A J.Crew Shoe Review

While I was packing for LA back in October, it became clear to me that all the miles that I logged walking around DC in my Cole Haan with Nike Air Technology heels took a toll on many of the shoes, and as such, it was time to retire a few pairs. Compounded with the fact that I have become fatigued with shopping for clothes over the past few months, it was time to buy some new shoes.

In Fallen for High Heels, I discussed my love with the J.Crew Suede Lucite Heel and lamented on missing out on the J.Crew Velvet Lucite Heel (which I have been looking out for, to no avail). Since I had such a great experience with that style, I have been tuning in to their new arrival footwear. Two weeks ago, J.Crew released a holiday assortment and in terms of women’s footwear, they brought it.

I ordered several styles in sizes ten and ten-and-a-half, as I learned that the downside to J.Crew footwear is that the styles can run inconsistent. It is my hope that I can aid others in their selection of footwear and respective sizing.


img_1366Colette d’Orsay Pumps

I was able to wear my typical shoe size, a 10. While the metallic canvas leopard print that I purchased over Labor Day weekend is no longer available, new prints and fabrics are available in the Colette d’Orsay Pump. Obsessed with the metallic canvas leopard print? J.Crew still has the sister wedge sandal in said print in stock.

I purchased these with the intention to wear during my engagement photo session. The engagement photo session consisted of two hours of walking around Georgetown, including navigating cobble stone streets, dirt paths along the canal, and the pebbled road near the boathouses. Afterwards, the fiance and I went to a party celebrating a couple of our newly eloped friends on 14th Street, a tiki bar on U Street, and Old Ebbit Grill for late night raw bar. I didn’t remove the Colette d’Orsay Pump until we returned to the hotel, well after midnight.


img_1392Lena Velvet Pumps

I was dying for a pair of velvet shoes since I missed out on the J.Crew Velvet Lucite Heel and the J.Crew Velvet Avery Heel. As mentioned in Fallen for High Heels, I went up a half size in the Lena Pumps, as well as the Olive Pumps (the J.Crew Factory version of the Lena Pumps, available in suede and embellished with a glitter heel). The velvet version is no different. When I previously purchased a pair of the Lena Cap-Toe Pumps and Olive Calf Hair Pumps I didn’t love the height on them; however it was the velvet finish on this particular pair that made me reconsider the style.

While the heel height is a bit aggressive for someone topping 6′-0″, I appreciate that the heel is block-y and sturdy. Sometimes I think that stiletto heels can just look too dainty and delicate on taller women, and often I forget to walk on my toes over subway grates when I am wearing them (#citygirlproblems). This issues are moot for the Lena Pump. Whether or not I will keep the velvet version remains unseen; I have a reminder on my phone to make a decision prior to the conclusion of the valid return period. It is my hope that I will magically put together an outfit that requires a pair of dark forest green velvet high heels.


img_1364Esme Jeweled Kitten Heels

As mentioned in Fallen for High Heels, these run true-to-size. The item description is a bit off when it comes to the fabric, as it cites a suede upper; however it is actually feels more like a velvet, albeit less much less plush and more subtle than the Lena Velvet Pump. Although I have heard opinions that the kitten heel is the shoe version of a mullet (looking at you, Lauren Conrad), I actually love the 2-1/4″ heel. My favorite part of this shoe is the jeweled detailing – perfect for holiday! Both features remind me of a pair of shoes I saw in my vintage copy of The Official Preppy Handbook.

If you do not like either the kitten heel or the jeweled detailing, J.Crew Factory still has you covered! For those who concur with Ms. Conrad opinion of a kitten heel, I would recommend the pump version featuring a 3-1/2″ heel. For those who do not like the heel height but do not love an embellishment, I would recommend the Esme Suede Kitten Heels (or even the Dulci Kitten Heels at the retail counterpart), which comes in a variety of colors, some of which are marked down.


img_1378kateCanvas Espadrille Wedge

I purchased a pair of these in a size 10, as mentioned in Fallen for High Heels. Fortunately for me, the size 10 fit as they were on final sale through J.Crew Factory; however I think I could definitely accommodate a half size up.

I have been obsessed with finding a pair of navy canvas espadrille wedges since seeing photos of Princess Kate in an navy blue blazer – striped Breton tee – skinny dark denim – navy espadrille wedge ensemble. As one of my style icons, I knew I wanted to incorporate elements of her look into my wardrobe and I promptly ordered a navy Rhodes light wool blazer. It took me slightly longer to find a pair of navy wedges in my size at a price I was willing to pay. While the navy blue is currently out of stock, J.Crew Factory has a pair of navy / ivory gingham print and flax in stock and J.Crew has black and metallic silver in stock.

