J.Crew Gingham – Boy’s vs. Women’s Petite

Boy’s (left) vs. Women’s Petite (right)

Gingham is the prepster’s new wardrobe staple, and I’ve been searching for decent fitting shirts in the check pattern since summer. It’s been like a several months long Goldilocks storybook, too big, too long, sleeve cuffs too wide, checks too small, checks too big, fabric too flimsy…the list goes on and on. I figured I’d post this in case anyone else was on a similar journey, and looking for an affordable option in a decent fit, albeit, not perfect.

The first time I tried the J.Crew Petite Perfect Shirt in gingham, I was concerned about the extra fabric around the torso, overall length, and shoulder. I wanted to catch it on sale, but it slipped through my fingers when 00P sold out quickly in the color I wanted (peony). Then I thought I might be able to find cheaper in a better fit elsewhere, so the search continued. What I found was I really loved the crisp fabric of the J.Crew shirt, which made most others I tried pale in comparison. I also found most shirts to run just as big, if not bigger, and many had issues with the width of the sleeve cuffs. Even though the J.Crew sleeve was a little long on me, the cuff was small enough to stop the shirt from slipping down my hand. Most shirts I tried with long sleeves had wider cuffs that wouldn’t stop at my hand the way J.Crew did.

So back I went and re-ordered some J.Crew women’s petite gingham shirts during the fall sale, and threw some J.Crew boy’s gingham into the mix, just to see. Here’s the breakdown:

J.Crew Petite Perfect Shirt in Gingham, 00P:

Not the most slim or shapely of shirts, but surprisingly, one of the best fits I found. My main gripes with it are the long length on 4’11” me, the shoulder, and the bust seam. After a few commenters pointed out the shoulder in my first post, it really does now look too droopy on me from the back. And the bust seams, that are supposed to give the shirt a more feminine shape, gives the shirt a pucker around my bust that isn’t very flattering, even when the shirt is tucked.

I do like the crisp, thick fabric, medium size gingham (not too small, not too big), and small sleeve cuff width. I was hell-bent on keeping this despite the fit problems, until I tried the boy’s shirt.

J.Crew Boy’s Secret Wash Shirt in Jenson Gingham, Size 10:

Again, not a perfect fit, but I can work with this much easier than the petite 00P. It’s also good to note the price of these boy’s shirts is significantly less than the women’s. After sales, I picked up this shirt for about $22 versus the $50 sale price of the women’s.

This shirt is the same nice, crisp fabric as the women’s shirt, which I love, and a darker blue which is closer to a true navy. There is still extra fabric around the torso, but less than the petite 00P. The shoulder is a full inch smaller, and you can see how much better that loss of one inch looks from the back. There are no bust seams, so the shirt appears smoother from the front. This shirt also features a chest pocket, which might be fun to play with, a small back pleat, and a smaller sized collar, which I find to be more flattering on me than the larger women’s collar.

Overall, much better fit than the petite 00P, with one minor exception. The sleeves are just a teeny bit short, which is typical of kid’s clothing (boxy fit, short sleeves and hems). An extra 1/4 to 1/2 an inch would be perfection, but considering I will be doing lots of sleeve rolling with this top, I can forgive it. It fits a little longer than a bracelet sleeve top, and still peeks out nicely from underneath sweaters. Where it doesn’t peek out are from my blazer sleeves, which tend to be a little longer.

Sidenote: If you look close, you can totally see which one of my arms is slightly longer than the other. You might even say the sleeve looks fine on my shorter arm, but a teeny bit short on my longer arm. =P

Oh yeah, and the boy’s shirt buttons on the opposite side as women’s shirts do, which is a little awkward the first few times around.

Measurement info:

Boy’s size 10 Petite size 00P
Shoulder: 13″
Armpit-Armpit: 16″
Length: 23″
Sleeve: 20″
Shoulder: 14″
Bust: 17″
Waist: 15.5″
Length: 25″
Sleeve: 22″


Another option would be to try a boy’s size 12 for a longer sleeve, but I value the small shoulder of the size 10 more than the sleeve length. Unfortunately a size 12 would have a bigger shoulder, not to mention more fabric bulk around the torso and longer overall length.

Despite the slightly short sleeve and extra fabric around the torso, this shirt is really easy to style. Here’s just a simple cardigan I had lying within reach.

Final verdict is I’m keeping the boy’s size 10 and returning the women’s size petite 00P. It’s a rare day that I find a children’s size to fit better than an adult’s, and I was conflicted about choosing the boy’s. Afterall, isn’t adult clothing just shaped better for adult bodies? But after scrutinizing these shirts in the mirror for several days, it was clear to me the boy’s was just a better fit. I’m just happy to finally have some gingham in my life! I’m planning to have my tailor slim the sides on this shirt once the weather warms up, and I no longer want to wear it layered.

Jean also ordered this same shirt in this same size (see it on her). **UPDATE** Can you tell Jean and I have been in major gingham talks recently? She just posted about her recent boy’s gingham acquisition as well!

Now I just want J.Crew to come out with more colors in their boys gingham!

I’ve heard many petites are also buying J.Crew boy’s shirt for their smaller, preppy prints. If you own any, what sizes are you buying/wearing?

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Michelle

    Such a helpful review, Kelly!  I was on a gingham mission, but was not doing to well! 

    Do you find the size 10 to be tight at the armpits?

    I am excited to see you style this more!

