Thursday, April 20, 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! :)

45 comments:

  1. Hi, everyone. I posted a few days ago, but it was suggested that I do a fresh post later since the question got buried on a longish chain, so I writing again to ask advice on blazers. I am trying to reduce the number of blazers I own, and thought I might be able to eliminate a few based on the number of buttons. Are there any "rules of thumb" re 1 vs 2 vs 3 button closures on blazers and what works best for certain body types or is it just a matter of personal preference? I should be able to tell just by looking in the mirror what is better for me, but I honestly can't say.

    Thank you!

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    1. I can't answer your question specifically but I find it very helpful to take a timed selfie (at the right Angle, not holding up the phone) to see how proportions work on me.
      I've read different things about buttons and I think much of it. Has to do with the size of your. Chest. I still think the best way to. Tell is to compare different styles with a good side by side pic.

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    2. I know I've read that women with larger busts should stay away from 2-or-3 button blazers. I am pretty proportional & I prefer 1-button on myself. Plus I think the 1-button is a more modern cut. Overall length matters too, in terms of where it hits you on your hip!

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    3. I think of 2-button as the current standard with 1-button as a little more casual and 3-button slightly dated now. I'm by no means an expert. I tend to prefer 2-button for the office and single button for cotton or less formal blazers that I'd wear with jeans (Regent blazer, cotton Campbell blazer to name a few J.Crew styles)

      The number of blazers I have is embarrassing and half of them don't fit anymore. I go to the same few classic colors and I like a few fun colors to mix it up now and then too.

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    4. I agree that the 3-button slightly dated now. The 3-button never looked good on me so I only had a few and got rid of them a couple of years ago. The 2-button looks best on me. I have a few 1-button but I find they are not as flattering on me. The Schoolboy is my all time best blazer and it's still available at Factory. I've also found the BR Academy blazer to be a good fit.

      In the end, it's really about what works best with your figure.

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    5. Yes, @Luxette I LOVE the Schoolboy & that's a 2-button, I forgot about that. It really is all about fit on your own figure.

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    6. +1 on the Schoolboy. I have it in 6 styles/fabrics. It is tailoring genius and the two-button style does not seem to date.

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  2. Not really "Help Me Style," more "Help Me Launder." As I'm cleaning out closets for spring, I am shocked by the number of J Crew items hanging there looking pretty that I never wear because they are so fragile/ difficult to maintain. Elaborate trims, sequins, pompous, fringe, ruffles - combined with fragile construction and cheaper fabrics and I'm afraid some things won't survive a trip to the dry cleaners or run through the delicates cycle. I've noticed even the basics like tees develop holes and newer sweaters are puckered messes after one laundering.

    My older J Crew items, even embellished ones, are not so fragile that they are practically disposable.

    Are others having this problem? I'm not willing to spend hours and hours of my life on clothing maintenance, no matter how lovely the style. I'm really asking myself more and more before I buy, Am I willing to wash this in unicorn tears and wrap it in spun gold to prevent it from disintegrating after two wears?


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    1. I know autocorrect is to blame but I love that if you remove the comma above it will say "pompous fringe" (but I am easily amused ;) I am not much help with this question though as I don't have many clothes with these embellishments. I do have an eyelet sleeveless top from jcrew I wear a lot and the tag says dry clean only. It is from 4-5 years ago and it's cotton so I just wash it on a gentle cycle and hang to dry, and it looks good. My daughter has a lot of shirts from Boden that have sequins and they always wash and dry great! I know where you are coming from though as I give my t-shirts from jcrew the white glove treatment and rarely purchase them anymore (especially the vintage cotton).

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    2. I bought that super-cute grey tee from a few years back with the three rows of multi-colored jewels on it. I was so enticed by the idea of it that I bought it without considering the practicality. Because of this, I have worn it exactly twice. I don't even know how I'd clean it, lest I sweat in it or spill something on it! To be a freakin' TEE SHIRT, this is ridiculous. I only have myself to blame.

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    3. Taylor, I just sold that t-shirt (for a good price too - I think I got around $60 for it which is double what I paid for it). I wasn't going to dry clean a t-shirt and I never reached for it.

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    4. I just wash all my 'embellished tees' in a small mesh bag. Never any issues. Lay flat to dry. But then again, I also wash leather trimmed items the same way. I wash everything! Never had any issues. If you have any questions, let me know!

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    5. Ooh, Suzy - thanks for that! I wonder if there's a setting on my washer that's no spin. (I have a front-loader so I am not sure.)

