Thursday, March 28, 2013

JGIC Product Review: Chest pockets, I don't think so

A big "thanks!" to J.Crew Guy In Canada who is graciously reviewing Men's items from J.Crew with us.
Years ago fresh out of university I worked part-time at a local clothing store.  We sold Polo, Guess, Tommy amoung other brands.  While the work was fun and we had a great staff it was all about the staff discount of 40% off regular prices that made me work there for two years.  The downside was regularly owing more than I earned.  Besides filling my closet I learned a great deal about service and also developed a better sense of style.

Men and women shop very differently.  Guys touch the fabric to see how it feels and then check the price.  Women hold up the garment and often hold it in front of themselves usually near a mirror.  The whole laying a garment in front of themselves was always a mystery to me, but if a woman did that and smiled you could usually count on her to try it on.  By my rough count women buy about 25% of what they try on.  Men are much different.  If a guy goes into a change room 75% of the time he buys.  Women would often try things out just to see how it feels or looks with no intention of buying.  A guy tries it on and says yeah I like it wrap it up, or no thanks.

Two of the women I worked with were very shrewd judges of clothing.  The minute a box arrived they'd rip it open look a the garment and then either nod with a yes that will sell or nope.  Sometimes I completely understood why; mustard yellow = sale rack, but sometimes they mystified me.  Denim was one area I learned much about.  One gal had the pocket rule, small pockets on jeans made your butt look bigger.  And she was right, it's true.

I learned that I like small pockets on shirts.  Currently J.Crew sells many men's shirts with two chest pockets.  And like the gal I worked with, they're a pass for me.  A shirt without a pocket is slimmer looking, more polished and when you wear a slim cut sweater doesn't give you nipples from the buttons on the pocket flap.  I have a chambray shirt from a few seasons ago, #84018 is basically the same one.  It's featured all the time on the website and in the catalog.  The fabric and colour look great with so many things, but those flap pockets are a deal breaker.

Recently I picked up a lightweight chambray shirt #73976 in azure.  While the blue is ever so slightly brighter than I would prefer, it's a great colour with a light, soft fabric.  Rather than the usual button down this one has hidden buttons under the tips of the collar.  It's offered in several colours, azure and baltic being the standouts in my mind.  I plan to wear mine with a slim sweater in merino or a chunky linen v-neck.  Once it's warmer it'll be untucked with chino shorts.

Pockets are a nice finishing touch, but seriously J.Crew, what's with the over sized ones?  It's not like I'm tucking in a pocket protector and pens.
Another fantastic review! "Thanks!" again to J.Crew Guy In Canada for his take on chest pockets!
What are your thoughts on J.Crew's placement of pockets on shirts? Do you own any of the items mentioned in this post? If so, please share with us your review. :)


  1. OK, I had a good laugh at the nipples caused by the buttons on the flaps. Never crossed my mind this was an issue.

  2. So true about the button "nipples"! My father has always been a stickler for quality and details when it comes to clothing, and he feels the same way about pockets on the front of a shirt. Being a teacher in the midwest, a sweater over a dress shirt was his usual workday uniform, which is why he disliked those extra pockets.

    Love your reviews! Your observation about how men and women shop is spot on with how my parents shop. My dad is very judicious when picking out clothes -- looking at seams, buttons, fabric, cut, etc. My mom is the opposite -- if she likes how it looks, that's all it takes. :)

  3. For men, shirt pockets can also seem old or too "dad". As a woman, I won't buy a button-down shirt with pockets (ahem, Blythe) because of the very reason you mentioned. It makes it immediately less versatile because I can't wear it under a sweater.

  4. This was terrific and spot-on! My DH abhors flap pockets and they are a deal-breaker each time. He, too, is much more into the quality of an item and will skip fads (and sales!) to target high-quality pieces that are available in his size. He finds shirts without pockets look far more polished.

    I do envy the fact that there is far less vanity sizing in men's clothing. My DH can walk into a dressing room with 90% certainty that the item will fit well. Many times, he just buys a "medium" off the shelf and it fits perfectly at home. I *envy* that so much; I would trade being a "clothing number" (size 4,6,8,10, whatever) any day for consistent sizing in fit and manufacturing.

    And I don't speak for all women about the mystery of laying an item in front of them, while standing in front of the mirror - I do it because I need to see how a color will look against my face (I only do this with shirts and sweaters). I'm trying not to waste time trying too many items on in the dressing room (haha), and I usually do this on the store floor where there are mirrors about. Sometimes a color can catch my eye, but by putting it near my face, I can see that the tone is wrong. Of course, my DH doesn't believe me either, and often tells me, "That item on the hanger looks terrific on you; you should wear clothes in front of your body more often…" Smart aleck! :)

  5. I wish their women's tshirts didn't have pockets because often the pocket on a tshirt says "look at my chest!" (Not something I usually want!)


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