Thursday, January 5, 2017

JCA "Help Style Me!" Weekly Post

This is the weekly "Help Style Me!" post, where we can share items we are having trouble putting outfits together with. Elaine (in this post) says it best, "You know, that thing you bought because you love it and you keep pulling it out and then putting it away without wearing it?"

Please share your J.Crew item (either that you own or are thinking about getting) that you would love help creating an outfit with.

Also, please help out by offering your styling advice. Feel free to include links to your blog (where you incorporated that piece) or to Polyvore (where you showcased an outfit with that piece). Thanks in advance! :)

52 comments:

  1. Let's talk tights! I haven't worn tights in years. Way back in the late 80s/90s I lived in my thick black opaque tights, then 2000s brought the return of fishnets and patterned black tights.
    I've been bare legged for a long time but decided to wear some tights to extend my mini skirt wearing through through the colder months (although I find bare legs are fine indoors, which is when I'd mostly wear mini skirts anyway.)
    Black skirt, black tights, black shoes...can shoe color be mixed up? It's not a look I usually like because it visually chops the leg, same with colored (non black) tights.

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    1. I would have never thought to do it myself but a lady here in my office wears black tights & red suede booties a lot. It is adorable on her - she'll pair with a grey sweater dress or a black skater skirt & another neutral-colored top.

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    2. I'm always concerned about the mini mouse effect. I tried the colorblock satin pumps yesterday with black tights and a black mini. I THINK it's ok because the shoes are dark. I know sometimes you see white and light shoes with black tights. Not sure I can pull it off.

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    3. The general guidance is that you should match your tights to your shoes OR your skirt so you are only wearing two colors. I tend to wear tights with skirts and tall boots and match the tights to the boots (black or brown).

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    4. I've found this is a trial and error thing but usually end up in either black or navy tights and a dark shoe. Not too long ago I did a navy foulard printed dress with navy tights and grey/taupe booties and I was surprised that it worked pretty well. I also have several wool double serge pencil skirts which I tend to shy away from in really cold weather because I can't figure out tights. I also tried my purple skirt with black tights and black booties and a black/purple blouse which worked. So all that to say I agree with Jennifer that you either need to match skirt/tights or tights/shoes! I think if you switched up the color you'd want a heel to not chop the leg up as much...will be curious to hear what others think.

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    5. A few years ago I wore to my office Christmas party a red tartan shirt with a black fitted sweater over it, ivory wool mini A-line skirt, black tights, and my favorite J.Crew purchase of all time, silver crackle Mary Janes and I got so many compliments on that outfit! I didn't feel like my legs were chopped and that is something I am very aware of, as my torso is pretty long - I think it's because the skirt was A-line. Probably a more hip-hugging style would have ruined the entire look.
      I think like Anne said, it really is just about playing with different options (since skirt style evidently makes a big difference) until you find something you like and are comfortable with. Typically these days I stick with black tights and black booties or pumps because I'm definitely getting more boring the older I get-ha!

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    6. Yes, that's how I feel! I'm pretty boring as it is, and I'd never do colored tights. (I think I did wear charcoal or dark brown in the mid 90s but haven't worn colored tights since the 80s!). I know some designers show black tights with white or lighter shoes, I'll have to do some googling, pinning, and experimenting. It's one of those things (like drinking beer from a bottle) my mother told me not to do when i was a teenager, lol, so I guess that stuck with me.

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    7. I wear tights a LOT here in Wisconsin. Black when my outfit is black-based, but IMO black tights look kind of harsh with other colored outfits -- in which case I tend to go with a darker shade of my primary outfit color. For instance, yesterday I wore the aqua Holly sweater, a teal skirt, and navy tights (and black boots). Or I'll wear a light grey sweater, mid-grey skirt, and dark grey tights (and black boots again, yawn). I agree that it's tough to pull of lighter colored tights or footwear.

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    8. I tend to wear black, so the black tights are not an issue for me. I do have the Oxford check mini which would work with the black tights. Any of my brighter colored skirts I'd just wear without tights. (But they're only special occasion and I don't need to wear them when it's so cold!)

      You see a lot of higher end fashion with detailed tights, like Chanel and Gucci, or younger stuff, but there's not much in between.