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    6. I've had no problems washing J.Crew t-shirts with sequins (not covered in sequins, but just a few sequins/beads here and there) in mesh bags. On the other hand, I still have a "Ribbon Tee" hanging in my closet due to maintenance reasons. It must be 7-8 years old by now, it was a beautiful cinnamon colour and the "ribbons" were actually strips of t-shirt fabric that basically turned into shrivelled messes after the first laundering. I should probably just remove the ribbons and just use the shirt as a layering piece, as even if figure out how to steam/iron the ribbons to look nice again, it seems like an awful lot of work for a t-shirt.

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    7. When in doubt, I just hand wash in a little Dr. Bronners or even dish soap if necessary and dry over a towel bar in my bathroom or on a radiator.

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    8. Thanks, ladies! One more question ... how do you deal w wrinkling on these fragile garments? It's impossible to iron many of them. Do you use a steamer?

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    9. Long ago I realized my life has no time for special laundry. So once I pick up an appealing item of clothing, I immediately turn to the washing instructions. Anything--ANYTHING--that is hand wash only gets put back on the rack. I have turned down a lot of cute tops because of my rule.

      On a related note, I cannot understand the workout wear that one is instructed to wash in a mesh bag and hang to dry. I sweat in this stuff! Therefore I expect it to withstand the washer and dryer for a thorough cleaning.

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    10. @Kathy, totally agree about the workout wear! Then I remembered that I air dry all mt cycling apparel. It's a pain, but workout and at leisure wear tend to have a lot of stretchy fabric in the composition, and ny it's nature, all that stuff is damaged by heat and continual loses it's ability to rebound. I'm sure any of these items can go in the dryer, they just won't Las as long over time. The care instructions are for ideal washing/longevity. Until materials scientists come up with something else, I think that's where we're at.

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    11. Laundry theme comment. Zipped mesh wash bags in giant sizes have saved my clothes as my new HE top load washer is very rough, (tangling garments in the agitate and spin modes even on delicate cycle) and doesn't really put enough water in the drum to keep items floating separately. As an aside, I'm really disappointed with the cleaning performance of this HE machine vs my old top load fill-up-with-water Maytag - so I have had to develop work-arounds, but that is a vent for a different blog!
      I still machine wash all my JCrew clothes, including silk and merino, but each one now in a separate mesh bag. Then lay woollens flat on a rack to dry and hang shirts. Winners/Homesense in Canada and TJMaxx often have large mesh bags on sale at reasonable prices. Dollar store versions tend to be small, and zips break very quickly.
      I agree with Sarah Folz - been air drying workout gear and athleisure wear for the whole family for ever to avoid spandex content being ruined by dryer's heat. But then Lululemon and IcebreakerNZ is pricey stuff, so want it to last.

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    12. To answer the wrinkle question, I bought a steamer. (Had a Better one many years ago but husband lost some of the parts!).

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  3. I had an interesting "shop my closet" moment this week. My pre-planned work outfit didn't work as I hoped it would (who knew you could go wrong with a denim dress, tight and a sweater, but this particular combo just didn't play nicely together). I went to get a different denim dress, but when I looked in the closet I noticed a NWT Max Studio patterned summer dress that had one of the colours of my tights. I'm really terrible at layering and also terrible at mixing seasons, even though I know I'm supposed to do both to get more mileage out of my wardrobe. I threw on the summer dress (with a layering t-shirt under it for warmth), added my boots and sweater, and voila! I was suddenly rocking a bit of a boho vibe that was something different for me, and though it might not be my favourite outfit of all time, it was something different, and got that NWT dress out of my closet and into the real world. I see stuff like this all the time on blogs, etc., but never try it myself, but now I'm inspired to look for more hidden combos just waiting to be discovered. (p.s. unfortunately this outfit didn't feature any J.Crew pieces, but I still hope it might inspire some closet mixing and matching for others!)

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    1. Sounds fabulous! I'm always proud of myself when I have those moments, how silly is that? I need to do this more often as well. I need to figure out a better method of storing my sweaters - I have too many & not enough shelves & racks so I have two giant storage tubs devoted to all of my pullover sweaters. One for long-sleeved, one for short & 3/4-sleeved. I hate it because I can't see what I've got without digging through the tubs every day. Basically I just need to convince my husband to buy a house with a fifth bedroom that I can turn into my own closet. :)

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    2. @Taylor, i hear you! I get so mad at myself for having to waste so much time digging to find things (and sometimes not succeeding even though the item is there). I know it means I have too much, yet I really do wear a lot of different things. More shelves, more drawers all around! And yes, I did feel kind of proud of myself for coming up with my cool outfit, it felt fun and fresh and I was so glad to wear my new dress, I just love so many of the Max Studio patterned pieces.

