn't a fan of thin material. The color looks absolutely lovely on you. The floral blouse paired with the pants are like a breath of fresh air for spring.

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  27. Have really been missing your posts…but you're obviously pretty busy. Best of luck with everything hon.

    xoxo
    ~Natasha Fatah~
    ~Natasha Fatah~

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  28. Kimberly wrote:

    Love this outfit – that print is so fun & the colors are perfect together! I completely agree that J. Crew's vanity sizing is a little frustrating, because it varies so much from other retailers.

    http://www.pennypincherfashion.com

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  29. Anonymous wrote:

    I have a 100% merino wool sweater cardigan and a 100% cashmere sweater dress that I want to shrink. I've read a couple of things on the internet.

    What are your recommendations to AVOID FELTING?

    Thanks.

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  30. faye lu wrote:

    love love LOVE fuchsia on you … and that yellow belt is just the cherry on top! just gorgeous~

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  31. Adorable outfit! I love all the colors together 🙂 I do the same washing machine method and I get hits or misses ;-/

    Maria

    http://www.daintyanddecadent.com

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  32. Curlijuli wrote:

    Great combination! Love the color of the pants!
    I am petite too and I too have trouble with pants' alterations all the time:(
    I feel you:)
    http://curlijuli.blogspot.com/

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  33. Vera wrote:

    Love the outfit, Jean!
    I wear more pants/jeans/leggings than skirts or dresses as that's a requirement at work and uni. So it would be heaps helpful if you could do a post on finding jeans etc. in petite sizes and altering them according to your liking.
    Thank you! 🙂

    Vera (Being Vera Blog.)

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  34. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean this out fit is do pretty! I love it. Good luck on the exam !

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  35. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, I am a new follower and I am loving your old and new posts. Thanks for sharing your experiences 🙂

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  36. Wat a beautiful outfit, and love the bright pants!

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  37. Love this outfit on you! And thanks for sharing your story Jean! I tried shrinking a J.Crew sweater a few weeks ago and it didn't go well =(

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  38. Wow you're brave to dunk wool pants in hot water and the dryer! I've tried shrinking cotton, silk and wool tops, usually knits. It's tricky, they can shrink way too much or hardly at all.

    I have the same wool capri pants, I may throw them in just the dryer to get them a touch smaller. Thanks for risking and showing us what happens.

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  39. LAURA wrote:

    gorgeous colours! love the pants..i really want to inveset in some coloured pants! it brings so much life into an outfit 😀

    Laura x

    demure-porcelain.blogspot.com

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  40. I want to see those philippines pics too!
    But I really love that funky floral top you're wearing.

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  41. Michelle wrote:

    You are so brave to put a "dry clean only" item in your washing machine!

    I am so glad you kept that top! It is very flattering on you! Looks great with those heels!

    Hope your studying is still going well! Enjoy your week! 🙂

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  42. Caroline wrote:

    Love the outfit!!! I recently found a perfect light light denim jacket at old navy. In store only, and they only had a med or large left at my store. Bought it, washed and dried on hot, and it shrank to the perfect size small. Highly recommend!

    Posted 5.7.12 Reply
  43. i love that blouse on you!!!

    Posted 5.6.12 Reply
  44. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, I recently moved to Boston and am wondering which H&M; you go to? I was in one the other day and couldn't find anything that looked like what you've gotten there recently!

    Posted 5.6.12 Reply
  45. I think Nick will be surprised to hear that. Next month, I'll have to share pics from our Philippines journey : )

    Posted 5.6.12 Reply
  46. Jen wrote:

    LOVE to color! I wish the kids cafe capris came in such a nice fuchsia colorway.

    Posted 5.6.12 Reply
  47. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, I miss the posts that feature Nick in them!

    Posted 5.6.12 Reply
  48. It really is annoying how inconsistent J.Crew is with their sizing… always a hit OR miss. The cafe capris still look FANTASTIC though, regardless of the quality after you shrunk them!

    Posted 5.6.12 Reply
  49. Thank you! Counting down the days…and sleep is a luxury : )

    Posted 5.6.12 Reply
  50. Anonymous wrote:

    You look tired! 🙁

    Good luck studying for your exam!!

    Posted 5.6.12 Reply

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