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    9. Thanks to all of you for these tights tips - I mostly wear pants in winter here in NYC, but still like to wear the occasional wool skirt. I've definitely committed a few fashion faux pas when selecting my tights colors and now I know why. I'll keep the 'match shoe or skirt color' tip in mind, as well as the 'darker shade in the same color family' tip. 👍

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    10. Chiming in to add that I think brown tights look really good with leopard print shoes. I've only worn that combo with a single color dress, but I suppose there are other options! -lep33shops

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    11. I remember first reading the tights match footwear or skirt rule on here a couple of years ago, and it's never failed me. I definitely tend to wear plain, dark coloured tights. Maybe I'd be more daring if I felt more confident about my legs? I most often wear dark grey, black, or navy tights, which I find works for most of my cold weather skirts/dresses. I ventured outside the box lately (today, in fact), wearing burgundy tights and burgundy booties with my mini skirt in pink houndstooth https://www.jcrew.com/ca/womens_category/skirts/mini/PRDOVR~F4331/F4331.jsp . Not sure if another colour shoe or tight would work. I'd be curious to know how other ca's have styled that skirt in colder weather.

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    12. sorry, meant jca's! not ca's

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  2. i would love to see jcrew style some of their skirts and dresses on the site with various tights and shoes for the colder months... they do some awesome styling with colors and patterns and i'd love to see them do the same with legwear.

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    1. I totally agree too! I wear skirts/dresses 99% if the tie so I struggle with winter styling. Would love to see j crew's take!

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    2. Yes! When it gets really cold for about six weeks in NC, I default to a uniform of cashmere tee, wool trousers (five pair left from 2009-10 when Crew did lined wool pants that went below the ankle) and a long scarf. I'm so bored when spring comes, I could scream.

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    3. Good point, Miss JR! I've thought the same thing myself. I always find it much easier to style outfits when it's warm enough to not have to wear socks or tights, but sadly, for about half the year, sockless/tightless looks are just not an option for me. If it's cold enough to be wearing a J Crew cashmere turtleneck, it's definitely not barefoot weather, so I'd love to see how they'd style a real-life cold weather outfit from head to toe.

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  4. After I saw the news yesterday about the clearance store closing in Lynchburg I was so sad. I called the Arden store this morning and they said there are no plans to close that store and that they were surprised to find out the news about Lynchburg. They couldn't tell me why they were closing or what was going to happen to all the stuff that comes through the Lynchburg store but the Arden store is much smaller and doesn't have the same capacity. I just wonder where all that stuff will go? Factory/Mercantile Stores, retail stores? Who knows. I think that is a pretty traumatic closure for a lot of people. If the Arden store closed, I would be mortified, as about half my wardrobe comes from that store and all of my nicer collection pieces for sure. I also think this could be a sign of drastic changes that J.Crew may need to make in 2017.

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    1. WHAT. I had not heard this news! OMG. I am two hours away from the closest retail store so the clearance center filled my instant gratification J Crew needs, well, wants. I can't believe this! I wonder when they're closing. How did you hear about this?

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    2. I really don't understand the closing of the Lynchburg clearance center. Unless they're not planning on having any merchandise to go there... :(

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    3. Uh-oh there go half the eBay resellers... :P

      I wonder what they will do to liquidate old stuff? If they start selling to TJ Maxx et al I think they will seriously further damage the brand.

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    4. I don't understand this either. So much at the clearance center couldn't be resold in a traditional retail sense. What do they plan on doing with all that stuff?? Move it all to Arden? That makes no sense seeing as how the returns would be coming to the distribution center IN LYNCHBURG.

      I am feeling slightly smug though thinking about the eBay re-sellers having actual, literal freak-outs over this news. I am terrible. :)

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    5. I hope they'll sell it themselves online. Might be easier to limit items sent to the same address/email/credit card, etc.
      THEN more of us could take advantage of the offerings.

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    6. But I think that would cannibalize their regular offerings...also i think some of it has defects or limited quantity and its not really feasible to sell that online.

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    7. Bridal/bridesmaids will be totally gone soon so that's a portion of their offerings they won't need to put in a clearance store anymore.

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    8. This is probably wishful thinking but it would be great if they sold the clearance store type stuff online a la the private/secret sales some retailers do.

      It also reminded me of years ago when the warehouse sales came to you - does anyone remember those? I think probably 15 years ago at least. J.Crew would roll in to town for a long weekend, set up shop in an abandoned store and you'd get to rifle through boxes for bargains.