 

 


img_1388Colorblock Heels with Fringe

The sister style to the Colorblock Heels with Fringe, the Suede and Leather Heels with Fringe and Snakeskin-printed Leather Heels with Fringe caught my eye earlier this season but sold out shortly thereafter. When the colorblock version was released with a promotion, I jumped at purchasing them. I loved them for the colorful twist it took on a kiltie loafer and immediately mentally paired them with acid-colored corduroys of J.Crew seasons past. Does anyone else remember when the tall Matchstick Corduroys and the tall Bootcut Corduroys were offered in a 36″ inseam? #memories

To be completely transparent, I was disappointed in these shoes. They fit true-to-size, but I had an issue with the quality of the detail and craftsmanship or lack thereof. The fringe detail looks as though it was carelessly applied. For example, check out the creasing on the left two fringes on the left shoe and the separation of the right two fringes from the others on the right shoe. I attempted smoothing out the left side but it was too creased and the fringes on the right side were fixed in place. On top of that, the suede is more muted in person; I was hoping for maximum color saturation. I expect better from a $248 shoe.


img_1384Collection Avery Embellished Heels in Tartan

I saw these and I had to have them. No question. Even though they were full price, I bought them in both a 10 and 10.5, because nothing – NOTHING – was going to stop me from wearing these throughout Holiday 2016. In light of the popularity of the Tweed and Velvet Avery Heels, I wasn’t going to chance ordering the wrong size while the correct size inventory was selling out. As it turns out the 10.5 was necessary as I needed to go up a size.

These heels fit my classic aesthetic. When I slipped them on, I immediately started thinking about all of the items in my closet with which I was going to wear them. I am actually glad that I missed out on the velvet and tweed versions, because the frugal side of me believes that buying the same shoe in different colorways or fabrics is a touch excessive, and I wouldn’t have chose either of the pairs that I missed out on over this tartan with ribbon embellishment.

Can’t you imagine finding these in the next Lisa Birnbaum book?


img_1370Elsie Pumps in Leopard

I purchased these to go with a beautiful winter white dress that I intended to wear for my engagement photos; however at last minute I decided to go with the beautiful dress from I Heart Houndstooth. I was secretly dreading wearing these for hours walking around Georgetown, as I was not sure how they were going to treat my feet. Like many a risky shoe purchase, I had to go up a half size in these heels.

I still haven’t worn them and probably won’t wear them for any instance where walking is on my itinerary for the day. I do not frequently experience buyer’s remorse, but every time I look at these I feel waves of guilt for purchasing an item that has sat in my closet. I know that every body is different and what doesn’t work for my body – slash – feet, may work for yours. J.Crew still carries the Elsie Pumps in alternate colorways and fabrics, although the Leopard is sold out. If you are loving the Leopard, check out this t-strap pump or ballet flat, both in the same fabric.

A note on the fabric: the shoe box calls out Elsie Suede Pumps. These are satin. I wish I had known that as I ordered these over the phone from a store in New York, while I was in my local J.Crew.


img_1396Heeled Ankle Boots in Snakeskin-Printed Leather

I wouldn’t call these an impulse purchase because I had been considering both the Heeled Ankle Boots in Snakeskin-Printed Leather and Side-zip Ankle Boots in Leopard Calf Hair, but I definitely bought these while watching the Electoral Votes roll in and after drinking a few glasses of red wine several weeks ago. Cut to being a bit confused when they arrived in the mail.

After showing my crazy purchase to my fiance, he encouraged me to reconsider keeping a pair of boots from which I would normally shy away. (Traditional aesthetic, remember?) I considered the different ways I could style them (vintage concert t-shirts! pair of black skinny jeans!). As I was walking around in them on the carpeted portion of our apartment, I thought about returning them and purchasing the tall knee-height version, but then realized how just how liberated my calves felt and wondered why I waited my entire life to purchase a pair of ankle boots.

A Love Letter to Gap and Tall Sweaters

Upon realizing that the only breakfast food we had in the home was bacon and two eggs, the fiance offered to take me to brunch on Saturday. I checked the weather to see that it was 66 degrees out (in Philadelphia, mind you). Wearing a turtleneck and plaid skirt sans tights seemed like a ideal weather-wise combination, while the colors felt seasonally appropriate.

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I have to give it to Gap for designing sweaters that come in a tall length. Not all tall lines extend to sweaters. (Ball is in your court, J.Crew.) How annoying it is to have a sweater fit through the torso, only for the overall length and that of the sleeves to fit cropped! The sweater I wore to brunch was a turtleneck style that I purchased back in 2013. The quality is pretty remarkable as it has kept it’s shape and color, but to be honest, I have come to expect that from the Gap. Looking back, I wish I had purchased it in black, and other available colors.

A quick note on the skirt: I bought it from Brooks Brothers about two years ago. Brooks Brothers does not extend its lines to tall; however the hemlines are typically more conservative, so a longer version is not always necessary. I am a sucker for any black watch plaid item, be it a skirt (check!), popover shirt with beaded detail (check!), or the fiance’s wallet (check!).

sweater // ballet flats // skirt (similar) // skirt (similar) // black tartan dress /satchel (similar) // necklace // necklace // earrings // bracelet // ring // sunglasses

I Heart Houndstooth

Several weeks ago while perusing the J.Crew online store, an oversized houndstooth-print dress with a pleated flounce hem at the header of the tall section caught my eye. As I scrolled down the page, the dress was no where to be found. A quick tweet to @j.crew_help and I got the item’s official name and confirmed that it came in tall. An email exchange later and the dress was preordered, complete with complementary overnight shipping.

