Petite Cashmere Smack Down – J.Crew vs. Ann Taylor

JCrew-vs-Ann-Taylor

Place your bets ladies…it’s gonna be an exciting match! *Ding Ding Ding*

Our first contender hails from the preppy offerings of J.Crew. Boasting a bright golden yellow hue, and sizing in at xxs… it’s J.Crew Cashmere Crewneck Cardigan!

JCrew Cashmere 3 600px

Our second contender comes from the work separates heaven known as Ann Taylor. With it’s pretty horn colored buttons and sizing in at pxxs…it’s Ann Taylor Petite Cashmere Cardigan!

Ann Taylor Pink Cashmere 2 600px

All right ladies…let’s keep it clean. May the best cashmere win. *DING*

Cashmere quality:

Both contenders are deliciously soft 100% cashmere, and after stoking both of them for quite some time (in the name of research ladies!), I was hard pressed to choose a winner. It’s a split decision on this one:

Softest: Ann Taylor +1
Thickest: J.Crew +1

Details:

Upon deeper examination, both cardigans have at least one detail I like.

JCrew Cashmere Close 600px

The J.Crew cardigan has a ribbon backed button placket that suggests better craftsmanship, but it’s pearly, same colored buttons left me feeling a bit “blah”.

Ann Taylor Cashmere Close 600px

The Ann Taylor Cardigan lacks the ribbon detail placket of the J.Crew cardigan, but has delightfully gold rimmed, horn colored buttons that contrast beautifully with the color of the cardigan. The only problem…the buttons are a bit thick, and I was having a hard time getting them through the button holes!

I’m a sucker for pretty buttons….Ann Taylor +1

Fit:

The first obvious difference is the J.Crew cardigan is a regular size xxs, while the Ann Taylor Cardigan is a petite size xxs.

JCrew Cashmere 1-1 600px
JCrew Cashmere 4 600px

The J.Crew has a baggy, saggy torso, long sleeves that pooled around my wrist at the ribbing (excellent news for long armed ladies), and a shorter torso length (short torso’d gals…take note).

Ann Taylor Pink Cashmere 3 600px
Ann Taylor Pink Cashmere 4 600px

The Ann Taylor has a slimmer, sleeker torso (Ah ha! There’s my waist! I knew it was in there somewhere!), slightly shorter sleeves (although still a bit long on me, good for you long armed girls), and a longer torso length (good for you long torso’d gals).

Fit is most important, and worth 2 points: Ann Taylor +2

Colors:

J.Crew offers the gamut of gorgeous shades they usually do, from bright brights, to mellow neutrals, so there’s something for everyone. Quite a few colors seem to be left in size xxs. Ann Taylor offers a smaller color palette, most of which were not available in petite sizes, and even fewer still left in size pxxs. Richer colors are better for my warm skin tone, but only softer colors better suited for cool complected ladies were left at Ann Taylor.

J.Crew +1

Price Point:

J.Crew retails full price for $158, and I got it on sale for a mere $70. Not bad for quality cashmere. Ann Taylor retails full price for $148, and I was able to snag this beauty at $104 with a coupon code. Still a bit expensive, especially since it’s $30 more than the J.Crew.

J.Crew sales make me smile + 1

Final point tally:

J.Crew: 3 points
Ann Taylor: 4 points

And the winner by decision…Ann Taylor!

Ann Taylor Cashmere Dress Form 600px

Now for the important question…should I keep it? It’s expensive at $104…but it’s quite nice and chic isn’t it? And, gosh, do I love cashmere. Worth it? Does the color suit me? Yay or nay?

Disclosure – Clicking or purchasing through the links in this post may yield commissions for AlterationsNeeded.com. See the Alterations Needed Disclosure for more details.

44 Comments

  • simplyvonne says:

    super cute and chic…but…i think it's still really expensive! wow $104!

  • Elle says:

    Great reviews Kelly…and in the nick of time too since I have been after cashmere cardi's myself. Honestly (and I just don't have an eye for fit) the torso for the AT one looks about as loose as the J.Crew one but I do like the softer look of AT. At $104 it seems a little steep…I don't know if they ever make it on sale (just went to the link you posted and sizes are nearly gone in many colors) but I really like the color on you so I vote keep.

  • Lisa - respect the shoes says:

    My personal pick would be the JC cardi. While I agree, I think all their cardis seem to have a slightly boxier body in comparison to their arms, their cashmere sale prices are nice and I am loving the richer colors.

