My Experience with J. Crew*

           Let's start out with this disheartening, yet true, fact about yours truly.  I am Black and Puerto Rican, and a lot of the times, when I'm not working on a blog post, I am neither wearing ANY make-up nor trying to look attractive, and that's the cold hard truth.  With 40+ hour work weeks, and a full time college class load, any spare time I have is usually spent in skinnies, a t-shirt and boots, barely original. 
                                                                                                                                                                    That being said, I have experienced my fair share of what we'll just call "hatred"....to avoid judging
someone I don't personally know.   Either way, I can count on all my fingers, toes, and crazy curly hair strands how many times I have walked into a high quality store to a look of disgust and judgement, but never once,  has this happened at J. Crew.  I am always greeted with a genuinely warm smile, a diverse group of sales associates and a perfectly balanced amount of personal space yet eagerness to assist.  My favorite part about shopping there is actually their fitting room experience and two moments will forever stand out in my head.  One was at a J. Crew Factory at a Tanger Outlet Mall where they actually wrote your name on a little white board on the front of every fitting room door and the other in my current hometown, Columbus, OH at the Polaris Fashion Place location.   I was walking around and had accumulated a couple garments in my hand.  Since they don't have baskets or shopping carts I appreciate the fact that one associate noticed, after only a couple minutes, that I was holding some shirts, took them off my hands for me and started a fitting room for me with my items.  She even told me her first name and said, "If you have any questions, just let me know, I'd be happy to help."  And for the first time, in a long time, I really did believe the random shopping sales associate that she was, in fact, willing to help.


                 Another great service that I more than appreciate about J. Crew is the same amount of PERSONAL help that you can get via the website, with Live Chat available, you can talk to an associate on a personal I.M, and they will assist you with any questions you may have.    Just the other week I was asking about a blazer that I didn't have the opportunity to buy in store, so I needed help with sizing.  It was exactly 6 days before Cyber Monday, and since they didn't have it in the store and buying it online would be my only option I asked my personal associate, on chat, what the Cyber Monday sale was going to be, since I hadn't received any e-mails about it nor could I find it on the web anywhere.  Although they weren't allowed to disclose the information regarding the sale at the time, she did go on the check how many in the exact size, color, and type that I needed were in stock.  I didn't even ask for that information, but you know what, knowing that there were more than 50 available did ease my mind that it wouldn't sell out before I could get a steep discount on it.  The best part about the chat feature is simply put, you aren't limited to a website's "FAQs".   You and I both know you always happen to be wondering the one thing that don't have the answer already conveniently typed out, so this way you can speak one on one with someone and have the most specific question in the world to ask them and they will be able to answer it.


            Another thing about them, was the experience I had on the website once I did, in fact, purchase the blazer.  After asking countless questions, speaking to 3 different associates online via the website's chat feature and making sure I ordered the right blazer, it came in the mail.  But it didn't JUST come in the mail, it arrived 3 days earlier than I anticipated, it came fast enough actually, to qualify for expedited shipping, but I had paid, or not paid, for the standard shipping, which was free.  When I opened the box though, not only was I greeted by a blazer in the exact color that the website depicted but it was on a hanger.  This wide hanger helped keep the structured shoulder of my blazer perfectly in tact while it was crammed in a box for 3 days, and well, now I had an extra hanger.  I don't know about you but I have the exact amount of hangers as I do shirts in my closet, so there is usually this weird period of time after a couple shopping trips were a select few shirts are awkardly folded on a shelf in my closet, getting wrinkly.  So the fact that they sent me a hanger just for my new blazer, is a whole new level of awesome I never realized I was missing out on.
         


Now, let's get to the quality of well, everything.  I am just going to put it as simply as this:  There has not been a single purchase that I have made from that store, that I regret......ever.  In fact, I am often shocked by the quality of things after I purchase them and honestly, I think they could get away with pricing their items even higher, that is how superb the quality is based on what they are charging for it.  Even my recent, (first ever) online purchase from them, was amazing.  Every ounce of that blazer was protected in plastic, and tissue paper, and even every single button was tightly wrapped up so that I was able to unwrap these perfectly unscratched little golden buttons.  In store I have bought mostly jewelry from them, but all of the pieces I have bought are classics, 2 animal bangles, and THE pave crystal link bracelet, but the few garment pieces I did save up for have proven just as superb. I haven't gotten a chance to wear them all on the blog yet but that's because I try to not "break them in" unless it's a special occasion or a fancy outing since they are made of finer quality fabrics. If you missed my review on the Pave Crystal Link bracelet, make sure to check it out here.



            There is this huge misconception, however, that J. Crew is two things, "preppy and boring".  Take it from me, it kinda is, but I wouldn't say it's boring so much as it is classic.   Honestly, yes, if you were to dress J. Crew head to toe there is no way in hell you could look anything but preppy but you don't have to and that's what great about it.   My personal style is more street, edgy, or even "rocker" if you want to call it that, but I love shopping there for the classic pieces, which is exactly why I own more jewelry than anything.  But if styled properly, as you'll see in my pictures, you can use the pieces and incorporate them into any style that suits your needs/personality.



           Almost done, I promise, but I have to address the elephant in the room, the cost.   I know this whole blog is about budget shopping and about 75% of the things I get at J. Crew was on the sale rack.  I'm not going to lie though, I do have a J. Crew credit card, and let me explain why.  When I turned 21 this year it hit me like a brick wall, and as you read in my Tag Challenge Post I went through a horrible break-up and my whole wardrobe went through this whole "rebirth" thing.  Well, for some reason this birthday was different and I started expressing myself as an adult in every aspect of my life, including the way I dressed and the clothes I bought.  I figured it was time to start buying higher quality pieces that would stand the test of style's time and last me for years as I grow into a woman.  I made the decision to open up a store credit card once I really got my finances together and could afford all my bills with a little extra money left over.  I try to only buy items that, as I previously stated many times, are classics.   Yes, if you look at the website or know anything about their pricing you can send yourself into sticker shock, but that's why I did decided on the credit card, so I can buy myself nicer things and pay them off in smaller increments over time.  If you want to hear more about my experiences with store credit cards, shoot me an e-mail (allsizefitsone@yahoo.com)  and I will give you my take on it, because believe me, it's not for everyone and can be very financially dangerous.  

Well, I hope you enjoyed this long review on my favorite "fancy pants" store :)

 

Remember, even though you can look "très chic" on a budget with sale racks, coupons, and thrifting, you should never be scared to save up for a couple weeks or months to buy yourself something high quality every once and while.  It is worth the wait and worth the cost.  Just make sure you pick your items carefully and try to stick to classic items like blazers, classic heels or jewelry.   Stay stylish......xoxo -Viktoria




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*all of the pictures of items in this post are some of the pieces I currently own....and I look forward to more.

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