Thursday, July 19, 2012

J.Crew Store Location Series {Chicago}

*Image above is from Paperless Post, found through NYC Recessonista's post

A big "thanks!" to GigiOfCa {of the delightful Gigi's Gone Shopping blog} who came up with a brilliant suggestion for a series of post: a city guide where JCAs can suggest which J.Crews to shop at.

This post will focus on Chicago! With so many stores in the area, it might be too much to visit them all. So if you are a local, or a knowledgeable tourist, please share what stores a fellow JCA has to visit!

Feel free to share other tidbits of advice. For example... What are your top three spots? Are there certain stores that should be avoided at certain times of the day/ week? Are there stores that have a better selection than others? Which stores have the best sale offerings?

Which J.Crew brick & mortar (B&M) stores {in the Chicago area} should an out-of-towner shop at? Which stores should be avoided? Please share! :)


  1. I think I generally prefer the store near North and Clybourn to the one on Michigan Ave, as it's usually much less crowded and picked over, but I do really like the sales associates at the Michigan Ave store (and I usually end up going there instead because it's more convenient).

    I try to avoid going to Old Orchard at all costs, unless I really really want to go to Madewell (the only Madewell store in IL is there). Traffic and parking are huge hassles, so unless you're out there anyways, I'd suggest sticking to the city stores that are close to the red line.

  2. When I lived/ worked in the city, I went to both stores (lived by north/clyborn, worked on mich ave), and agree with Jaimie about N/C being easier overall and less crowded. If you're parking/staying near Mich Ave, you can still easily take the El to the N/C store.

    Now I live 10 min from both Old Orchard (which is a very nice outside mall with the usual mall suspects and Nordstrom and Bloomies), and Northbrook Court (high end indoor mall, with Neimann, MaxMara, etc). Both J.crews are nice and big, both have men's and crew cuts. Both get busy like any mall on weekends, but are quite empty mid-week. The sale prices are better at Northbrook and the customer service is more friendly and approachable at Northbrook. Northbrook will get several pieces in from new rollouts a little earlier usually.

    If you are staying in the city, and want to try one of these two malls, they are both off of the highway, super easy. You could also take the metra train to glenview station and take a cab to Old Orchard.

    If you'd like more info on personal shoppers, or anything else, just send me a message at shopwithm7318 at gmail.

  3. Not from Chicago but love this feature! I will be sure to consult next time I go out of state!

  4. I definitely agree with the other ladies. The North Ave. store is bigger, usually has a better sale section AND (I think) has friendlier store associates. A much better J. Crew to spend time poking around in!

  5. The Old Orchard location is under construction right now to "freshen up." Anyone know what's in store? Collection? I also like the North Avenue store, but I always get the best service at Michigan Avenue. And, I like the rest of the mall at Old Orchard much better than Northbrook.

  6. I live in the northern suburbs and rarely get into the city, but I have been to every suburban store a million times. My closest, and regular, store is Lake Forest and I love it; no mens or crewcuts but generally a huge sale section in the lower level and very nice SAs.

    My second choice is Oak Brook and my third choice is a tossup between Deer Park and Northbrook. I usually avoid Old Orchard for the same reasons mentioned by Jaimie, and I avoid Woodfield too.

    Also for those in the area or visiting, there are Factory Stores within an hour's drive at Michigan City IN, Aurora, and Pleasant Prairie WI.

  7. rcb.shops -- I forgot about the OO store being closed down, glad you mentioned. I'm not sure what's in store, but will ask my PS if she has any intel she can share. I only know it's going to be redesigned and they were excited about the changes.

  8. Thank you! I go to Chicago often and always wonder what store to go to...LOVE THIS!

  9. I prefer the North Ave. store over the Michigan Ave one. However, if I really wanted to make it a day of shopping J Crew and outlets, I would get on the Eisenhower and head west as they say. My ideal shopping day would be to have the most delicious breakfast at Sweet Maple Cafe on Taylor Street (challa bread, custard French toast, you make me swoon) since Taylor St is parallel to the Eisenhower and on the way west. Then my first stop would be the JC @ Oak Brook mall. Afterwards I would trek down the street to the Nordstrom Rack with the rows and rows of shoes---Tory, Reva, where are you? By now I'd need a lunch since all the shoe trying has burned off the challa bread toast. Drink some water to keep myself hydrated, lest I pass out in the middle of the sale section and miss out on a Jackie or Reva. Hopefully I still have some money left so now I would quickly return to the nearby expressway and head out to Aurora to the best outlet mall in the state, maybe even the Midwest--oddly named Chicago Premium Outlets. I would go to the J Crew Factory store first and seek out retail pattern gems revisited for the outlets. Then I'd pop in to Kate Spade, Ferragamo, Coach, possibly Dooney and Adidas. With sore feet, I'd climb back in the car and drive back into the city to meet my honey for a very late dinner.

