J.Crew Wool Cashmere Icon Trench

Just wanted to share a belated, quickie review of a J.Crew coat I tried on earlier this season. I have always had a soft spot for pretty coats because they bring a little joy to dreary winters, and am willing to spend more for a special piece. I used to splurge almost annually on a designer coat, but have been so pleased with lady day coats that I turned to J.Crew once again.

I was looking for a classic camel coat, and was hopeful that one of these would be a winner. However, I was underwhelmed by both and am now passively looking for new options.

First up is the icon trench in wool-cashmere which comes in 3 colors. This pretty much met all of my requirements on paper, but in-person it made me feel a little like Friar Tuck.

Sizing & fit: Un-belted, this coat is boxy with no waist shaping whatsoever. As a result, the amount of fabric at the mid-section causes unsightly bunching from all angles after the belt is tied. The chest and hips were slightly roomy on me, but could be filled up by layers in the winter. The shoulder width felt fine, but looks a smidge wide from the back. If you like every other aspect of this coat, the torso might be able to be tapered in by a good tailor for $50-$60.
Material: The camel wool material was “felt-like” to the touch and didn’t feel as luxurious as the description would lead you to hope.
Design & quality: Aside from the shapeless waist and average material, I liked the design and details of this coat. It bodes trench features that I like, such as a double-breasted front, shoulder epaulettes,  tortoiseshell buttons, and belt with leather-covered buckle. It felt moderately heavy and warm (more so than the next one, at least), but just didn’t “wow” me…

Interiors – Top: Icon trench in wool-cashmere. Bottom: Double-cloth slim trench.
Next up is the double-cloth slim trench in “camel”, starting at $280 and left in 5 colors:
Sizing & Fit: The fit of this jacket felt very similar to lady day coats from previous years, except it is a few inches shorter in total length. I am on the fence about the shorter length, but havea strange complaint – the belt is disproportionately wide for its length! As some readers warned me, the belt was also much too short for tying casually, which I love to do with coat belts. Unlike the icon trench, this coat does have a slight hourglass shape and is more fitted in the torso. And good news for longer-armed petite ladies – the sleeve length is about an inch longer than lady day coats from past years.
Material: The material feels exactly the same as double-cloth coats from past years, however contains less wool and more nylon than prior years. In 2010 and 2011, J.Crew’s double cloth was comprised of 94% wool, 6% nylon. This one was maybe 80% wool, 20% nylon (I wrote the exact % down before returning and unfortunately lost it – if anyone knows, please share in a comment!). This coat is also not available with Thinsulate lining, which both of my lady day coats have. The material felt noticeably less warm so I don’t think it’d be able to sustain Northeast winters.

Below – trying to tie the belt casually but all I could get was a little nublin. I don’t think it would stay put like that.
Design & quality: I think this coat is a good option for anyone who doesn’t own the lady day coat, and prefers a shorter, belted version. After I saw this in-person, I realized it was much too similar to my existing lady day coats to warrant keeping. The single-breasted front, the collar shape, the curved seaming on the torso, and of course the material – all super similar. The quality is good aside from the small decline in material composition over the years.

Compare of the Icon Trench vs. the Slim Trench:

Measurements of both, per J.Crew live chat (I forgot to verify these by measuring on my own – sorry!):

Icon Trench in Wool-Cashmere (above pic, lying on the bottom): chest circumference: 33.5,” waist circumference: 32,” hip circumference: 34.5,” sweep circumference: 44,” across shoulder: 14,” center back sleeve length: 29.125,” and center back length: 34.75.”
Double-Cloth slim trench (above pic, lying on top): chest circumference: 33.5,” waist circumference: 30.75,” hip circumference: 37.5,” sweep circumference: 42.25,” across shoulder: 13.5,” center back sleeve length: 29.125,” and center back length: 31.25.”

So in summary, the Icon Trench is wider in the waist, hips, shoulder (slightly), and longer in length than the Slim Trench.

Compare of the Slim Trench (on top) vs. last year’s Lady Day coat (on the bottom):


Readers – Have you tried either of these coats? If so, what are your thoughts?

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  1. I've been hoping to pick up a Slim Trench this year, and given the popularity, expected it to be back. I emailed the company and they seemed to be saying it had already come and gone for Fall 2013, but I've been watching every day and haven't seen it. Did anyone else notice it in the online store this year?

    Posted 10.9.13 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:


    Posted 12.29.12 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi jean! Jcrew has the petite funnel coat in camel. Since you are looking to buy a camel colored coat, have you considered the funnel coat?

    Posted 12.6.12 Reply
  4. Posh Pearl wrote:

    Love your blog and reviews! So glad I stumbled on here! I noticed you're a 00P. How tall are you? I'm also petite and trying to use your photos for reference of where the coat will hit on me. Thanks! xx

    Posted 11.20.12 Reply
  5. Hi everyone….I am about to purchase the Jcrew "double cloth slim trench" and I never order online before because I prefer to try on before buying. Anyway, I wear size 4 Jcrew sizing for blouses and blazers (schoolboy wool flannel), etc. So, guys you think I will be fine if I purchase size 4 Petite coat as mentioned above? I am only 5'1". Thank you and I will really appreciate your response.

    Posted 11.14.12 Reply
  6. oooh i def like the longer sleeves on the slim trench.

