Off the beaten path: J.Crew Tulip Ruffle Cami and some Esprit Spring Coat reviews

Sunday, February 27, 2011

No, I'm not abandoning Anthropologie by any means, but yesterday I tried on several non-Anthro items that were so cute I had to share.

Esprit is popping up all over New York City. They opened their first store here since the 80s in 2005 or 2006 and since then they've added 5 more locations. They have about 50 stores in the USA now. This store falls right between Anthropologie and J.Crew for me -- some whimsical patterns that make me think of the former with the tailoring that reminds me of the latter. While browsing yesterday I was struck by how many cute spring jackets they have! I thought a few were worth reviewing.

I've included product links in this set but note that you'll need to dig around Esprit's e-shop to buy them. The site is cookie-based and built in First up: the Stretch Biker Jacket ($120).

This jacket is super cropped and not quite right on my body type, but I could see someone like Chloe rocking this. I love the ruffle detail down one size of the placket -- it's a cool little effect that isn't overdone. It's got two darts down the front and chic high pocket placement. I like the zippers at the end of each sleeve too. I am always a 10 in Esprit jackets but there was only an 8 at the store, hence the tightness. I would wear this open over a dress or on the weekend with jeans and a tee underneath.

I've let band jackets pass me by even though I'm very tempted by them. The color of the Slim Stretch Jacket ($130) is the perfect green-brown mix and they had it styled in-store with a pretty brown cowlneck sweater underneath.

Again the tailoring here is nicely done. The jacket is just finished so well, from the pop collar to the darts down the side and front. Whether closed (via hook-and-eye closures) or open this jacket hugged my body and was exactly the right length. The back has a small gather to help mold to my shape. This jacket feels very high-quality, an element I've been missing lately at some of my other usual stores. It's made from sturdy cotton. I took my usual size 10.

This anorak isn't online yet but should be soon. It's part of the edc line from Esprit, which is like H&M young adult line or a juniors' line. As such it's cut narrow through the hips which tripped me up a bit. But I love the color, a nice medium blue that looks great over dark denim. The buttons start far apart at the top of the jacket and move inward as you trail down. Likewise, two lines of piping on either side tailor in at the waist to create a lean line. There are small epaulettes at the shoulder for a slight military touch, and a sturdy tie at the waist.

I tried on a size large, which fit nicely on my top half but wasn't adequately able to deal with my hips. I'd size up to an XL to buy -- although sometimes this juniors' line only goes up to a large.

This last jacket is just called Jacket ($130) online -- oh these crazy European retailers! It might not look like much online but it was my favorite jacket of the day.

Why? It was so sturdy and surprisingly warm. Wind is a big deal in the city -- you can literally get blown backwards down some streets. I'm sick of jackets that are thin enough to let breezes through. This one blocks the wind nicely without stifling me to the point of overheating. And again the tailored aspects of this jacket are so nice. My usual 10 fit nicely and felt great on.

Esprit's e-shop works pretty well. What I'll usually do is try on the items in-store and then buy online with the plethora of codes they release. They do x% off order deals every other month it seems so look for one of those codes to come out soon. If you do end up ordering let me know what you think!

After Esprit I cruised up to J.Crew to see if I could find something to use my spring rewards card on. I did -- the Tulip Ruffle Cami ($80) you see above. I haven't seen any reviews for this top yet, so I snapped a few quick shots.

This color is dragonfly blue and I tried on my usual size 6. I was concerned about how the top would look belted on me, but luckily I thought it looked pretty cute! The ruffles pull in and yes the effect is bulky, but I'd want to wear this under an open blazer or cardigan anyway to show off the ruffles. The henley-esque buttons down the front are a pretty touch and I love the seams which cascade into the ruffly tiers. I felt the v-neck was flattering and while I wouldn't have minded a couple more inches of length the top is long enough to pair with mid-rise pants or a skirt. (Low-rise moto jeans like I was wearing? Not so much.)

Here's how the top looks tied towards the back. More streamlined but still with some adorable visual interest. The silk felt pretty nice to me -- it wasn't quite the luxurious silk of some other J.Crew tops but it didn't feel cheap either. This will be a great work top so I decided that it was worth full price. I'm interested in a couple of the other colors this top comes in, so I hope it makes it to sale.