  10. I live in the far west suburbs and my favorite store BY FAR is the Oakbrook store. Not too far outside of the city limits. Larger store, Crewcuts for the little ones, great service, etc. As cmg stated, there's lots of great shopping in the area too! l also enjoy being close to the Crewlet in Aurora (Chicago Premium Outlets). I've visited the Michigan Ave. store in the past, and though I enjoyed my experience there, was underwhelmed considering it's Michigan Ave! Woodfield is OK. I personally don't like the Deer Park store.....I feel the customer service is terrible there and have had numerous bad experiences! Wish I had an opportunity to visit some of the other "Chicago" stores. Unfortunately, with 3 young kids (includIng a set of 2-year old twin boys), I don't get out much!

  11. My favorite stores in the suburbs are Lake Forest and Oakbrook. While not a Collection store, Lake Forest seems to get a fair number of Collection returns. The only downside with LF is that it closes at 6PM. Both stores have great SAs. LF is an easy 2 block walk from the LF Metra (commuter rail station)
    Northbrook Court is also worth a visit - as ShopwithM wrote - good service and proximity to other great stores.
    I agree with Barbara about the disappointing customer service at Deer Park. The only redeeming aspect of DP is that the sales tax is only 7% versus over 9% in any of the Chicago or suburban stores in Cook County. (In Illinois sales tax % is determined by location and is applicable to all clothing purchases)
    Of the downtown locations, I prefer Michigan Avenue. It is easy to get to with helpful SAs. If you choose to visit North Avenue take public transit (North Clybourn - red line). The store is in a popular area and traffic can slow to a crawl.

  12. The Michigan store is nice but there is not much in the sales usually. However, I seem to have AWFUL experiences at the North Avenue location. They are always rude and seem to act a bit snottier. Recently the Michigan store is not as friendly, maybe it is a bad time for retail employees??

    My favorite is Old Orchard, sad that they are closed for remodeling now. Oakbrook doesn't have much in sales for me either.

  13. I lived near the North Ave store for many years and preferred it over the Michigan Ave store. The North Ave store employees were always helpful and friendly (I went there a LOT!) Now I'm in the burbs and closest to the Northbrook Court store. It's a great location and store. Great selection.

  14. I frequent the North Michigan Ave. store. They do have the sales and pretty good associates. They recently lowered the price of a dress for me that was marked incorrectly. I also do most of my catalog returns here. I've never really had a bad experience at this location except that my wedding dress appointment was kind of anticlimactic. They don't have the size you need all the time and they have to order it. Other Chicago area J.Crew I've been to: Orland Park. That one is really nice and not busy at all during the week.

  15. The J. Crew at Michigan Avenue just moved within the mall - it is directly across the "hall" from it's old space. This is the ONLY store in the Chicago area that does bridal appointments! They only have ONE of each style of bridal, bridesmaid, and special occasion dress, and these single samples come in assorted sizes - you theoretically would be able to see every dress available BUT not all of the dresses will be available in your size. They will have to order you the dress(es) you want in your specific color, fabric, style, and size. This is the way J. Crew has the bridal stores set up, so it's good to know what to expect before you go in. Definitely do your research online and select dresses you would like to see - I would bring a list of names and/or style numbers to the appointment even if you have specified over the phone/email what you want to see. Also, you NEED an appointment with the bridal VPS to see the bridal collection!

    That being said, ANY J. Crew store can order you bridal, bridesmaid, or special occasion dresses. I would honestly visit your favorite store and work with a J. Crew team member to look at the website/catalog(s) and get a feel for what is available. Stores have color and fabric swatches available and if any bridal/special occasion dresses have been returned recently they may be able to pull them from the back to show you some samples (these are items that will be sent back to the Lynchburg warehouse but you can get a feel for the collection!). If there are any promos happening in store, your store will apply them for you and will also be able to waive "final sale" because this is a special item not carried in stores. Get the name and info for the associate/store that helped you out and reference them in the future - if you need a second opinion on fit/style, set up a time with the store to bring the dresses in and try them on with that associate! They can also assist with tailoring and accessorizing the dresses.


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And now back to J.Crew! :)