Work Wardrobe Update: J.Crew Sale Purchases

J.Crew is offering extra 30% off sale items again (use code MUSTHAVE, ends 11/18) coupled with a new round of markdowns. There were a few items on my longtime watch list that fell to attractive price points:

1. Mona Leather Pumps, 3 sale colors, $110 from $198
2. J.Crew No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Double Serge Wool, 4 sale colors, $55.99 from $130

3. J.Crew Lady Jacket in Double Serge Wool, 3 sale colors, $69.99 from $258

1. I’ve been looking for basic cognac brown pumps for what feels like ages. I’ve tried on quite the variety, ranging from these Ann Taylor ones to these Louboutins. I resold the AT’s because I wanted a covered leather heel, and returned the CL’s because they were a little too plain for full price (chalked up $30 in return shipping to overzealous purchasing). The lower heel made it mostly a work shoe, and I’ve been weaning off wearing red soles at work. I pinned the Mona pumps months back as a new contender, but never tried them on in-person. In my experience, J.Crew shoes run about half a size smaller than AT, and I’m hoping the rounded toe is comfy. I recently tried on a 5.5 in their Everly tweed pump, which fit well lengthwise but the pointy toe was not comfortable.

2. Next up, I think my mouth fell open a little when I saw Elle model this suit in spicy gold. I love both pieces on their own, and together they look so ladylike with a hint of vintage charm. The jacket was in my size for over 70% off, and I couldn’t have checked out faster. Beware as it is a final sale item.

3. I tried on their mustard yellow double serge wool pencil skirts over two years ago, and loved the quality and color options. Unfortunately, the sizing ran generous and I did not want to keep it for the price + $25-$30 alterations. This time around, I might be brave enough to DIY, or try out this recommended tailor in Chinatown that charges only $13. I am less concerned about the size (got the smallest available at the time) because alterations from both sides are necessary regardless.

Readers – Have you picked up anything good from J.Crew’s frequent sales lately?

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  1. Love the three colors in that peacoat! If I didn't already have a shorter jacket, I'd be interested in trying the antique white or burgundy. Hope you enjoy your spicy gold piece.

    Posted 11.18.12 Reply
  2. Hi there – I do want to preface my response by noting that being successful in one's career doesn't necessarily equate to having a lot of spending money (ie. I have friends with successful teaching or non-profit careers who just don't earn that much due to the industries), and also vice-versa. Personally, I am actually not far along in my career. I worked 3 years at a job after college, and took a risk before going up for another promotion to leave and do something very different. My career progression has been set back a year or two due to lack of experience, but I am infinitely happier at my new role. I also want to mention that I have been working for 10 years (and I am currently 25). I had multiple jobs during high school, and had internships every summer and during the school year in college. That, coupled with just having low expenses in general over the 10 years (drive an inexpensive car, enjoy eating at inexpensive restaurants, no debt) allow me to spend more "freely" on this kind of stuff. Everyone's personal situation is different, but I wish you the best in finding a job that you are passionate about and affords you the things that you value : )

    Posted 11.18.12 Reply
  3. It stands for "half" so like 5.5 : ) The silk pintuck blouse looks lovely and I like the back buttons.

    Posted 11.18.12 Reply
  4. Julia wrote:

    After a long wait, the double serge wool in spicy gold was finally one sale! It was actually the first thing I checked when J. Crew announced the promotion. I have tried the factory version back in summer but they did not have my size, and the material wasn't nearly as good.

    I also recommend the Tipped Peacoat in antique white which I was able to get it for a little over $110 in store down from the original price $298. It is comprised 100% wool (or close to 100% if not), incredibly warm, and super easy to match anything you wear in the bottom.

    Posted 11.18.12 Reply
  5. Bethany wrote:

    Thank you very much.
    Janki and Jean.

    Posted 11.18.12 Reply
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    I'm still a student in college, but I do love your working outfits on this blog. I'm not working full-time just yet, so I don't have the money to afford these kinds of clothing. I would love to know, however, how you became so successful in your career – presuming that you are, as you seem to be very "free" when it comes to spending money on expensive clothing and accessories (aside from the purpose of investing in the quality thereof), and of course I don't mean that in a bad way. I'm just curious as to how you've got so far in your workplace to have been able to afford all this goodness. You're one of my biggest fashion inspirations, Jean. And thanks for taking the time to read my comment. 🙂 X

    Posted 11.18.12 Reply
  7. Hi Jean. I'm new to your blog and I love your J. Crew choices. I was wondering what the "h" in the shoe sizing means. I also really like the Silk Pintuck blouse, what do you think of it?

    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  8. I avoid washing/drying most H&M; clothes and sweaters from anywhere in machines, because the wear, fading and piling caused by the machine really shows. I usually handwash those items. Gap stuff has usually lasted very well through the regular machine wash and dry cycles (again, excluding sweaters that might pill).

