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


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.
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)!
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)

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.
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.
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!

84 thoughts on “Floral and Fuchsia (& shrinking the J.Crew Cafe Capris)

  • Reply Kelly Dillon May 9, 2012 at 1:13 am

    such a cute look! i have those pants!! love them! 🙂


  • Reply Anonymous May 9, 2012 at 8:40 am

    your blog is addictive – you got me checking it daily now… I like this look – however – could never wear polyester blouses as they get hot and uncomfortable. Much rather pay a little more (or a lot more!) and get silk. Have you reviewed any silk ones?

  • Reply Annette May 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I've only tried shrinking cotton-blend items at home by soaking in hot water and then drying on medium heat. I tried shrinking wool-blend items and got the same result you did – a felty feeling material that doesn't look so great.

    I have the same issue with buying pants, since they are pretty tricky to alter. So far the winners are: Alice & Olivia high waist trousers that fit perfectly (but obviously need to be hemmed at the bottom) and J.Crew Minnie Pant in petite sizes(all of the different materials fit great). With the A+O pant, I go with a size 0, and the Minnie pant, I go with a P00 (I'm 5'2" and 105, if that helps).

  • Reply Tricia May 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I can't wait to see the pics from the Philippines! Did you get to go to Green Hills?

  • Reply Bravoe Runway May 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    No way….I don't trust myself to shrink things at home. My fear is the color fade, and the loss of shape to an item. I dry clean most of my clothes! That being said, I think you did a great job with these pants, you can't really tell they faded in the photos, and so sorry to hear wool pants were unlined…I can only imagine how itchy it is.

  • Reply HGP May 11, 2012 at 2:33 pm
  • Reply Mittaine May 12, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Can you do a post or video about shopping for good quality clothes? Your outfits always look well put together, but Ive noticed the material always seems very good. Maybe you can tell us what fabrics to look for? what things to avoid and etc. I don't have many high quality clothes, but I would like to start buying better pieces that last longer. Thanks!

  • Reply Anonymous May 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I just found your blog and Im so happy I did! I love your style so much! One question that I have is how you plan out your work outfits. I always find that it takes me so long to get ready in the morning. Do you put your outfits out the night before do you have any tricks for putting outfits together quickly? Also, Id love to know where derive your inspiration? I think you are so talented and have such a well nuanced and sophisticated understanding of fashion. Thanks so much for your fantastic blog!

  • Reply Ayumi Lafser May 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Nice! I always though fushia color won't look good on me, but since you're an Asian and pulled it off, maybe I can too.. thanks for the inspiration. Great outfit!


  • Reply Suzie Q May 13, 2012 at 2:32 am

    This is such a fun outfit. You did a great job with the pants. The blazer is lovely.

    Suzie Q

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Welcome to Boston! I go to either Downtown crossing or Newbury St. Downtown is bigger and has kids/maternity too. The thing with H&M; is they have extremely high turnover, so if you see something you like you probably have to go within a week or else it's gone! The Cambridgeside galleria one has lower turnover and probably still has older items.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Hi Vera – There's a lot of options now for petite denim although I'm not sure about how it is in your country. If you have Gap, their sizing can run small and the jeans may just need a hem. Gap also has petite lengths but unless you are under 5 feet tall, they may actually be too short.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I wasn't successful in doing that, so unfortunately I don't have any recommendations to shrink dry clean-only items without felting.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Yes, good eye! : )

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I have tried the Minnie pants as well and those felt itchier because they are so close to the skin. The Crewcut ones are made of cotton and are very comfortable!

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    You should! You can start just by sharing snippets of things you enjoy and not worry about sharing that blog with the world. It's a great outlet, in my opinion. And I will be sure to post the Philippines photos next month – it was such a wonderful time there.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    It's really thin so it wasn't bulky in looser wool pants, but I can see it might be with tighter bottoms.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I was contemplating as well, but it's become a favorite! Glad you're keeping : )

