adventures in shopping: a few quick reviews and an update

awwwwww….
We'll get to the bunny later. First, apologies to those of you who might have read the enthusiastic comments I posted on J.CrewAficionada a little while ago, concerning the J.Crew Collection Wool Flannel Tuxedo Dress. By the way, why do mass-produced garments have more names than many minor British aristocrats?

This morning I rescinded that review, for reasons stated in a fresh post on the JCA review page, and I want to mention it here for those who haven't seen that post.

In a word, the dress I loved began to fall apart. After one wear, the front placket - the applied strip of fabric where the buttonholes are - began to detach from the bottom up. I looked to see if the seam allowance could be tucked back in, but there was essentially no seam allowance. The placket was shredding. No repair was possible. I love shirtdresses, and I always leave the bottom button, or the two bottom buttons, unbuttoned to allow for walking, so there hadn't been any pulling. Someone at a factory had over-skimped. So, good-bye, and thanks to the sales associate who gasped in horror and immediately credited back my purchase.

Next, another tweedy misfire of alchemy. The Sorcerer's Apprentice cooked up a brew that includes snipped black plastic threads, for texture, I guess, and you can see the results here. The plastic things that stick out are meant to be there, they're part of the weave. They reminded me of the plastic lace used for making lanyards, only thinner. Notwithstanding that, the fabric is thick and not flexible. The inset waistband is fringed top and bottom, making the waist look thicker. And the bracelet sleeves are just a mistake. I didn't even bring this one home.

I'm loving the gray pocket dress for all the reasons I had hoped to be loving the tuxedo dress: it's wool, it's simple, the waist is at the waist, and since I'm 4 or 5 inches shorter than most models, the hem covers my kneecaps. I note that while I have identified pocket flaps, I haven't yet found pockets, but this is only a quibble, since if the pocket flaps in fact were part of pockets I wouldn't be putting anything in them anyhow, given their location. And for once I understand the Copywriter from Space - she wanted to call attention to the pocket flaps without calling the dress the Pointless ChestFlap Dress. I forgive her.

I guess I have to end with another downer. I thought I'd
be able to wear the blend of which this season's Cambridge sweaters are made. They feel soft to the touch, and the colors are lovely. Just lovely. The blend is viscose, wool, nylon and Angora -- well, the website says Angora, the label says Rabbit. Angoras are rabbits that are raised for their soft and fluffy yarn, and are just too too adorable.

cute fluffy Angora rabbit
I've had vintage Angora sweaters, and I've been fine in them. Moreover, we've had rabbits as pets, and I was fine. I've never had an allergic reaction to a rabbit. On the other hand, when my nose turns red, followed by swollen teary eyes, sneezing fits and closing throat, this is a sign that my double-barreled cat allergy is acting up. I left the sweater in the dressing room and fled. And I showered and washed my hair when I got home.

Just to be clear:
really cute fluffy baby Angora rabbit
cute, but not rabbits


32 comments:

  1. Experiences like this are why I avoid J.Crew all together now. I've had more than one too many and I'm not going back. Heaven knows what else they are weaving in with the plastic and cat hair. Please be careful around open flame this holiday season.

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    1. Open flames - yes, I'll be at a safe distance.
      Just grabbed a RL velvet paisley jacket (not blazer) with silk lining, that's going to be the mainstay of my holiday wardrobe this year.

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  2. Sorry your dress is falling apart, WFF! I have given up on JC waist dresses. They don't fit me.

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    1. I returned it and got the credit on the spot! I did think a warning was in order, since the dress keeps selling out.

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    2. oh, and these 2 gray dresses, the one that fell apart and the one that's still in the closet, actually have waists that are not misdirected Empire waistlines. Josephine has a lot to answer for.

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  3. I had the same problem with the Chunky Cambridge Sweater last year, it also shed on everything I owned. I had better luck with the regular Cambridge version though, I don't know if they changed the ratio on this year's version versus the old, but it seemed like the main difference between the chunky version and the regular was the rabbit hair.

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    1. hi, TeriLynn13! um, maybe you mean the alleged rabbit hair?

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    2. I'm sure whatever it is, Jenna thinks its an essential addition to your fall wardrobe!

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  4. Good to know for these, in New Zealand they are now using possum a lot and I have a great poncho in jade green that seems great quality. Of course possums are ugly as heck and a total pest and no where near as cutie pie as these bunnies.