    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  9. Hi Rach! Happy that you've been enjoying the posts : ) I might get mine tailored just in the interest of time, but check out Mary Ann's DIY tailoring posts if you haven't yet. THey're great, and here is one addressing the skirt and waistband:

    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  10. Hi Bethany – I agree with Janki. I think the skirt is fine, especially with the dark tights (which makes anything seem more covered up), but do try the sit test to see how far it rides up.

    I also think a jacket is recommended for ANY business interview. If you get there and it's super duper casual, you can always take off the jacket and carry it on your arm. Good luck!

    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  11. I definitely think so – the jacket could be cute over a pair of jeans for any setting, and a colorful skirt could be dressed down with a printed tee shirt or sweater tucked in.

    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  12. Thanks for the info! Same happened to their lady day coats, but that was because they didn't have 00P in the past so they just made their old 0P's the new 00P.

    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  13. Hi Carolyn, the tailor doesn't have a real shop and is located on Knapp st (If you look on Google maps, this street bends, so it's right at the bend). I only was able to spot him from seeing an old-fashioned sewing machine through the large window pane of a space with a lease sign. He came highly recommended by a woman I met who sews herself, so I hope for good results (don't get my stuff back for another week, so I can't tell you now).

    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  14. Hi Joyce – That is the petite fashion question of the century, and I do not have any solutions unfortunately. My current favorite boots are Stuart Weitzman boots that go a little past my knees, but they are fitted around the calves and look streamlined as a result. Some ladies have recommended looking at children's leather boots, but I personally haven't had luck. Also, if you are looking for "real" riding boots, I've heard that they are custom made to measure.

    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  15. Hi Emma – tailoring risk-wise and cost-wise, it's definitely better to just have to alter the length versus the width. A hem is basic and costs about $10-15 whereas the sides are often $25+, and the tailor may not do a great job. I do want to note that regular sizes will often run about one size bigger than the same number in petite sizing. So for someone who wears a 2P, they may need a 0R for the waist and hips to fit the same.

    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    Love your choices from this round of sales:)
    I also have a issue of altering the jcrew skirt. The color/size of what I want is out of stock and the choice left for me is either to order 4 sizes up(but still in petite) or to keep the same size but in regular. So in either case, which alteration would be less risky? slim it down or cut the length for about 2 inches?

    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  17. Joyce wrote:

    Hi Jean, I've been following your blog for a while and love all your recommendations for petite clothing. Saved me so much time.

    I was wondering if you have recommendations on where to find fitting riding boots for someone with shorter legs? I have a hard time finding boots because they always go up to my knee or higher and the boots don't hug the calves very well so it looks lose. I was wondering if you have recommendations on finding sleek boots?


    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  18. Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  19. Margherita wrote:

    The pencil skirt is fantastic!

    Posted 11.17.12 Reply
  20. Asin wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 11.16.12 Reply
  21. LC wrote:

    Jcrew shoes are sized smaller I find. I am usually a 6 but when I received my Mona pumps in size 6 they were way too tight! I was too cheap to send it back so now I suffer w tight shoes. Which I bought 6.5!

    Posted 11.16.12 Reply
  22. Julie wrote:

    Yes, I have! I have bought a lot of statement jewelry. (Maybe too much, if you ask my conscience!)

    xoxo, Julie @ OBSESSED

    Posted 11.16.12 Reply
  23. Pauline wrote:

    I pinned the exact same pair of Mona pumps too :). Let me know if you find them comfortable or worth keeping. I have those pumps in black, but I find the soles are very slippery!

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  24. Carolyn wrote:

    Hi Jean, I live in Boston too and was wondering which tailor you're talking about in Chinatown and if possible, post up your experience? I've been hesitant to go to a tailor because of pricing so any recommendations/reviews on affordable yet quality tailors in the Boston/Greater Boston area would definitely be helpful! Thank you!

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  25. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, FYI the double serge wool pencils this year run about a size smaller than previous years did. The herringbone skirts were the same size as normal, but I was surprised that I and a lot of others had to size up in double serge this year to get the hips and rear to fit. I am normally a p0 and had to get the p2.

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  26. Anonymous wrote:

    Just a question. I love your style of clothing but I feel like its ok for you because you work in a corporette setting. I on the other hand dont, would it still be okay for me to wear these styles..?

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  27. Amyyyyyyy wrote:

    i did not find that j crew mona pumps were particularly comfortable. the fit was off as well. i was disappointed since it looked like it had such potential!

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  28. Janki wrote:

    I've sat in on interviews in my firm (structual engineering)– so I thought I'd comment. It really depends on where you live. If you live in a city where most people dress up (NY, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, etc) then I'd say that you want to wear a simple white button down shirt, skirt and if possible matching blazer. Separates can work too. I live now in a more casual city so it's ok to have a work dress. Jean has some cute work outfits that I think would be perfect. I would bring a jacket/blazer. It can help you look more sophisicated. If you see that no one is wearing one, you can always remove it once seated.

    The skirt may be a bit short, test to see how far it rides up when seated. You may be right that tights are needed.

    You just want to look professional, not like a fashion plate. Keep everything simple, skip perfume (not deoderant though), and be prepared.

