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. 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…

    Posted 8.29.13 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi,
    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.

    -Emmeline

    Posted 4.28.13 Reply
  3. mairynB wrote:

    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 🙂
    Mairyn

    Posted 1.24.13 Reply
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean,
    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.

    Posted 12.27.12 Reply
  5. Love these pants on you! They look gorgeous 🙂

    Posted 12.21.12 Reply
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    Nice ass. This is a sincere compliment 🙂

    Posted 12.6.12 Reply
  7. gracie Lou wrote:

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

    Posted 8.6.12 Reply
  8. 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..

    Posted 6.5.12 Reply
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    What size did you order the cafe capris in?

    Posted 6.4.12 Reply
  10. Elena wrote:

    I absolutely love this blouse!!! the pattern is incredible!
    kisses
    Elena
    http://dcinstyle.com/blog/

    Posted 5.16.12 Reply
  11. Rinny wrote:

    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!

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  12. sophié wrote:

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

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  13. 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.

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  14. Thank you for the suggestion! I will definitely keep it in mind for a post.

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  15. 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.

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  16. 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.

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  17. 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.

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  18. It's really thin so it wasn't bulky in looser wool pants, but I can see it might be with tighter bottoms.

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  19. 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.

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  20. 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!

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  21. Yes, good eye! : )

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  22. I wasn't successful in doing that, so unfortunately I don't have any recommendations to shrink dry clean-only items without felting.

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  23. 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.

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  24. 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.

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  25. Suzie Q wrote:

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

    xoxo,
    Suzie Q
    http://www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com

    Posted 5.13.12 Reply
  26. 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!

    ayumi

    Posted 5.12.12 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    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!

    Posted 5.12.12 Reply
  28. Mittaine wrote:

    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!

    Posted 5.12.12 Reply
  29. HGP wrote:
    Posted 5.11.12 Reply
  30. 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.

    Posted 5.9.12 Reply
  31. Tricia wrote:

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

    Posted 5.9.12 Reply
  32. Annette wrote:

    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).

    Posted 5.9.12 Reply
  33. Anonymous wrote:

    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?

    Posted 5.9.12 Reply
  34. such a cute look! i have those pants!! love them! 🙂

    http://www.kellydillon.com

    Posted 5.9.12 Reply

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