I recently put in a big order at J.Crew — their Memorial Day Sale is going strong. And while I always love their summer collections, this year I was especially impressed by their increased use of natural fibers (cotton, linen), as well as other environmentally friendly fibers like Cupro. So my order included summer outfit staples like cotton gauze shorts and tops, as well as linen pants, tanks, and one seriously gorgeous maxi dress. (And jeans…always jeans.)
Bonus: most of these styles are available in plus, tall and petite sizes as well.
Per usual, I tried it all on and took photos. It’s always helpful to see these pieces on a “real” person. But then, I wanted to try something a little different. While normally I upload all the photos and write up my notes (both the good and bad), I thought it might be more helpful to illustrate my usual process for deciding which pieces to keep. Granted, this is a fairly personal process, one that depends heavily on my own color preferences and what I already own (so it won’t easily translate to others) but it did help to cement my (already strong, haha) opinions.
From Linen To Denim & Matching Sets, What To Buy At J.Crew Right Now
So I’ve divided up this try-on article into sections. There’s one for the clothing I can recommend without reservation — the pieces I’m keeping all fall into this category. There’s another section for items that I really liked but may not keep because they weren’t quite right (and I’ll explain why, in detail), and there’s a third section for styles that I don’t recommend.
The summer outfit pieces that I am absolutely keeping are this sling bag (I think it’s going to be a perfect beach bag), this linen tank top (available up to size 3XL), and a linen tee. I’m also still wearing the heck out of these J.Crew jeans that I purchased last fall. Let’s dive in.
YES: Linen Tank + Canvas Sling Bag + Jeans
tank (s) | jeans (26) | bag | sandals
This canvas sling bag is the kind of beach bag I’ve been looking for for years. It’s a really nice size (I’m a beach minimalist), and I can throw it on crossbody, too, which makes it easy to jump on a bike.
The linen tank is almost a peplum top, but the shorter shape makes it fresh. I love the lower neckline. The whole top is so breezy and cute, I know it’ll get a ton of wear this summer.
YES: J.Crew Relaxed Linen Tee
I had forgotten how much I like J.Crew’s linen t-shirts. They’re drapey, feminine and relaxed (and be sure to check out the colors). I love how J.Crew manages to make colorful hues feel like neutrals. This ‘deep midnight’ color, for example, works like a heather gray t-shirt, yet is a little more exciting.
YES: J.Crew Printed Maxi
maxi dress (xs)
THIS, my friends, is QUITE a dress. It’s an absolute stunner and a joy to wear. Runs big (and I’m going to need to get mine hemmed). Check out that BACK:
maxi dress (xs)
The bad news is that this one is selling fast, but I was so impressed with this dress that it might be worth checking out similar cotton printed dresses at J.Crew. I’m especially eyeing up this sexy striped cotton dress, this tie-back midi in a pretty print, or this wildly elegant floral dress.
The Summer Pieces I Recommend At J.Crew…With Reservation
The tops, shorts, and jeans featured in this category are ones that I liked OK…but I’m not planning to keep. In some cases, the fit was a bit off, the color just didn’t work, or I’m too short for the style. That said, these items are certainly good enough to recommend, but I’ll identify my issues so you guys can make informed choices.
MAYBE: J.Crew Wide-Leg Denim Trouser (in Pearl St. Wash)
tee (s) | trouser jeans (26) | bag
Aren’t these denim trousers freaking fabulous??? Gahhhh I LOVE THEM. They’re soft, comfortable, and the most perfect shade of ’70s vintage blue. I loved these jeans from the second I put them on.
The problem? I’m just under 5’3″, and the inseam on these jeans is 32″. So I’m wearing them here with my highest platform heels — the shoes that I almost never wear. Normally, I’d just hem the jeans, but I’m not convinced that the fabulous cuff can be hemmed (at least not easily). If these flares came in petite sizing, I’d be set. Sadly, they do NOT. Anyway, I’m still debating. I may take them into a tailor to see if they can be saved. I mean…look at how cute with my white linen tank:
tank (s) | trouser jeans (26) | bag
MAYBE: J.Crew Square Neck Top & High-Rise Shorts Set (In Linen Blend)
top (s) | shorts (4)| bag | sandals
The problem: Gahhhh…this matching set is another heartbreak; it’s not my best color. As cute as it is, I found myself feeling…idk sad whenever I put it on. And it only comes in one other color, a pretty orange/rust that is also NOT my color. Boo.
That said, if you can wear warmer tones…get excited. This one is worth a look.