    Hair is so difficult…I've had many more disappointments than success stories. Now I just go to the same guy every time (for 4? years) and even though he doesn't do a perfect job, I know it won't end up disastrous. Unfortunately you just have to find one person who understands your hair type (ie. I go to an Asian stylist who has mostly Asian clientele), get them familiar with what you want, and keep on going back to them. I ask for long layers and always err on the side of caution when talking about how much to trim off.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Hi Peggy! Oh…the sheath. It's very lovely but just did not fit me well all-around. I expected it to be a little roomy, but it's also short (few inches above my knees) and is very difficult to alter because it's roomy at the waist/hips AND bust where the origami pleating is. If you are curvier or fuller up top then it may work out for you.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Hi there! I don't have many silk blouses, but I used to exclusively look for them because I was convinced they were the better choice over poly. These days, however, I have to admit I've been pleasantly surprised by some types of polyester. Even from the same retailers, polyester can widely differ in quality. For example, I have poly items from Ann Taylor and H&M; that are horrendous, but I also have found some poly blouses from both places that closely resemble silk, except are much easier to maintain/wash and allow breathing. If you like silk blouses, Equipment (sold at Nordstrom) makes some really pretty ones, and J.Crew / BR offers some in petite sizing.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Thank you for the suggestion! I will definitely keep it in mind for a post.

  • Reply PetiteAsianGirl May 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Hi there! I do a rough plan the night before by peeking into my closet before bed, and also I admittedly have a routine formula for most work days ( http://www.extrapetite.com/2011/07/summertime-business-casual.html ) so it makes it easier on late mornings. If you have a good collection of separates (pencil skirts, slacks, blazers) and blouses that can be easily mixed and matched, getting ready in the mornings will be easier.

  • Reply sophié May 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    very fresh and breezy… lovely! However I do not know how anyone can wear polyester tops. Have you reviewed any nice 100% silk ones?

  • Reply Rinny May 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I love this blouse with those bright pants! You'd think the colors would clash, but they look great together. You look very well-put-together!

  • Reply Elena May 16, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I absolutely love this blouse!!! the pattern is incredible!

  • Reply Anonymous June 4, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    What size did you order the cafe capris in?

  • Reply Basically B June 5, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Can you talk to me about where you get your blazers? as a 5'1, 100 lbs girl i'm having lots of trouble finding size 0/00 blazers..

  • Reply gracie Lou August 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Hi, I am a new follower. I love your style! What color / brand nail polish are you wearing on this? Thanks!

  • Reply Anonymous December 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Nice ass. This is a sincere compliment 🙂

  • Reply Puppies and Purses December 21, 2012 at 3:45 am

    Love these pants on you! They look gorgeous 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous December 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I recently discovered your blog and you have great styles. I enjoyed your travel and alterations stories. You always look very polished, can you please let me know which foundation/make up you used?

    thanks for sharing.

  • Reply mairynB January 24, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Hi Jean – I recently bought J.Crew's stretch twill Minnie pant and they say dry clean only. They're 95% cotton, 5% spandex. Do you reckon cold hand washing would be safe on these?
    I cold hand-washed a dress a while ago that was 5% spandex (and something else, I forget) and it shrunk – I don't want to risk this happening again! D:

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous April 28, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I bought the same pants in modern red online – fell in love with the color and style – but when it arrived, I realized it was a bit too large, particularly around the butt and waist area. I found your post about shrinking these pants – would you recommend shrinking them over altering them after doing all this? Also, for how long did you dry them for? They fit me about the same as yours did before you shrunk them. I also was wondering whether you rolled up the bottoms after shrinking them, as in your outfit picture they seem to be shorter. Please let me know! I'd really love to wear them.


  • Reply Another Petite! August 29, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    I can't agree with you more about pants for petites. It sounds like I am the exact same size as you in the bottom half, and man, I hear your plight. (Asian butt does not help me.) Trousers virtually never fit right on me off the rack, and getting them tailored is a roulette spin to no fault of the tailor really. It was love at first sight for me with the Minnie but J Crew's pants tend to run wide…I am debating on whether I should take the chance. I had the Cafe Capri in kids, but the fit was off. I thought the women's version had better fabric (softer, more stretchy). The kids version had almost no stretch, and I was between sizes. And the larger size I received was not manufactured symmetrically. Hrmph. Also the manufacturing across colors varied. I got the fan print used and it didn't have the asymmetrical issue and was not as baggy as the same size in solid color. For some reason, Crewcuts tends to run wide in the waist and narrow in the knees and leg area. The skinny leg looks great, but it is always just a tad too skinny and non-stretchy for me. The women's versions are the opposite, too wide all around. I tried Crewcuts jeans – length was perfect! But width was too tight. I was afraid to go up a size as with my luck it would have been too big all around. On another note, ON's petite sizing has shrunk down quite a bit. Their petite women's sizing now seems to be smaller than Gap's. Their proportions tend to be off for me though. (Sighs.) If you ever find The Perfect Pair of Pants, please write me and let me know. I dream of the day…

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