Spring 2018 Gap/BR

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Gap makes denim now without waist gaps! I tried on a mid-rise True Skinny jean in regular sizing recently and it was nearly perfect even though I typically take petite sizing. There was no waist gap, it was fitted throughout, and was just a tiny bit long in the inseam, hitting just below true ankle. They were pretty flattering except for the fact that there was wrinkling in the knee area due to the jeans being slightly too tight. I tried to find the same style online to link here but can’t (even though they were fully stocked in store).

I also tried a mid rise True Skinny jean in Sculpt fabric (above, here). Their product photos online have featured curvier models and so I expected the cut of the denim to not work for slimmer figures, but these actually ran so small that if I were buying petite sizing, I’d consider sizing up one size. I didn’t think I’d like the Sculpt fabric but it really sucks you in and I’ll definitely keep it in mind going forward.

Both pairs of jeans I tried had about 88 percent cotton in the fabric blend, but I noticed that the fabric content as well as inseam length vary widely amongst the many different styles they offer even within the same category (ankle, cropped, etc). This makes shopping online a special kind of nightmare! At least they provide some info on inseam length in the product descriptions now.

More interesting were the batik inspired offerings including this robe, which was more of a ballpoint pen blue than navy in person, and this linen blend swing jacket, both made in Indonesia if I remember correctly. Neither are offered in petite sizing. I tried the swing jacket and it could work for some. The fabric was a nice weight, not thin or flimsy, and it’s machine washable. I don’t need another jacket, although it’s nice to see Gap offering some nicer pieces again after a very long hiatus. Everyone loves these kinds of straw totes.

The last thing I like at Gap right now is this straw tote. I like the black option as well.

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I finally tried the Sloan again, more specifically this one (above), and I was pleasantly surprised. Banana Republic has vastly improved the fit of this pant. There no longer is a waist gap, baggy thighs, or saggy butt. The inseam off the rack is perfection. Alas, the wrinkling extra fabric in the crotch region has been reduced, but has not been fully eliminated, and this is why it went to the reject pile. You can kind of see what I’m talking about in the product video on their website as the model walks and turns. The stretch of this fabric will make this pant outstanding as soon as they fix the crotch issue. So close.

Also tried the Petite Skinny Zero Gravity Light Wash Ankle Jean with Fray Hem. Wow, that is a really long product name! No waist gap, excellent fit off the rack. Just a handful of denim in petite sizing available online unfortunately. It’s great to see denim options that are made in the USA on their website (and unfortunately a higher price point to match) though, but all the petite styles I checked were imported.

In the sale section, this knit midi dress with a-line skirt and tie-back at the neckline looks cute and is fully stocked in all petite sizes in the olive/brown color.

There is not much else to speak about at BR. I’m not sure what the deal is with BR. While Old Navy has been on a winning streak for years, and Gap is slowly making a comeback, BR seems to be on a downhill slide. I will say that their items look better in store than online in general, but how many people are checking the brick and mortar first before the website?

The best thing at Old Navy right now is this 100 percent cotton Distressed Denim Jacket in petite sizing!

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Best of J.Crew women’s new arrivals, February 2018

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From left, clockwise…

Machine washable skinny pants, tailored in the front, stretchy elastic waist in the back debuted last year and now, finally, we have machine washable wide leg cropped pants with a stretchy elastic waist in the back! It doesn’t look that flattering on the model to me, but I’m excited anyway. It’s only offered in two colors, black and red. The red looks like it has blue undertones. I guess red is trending now, but I’m still obsessed with neutrals and wish there were a taupe color. This wide leg pant didn’t get a name. J.Crew just calls it Wide-leg crop pant in 365 crepe. It’s item H6530 if you keep track of things like that.

I know everyone uses their phone on selfie mode to check their teeth after lunch now, but it’s still nice to have an analog mirror in your bag. The Odeme(R) mirrored compact comes in four trendy colors (one of which is red again) in a fancy box. It’s made in the USA. There are two mirrors in there. I’m not sure why two is better than one, but I guess something had to go on the second side. I wish there was a fun cat print on one side or something instead.

Coola(R) liplux SPF 30 is like a balm with sunscreen and a wash of color. That seems a lot more fun than rubbing regular sunscreen over your mouth. Is Coola better ingredient wise than other brands like Kiss My Face? I’m not totally sold. Someone please convince me because I love their packaging and the way it smells.

Last year I saw red and white vertical striped wide leg pants in Zara and have serious non buyer’s remorse. At the time it seemed a little too… antique carnival. But now I cannot get enough of red and white vertical stripes. I’ll take black and white stripes, too, please, as long as they are vertical, and yes, I intend to wear them to a carnival. Hopefully with a red and white vertical striped top hat. You only live once. J.Crew’s Striped silk top comes in all sizes. I just wish there were a cotton version. But if J.Crew does vertical stripes like they did horizontal stripes, there will be no shortage of vertical stripes in the future.