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I ordered the dress on a Monday and I was hoping to wear it for my engagement photos the Saturday immediately after; however I was advised by the Very Personal Stylist that the dress wouldn’t be available for shipping until the Tuesday after my session. I was pleasantly surprised when I got a notice that my order was shipped two days after I placed the preorder. I was even more thrilled when I slipped it on and it fit perfectly.

The dress is just as stunning in person as online. If anything, I would say that the print looks softer in person and while I love a bold print, that is a good thing. From the photo in the tall header (since the item was not posted in the online store, the item description was unavailable), I thought I would be getting a black and white dress. The dress was actually ivory and shades of deep brown, charcoal, and black, making it super versatile in terms of pairing with a coat, shoes, and accessories. Additionally, J.Crew also offers an elastic-waist pant in this print.

The dress is marketed on the J.Crew website as a “30-second (holiday) outfit.” I can attest to the ease of it, as I have worn it twice more since my engagement photos, to work and to Crate & Barrel, for putting together the wedding registry with my fiance. The latter of which occasion, I married it with a faux fur vest, d’orsay heels, Wayfarer sunglasses,  multistrand pearl necklace and bracelet, and my everyday jewelry: engagement ring, pearl cuff, and quatrefoil ring. I tend to wait for an item to go on promotion or markdown before purchasing, but my confidence has soared every time I have worn this dress and that is priceless.

Election Day

I picked out my Election Day outfit weeks ago. It’s inspiration is decidedly 1970s Jacqueline Onassis. Making an encore from my post two weeks ago is my houndstooth skirt and suede lucite heels, and Kate Spade Crocodile Embossed Purse. I added a tie neck jacquard blouse and trench coat, the latter of which is typically available in tall.

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It is crucial that brands and designers evolve; however I am obsessed with the old Milly. How can you tell it is old? The label is written in script, rather that the updated uppercase block typeface. The style evolution very much reflects that branding change, as it has transformed from an uptown ladylike aesthetic to a more fashion-forward, modern aesthetic. Not that I don’t love the new styles, but I completely covet items with the old label. Fortunately for me, there is plenty of NWT selection on eBay, which is where I found the tie neck jacquard blouse. I found the blouse and it reminded me of one Jackie wore in a photograph from the 1970s.

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Every woman needs a trench coat. The Banana Republic Trench Coat seems to be offered seasonally (in the spring) in tall and in both black and khaki. A classic piece, the price per wear will surely diminish to dollars. Combined with the burgundy lucite heels and houndstooth tweed mini, it gives off a 1970s effect, reminding me of a vintage photo I had seen of Jackie Onassis.

I am relieved that we have been effectively relieved of elections for the foreseeable future; however I will continue to write about First Lady style, as long as they keep inspiring me.

trench coat // skirt // blouse (similar) // heels // sunglasses // earrings // necklace // tweed blazer // ring // pearl cuff // tweed pumps

A Fab Collab: Gap and Pendleton Had a Baby!

I don’t shop for jeans often, but when I do, Gap is my first stop. I really appreciate that they design full length jeans that have consistently long inseams. Not naming names, but when other brands started cutting their skinny and straight cut jeans / pants / cords with shorter inseams, eventually their bootcut and wide leg options adopted those lengths too; tall length pants in those cuts were stopping short at 34″ inseam. I have a strict Say No to Floods policy, which is how I found myself shopping Gap for my denim needs.

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Gap killed it when they partnered with Pendleton. Gap hit it out of the park by including tall lengths in the denim jacket, boyfriend shirt, shirtdress, and the jeans. While I don’t typically love a skinny cut, I purchased the jean immediately. (Sizing note: I had to return my original pair and go up a size.) Something about the plaid patched denim feels especially right in the fall. The best part is that they are marked down now, reduced by an additional percentage.

I paired the Pendleton x Gap denim with a cashmere sweater, purchased last fall, again from Gap. This brings me to something else in which Gap excels: providing sweaters in tall sizes. Not only cotton or wool or blends, but 100% cashmere! Last year I managed to score three cashmere crewneck sweaters on promotion; however I missed out on the boyfriend hoodie in navy. Let it be known that once Gap posts a cashmere item, it sells out nearly immediately. As for quality, I bought a Gap cashmere hoodie back in 2006. I wore it until the elbows thinned last winter. Ten years is a good run right?

jeans // tank // ballet flats // gloves // sunglasses // pearl cuff // Gap + Pendleton boyfriend shirt // Gap + Pendleton long sleeve shirtdress // Gap + Pendleton 1969 icon denim jacket // earrings // necklace