    Posted 11.12.12 Reply
  7. I've been reading this blog a long time too, and I've never seen any posts where she returns clothing or shoes that are not in resell-able condition. The comparison to swatching makeup is ridiculous, as you can't "try on" makeup without rendering it unsellable. Seriously, why are you taking this so personally? If you don't like the blog, why are you reading it?

    Posted 11.8.12 Reply
  8. Retail School wrote:

    Anon – 80% – 90% is a statistic you've made up. You can't base an argument on something imaginary. *shrugs*

    Posted 11.7.12 Reply
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    Are you confusing Extra Petite with Stylish Petite? Because Ive read this blog for years, never saw shoes returned after worn. Ive also havent seen her "going into a store, buying a bunch of stuff, and returning 80-90% of them" because 00p and small shoes are NOT available in store. Jcrew doesnt have ANY petites in store so you're forced to order if you just want to try something for size. Really dont see how that's like swatching makeup at Sephora.

    Posted 11.7.12 Reply
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    to Retail School: "But there’s a certain group that returns 50% of what they buy." I think that's my point. 50% is generally a good cut off, but if you're returning 80-90% of what you buy, I don't think it works out the same.

    to Wendyslookbook: I totally understand what you're saying, but I still think she's borderline abusing it. Do you see any makeup bloggers buy a bag of stuff from sephora just to review them, swatch them, then return them? No. Most of the reviewers either 1) buy it if they have the money 2) swatch it directly in the store if they don't want to buy it (similar to her fitting room pictures which I do find helpful and enjoy reading) or 3) got the items for free from the company to review. I still find it somewhat odd for her to go into a store, buy a bunch of stuff, then return 80-90% of them. Also, the point on prices, zappos do not charge higher retail, but they have much lesser sales and most items remain at retail price, so that's what I meant by higher premium. You will likely never find a pair of Frye boots at more than 50% off on zappos. Also on the shoe comment, I remember a while back there was a post about I think an Ann Taylor flat that she wore to work (not gonna dig it up but totally happened!), then later said she returned because they were slipping off. I felt like that's something that should be evaluated before you walk around for a day. Then, when she buys something online and receives it slightly scratched and tattered, she notes it and is unhappy about it, but in turn she returns some of the stuff in the same like the shoe that she wore outside.

    Posted 11.7.12 Reply
  11. Returns are cost of doing business and every product oriented business factors this into their budget. Jean is in no way abusing the system but rather she is providing an invaluable service to the rest of us who might or are considering purchasing the same item(s). What she is doing is no different from the reviews that you read on Zappos for example. Moreover, her reviews are incredibly in-depth and much more useful. And by the way, you do not pay a higher premium shopping on Zappos. They offer the same price as any other retail store.

    In addition, companies spend a large portion of their budget, million of dollars, into marketing to acquire new customers with the hope that they will initiate their first purchase. Whether they return the item or not is the cost of doing business, because it's cheaper for them (in a marketing standpoint) over time to have the opportunity to potentially retain this customer. Jean is actually performing a great service for the brands by giving them exposure and potential customers.

    Also, Jean has never ever returned worn shoes. I have never read that anywhere. I admire her for keeping, and more importantly, re-styling things that she loves. She takes the time out of her busy day to write, take pictures, and share items so we, the readers, can save time and money.

    Posted 11.7.12 Reply
  12. Retail School wrote:

    Hmm…I've been reading Jean's blog for years and never read anywhere that she wears shoes for a few days and then returns them. I'd like to see you link to where that has happened. I know she's sold her worn pairs of shoes on the second hand market…totally fair.

    I also think you're missing the point…of very simple retail concepts. A brand's best customers…the ones that spend the MOST money on merchandise, are also the ones with the highest return rates. From a Zappos exec:

    “Our best customers have the highest return rates, but they are also the ones that spend the most money with us and are our most profitable customers,”


    So, you see…while you're feeling sorry for J.Crew and Ann Taylor, they actually care more about Jean and her purchases than they do about yours. Jean buys more than you, returns more than you, but guess what…she makes the brand more money than you ever will. These brands love Jean and people with similar shopping habits as Jean.

    I also want to point out that Jean shops sizes than many stores only sell through their online retail arms, so they're already expecting high volume returns on these items. These brands have decided that dealing with the high returns of these items is more profitable than placing them in their brick and mortar stores, which take up valuable selling floor space which is actually calculated by price/square footage. Retail's not dumb. Retail's making money. Don't feel sorry for retail.

    Posted 11.7.12 Reply
  13. Anonymous wrote:

    You're missing the point, but that's fine. I just find it unethical and her being all "I only keep super happy purchases" might encourage other people who read this blog to behave in the same way. If a company wanted her to review something to increase sales and exposure they'll send it to her. The posts in dressing rooms are great too. It's kind of off putting whenever she buys a bunch of stuff and then returns them all, sometimes shoes that were WORN for a few days and then she decides it's not comfortable or something. If there is a significant manufacture defect where the thing broke after a couple of uses, then yes, return it. If you just no longer like it and changed your mind and you USED it and then you return it, seems kind of like you should've made a better decision ahead of time. Companies like zappos will be lenient toward these kind of returns, but you pay a higher premium with higher prices. So if you want to behave in this kind of way then you should not complain about prices. It's kind of selfish to expect the most discounted price with the ability to return worn merchandise that you decided you no longer like.

    Posted 11.7.12 Reply

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