    1. Thanks Michelle! The size 10 is perfect for me in the bust area. Fitted, but not tight. There’s no pulling at the buttons which can happen if the bust is too tight. If I push my shoulders back all the way, the shirt can feel snug at the bust, but it’s no different than my other button down shirts.

  2. I love this post! I can’t believe how similar the shirts look yet the fit and prices are very different. We must be on the same wavelength because I just posted my Gap boys one and referenced this cute little navy one that you introduced me to : ) Thank you again for sharing about this shirt and for quenching my curiosity about the womens 00P.

    1. LOL! Just saw your gingham post! I got mine up as quick as I could after you requested it on Twitter. I still really like the big checks of your black Gap one…keeps me thinking about picking it up to…lol.

  3. says: Carrie

    Great review! I seriously considered buying this during J. Crew’s last sale, but wasn’t sure about the fit, so I passed. Good to know that it worked for you! I ended up buying a Ralph Lauren boy’s buttondown (size 10-12) at Ross that I’m happy with.

  4. says: SewPetiteGal

    I was just commenting on boys’ shirts on Jean’s post hehe.  I’m amazed at how the boys’ version fit you so much better!  I have the J. Crew boys’ size 14 from spring and thought the fit and sleeve length were good.  The only beef I had with it was that the sleeves were more roomy than what I was used to in women’s shirts.  It doesn’t look like you had this problem – must be the smaller size :)

    1. Yes, there was certainly a gingham explosion on petite blogs today…hehe. Yeah, it sounds like you’re right, and that the slimmer sleeve of my shirt is just due to the smaller size.  One of the pitfalls of boy’s clothing is the generous, relaxed fit that usually comes along with it, sleeves included. =P

  5. says: A Little Nerdy

    Gah! That women’s ’00p’ is SO NOT petite it’s almost funny. This is why I have some boys’ shirts myself, especially in certain fabrics and prints sometimes they just fit better than anything else. They  *can*  be a bit boxy, but that can also be good for a more casual vibe.

  6. says: Anonymous

    Wow I’m impressed with the fit of the boy’s shirt! Not perfect but I’ve never found a button down shirt to fit petites perfectly anyway so I’m glad you kept it!  LOL I’ve been thinking about gingham a lot since seeing Cee style it so well and now I’m craving it even more seeing you and Jean :P

  7. says: Amber

    i would never have thought to compare the womens and boys sizes! the boys definitely looks better, especially since you have a shorter torso. i dont think i’ll fit into boys, but i might try when the final sale ends. lol at your arms comment. i cant really tell, actually!

  8. says: May

    Thanks so much.  I’ve been searching for gingham for a few months and yours and Jean’s posts were so helpful.  I’m gonna hunt for a J Crew boy’s in 12 after a new coupon code comes out, although it is on sale right now.  

  9. says: Elvi

    Wow I would never imagine checking out boys clothes…but it looks so much better!! I do buy Gap Kids skirts a few times…I just always feel awkward being almost 30 and shopping at the kids section…:-( 

    1. Yes, me too. That’s why I ordered these online, so I could try them on in the safety of my own home. I also have a mini measuring tape that I keep in my handbag which comes in handy. I measured the GAP kid’s gingham shirt Jean bought in-store, in stead of trying it on. I knew from the measurements that I wouldn’t like it and didn’t have to be embarrassed by asking for a fitting room. They’re pretty cheap! =)


  10. Oh goodness I am elated to see this post! I ordered the classic gingham a few days ago risking the final sale. And then today it went on more clearance- got a price adjustment- woo hoo! Will add this to my post!

  11. I’ve never been able to buy JCrew petite tops…like you show they always run so big. I actually found a couple of the boys gingham last season and I was able to get purple, pink and navy. I wear a 10 also, and I end up rolling up the sleeve so the length never matters. I haven’t worn them on their own, but I do a lot of layering with them for work. Loved seeing this comparison and knowing I really did make the better fit choice.

  12. Wow! I always feel like I’m “cheating” when I buy children’s sizes, since usually it means sacrificing a flattering cut for a better price and smaller fit. But wow! With this shirt you really get the best of all worlds: smaller fit, good price, AND a more flattering cut. Thanks for sharing!

  13. says: Soo Kim

    I recently went on a major gingham/plaid phase as well and bought a few crewcut shirts in size 12. Can’t beat the price! The sleeves are just a tad short and it is tighter around my hips, but I normally use these shirts to layer under a cardigan or a v-neck anyways. As you said, I cannot wait for the pastel/brighter colors to arrive for Spring!

  14. says: candy

    Love this post! I shop in the kids section all the time (4″11.5″). I love the lower prices and the shorter lengths, though I am not slim like you so sometimes I have issues with my boobs fitting in some pieces. Last winter I was happy to get a cheap sparkly silver sweater from the H&M girls section after they had all sold out of the women’s version. Yipee!
    Great blog! :)

  15. says: Michelle

    Thank you sooo much for the helpful comparisons! I’m a fellow shortie at 4’10” and have been lookign forever for a gingham shirt. FYI there’s a holiday sale going on, and tons more colors like green and maroon. Keep up the wonderful work and Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. says: Leah

    Thanks to this post I ventured into the boy’s section and found a Calvin Klein button-up shirt in the exact color I was looking for. It’s not a perfect fit but it’s better than most options I’ve found, the fabric is nice and it was only $25. I’m not busty so I don’t really need the darts that a lot of women’s fitted dress shirts have (they just look awkward if I don’t fill them out anyway). The arms could be just a tiny bit longer.

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