    You look great in both though and if you prefer the AT, you should keep it. At over $100 though, the price still seems awfully steep …

    I'm probably late in the game here, but what about the cashmere sweaters from JC Crewcuts?

  • Rachel says:

    I immediately favored the AT one due to the slim torso and though the pricing is high, it's typical for the brand. I think it looks great on you so if the $104 is in your budget, keep it! The color is going to work through Spring so I'd think you could get a much longer wear time than with the mustard. The JCrew is a pretty color, but it's so baggy! Maybe open and belted would solve that???

  • daisy351 says:

    Great review. I agree that $104 is a lot, but if you plan on making it a wardrobe stable and get years of use from it, it may be worth it. It's definitely a classic style. Also, nice use of the dress form :)

  • Anonymous says:

    Heh. Tempted by the markdowns and a gift card, I bought the J Crew cardi in the iced lilac color two days ago, and am waiting for it in the mail. I'm a size bigger, so I think it will work (except in sleeve length)

    *Sigh* I really miss the days before 2007 when J Crew carried sweaters in petite sizes. I still have some of those, although they're getting a little ratty looking.

  • PetiteLittleGirl says:

    Great review, Kelly! Do you know if the JCrew cardigan is available in petite sizes? If it is, I would pick the JCrew one. It's not a "fair" comparison when one is a regular size and the other is a petite size :) Another reason that I love the JCrew one is the bright yellow color. You look a little washed out wearing the AT cardigan. Regardless, they are both very pretty. I would have a hard time spending over $100 for a cardigan though.

  • kileen says:

    great review, kelly!! for me, fit is the determining factor as far as whether i would keep an item. i like the fit of the AT one more as it does show the waistline better. but, $104 is a bit pricey for me, even for cashmere. i would probably wait and see if if ever goes on sale or if there's a better discount out there.

    cuteandlittle.com

  • Anonymous says:

    Kelly, what color "season" you are? I notice you mainly wear cooler colors in your outfit posts. I was just curious!

  • R.L. says:

    Loved the reviews! The cardigans were extremely similar that I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference (aside from color) had you not so eloquently pointed them out. :) It's true that J. Crew has such lovely color offerings. (I actually sigh wistfully just looking at them all!) But quality and fit are most important in my opinion. And if the quality is the same but the the AT sweater fits better, I'd go with the AT one. Plus I like that shade of pink on you better than the gold which seems too bright for your complexion.

  • Martina Gallo says:

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  • Really Petite says:

    i like both since they are different colors:) $70 is cheap! I spent $100 on both my Vince cashmeres:)

  • Petite Mom says:

    I think they both look good on you and I can't really tell the difference in fit that you mentioned. I guess I'm still fine tuning my undiscerning eye. $70-$100 is not bad if it fits well! I think Uniqlo cashmere cardigans (runs boxy) are $100 and are not nearly as nice as JCrew or Ann Taylor.

  • Trystan L. Bass says:

    For me, I'd take the Ann Taylor bec. of the slightly better fit (ooo, shorter arms, better waist!) & pink color (I hate yellow). Anything above $50 for a sweater is crazy in my world, so they might as well be even on price. Obviously, I don't wear cashmere unless it's a gift ;-)

  • Alterations Needed says:

    @Lisa – respect the shoes – I've never tried the Crew Cuts cashmere, but from seeing Crew Cuts tops on other petite bloggers, I'm expecting a wide, boxy, short torso and short sleeves…ick!

    @Rachel – I thought about belting it, but I really want such a nice cardigan to be more versatile than that. I don't want to only feel comfortable wearing it one way.

    @daisy351 – Ahh yes, Stacy (the dress form) is earning her keep!

  • Alterations Needed says:

    @Anonymous – J.Crew had petite cardigans?? Darn it! That was before my blogging days when I was on top of this kind of stuff. I would have cleaned them out of tiny sizes! =P

    @PetiteLittleGirl – Nope, J.Crew doesn't even have petite sweaters, let alone cashmere. Otherwise I would have tried that. In fact, out of the main chain stores that carry petite sizes, Ann Taylor is the only one that carries petite size cashmere at all (BR has lots of merino wool, but I haven't seen cashmere). Maybe Talbots does? But their sizing isn't small enough for me just yet. Not the most fair comparison, but it's all us petite gals got!

    @kileen – I would wait for the Ann Taylor to go on sale, but I know all the xxsp will be sold out immediately.Us tiny girls are quick! We snatch them up first thing! And being on the west coast, I'm at least 3 hours late to sales…lol.