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    1. Have you never seen a NZ or Australian possum???! They are nothing like our USA variety possums and are as cute as heck!

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    2. Let me assure you that Australian possums are not cute at all if you hear them fighting and thumping through your roof at night. I've also screamed at the sight of them when passing through a public park at night and found them as large as medium sized dogs eating out of the rubbish bins. In packs. Shudder. They're protected in Australia (despite having adapted very nicely to human habitation, and now roaming the suburbs in plague proportions), but not in NZ where they are introduced pests. Jody is right, their fur is super soft and warm...a perfect use for the possum in my opinion!!

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    3. Yikes, I'm reminded of the Louisiana farmers' attempts to turn nutria (a rodent that can swim as well as chew thru wood) into a gourmet food after the fur trade fell off. The fur is plush-y and lovely and was in great demand as a warm lining. The meat was edible but didn't catch on.
      -- Nutria étouffée, ma'am?
      -- What's nutria?
      -- It's a swamp rat, ma'am.
      You can see why.

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  5. Cat fur in the sweater??? Hilarious!! The quality is not what it used to be, at all, at Crew. My brand new t-shirt developed a hole after 2 wears. The fabric is very thin, but frankly, they've created a disposable t-shirt. How ridiculous.

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    1. If I go into a sneezing fit, something in that sweater once said Meow.

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  6. OH MY GOD!!!!! TABBY!!!!!!!!!

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  7. Sorry to hear about the dress falling apart and the cat/angora sweater fiasco! As others have stated here I have had some serious quality issues with J.Crew too, especially with their T-shirts and knitwear which develop serious holes after one use. Thanks for the reviews and the adorable bunny pics!

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    1. Hi, KatieD, I've had knitwear issues too, but the dress got to me.

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  8. I have new JC pieces that I adore and seem like quality items, but I agree, we all have to be a lot more choosy nowadays, especially since prices just keep rising. Gone are the days where you know a retailer will be full of quality items.

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    1. Hi, Lisa, I agree, shopping has turned into a form of Hunger Game.

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  9. Wait, they are using cat hair in sweaters that are supposed to be rabbit hair?

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    1. Hi, FriendlyFemme, the only was to tell for sure is to DNA-test the sweater, and obviously I'm not in a position to do that. Empirically, however, I've never had a problem with Angoras or other rabbits, whether as my dinner or as part of my wardrobe. I have, however, been getting allergy shots for both kinds of cat allergy (dander and saliva) for over 5 years. The shots help but are not a cure, so testing the limits of politeness I try not to be in close contact with cats or with people who have cats. That said, it's possible that the factory supplying the yarn to the factory that makes the sweaters is using an unheard-of breed of rabbit. Or Tribbles.

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  10. Bloody J Crew. Such shoddy manufacturing!
    Sorry the dress died on you, and sorry too that the sweater turned out to be cat :-(

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    1. I think I'm going to call the creatures Space Rabbits. Or Tribbles.

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  11. I was just saying to a colleague, there was a time when you didn't have to check the ingredients of J.Crew clothing. Sigh. I swore off the Cambridge blend even if I'm not allergic, I think the sweaters will look shoddy with the viscose and agora blended in. I must get that cashmere post finished, not all fibers are created equal, even if the same fiber.

    Thanks for the pics of the cute bunnies all the same. ;)

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    1. Hi, tr, upon reflection, it's the plastic-y artificial tweeds that bother me most. I could get that stuff at Walmart for a small fraction of the price and have money left over for a plastic-y artificial tree.

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  12. Self-shredding dresses, oh my.

    I have angora wristwarmers--made from Maine actual angora rabbit,not Chinese tribbles--that unfortunately make my eyes itch. There's a lady at the fair who spins yarn from her bunny comfortable seated in her lap. And cats-- whew-- v.allergic. My lives in the barn.

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  13. Oy. I'm with you Fred. Plastic, self shredding is shameful. Shameful I tell you.

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    1. I'm annoyed with myself for wasting time on the Amazing Plastic Tweedish Creation, but I'm sad about the gray flannel shirtdress.

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  14. OMG WFF, I took a 2 second break from deadline mania, and glanced at your post. My eyes watered and my nose twitched as I almost burst with laughter. Cat allergy? Maybe that is why I can' t touch "angora" sweaters, and refuse to knit with it! Genius.

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  15. Hi, KnitYarns, glad you stopped by!

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