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    9. Anne, I remember that! I never had any luck at the traveling sample sale but it was fun to go through the boxes. I recall lots of bikini pieces; could never find a match in my size.

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    10. Here's a press release from J Crew.

      We have increased the availability of clearance merchandise through our online channels – especially our Factory outlets – allowing us to liquidate this inventory more efficiently. Because of this, we have decided to close our Lynchburg clearance store. It is important to note that there will be no layoffs with this store closure as all 14 associates have been reassigned to other positions within J.Crew. We look forward to remaining a part of the Lynchburg community and want to thank all of our loyal local customers.

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    11. More details from the article with press release. Here's the article link.

      http://wset.com/news/local/exciting-plans-in-the-works-as-macys-announces-closure-at-river-ridge-mall

      J.Crew also said it will continue to have local warehouse and regional sales through out the year.
      All customers were told they will be notified when the sales will take place.
      They also added that the employees have been reassigned, so their job security isn't at stake. They say more shoppers are going online, and it no longer made sense for them to keep the store open.

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    12. Hi Anne - I remember those sales when I was in college! (SUNY Albany in the late 90's, holla) There would be fliers on campus and the sale would be in an abandoned Service Merchandise.

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    13. As for going online, I'm definitely in that camp. Most of what I want is available online; if it is in the store, they don't have my size or the color/style I want. We have a store that sells collection, but the selection isn't the best & SA's aren't super helpful. So, I mostly use the stores for return/exchange & educator discount.

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    14. Re: "We have increased the availability of clearance merchandise through our online channels – especially our Factory outlets..." I'm confused. Does this mean they are/will be selling regular retail merchandise at the outlets?

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    15. Hi Mygoddy - thanks for the additional info. I agree with you about shopping mainly online for the selection (and also, I don't want shopworn items - but now that they're fulfilling orders from stores you don't know what you'll get).

      The SA's at my (now closing) B&M said that they didn't get stock in the things customers wanted, especially since JC moved the basics (ie Jackie, Minnie) online. If they were lucky enough to get popular pieces, they got one size of each and when they sold out immediately, they weren't replenished. Instead, they had a packed sale section (like, 6 wall racks) of summer merchandise, including an entire rack of green Rory pants.

      I've only rarely seen retail merchandise at Factory, and that was 8 or 9 years ago. I wonder if they'll go back to that. Better than TJMaxx, at least.

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    16. @mygoddy, thanks for linking that article! (& for quoting the most relevant parts)

      @silver_lining, wow, that logic is puzzling, to say the least. Not stocking basics or items customers want in store is a perplexing move, especially since it means customers have to buy online instead (& possibly order several sizes for try-ons, incurring shipping & return costs for JC in the process, etc.) I went to a store today to do returns and there were two huge sale sections (when normally there is only 1 upstairs) and it reminded me about those articles that point out how they order too much of one style that doesn't turn out to be as popular as they thought. My store still had a bunch of Sammies neatly displayed on the tables, stacks & stacks of them.

      A few JCAs have mentioned seeing an item or two in Factory recently (within the past year) so I wonder if they've been testing the waters again with that strategy?

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    17. IslandGirl, I've noticed recently that the Factory store I go to has been carrying retail from J. Crew and Madewell. Often something is wrong with it (obvious stains, etc). I've never been to a clearance center, but I think this must be what they're talking about, sending this merchandise to Factory Outlets (which is kind of what factory outlets used to be before companies started manufacturing merchandise specifically for outlets). There has definitely been an increase in retail merchandise in my factory store over the last 6 months or so.

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    18. Thanks, cate for the info, and mygoddy for posting the clip from that article. Having J Crew and Madewell items in the outlets would make trips to the factory stores a little more interesting, I think. It's always fun to look for surprise items.

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    19. Thanks, cate for the info, and mygoddy for posting the clip from that article. Having J Crew and Madewell items in the outlets would make trips to the factory stores a little more interesting, I think. It's always fun to look for surprise items.

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  5. Why can it not be sold at retail stores?is alittle of it damaged o sample items only??

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    1. It is mostly overstocks, prior season stuff, returns, etc. Not what they want in the retail stores.

