Review: J. Crew Faux-Leather Pocket Shift Dress.

I love a good sheath dress. But as I mentioned in my fitting room post, I have also been keeping an eye out for dresses with simple, relaxed cuts that I can use for work and play this fall and winter. This faux-leather pocket shift dress from J. Crew (available in regular, petite, and tall sizes) epitomizes the phrase, “looks can be deceiving.” I didn’t think much of it when I saw it online, and it barely registered on my radar when I was in the store. I tried it on a whim, since it was hanging on the rack right next to the striped tweed sheath dress that had initially piqued my interest. To my surprise I kind of liked the shift more than the sheath. Just a heads up, this dress is currently on sale (and as of this posting, there’s an additional discount)– here is a more detailed review and a couple outfit ideas to assist you with your decision-making!

Here are a few IRL photos:

Approximate measurements of size Petite 00: overall length (from back neckline to bottom hem) 32.75″, across shoulders 14″, under arms (armpit to armpit) 16″, waist (about 3.5″ above the pocket openings) 17″. Material: 50% polyester, 30% wool, 20% viscose; pocket is 100% polyester with polyurethane coating; 100% polyester lining (the dress is fully lined).

The dress color is called “heather charcoal,” a dark grey that almost looks black from a distance. The fabric is a twill weave and of medium weight and thickness. Two black faux-leather patch pockets are stitched in front; they are soft and pliable, but unlined. In terms of scale, they are reminiscent of the faux-leather patch pockets on the sweater that J. Crew sold last season. An exposed silver-toned zipper runs down the back length of the dress.

I’m still sort of getting used to wearing dresses that aren’t fitted. However, the relaxed, straight silhouette of this shift feels pleasantly uncomplicated. Overall, the dress is comfortable and fits on the looser side. The extra room is nice for layering and unrestricted movement. The bottom of the dress hit around 2 inches above the knee. Here are some photos of headless me wearing the shift a couple different ways (for reference, my measurements are here):

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With Ann Taylor beaded collar shirt (similar options: save or splurge) and AGL pyramid stud pumps

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With Banana Republic double breasted vest (currently on sale), Ann Taylor tote, Ann Taylor black heels

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With Banana Republic knit boyfriend blazer (currently on sale), thrifted necklace, Ann Taylor black heels

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With Uniqlo striped turtleneck and heattech tights, Aquatalia boots (exact and current season)

The Upshot: I’m trying to move out of my comfort zone a bit by adding more relaxed silhouettes to my wardrobe. I think this is a nice and simple addition. As I’ve mentioned before, the color and cut are pretty basic, but the faux-leather pockets add a special touch that take the dress out of Über-Basic territory. While the shift is cute on it’s own, it is also fairly easy to layer and create different outfit combinations, which means that I can stretch out the number of wears this gets as the weather transitions (gotta love multi-season pieces!).

-j.

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