    In my opinion, it's always best to slightly overdress, but not more than say one level up. So, if folks wear flip flops, don't wear a suit.

    I also don't think it's odd to call the secretary or front desk and ask them about the dress code, so you know. We've never not hired someone based on their outfit, but I do note what they wear.

    Good luck!

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  29. Oh ok I was wondering about why you picked up the size 6 petite in the skirt! But yes if you're altering anyway then size isn't really an issue!

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  30. Bethany wrote:

    about interview.
    Hi Dear Jean:

    I got a interview for a engineer job next week.
    I am wondering can I wear white cotton shirt truckled in the black pencil skirt that is 1.5 inches above knees? I will wear opaque black or grey thighs inside also.
    I have two questions:1. Is the length of the skirt too short for a interview? 2.Do I have to wear a jacket or only the shirt is fine?

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  31. Great picks!!

    We're whipping up some of our holiday faves on The Glitter Life!

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  32. Anonymous wrote:

    The J.Crew outlet has the pencil skirts as well. If you have a student id, you can use it to get an extra 15% off the sale price. I got my pencil skirt in this really awesome green for $35!!

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  33. Rach wrote:

    Thank you for responding to my plea and for your multiple posts the last few weeks! I find myself wandering off to the online retail stores every time after I read your posts. Please share your DIY alterations for the skirt if you decide to try your hands at it. I tried to do it once on a skirt and the waistband totally threw me off.

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  34. Rachelle wrote:

    I Have been taking advantage of that sale and I'm actually wearing that yellow double serge wool today lol. yesterday I also purchased it in burgundy, i think that eventually I'll get all the colors, they fit so well and actually elongate my body. Which is great for my 5'4 frame. I also got some blazers and miniskirts. This weekend I might get the purple double serge wool skirt it's been on my mind.

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  35. Can't wait to see the gold suit on ya!

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  36. Kimberly wrote:

    These are great picks – especially loving that jacket! I seem to have better luck finding pieces in store rather than online (also I hate paying shipping)! I purchased their Optic Dot blouse when it was on clearance + an extra 30% off and have been tempted with their recent sale, but haven't pulled the trigger on anything yet. 🙂

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  37. Anonymous wrote:

    Why the no red soles at work?

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  38. Hi Jean – you might consider selling items in need of a new home to a startup company called Twice — basically your online Plato's Closet. As with Plato's Closet, it isn't a big money maker, but the concierge-level convenience is worth it to me (i.e. Twice sends you a pre-paid shipping label and you simply send off unwanted clothing. I was even able to schedule free pickup with USPS.). I used it for the first time and had a pretty positive experience. If anyone's interested, I wrote up a quick review here. Anyway, hope that helps those of you that would rather avoid some of the hassles of eBay/other marketplaces.

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  39. Caroline wrote:

    I bought a ton from Factory (40% off + a stackable in store coupon) but have several retail items I'm going to try on in person next week. Love the spicy gold!

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  40. Thanks for sharing! I just bought a bunch of items too 🙂

    You are always sooooo good at sharing these awesome deals! Thanks xxx

    Item: 99012
    Size: 26
    $20.99 x 1 $20.99

    Item: 11008
    Size: 2
    Color: SADDLE
    $34.99 x 1 $34.99

    Item: 26525
    Size: ONE SIZE
    $96.60 x 1 $96.60

    Item: 99875
    Size: SIZE 0
    Color: BERRY PINK
    $69.99 x 1 $69.99
    This item cannot be exchanged or returned. Final sale is valid while supplies last.

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  41. Anonymous wrote:

    Could you do a post on how you care and wash your clothes? Especially with clothes from Gap, H&M;?

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  42. Denysia Yu wrote:

    That coat is so adorable!

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  43. I had tried on a smaller size a long time ago and it needed significant alterations down both sides. At this price point, the 6p was the smallest left and I did not mind, considering the alterations need to be done anyways. I've inspected the skirt before, and a few sizes up (probably this is the max, though) would not affect the design when altered and re-shaped. Plus, I can get some extra gold wool fabric left over for crafts : )

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  44. 0myAng wrote:

    jean how come u got the pencil skirt in 6P???

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  45. Hi there – Thank you, and welcome! I used to use eBay a lot but it is very time-intensive to list, photograph, answer questions, and ship items. Kelly of Alterations Needed runs a forum where petite women can list their clothing free of cost, so that is another option: Given the cost (eBay + paypal fees can be about 13%) and time to re-sell these days, sometimes donating locally is the best option for less expensive items. I also like that it keeps the sustainable low-cost clothing cycle alive, especially considering how much great stuff I find at thrift stores myself : )

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  46. Arts wrote:

    Hi! I found your blog recently via a link roundup and completely love it! I have been going through your archives and a saw a couple of mentions about reselling your clothes. Is there a post where you talk about where you resell your clothes and how the experience has been (listing, shipping, recovery of costs etc)?

    I have a couple of unworn BR tops way past their return date that I'm wondering what to do with. They still have their tags on :(. Thanks!

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply

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