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  4. I wash my embellished items inside out on gentle and that helps. Just got a front load washer - it seems to be more gentle when it spins. Recently read that if you don't have a mesh bag put delicate things in a pillow case and tie shut with a ribbon or similar to keep things from catching on each other. While I won't buy JC tshirts any longer (too many pin holes for no reason) even some of their woven shirts need extra TLC. I have a couple collections shirts that go to the cleaners because there is NO WAY to hand wash and have them look the same afterwards. When I shop now I am much more aware of things that need kid gloves.
    Barbara
    Luxe101

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    1. I hand wash my tippi and other merino sweaters and anything with sequins. I have a dish pan that I keep in the closet just for and wash items. The Laundress products work really well. I swish them around for a minute or two and then let them soak. After rinsing in a few changes of water I roll in a towel to dry some then hang or lay flat to dry. I try to iron when damp. It sounds like a lot but it's not bad when you accumulate several pieces to do at once - the dish pan acts as a small hamper.

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    2. I constantly see complaints of holes in J Crews tee shirts. I've never had that happen. But aside from that I would recommend washing the tees on the delicate cycle or even by hand...and their sweaters by hand. And lay flat to dry. NO hanging tees and sweaters...it stretches them out.

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  5. OT but I decided to give ThredUp a try (as a seller) for some items I don't think will get much attention on eBay, or not get enough money to be worth spending the time photographing and listing. If I get a few dollars each for some of them from ThredUp that will be fine. I'm excited at the prospect of making room in my closet this weekend! Lots of shoes in there too I hardly wear. Has anyone done ThredUp as a seller? I have seen mixed reviews online, but I'm only sending in stuff I definitely wouldn't miss or don't think I can get decent money for on my own (but still in good condition).

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    1. Someone posted not long ago that they rejected most items (which they then donate, you don't get the deduction) and gave very little for others.

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    2. I've been fairly successful with Poshmark, but it can be time consuming

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    3. I have heard the same re: ThredUp in terms of selling. Like Suz, I too have been successful with Poshmark. The ease of selling there is what makes that site my preferred method of purging my closet!

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    4. Hi Cass, I've used ThredUp twice within the past 2 years and both times, I received a decent amount in return. You really do only receive a few bucks per item (so as an example: in donating, say, 20 items, 12 may be accepted and you might receive something like $80 for the haul.) Most of my donated items came from Banana Republic and J. Crew, my two main sources. I wish I knew why they accept some things and not others (H&M -- a perfectly cute sailor mini skirt wasn't accepted, yet I saw the same one for sale.) Shrug, who knows.

      They will give you a special separate price for higher-end items -- I had two Theory t-shirts once that they gave me good $ -- i forget exactly how much. They're constantly revising their pricing payouts so it often changes. It can be really surprising & puzzling about what they do/don't accept. (You also have the option to have what they don't accept sent back to you, but you have to pay for that.)

      Also, you used to be able to ship your items to them for free -- now, I think you have to pay something like $10 to mail it in (just a heads-up).

      I do recommend them, going in with the mind-set that you might've otherwise donated your things anyway and this way at least it's 'better than nothing'. I enjoy selling things on eBay, but stuff can often take a long time to sell so this is a decent alternative.

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    5. I prefer to donate my items. I found a local non-profit that gives away items to people in need. They sort the clothing and some goes to a "clothes that work" program. I get a tax slip and write it off on my taxes. I fee l good about donating whereas I am disappointed by getting only a few dollars per item.

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    6. Luxette, so true about the disappointment versus donating. Only yesterday I received an offer from a local luxury consignment that came to under $4 per item. And they had mostly accepted only Collection items that were NWT or like new. I kindly refused the offer. They were a little pushy, saying they wants my stuff, and asked me why. I said that was such a low offer that I would be happier giving the things to people who couldn't otherwise afford them.

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  6. I've been through the consignment thing and I'll never do it again. Little return for a lot of work. Also I tried Poshmark twice. Once the seller was nice but the item was too big for me and the other time the seller was too busy posting on Facebook or something to ship my item so I cancelled it and wrote a letter to Poshmark. They refunded my money. 50% failuresuccess rate is crap. I donate all my clothes, household, etc. stuff to The Cat Adoption Team Thrift Store. It cares for cats, finds them new people AND the best part....the store is operated by volunteers so I know my money goes for the cats.

