Trying Out James Perse

As a jeans girl, what better to collect than a small wardrobe of excellent t-shirts? So I’ve been anxious to try the famous-for-being-perfect brand of t-shirts…James Perse.

At first glance, it’s an insanely expensive t-shirt, but everyone I’ve met who actually owns the brand, absolutely loves it. I couldn’t get myself to pay full retail, but I did find a few good deals on the classic contrast panel shirt, which I’ve liked since the brand first hit shelves a few years ago.

My first purchase was the Contrast Panel Shirt in Rose Nude from (Neiman Marcus outlet). There are two main versions of the contrast panel shirt, one in a thicker cotton retailing for $144, and one with a softer, thinner cotton retailing for $155. This is the $155 version, starting with a sizable markdown for the outlet, with an extra 40% off coupon code, and a gift card I redeemed from credit card points (love doing that!), I technically got this one for free.

This is a size 1, as James Perse has their own numeric sizing, of 0 through 4. Size 0 seems to be a new size that was recently added to the line, and seems to be a size department stores don’t like to carry. This is a shame, since the best discounts can be had during department stores sales, or at their outlet stores.

As you can see, the shirt is long on 4’11” me, but thanks to the ribbed pima cotton paneling along the sides, is nice and fitted all the way down the torso. Some tucking can help handle the length, or it can be worn out for an especially casual look. The top button is also a bit too low for full bust coverage on me, so an undershirt or cami is a must.

Before the Rose Nude shirt arrived from Last Call, I stumbled upon similar shirts at a sizable discount at Nordstrom Rack in an array of colors. This is the thicker $144 version, which again had a sizable outlet discount, coupled with a Rewards Card (Nordstrom credit card perks), I was able to snag this “Fin” one at a great price.

Once I got them together, you can see some fit differences, even though this is technically the same shirt. The sleeve of the thicker version is wider, and because the fabric is thicker, the shoulder stands straight and appears wider.

After trying on these shirts, I love how soft and easy they are, and can see this look turning into my weekend uniform. While I would love to keep them, given the great deal I got, it’s hard not to reconsider after seeing them from the back. This is a common problem for me with blouses that are not made for petites. Even if the torso is slim and fitted, the shoulder is often made for a woman of much more substantial size than myself. It’s very evident that the shoulder is too big in the grey, but can also be seen in the rose. The thinner fabric of the rose looks better, but the shirt shoulder seam is still running down the top of my arm.

Tip: Even if a top or jacket looks okay in the shoulder from the front, try to get a look at it from the back. The view from the back will tell you if the shoulder really fits or not. I’ve had to return a lot items after seeing how awkward the shoulders look from the back.

I’ve decided the grey must go back. The sleeve is not as fitted as the rose, and the shoulder from the back just does not give a nice clean silhouette.

So now, my dilemma. I LOVE the Rose Nude. It’s a color I never would have expected to like (I’m not a pink girl), but it’s so pretty in real life and different from any color I have in my wardrobe. It’s also heavenly soft, and it’s getting my color pairing juices flowing. But I’m unsure if the fit in the shoulder is distracting. There is a chance a size 0 would fit better, but given the unavailability of that size at such deep discount prices, It’s very unlikely I’ll find that size in this color (or similar), at this price. I could use this shirt as a layering piece, which would hide the shoulder issue. Plus, I technically got this shirt for free. Ugh, so many factors to concider! So, what do you think?

 Should I keep the Rose Nude with the big shoulder which I technically got for free?


PS. If I don’t get a chance to post again before the holiday madness begins, I’d like to wish a very happy holidays to all readers celebrating this week!

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Michelle

    That rose is gorgeous on you!!

    Maybe try calling outlets to find a size o?

    If that does not work, take more pictures of the back view standing in different positions.  Even put a purse on your shoulder to see what it looks like.  I want this to be a keeper so bad!

    I scored a James Perse navy peacoat years ago at Nordstrom for $50! I was waiting for my sister and her kids to get out of the restroom, and there was a size one on the sale rack!  

