J.CREW's New Spring Line, Belle's Must Haves

This week, the sparkling new J.CREW catalog arrived in my mail box.  And sadly, there wasn’t much to get excited about. 

Nearly every piece was just an expansion on a previously sold style, and has been the trend over the past few years, there are pieces that are so expensive that you question the sanity of anyone who might purchase them.  ($645 for a pencil skirt? $966 for an anorak? Is this a joke?)  But there were a couple of items that spokes to me, so I thought I would take this opportunity to share them with you, since as has also been the case recently, they will probably be on backorder before the end of next week.

I don’t buy many cardigans these days, but I thought this shell pink and navy sweater was a good mix of structure and fun.  The Merino Colorblock Cardigan costs $90, and also comes in a mix of navy and kelly green.  I would tell you to wait for the sale to buy it, but my spidey senses tell me this won’t make it to the sale.

It dawned on me last weekend, while cleaning out my own closet, that I own nine blouses and only three skirts.  This disparity is being partially remedied through the purchase of this medallion paisley pencil for $128. 

I find the pattern completely overwhelming as a dress, but more palatable as a blouse or a skirt.  We’ll see what it looks like in person.

The price on this micro-tweed jacket surprised me.  I did not expect it to cost under-$150, but it does.  It would look nice with jeans, like in the photo, or with navy separates.  Perhaps white, if you live in a place where you can wear tweed past April.

This Colorblock Tartine Satchel ($325) is gorgeous.  A complete Givenchy knock-off, but a lovely one.  (J.CREW has had a lot of luck knocking off luxury or foreign made bags. Last year it was the Biennial Satchel, a knock off of the Modalu Pippa bag.)

Regardless of its origins, I think it’s a great bag for every season.  It’s not too black to carry in summer, and not so pastel it can’t pass muster in December.

So do you have any pieces you’ll buy at retail value?  Or did the collection leave you a little cold?



  1. m says:

    Belle — you own only 9 blouses and 3 skirts!? That is a well-edited closet. It seems like you shop a lot (not judging, just noting), so do you get rid of items frequently?

    I don't even want to count how many skirts I own, but I definitely can't count it on 2 hands.

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  2. Belle says:

    m-I do clean out my closet regularly. I don't believe in holding onto things that I'm not wearing.

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  3. Jamie says:

    Belle, how seasonal is your closet? I could see only having 9 blouses for fall/winter and then more for spring/summer. But only 9 blouses year-round is crazy to me!

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  4. Belle says:


    I don't have a seasonal wardrobe at all, except for one white skirt and three dresses that are only summer. Like I said, I have pared my closet to essentials with three or four extra pieces that I usually discard to friends or sell off at the end of the season/year.

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  5. joy says:

    The jacket caught my eye as well. I also liked the oxblood dress with the white dots but not enough to buy at full price. I felt meh about the whole catalog.

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  6. MK says:

    Not only is that jacket affordable, it's machine washable!! I thought that combination was utterly foreign to J. Crew. I love merino cardi, and really love that it has cotton sleeves, as I'm very sensitive to wool. Mostly, though, the collection left me cold. It felt like a total rerun. That anorak is INSANE. If I had $900 to spend, I'd buy a Burberry bag.

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  7. M says:

    Wow Belle, maybe you could share a bit more about your closet. I definitely have 20 or so skirts (I like skirts a lot), but I do wear them all in rotation, at least once or twice a year.

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  8. Raquel says:

    Belle- I would love to see more of your closet and the pieces you own! I have been paring down my closet but the idea of few pieces scare me, I'm guessing you have really timeless, pair-able pieces and I think your readers would love to see more of what you actually own!

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  9. EK says:

    1. Agree on the closet comments! I'd love to see an outline of the basic pieces you own, even though I know you've covered some of that in older posts (intern series, etc.). As I prepare to move, I'm coming to realize just how little of my clothing I wear regularly, but paring down is intimidating.

    2. For close to $1000, that anorak better have magical powers concealed in those comically large zippers.

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  10. Peach blossom says:

    Hi Belle, please share some more on your closet, having only 3skirts sounds crazy to me and it makes me feel so guilty for having 20 skirts! I would love to have a well edited closet like you do!

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  11. giggling gourmand says:

    Everything Liberty! There's only so much of it I can buy without it getting silly – but I fear I might be taking home half the collection:

    Also the green tweed shorts:

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  12. Valerie says:

    I'm definitely keeping the Colorblock Satchel in mind, since I don't have a spare $2500 for the “real” Givenchy item.

    Also I agree with Belle that the JCrew Collection is getting a bit ridiculous. If a woman has close to $1000 to spend on a coat, she's likely going to higher end department stores, not JCrew. They should real stick to making affordable, chic pieces for those of us with smaller budgets.

    January 31, 2013/Reply
  13. MidWestChic says:

    Belle, I know a while back you used to sell pieces (or was it readers who sold them) here on the blog that you no longer wear. Is that something you are still interested in doing? I'd love to have a pick of something from your closet ­čÖé

    February 1, 2013/Reply
  14. Kim says:

    Does it really count as a knock off if the original is available for cheaper? Maybe something for J Crew to think about briefly.

    February 1, 2013/Reply
  15. giggling gourmand says:

    Curious about the 3 skirts. Do you wear wool skirts in the spring/summer or cotton skirts in the winter? I tend to pack away seasonal items so it's still easy to navigate my closet – but I like to keep with seasonal fabrics.

    February 1, 2013/Reply