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    1. I've had the same experience, Stray Cat. It's not worth my time. I donate to a local organization that maintains a "closet" for low income women as part of their support services. I'd rather expend my energy on more important things than the effort consigning requires. Not worth it for me.

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    2. It does take time, but I use my poshmark sales to find new purchases. I am mostly a AT home parent and only work outside e home occasionally, so for me I just consider it one of those things I spend some time doing. I've made over $3000 in a little over a year so it helps.

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  7. Thanks everyone for the thoughts on the blazer question. I would like to seek more of your collective wisdom. I bought the Italian featherweight cashmere cardigan in gingham E8859. I already had the navy snow one (being one of the lucky lottery winners of the crazy pricing glitch they had about a year ago). Since they reduced the price and took off the final sale, I decided to try the garnet mauve version and also bought the matching shell (E8860). I think wearing the two of them together is too much for me personally to carry off (although I am trying to talk myself into being a bit bolder). But
    I am stumped about what color shirt to wear underneath the cardigan as an alternative to the shell, and what color to wear as a bottom for the (separately worn) shell and cardigan. I thought navy and/or black would work, and it sort of does, but doesn't seem that great. I am a little embarrassed about seeking advice given that I am trying to be more thoughtful about my purchases. If I am struggling, perhaps that is a sign that I should just give up. (But I figured it may be a sign that I am just not very creative!). On the plus side, the old me would have just kept it and hoped but at least the new me is seeking advice. What colors do people recommend to wear with the cardigan?

    Thank you!

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    1. I'm laughing a little to myself because I like the club collar shirt in those same colors and each time I considered buying it, I thought to myself, what bottom would I wear? Denim works, charcoal gray. I tend to dress mostly monochromatically so I didn't get it because I know it would sit there. I could definitely see it paired with gold/ochre/olive/khaki.

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    2. I'm glad you asked this question as I've been eyeing this cardi for a long time (basically since the pricing glitch). I definitely won't buy the shell as I know from previous purchases that cashmere shells don't work for me. On my monitor the cardi looks like it could work with cabernet, but given that the colour is called Garnet, I'm starting to doubt that it would work. Is the garnet a true deep red?

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    3. I've been looking at this one too. I held the image up to things in my closet and thought it worked with my olive green minnies; mauve marties; pink donegal wool pencil skirt; heathered acorn pencil skirt; and of course denim.

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    4. Here is my non exhaustive list for the cardi:
      Burgundy
      Soft pink
      White
      Chambray/denim
      Cream/Ivory
      Light Gray/Platinum
      Maybe even lilac?
      Personally, I don't particularly like dark shirts with lighter cardigans unless they are picking on the colors of the pattern, but I'm sure black looks fine.

      For the shell, I think it would be super nice with a pencil skirt:
      Jeans, obvi :)
      Charcoal or variations of that color
      A nice pink skirt (medium, not hot pink)
      Rich burgundy
      Camel

      Ok, I realize both my lists are the same and perhaps not that helpful :) I think the set is super nice, but it strikes me that the navy is more versatile so if you're trying to shop more consciously, I would stay away from multiples. But on the other hand, many ladies here (I think Taylor and Anne) have made extremely compelling cases for multiples so not sure my advice is one to follow. Just my two cents!

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    5. I'm intrigued by some of the suggestions, especially the olive as I have a lot of that in tops and bottoms. I guess I'd better think carefully as by the time they offer CDNs a % off sale with free shipping again, the sweater will likely be FS.

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  8. Hi Suz Has. Funny but I have the club collar shirt in gingham (burnished rhubarb) you mentioned! I didn't think about the similarities until you mentioned it. They are similar, but held up next to each other, the colors are different. You are right I think about the gold/ochre/olive/khaki as possible matches - sadly, they are colors that don't do anything for me so this is probably a sign from the return gods.

    Shopgrrl - I would say that the dark color on the cardigan is more of a brown red, not the deep pink red of the club color gingham shirt. I think the club collar shirt was called "burnished rhubarb" and the deep shade does remind me of rhubarb but I think there is more brown in the cardigan. I did try pairing the shell with my wool Jackie cardigan (vintage cabernet I think it was called from fall 2016). I am not that great with colors as witnessed by the fact that I am seeking help :-) but I don't think that it works together. Another sign from the return gods. It hurts to return heavily discounted cashmere....

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    1. If it helps, I bought a featherweight cashmere cardigan in my size in a beautiful bright green for $15. Glitch! I returns it in store because it ran waaaaay too small. The look on the SAs face was worth more.

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    2. @TM, thanks for this. I think I know which red you mean, I have a perfect tee in a brownish red from a few years ago, I don't remember what they called it.

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