Dear J.Jill, can I treat you to a Cafe au Lait?

by Lian on February 3, 2010

Um, J. Jill, don't expect the pants back...

Um, J. Jill, don't expect the pants back...

An amazing event occurred after I told the world about my near-brush with my hero retailer J.Jill in this here post. Yes, Chaos Crew, J.Jill did call. Well, actually, she emailed, but the intent was still the same to me.  J.Jill wanted to be my BFF! Yeah! How do I know? Because J.Jill wanted to send me some chinos and get my thoughts on their new “super soft brushed cotton with a bit of stretch.” If that isn’t an overture, I don’t know what is? So, of course I said, “Yes.”

In my mind, my new J.Jill Boyfriend Chinos would be like those traveling pants, bonding J.Jill and I together, except much better looking than those ratty blue jeans in the movie. Maybe J.Jill was going to Paris for a few weeks and wanted me to look after her goldfish while she was gone? The pants were a thank you gesture. Yes, that’s it! J.Jill was in Paris and I got to wear her pants while she was gone.

What I loved most about my new, supercute Chinos was that they fit! You know that  hopeful feeling , just before you slip on something in the dressing room? Like, please, oh, please, let these fit!  Well, my concern was unfounded. Thanks to all those “Skinny Jeans” workouts, I could rock the J.Jill Boyfriend Chinos cause I’m never actually going to attempt skinny jeans. According to the garment hangtag, the Boyfriend Chinos  were supposed to be “slouchy” and “roomy”, sitting  “just below my waist.”  I am here to tell you, all that was true, now that I have a waist again.

And I did not take them off for about a week, J.Jill. I walked the dog, did the dishes, went to grocery store, sat at my computer all day, watched a soccer game, made dinner, then walked the dog again. Still soft, slouchy, and roomy! I even kept the chinos on after 7 PM, the hour by which I am usually in my stretchy velvet pants (Yours, too, J.Jill!) . When I finally washed my J.Jill chinos, the softness deepened. I am sorry to say, J.Jill , that they have replaced my boot cut cords (Yup, yours.)  as my go- to pants.

Is it the touch of Lycra? Because, honestly, J.Jill, I’d like a touch of Lycra in more areas of my life: my hair, my skin and some days, my personality. Can you work on that, now that you are back from Paris?

How do I know you are back? Because your catalog arrived yesterday and it featured an “ombre” shirt on the cover and more “ombre” inside.  That’s French, right? And, as long as we’re translating, qu’est-ce  que c’est “slub?”

My mother always says to "Buy the Page."

My mother always says to "Buy the Page."

So, here’s the deal. You may have to find another goldfish  sitter, because I am not giving the Chinos back. In fact, now that I have seen the whole outfit on catalog page 23– with the Euro-sneaker, the Bucket hat (love a bucket!)  and the denim vest(!!!!!!) , I may actually go buy another pair in Blue Shadow. Yes, chinos in blue.

Even though you’re not getting the pants back, I hope we can meet for coffee. Or cafe au lait, if you prefer.  Text me! I’ll be the one in the bucket hat!

Your BFF, Lian



Emily April 10, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Hi Lian,
Love your blog! I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE JJill!! The closest of her stores is a 2 hour drive each way, but I like to try on before I buy. I just bought my first pair of boyfriend chinos in Soapstone (a pale khaki) and they are the softest, most comfy pants I own. I’m 5’3” so I always get Petite size pants. These pants ran a full size bigger on me than what I usually wear so I’m really glad I tried them on. Oh, and the dark amethyst is my favorite of her colors too! I want you to know that I got your blog address off the JJill website. Keep up the good work!

Cyndi February 4, 2010 at 6:07 PM

After reading your post and comments, I feel like we’ve all gone on a trip to the mall together haha … I am not a catalog shopper, but I think I should bite the bullet. I am 5’3″ so everything is petite for me. If you are 5’4″ or under, you probably know that there is “petite”, “Petite”, “PETITE” and “P” – I never find consistency in length! I have to try everything on and there is nothing I dread more than a dressing room experience. Just shoot me.