This set is made from a linen/cupro blend (cupro is an environmentally friendly material), and the tailoring is great. The square-neck top has a ruched back, which makes it really comfortable to wear, and the whole thing has Reformation vibes (yet is more comfortable than Reformation). I tried it on with all of my go-to, most-worn pieces and yup: it works.
top (s) | denim shorts (26) | jeans (26) | bag | sandals
J.Crew’s high-rise linen blend shorts have some extra length, but feel very fashion-girl rather than mumsy, thanks to the tailoring and modern cut. Happily, the shorts also come in black (in addition to the oatmeal and rust colors the top comes in).
tank (s) | sling bag | top (s) | red bag | sandals
MAYBE: J.Crew Hand Knotted Rope Tote
Anyone spy that cute red bag in the above photos? It’s the Hand Knotted Rope Tote by J.Crew, and it gives me major Clare V. vibes. In fact, if I didn’t already own Clare V.’s Sandy Bag (in black), I’d keep J.Crew’s.
The problem: The only thing I’d like to point out is that the holes in the J.Crew’s bag are a liiiiiitle bit bigger than my Clare V., which might make it harder to keep things in, and the handles aren’t nearly as luxe. But the price point of the J.Crew bag is lower.
My Clare V. bag is the black bag pictured below, the J.Crew knotted rope tote is shown below, in red.
MAYBE: J.Crew’s Cotton Gauze Set (Tee, Shorts)
tee (s) | shorts (s) | bag | sandals
There’s lots to love about this set. The fabric is breezy and feels like clouds, and this is the kind of thing that’s so easy to throw on in the summer.
The problem? Well…the cut of these pieces isn’t…quite…perfect. The shorts have a thick, elastic waistband (which is comfortable), but it still ended up feeling like there was a lot of fabric around my middle. Tucking in the shirt shows the issue better:
tee (s) | shorts (s) | bag | sandals
And while the shirt is very cute, I couldn’t decide if the elastic around my arms would start to bug me, especially in the heat. That said, this shirt looks really cute with jeans, and it’s one of the few square neckline tops that can be worn with a regular bra. In general, I recommend the shirt much more than the matching shorts.
shirt (s) | trouser jeans (26) | bag
MAYBE: J.Crew Cotton Gauze Button-Down Shirt
shirt (s) | denim shorts (26) | sandals
Suuuuuper soft, super comfortable. That said, the cut is both long and slim, so it feels more classic than the oversized, slouchy button-down I was looking for.
MAYBE: J.Crew Wide-Leg Trousers in Italian Linen
tank (s) | pants (4 petite) | bag | sandals
J.Crew’s linen trousers have the right balance of tailoring and slouch. They’re great.
The problem? Well, first of all, I need to hem them even though they’re petite sizing (not usually a big issue). But I’m struggling with how to make these work with my own personal style, and I think I like the idea of navy trousers more than I actually like wearing navy trousers. I threw these on with a few of my most-worn shoes and was a little underwhelmed. If it’s this hard to style…history shows that I won’t wear it.
white tee (s) | blue tee (s) | pants (4 petite) | bag | sandals | Vans
MAYBE: J.Crew Seaside Linen Pants
tank (s) | pants (small, petite) | bag | sandals
I really wanted to love J.Crew’s latest linen Seaside pants. They’re comfortable, come in regular, petite and tall sizes, and look very cute on the model.
The problem? In practice, however, the fit was off (at least on me). I’m wearing a size small petite, and while the length is perfect, these pants hit too low on my waist. I would likely be better off in a regular size (and hem to the correct length). The other issue, however, is that the pockets are VERY long on the inside. The real-life result (at least in white) is that you can actually see exactly where the pockets end, making the whole look messy. Sadly, the photos don’t quite show what I’m talking about, but IRL you can definitely see the line where the pockets end.
Here’s a photo that illustrates where the pocket line would be visible:
tee (s) | pants (small, petite) | Vans
The take-away here is that these pants might be great if you are looking for a cropped pant other than white, and if your rise more closely matches your height.
The J.Crew Pieces I Don’t Recommend
OK Gang. Get ready.
NOPE: J.Crew Leather Pouch Bag
Again, the Clare V. vibes were strong with this one. However, the leather straps are too stiff, so not only does it not hang well, but you can’t actually close it, either. That top part literally cannot be scrunched closed. No.
NOPE: Cloud Gauze Shorts In Any Color Other Than Black
shirt (s) | shorts (s) | sandals
The lighter the color, the more, uh, voluminous these shorts become. And if you are staring at this photo wondering is that shirt a different color??? Yes. Yes, it is. So check those color names verrrry carefully, even if they’re in the same fabric.
Also, for funsies:
tank (s) | shorts (s) | sandals
NOPE: J.Crew Cuffed Boyfriend Jean
tank (s) | jeans (26 petite) | sandals
These jeans are…fine. They’re nothing special, however, and they look dramatically different IRL than they do on J.Crew’s website. They are also FINAL SALE, which makes me angry (especially for jeans, and even more for jeans that don’t fit like the photo). So it might be that I’m more annoyed than cautionary with this pair, but still.
That’s it!! I hope this helps!
But seriously — I’d love to know if this extra detail is useful information in these selfie articles. We’re always trying to come up with ways to make your lives easier, and are hoping that really thoughtful content does just that.
Oh hey, Pinners! This one’s for you…
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