Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Quilted Puffer Vest {Retail versus Factory!}

Both J.Crew and J.Crew Factory came out with Quilted Puffer Vests for their respective Fall 2014 collections. I thought it would be fun to break down the two versions and see which one JCAs like more. To borrow a phrase from GigisGoneShopping, a "smackdown!" of the two.


Excursion quilted vest (item B0109; $120.00)

J.Crew retail's current version is a copy of J.Crew retail's 2013 Excursion Vest. When it comes to sizing, it runs large for most customers. I am normally an extra small/size 2 and find the extra extra small fits best.

Pro
  • It has a side pocket in addition to the button covered pocket
  • Quality: It is always better from retail.
  • Color: Comes in both chartreuse and bright ivory this year. Both colors have not been done in vests before.
Con
  • Those gold snap buttons are not my favorite. I don't know what it is about them, but I am not a huge fan. Mind you, I do own two versions of this vest with the gold buttons.
  • The zipper is only one way. The two way zippers from 2012 are much easier to wear.
  • Limited number of colors this year. Last year, there were more choices. Not sure why this year there are only four. :(


Factory quilted puffer vest (item 92465; $98.00)

J.Crew Factory's current version is actually a copy of J.Crew retail's 2012 Excursion Vest. When it comes to sizing, same scenario as the retail version: size one down.

Pro
  • The side pockets are more streamlined with the vest. Plus, there are inside snaps on this version that help keep stuff inside. Awesome little feature! (The retail version from 2012 did not have inside snaps, nor did Factory's version from 2013.)
  • Quality: I compared this version with my vests from retail 2012 and could not tell the difference. 
  • Colors: The factory version comes in a lot more colors. Including red currant and olive moss, both of which have not been used before.
  • Two way zipper- love this! Enough said.
Con
  • Quality: It's from Factory. I can't tell the difference from the retail version, but I know J.Crew cut costs somewhere. I don't know where, but it's somewhere... ;)

From my comparisons above, it is clear that I am hearting the Factory version a bit more. It's not to say that I don't like the retail version. I do! I just think the Factory version wins out.

What are your thoughts on the puffer vests from retail J.Crew and J.Crew Factory? Do you have any additional pros or cons that you would add to the lists here? If so, please share! :)

Quick Poll: Which puffer vest do you adore?

22 comments:

  1. The only thing that I like more about the retail version is the larger checks. :( But, if there was a huge price difference during a sale I could suck it up for the factory version!

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  2. When it comes to Retail and Factory, I prefer retail unless there is a huge price difference simply because the closest retail store is 6 miles aways and Factory store is 70 miles away.

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  3. Laura: You are right about the diamonds being larger- I didn't even catch that!

    Elaine: I am with you! I tend to prefer the retail version over factory. Also, for the same reason: I have lots of retail stores nearby and the factory store is an hour and a half away from me. I know there are lots of great finds at the Factory, but I hear often from fellow JCAs that you have to check them out in person to know which item is a steal.

    I will say, I do own a few Factory versions of items that seem better than the original version. Like the peter pan collar sweatshirt, it seemed much nicer in the Factory version. :)

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  4. Generally speaking, I also prefer retail over factory, but I liked the factory versions better for this vest, the citrus print shirt, the white linen button-down, and the bar-stripe tee.

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  5. Hi JCAs - I just received my retail excursion vest in the mail today (I try them every year and don't LOVE them, but keep trying...why?). Anyway, this one had a smell right out of the box - I can only describe it as either wet dog or that wormy smell on a driveway after a rain. It was making me gag. I had a similar issue with a Factory puffer coat last year and in doing some online research I found similar complaints about cheap down that's not fully dried before being sewn into coats. I'm probably hypersensitive to this smell and it may not bother most of you (and it's possible I just got a "lemon") but just wanted to let you all know in case you get a stinky vest.

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    1. Ugh, this happened to me last year when I ordered the herringbone vest. By the time I received it (backordered), it was already sold out. Nothing I could do would remove the smell, so I returned it. I doubt you were hypersensitive to the smell - it was gross! Disappointed to hear this is still an issue.

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  6. I vote retail. Personally, I love the gold buttons on the pockets and think they dress up the item quite a bit. I'm not an outdoorsy snow girl, so my vests have gotten more wear running errands and indoors, including as a lightweight layer during Casual Fridays at work. I picked up a few last year from J.Crew stores, including a Small in Black (sold out quickly) on popback on the website. All were purchases with promotions, so it was easier on the wallet.

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  7. I just like the slant pocket style, whether it's the original retail version or the current/recent factory version.

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  8. I have many retail vests from as many as 5 years ago and have always found they were thicker and felt worth the cost. I found the factory versions to be thin and cheap. A few weeks ago I went to my retail store and was shocked that as soon as I touched an excursion vest, it was thin! The next day I drove to a factory and the vests there felt the same as the retail one the day before. I ended up buying an ivory color one at a very reasonable price.

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    Replies
    1. Kelly - The excursion vest isn't a traditional puffer vest. It's streamlined, quilted vest. Not a thick and it also doesn't have the shearling lining that some of the older vests have.

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    2. Yes, my older vests aren't the excursion vests...I was referring to the fact that I felt they have always felt thicker at retail regardless of the type of vest except for this year. I thought the excursion this year was as thin as factory.

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  9. Retail - I just returned my Factory vest. It just doesn't feel as puffy as my retail vest from a couple of years ago. Sure, the print is the same, but if the quality is not there.....

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  10. I visited Factory today and tried on a ton of things. Check out my Instagram.

    As far as the vest, I have retail and factory. The main attraction for me is the color. I got the bisque color in Factory last year because I missed out on retail and I was very happy with it. Yeah. Whichever division has a color I want in the size I need, I'm fine with. I do prefer the gold buttons over the non-decorated pockets. However, I layer my vest most of the time under other jackets so it doesn't make much difference one way or the other.

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    1. p.s. Thanks for the mention, Alexis. You did a most excellent sMacKdOwN!!

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  11. I like and own both. While I prefer the weight/thickness of the retail version (70% down w/remainder waterfowl feathers vs 60% down w/remainder waterfowl feathers for the factory version), I bought the factory versions I have to get colors I missed in retail. I prefer the slant pockets, but also like the gold buttons on last year's retail version. I'm really liking the shiny vests on the website, but cannot justify any more unless I sell some of what I have :)

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  12. I have two Factory vests (bought the herringbone this year and a green one last year). I generally love the gold hardware on both the store and factory versions. It really dresses them up. I wore the green one last fall to work over dressy outfits many times; whereas I might have felt a regular puffer vest was too casual.

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  13. In my opinion, there is a definite difference in quality between the retail and factory vests. Old Navy has their version out and it's $34.94. To me, it's on par with the factory version. Last year's ON vest was big so size down.

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  14. Factory Flash sale thru 12p EST today! TICKTOCK gets 30% off your purchase & is working on the excursion vest!

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    1. Note -- it's working on the green color, which is on promo for $88. And I think that color is online only because I haven't seen it in-store after checking 3x.

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    2. Um yeah...trying to do 4 things at once.

      Sale is thru 3p EST.

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  15. Is the FActory cut just like the Retail version? IE I like the Retail version how it is shorter in the front and longer in the back. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. You are right, after seeing the colors of Factory I do wish Retail did more.

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