I’ve not had good fortune with J.Crew jewelry. Their gold color has just been weird too many times for me and I’ve given up. I really like the Double stretch bracelet though because its two and one-eighth inch diameter may actually be small enough to fit a petite wrist properly, and it stretches. Which means it will probably pinch. But it looks great.

Okay the Cropped knit pant is from last season but has the top-rated designation now on their website and I think the wool-cotton blend sounds cozy. Sounds like a great transition piece that goes with everything, and is super comfortable, and will probably be stylish for a long time.

The Drapey wrap-back jumpsuit may be how I crack and end up on the jumpsuit bandwagon. I like the cutout back detail, especially because J.Crew claims it’s bra friendly. Love that it is a one piece outfit that can be dressed up and down with accessories and that it is machine washable. Not sure how the short sleeves will play out in real life or how you get it on. It looks like there is a back zip on the pant waistband and a potentially annoying hook and eye closure, (or worse?) a button, on the top’s back flap detail. On second thought, maybe I’m too old to rock a jumpsuit.

J.Crew picks, Fall 17

Turtleneck tunic sweatshirt

Turtleneck tunic sweatshirt

Things seem to be on an upswing at J.Crew. I haven’t seen any neon stripes, wacky t-shirt graphics, or chunky jewelry in a while, and their pants and jeans seem to have received a major tailoring overhaul. This is good news since my Minnies from like 2009 have seen better days and seem to shrink a little with every machine wash and dry. Now there are finally several machine washable pant options in very promising cuts.

I recently tried the New easy pant. I loved the concept of tailored work slack in the front and elastic waist in the back. An elastic waist is so much more comfortable! The Easy pant has side pockets in the front and is machine washable. I was very excited that these might be the new Minnies for me, after their other versions since that one like the Martie weren’t quite what I was looking for.

The Easy pant was not as cropped as expected and fit more like an ankle length pant than cropped 7/8 pant. It bagged ever so slightly in the rear such that from the front the lines were not as smooth as they could be, but acceptable, given the other desirable qualities. Some reviewers did not like the higher rise, but to me the rise is on-trend, leg lengthening, and stylish. I thought the pant was a little too slim through the thigh and knee, and wish that either it was cut a little less slim or that the fabric had some stretch, especially when sitting. It does not. I found I could size both down and up, due to the elastic waistband, however, sizing up resulted in a longer inseam which would have required tailoring. Overall this pant runs smaller than pants and skirts from past seasons. It seems that J.Crew may have adjusted their size chart yet again, which may actually benefit petites. The final deal-breaking quality for this style was the bulging effect around the middle when sitting down. For some reason, on me the pant poofs out around the stomach area when sitting down in an unflattering way. Am I the only one that has encountered this issue? That, along with the other slight misses noted above resulted in this being a return.

While making that return I encountered the Cameron pant. I have yet to receive my usual size but I am really excited about these based on what I’ve seen so far. They seem to be very flattering, have stretch, and are also machine washable. One of the ongoing issues with J.Crew pants that I anticipate for the Cameron is VPL. I often find myself wondering if pant pockets could be double thickness or if that area could be lined somehow to eliminate this issue. No one that makes pants commercially in America seems to have figured out how to do this yet. WHY.

I like the Cameron pant, at least in theory, as a not-too-skinny option, which still has a place in my wardrobe, but also really want to see the kinks worked out of the Easy pant and that silhouette reworked to either be more 60s cigarette pant or wide leg 70s inspired pant. With an elastic waist. And machine washable. A solid wide leg pant style is noticeably missing from their machine washable pant line-up.

There are a couple sweaters that I really like right now. I really like the heather sandstone color that the Long open cardigan sweater comes in. It’s a great neutral color that looks like it could work for both cool and warm tones, that could be dressed up or down. No petite sizing on that though, and smaller sizes are currently sold out.

I also like the Turtleneck tunic sweatshirt pictured above in the heather camel color for warm tones and deep blush for cool tones. This cotton sweatshirt looks really lightweight for a fall-winter offering (anyone try it? how is it?), but one could really live in this for all casual activity all the way into spring and summer 2018 and beyond, in my opinion. These two items were the only things I could find in neutral taupe-y colors. Would love to see more gray, taupe, heather camel, mushroom, blush, sandstone, etc.

I also recently tried the Garment-dyed ball cap. The website says this is made in the usa. By whom, I do not know, perhaps Ebbets Field Flannels because it is very similar to their J.Crew hat offerings. Both the Garment-dyed ball cap and Ebbets Field hats are very nice. I was concerned that the adjustable leather strap in the back would be cumbersome or ineffective, but I have had no issues. I would recommend either to anyone.

Girls' faux-fur kitty slippers

Kitty slippers

If you have small feet or children, do not miss the faux-fur kitty slippers. They are the best cat slippers I’ve seen yet, and at a very enticing price point.