    Hope you have a nice holiday, as well! :)

  2. says: Petite LG

    Since you technically got this shirt for free,  are you considering spending a bit on alterations for the shoulders? I don’t think it would be a complicated job. I am not a pink girl either but this color looks great on you

  3. says: Guest

    I think you should return it because from the back, the seam makes your shoulder look too droopy. Then you can use your gift card for something that is truly well fitting and that you love. :-)

  4. says: Phoebethecat97

    These shirts are so soft and comfy and they come in so many delicious colours.  I have a couple of them in size 0.  (I’m a “Kelly-sized” petite.)  There can be a bit of size inconsistency. One of mine fits perfectly, the other size 0 was actually a bit big.  Good news is that it shrinks really well in a hot wash and trip through the dryer.  For reference, laid flat, shirt 1:  shoulder-12.5″, length 22″.  Shirt 2 post shrinking:  shoulder-13.5″, length 21.  I think you’d like the 0 better.

    The only thing I don’t like about them is the price!


  5. says: SS

    You look good in both color. I like you in Rose Nude, and if it’s free, you should keep it. In some sense, now new spring clothes coming out, you can find alternative for Rose Nude shirts too. I think Rose Nude is good color for spring!

  6. says: barbi

    I agree……….you can do better.  LOVE the shirts also.. I would love a white one… but TOO MUCH$$$$  and not right fit for me. The back view is not flattering to your trim shoulders…kinda old lady looking….. so if it was layered…. but again.  I hope you can find a better fit..but I think white would be killer classic.  Am i the only one who does not like the rose color??    Other colors are better with your beautiful skin :)

  7. says: Anonymous

    I don’t think the shoulders look bad at all on the rose blouse. I say keep it, since you got an awesome deal on it! It looks great alone and especially as a layering piece.

  8. says: mymini bag

    I definitely would keep it. I love the color and other then the shoulder it fits quite well.  I don’t even think the shoulder looks bad but you probably know best.  The color definitely go well with jean.

  9. says: Diaryofashopper

    I love James Perse. If it were me, I would return both, and buy one in a size 0, even if it was full price. It looks fantastic from the front.

  10. says: may

    Since a cami is required, can you try it with a fitted t-shirt to see if that would fill out the shoulders in the back a little? Love the rose color on you.

  11. says: Alexis Renny

    Hi there, first off let me start by saying thank you for creating such a fantastic blog! I personally love grey more, but the rose shirt looks more flattering on you. I was curious what size the grey shirt is? I might be interested in purchasing it off of you if it’s not too big for me (5’1) and you don’t feel like going through the hassle of returning it. I also noticed you did a blog about leather jackets a awhile back and All Saints makes fantastic leather jackets that are cropped,slim and fitted great for petite frames pretty much their UK 0-4 sizes fit small frames. I’ve also found that gypsy 05 makes fantastic maxi dresses in small sizes for petites (just needed a hem) and Guess jeans skinny jeans mostly have a inseam of 29, so I’ve never need a hem with those. Anyways thank you again I look forward to more posts and happy holidays :)

    1. Hi Alexis! Thank you! The grey is also a size 1, which was purchased at Nordstrom Rack. It’s already been returned in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but if you have a Rack near you, you should pop in and see if they have them too! Thank you for the brand recommendations & happy holidays! =)

  12. says: Sme

    I think it is cute but I don’t like the fact that it is see through… So you can’t wear it as a stand alone piece. I also don’t like how it makes your shoulders look slumpy from the back.

  13. says: Cassie

    I’d keep the rose one. Given that it’s kind of a slouchy design to begin with, I don’t think the wide shoulder is off putting. Like a couple other people have noted, you could have it altered.

    I bought one of these shirts in a medium green shade a couple years ago and I’ll comment that their dyes do rub off. I still end up with greenish patches on my skin when I wear it, which is why it gets less wear than other items in my closet. It isn’t a knock off; I bought it at Holt Renfrew. I don’t know if anyone else has encountered this or not.

  14. says: Portland Petite

    Sandra Ingrish, I think  it is, makes these same style/fabric of shirts but in petites. Not as high fashion as JP, but I think they look better (fitted) as I went through the very same thing. 

  15. says: Portland Petite

    I just found this blog and LOVE IT! But I have to say, I feel out of place. It seems like all of you are what I call the “true petites.” You are small and thin, very thin in fact. I am not. I am 5’1″ and 130 -135. So not only am I short, but I am “chubby” too – oh how I hate that word but it is what it is – I am what I am. Is there anyone else out there on this forum who is a “full figured” (I not a fan of that word either) like me, who can relate to having to cover up muffin tops, calves to wide to find boots for etc….. You all sound very cute and tiny, but that just isn’t me. I need clothing help for petite but also to help look not as heavy. I feel like I have no place! Ack! I am cyber homeless. 

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