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    2. Cass, speaking of TJ Maxx, my local store had a whole bunch of Banana Republic and Lands End last time I visited. It was odd because I don't recall seeing BR there previously. I have found a few J Crew pieces (nothing I wanted to purchase) last fall. I think it was stuff that never made it to retail.

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    3. That type of merch in small lots is exactly what the off price sellers like TJMaxx scoop up. It is probably more profitable to the company to sell clearance stuff that way plus have occasional "warehouse" sales than to have the continuous overhead of an ongoing clearance center.

      I often see odd JC items at the local Marshall's/HomeGoods. I'm sure it is about reducing the cost of clearing inventory so maybe there will be more. It does nothing good for the brand but flooding the existing stores with more off-assortment goods at steep discounts might be worse?

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  6. @Anne - The Fab Life @shopalot @silver_lining : Yes! I remember wheeling a double stroller ( w/babies in it) through the "J Crew Comes to Town" show in Burlington, VT circa 1995... I bought white "lawn" cotton pj pants , and (I swear), the same red & white striped tank dress currently for sale online, which I thought was a nightgown. Wow.

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  7. Well, I have certainly found my fair share at the clearance store for sure. All my gorgeous collection shoes and purses and items I could not otherwise afford. I agree with Taylor about the resellers, at least this should put some of them out of business. If Arden goes, and it probably will at some point, I would be happy to see those go as well.

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  8. Well considering my wisecrack about the resellers above I feel that I should jump in and at least say that not *all* resellers are bad. The vast majority of the population is not going to have access to those clearance stores and by buying the stuff and putting it on ebay they are making something available to you that you wouldn't otherwise have. So for the ones that charge reasonable prices, I am fine with that and think they have a right to charge a "finders fee" for their efforts. For example this past year JC only put out the wintress puffer in black and navy; I wanted a different color and was able to find one from a prior season on ebay from a reseller. And the price was very reasonable. So I think it just really depends. I don't see how the ones charging ridiculous prices are really making any sales that way.

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    1. Absolutely! The ones I give major side-eye to are the ones who mark up a pair of Ceces I bought for $30 at the clearance store to close to $100. Over 200% profit, no bueno!

      I'm especially bitter because as I've mentioned 100 times on this blog, the clearance store was closer to me than ANY retail OR Factory store is. So yes, while I did score some amazing deals - I'd rather have access to an actual brick & mortar store the way most JCAs who post here do.

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    2. I hear you. If it makes you feel any better I live in NYC within a 2 mile radius of like 10 B&M stores and I still buy 95% of my stuff from the website...the stores only get the boring stuff and the interesting items are online only IMHO. It is convenient to have the stores to do online returns though.

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  9. Sammie cords...

    Not convinced a shortie like me should wear them, but the Masal chai cords were $25 Canadian at the store after additional 50% discount and I thought it was time to try something new. What sorts of shoes look best with them?

    Are flats a "no go"? Thank you!

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    1. Hi! I think the crop kick-flare silhouette looks best with a shoe with a heel - even if it's a shorter heel. I especially think they look cute with an ankle bootie! I thought about buying a pair myself but was unsure at 5'7" if the regular-length would be too short but the tall-length too long. They're tricky pants!

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    2. Hi Toronto Modern,
      I bought the Sammy cords when they first debuted b/c I thought that Chai color was so yummy! I'm 4'11", so most definitely a member of Team Shortie, but I stuck to the Regular length (which makes them full-length on me). As a result, I mostly wear them with heels, TBH. I have worn them with lower heels (though not flats), but find myself tucking them in a bit because they look frumpy and the kick lands at a weird place on my foot.

      I did try the Petite version (of the Chino Sammies, not Cords) and they just didn't look right on me. I generally don't like cropped/capri-lengths for myself.

      So in summary, I think heels, even low heels like the Dulci, look best with these trousers. Congrats on such a great deal!!

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  10. Thanks Taylor and TM93. Appreciate the feedback. TM93 - that's a great idea of tucking them in to adjust the look. I've tried it and there's enough structure to the fabric to keep it tucked up! So many bargains, so little closet space...

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Dear J.Crew Aficionadas & Aficionados: Please feel free (and encouraged) to share your thoughts and opinions. :) However, please note that this is still a personal blog. So comments that are considered inappropriate (e.g. obscene, racist, homophobic, personal attacks, rude, and just plain mean) will be removed.

And now back to J.Crew! :)