  • Alterations Needed says:

    @Anonymous – I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure I'm an "autumn". I'm supposed to look great in earthy colors. I tend to wear cooler variations of warm colors…like reds that are cooled down with a little blue in them, or darker shades of colors, like navy blue.

    @R.L. – Glad you found it helpful! I'm still unsure about the color. Maybe just because it's so different from the rest of my wardrobe.

    @Petite Mom – Thanks for putting the price into perspective! It's true, I've seen worse cashmere retail for much more!

  • Anonymous says:

    No! Don't pull the trigger yet. It is way too expensive. All my AT cashmere and Bloomingdale's cashmere in general were under $60.00 and I stocked up in that price. Bloomingdale's used to offer store brand rainbows of cashmere sweaters in petite sizes and the selection was more vast than AT. Aqua and Autumn cashmere run small. XS is too snug and small on me.
    Reference: 5 ft' 98 lbs.small frame but curvy.

  • Stylepint says:

    I love how you compared AT and J.Crew sweaters. I've often wondered about the difference between the two.

    Personally, I'd be stocking up on the shorter sweaters since I have a full closet of longer cardigans. But both seem to be a great asset indeed!

    Btw, love that Stacy is getting some more attention on your blog! =)

  • Anonymous says:

    I like the shorter length JCrew – woudl work well with pensil skirts.. I feel the longer cardigans are only appropriate to wear with pants.

  • Savvy Gal says:

    i am a pink person but the yellow is quite nice too. decision….

  • Russian Chic says:

    Thank ou for a great review. AT has a better fit.
    Kelly, what a surprise to hear that you are "autumn"! I always perceived you as a "winter" since you wear darker, richer and cooler jewel-tones (and reds!) sooo beautifully.

  • HM63 says:

    I think they both look great on you. Really not much differnce. I like the ribbon backed placket on the j crew sweater. Over time this will be an asset…..more structure so it will keep it's shape. Buttons are easy to swap out yourself.

  • Em says:

    $104 is pricey indeed. But if it's within your budget and you know you'd wear it often, keep it! It fits you very well.

    Personally, I like the JCrew cardi better (probably because I'm not a pink person and I have a short torso).

  • AubreyOhDang! says:

    Neither gets my vote. I like the front of the AT cardi, but the back of the JC cardi (solely based on the pictures you took). I don't love any of the buttons. But whatever you choose, you always make it work anyways!

    I'm not fancy enough to own 100% cashmere, nor am I poised enough not to drop food on it or get it caught on smthg. mb when I'm more of a grown up. haha.

  • petitebloggers says:

    What a great review, AN!

    I wish the fit the AT sweater came in the mustard yellow of the J.Crew one.

  • SewPetiteGal says:

    I love this head-to-head style review! You should do this as a regular feature :) LIke petitebloggers, I wish the AT cardi came in that gorgeous gold color – but otherwise, I think it's a keeper. A cashmere cardi is classic.

  • Jen says:

    I like the J Crew cardi on you better, personally. It may be the lighting but the pink is washing you out in the comparison pic and the yellow looks more flattering! I'm a bit biased though, since I just bought that j crew cardi in the ivory color during the sale too. ;)

    Maybe I should take pics so we can compare?

  • Erica says:

    The Ann Taylor cardigan looks better on you, but I don't think it's worth the price. Honestly, it doesn't look that special, and you could probably find something very similar at a much cheaper cost. Return both!

  • Canadianpetite says:

    Hmm…a deeper pink would have suited you better but the AT seem to fit you better. The yellow is boxier but the colour, being deeper, seem to suit you better. I would return both but get a richer, deeper colour from AT. You could wear the JC open then belt it open sometimes but somewhat pulled in the middle to create the X shape that you love??

  • grace says:

    Hmmmmm.. I like the Ann Taylor one better, but I'm not really feeling either? I think the color of the J Crew one is prettier, but the Ann Taylor is nicer. Haha, not much help am I? :P

  • Alterations Needed says:

    @Anonymous – Wow! You've found great deals on your cashmere! I'm always so afraid my size will be gone by the time they get that cheap.

    @Russian Chic – I'm racially mixed, so I think I have a hard to pinpoint skin tone. I have a yellow complexion, thanks to my Hispanic heritage, but can be a little red/pink thanks to my Irish heritage. So confusing!

    @AubreyOhDang! – LOL. I don't know what you're talking about. You're perfectly poised, and I'm sure you can handle cashmere like a pro. =)

  • Alterations Needed says:

    @petitebloggers – My thoughts exactly! If the AT sweater came in J.Crew gold…I'd keep it in a heartbeat!

    @Jen – Yes! A blogger vs. blogger smack down…lol. If it's this baggy on me, I'm really curious to see it on you!

    @Canadianpetite – I'd get a different color from Ann Taylor if there were any left! The good colors were all sold out by the time the coupon code came along. =( I thought about belting it, but I want the sweater to be multi-functional…and not just a "belt it" item. Especially for that price.

  • Annapurna says:

    I got an AT black cashmere cardigan maybe 5+ years ago (they had ribbon plackets then). I can't remember what I paid for it but it probably wasn't more than $50 (I got it while I was a grad student). I have worn that sweater more than any other sweater I own and it has held up beautifully. It was fitted with a ribbed oversized hem that accentuates the waist. After 5 years – no pills, no holes, no buttons falling off, nothing. The sweater maintained its shape and it still looks almost as good as the day I took it out of the plastic wrap.

    I picked up some J Crew cardigans during their December sales (at $70 a pop) but don't expect them to hold up like the AT one did, given the poor reviews J Crew cashmere has received lately (pilling, holes, buttons falling off) but we will see if these wear as well as that AT black one. I do have a J Crew white cable cashmere cardigan (that I got for $80 two years ago) that has held up OK – it's white so it is hard to keep clean.

    In my opinion, you should only keep the AT one if you see yourself wearing it A LOT. Otherwise, wait until a color that you will get more use out of goes on sale. As for the j Crew one, $70 is a lot for a sweater that you are not crazy about.

  • PetiteXXS says:

    Overall, I think I prefer the AT one. And even though it's cashmere, for me $100+ is a bit steep for a cardigan unless I love it and will get a lot of wear out of it. Btw I'm really liking this feature… glad to see you're putting Stacy to work! :)

  • Faith J. says:

    Great post! I would trust J Crew quality over Ann Taylor's. That's just me, I haven't had problems with the one J Crew cashmere cardi that I have had for a couple of years now (actually wore it for today's outfit post)! Plus I'm a sucker for bright colors, so my vote goes to the J Crew one!

  • Tiny montrealer says:

    Thank you for a GREAT post! I've been a lurker for a while and really appreciate your blog.

    I vote for the JCrew one. The color looks amazing on you. And the price is better.
    The AT pink is rather "matronly" imo.
    BTW there can be a world of difference between cashmeres. Vince cashmere is amazing and worth the price. I just received my JCrew cashmere cardi's and they're just not as luxurious as my Vince's. But 70$ is a great price.

  • Alterations Needed says:

    Follow up: So, I've decided to throw a curve ball, and keep the J.Crew! I just love the color so much, and have heard of successful shrinkings from other petite ladies…washer/dryer…here's comes from cashmere! Get ready!

  • petitebloggers says:

    What a great review, AN!

    I wish the fit the AT sweater came in the mustard yellow of the J.Crew one.

  • Em says:

    $104 is pricey indeed. But if it's within your budget and you know you'd wear it often, keep it! It fits you very well.

    Personally, I like the JCrew cardi better (probably because I'm not a pink person and I have a short torso).

  • Russian Chic says:

    Thank ou for a great review. AT has a better fit.
    Kelly, what a surprise to hear that you are "autumn"! I always perceived you as a "winter" since you wear darker, richer and cooler jewel-tones (and reds!) sooo beautifully.

  • Alterations Needed says:

    @Anonymous – I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure I'm an "autumn". I'm supposed to look great in earthy colors. I tend to wear cooler variations of warm colors…like reds that are cooled down with a little blue in them, or darker shades of colors, like navy blue.

    @R.L. – Glad you found it helpful! I'm still unsure about the color. Maybe just because it's so different from the rest of my wardrobe.

    @Petite Mom – Thanks for putting the price into perspective! It's true, I've seen worse cashmere retail for much more!

  • Trystan L. Bass says:

    For me, I'd take the Ann Taylor bec. of the slightly better fit (ooo, shorter arms, better waist!) & pink color (I hate yellow). Anything above $50 for a sweater is crazy in my world, so they might as well be even on price. Obviously, I don't wear cashmere unless it's a gift ;-)

  • Petite Mom says:

    I think they both look good on you and I can't really tell the difference in fit that you mentioned. I guess I'm still fine tuning my undiscerning eye. $70-$100 is not bad if it fits well! I think Uniqlo cashmere cardigans (runs boxy) are $100 and are not nearly as nice as JCrew or Ann Taylor.

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