I do have several pair of J. Jill pants that fit 5 years ago … how adorable they are on the hanger …

zephyr February 4, 2010 at 2:08 PM

you are too funny!
This belongs in Classic CC archive.
When the time time comes.

Ann February 4, 2010 at 11:14 AM

It would be very nice if the inseam for any of J.Jill’s pants were longer. I have a 33″ inseam. Perhaps when you next hear from your BFF you could put a bug in her ear for longer inseams…..not tall sizes, just long. : )

t3zoo February 4, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Wow, this is so exciting. Personal shopping advice for real women! I think i might have to get those pants! I like the rolled up look. I must say, the denim vest I can live without–maybe it’s a little too “Friends.”
But the dropwaist dress–that’s a blast from the past!! I remember someone saw a photo of me in one I had loved, from the Gap, jumper style with long sleeve mock tee (anyone??) underneath it and said, “I didn’t know you were pregnant in law school.” … Um, no I wasn’t, and I was 20 pounds lighter in law school than I am now, so i will not be revisiting the dropwaist dress!

Lian February 4, 2010 at 8:32 AM

I love the sharing and caring. I will speak to my BBF J.Jill about the color palette. Maybe “Goldfish” should be in next years line.


Great Lakes February 4, 2010 at 7:33 AM

Just got my JJill catalog yesterday. I zoomed right in on the boyfriend chinos thinking are they too good to be true. I am 5’4″ also and will definitely go try a pair on after reading your review. I have never given a thought to rolling up the cuffs. I’ll give that a try in the dressing room. That is my “to do” list for this weekend!

Christine February 4, 2010 at 6:31 AM

hi Lian,
I am thrilled you love your chinos…Jill makes some black and grey skinny jeans that fit me… wow….and I am not skinny anymore… DO try them Lian… I think you will find they are “go to” as well…she and I are friends for a long time.. I do have a gripe about blah colors….some seasons, none of them work for me.. I do buy her camis and some basics like yoga pants and some various things great for travel. I live in the north where dark jeans, tall boots and leggings and layers, or tunic length” fitted in the upper body” tops are the it appears regional preferences are maintained in the differences in catalogues. Mine did not have a page like the one you showed. I find many cool things at boutiques that feature clothing from CA… It is interesting to me that in Paris one does not see chinos and up here they are not a fashion staple..they should be … I do enjoy looking nice no matter what!!!! but comfort is essential…it MUST be there…
thanks Lian and to your friend Jill… her fit in pants are excellent for all of you who do not know Jill yet…. go and meet her…
all of her items will be your BEST….

Lian February 3, 2010 at 6:04 PM


In my unofficial role as customer service rep, I will attempt to answer your rolled vs. unrolled question,too, am short. 5’4′– and usually I wear a Petite for length. The boyfriend cut definitely looks cute rolled up, but can be worn down. I think when I buy my blue pair, I won’t buy the Petite. I’ll get the regular size– then I can wear it rolled, but still have the pants come down to the low ankle. Rolled, the petiti sit right above my ankle bone. Cute– not chopped– but chilly in the winter!


Lian February 3, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Susan– I too shed some denim vests a decade ago. I was thrilled to see them back in action.

The drop waist dresses? I can live without…


Susan February 3, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Gosh, Lian- if only I would have saved the denim vests – exactly like the one on the J.Jill page – gave them to Goodwill a few years back. Do you think all the drop waist, baggy dresses we wore in the late 90′s will be featured in JJill anytime soon? I gave those away, too.

The chinos sound great. Congratulations on getting your “waist” back – what is the saying, “Nothing tastes as good, as skinny looks & feels”! Way to go – thanks for the motivation!

hoyamom February 3, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Thanks for being my personal shopper Lian. I think I just might order a pair of those chinos. Question for you….do you have to roll up the bottoms? How do they look unrolled? I’m on the short side and I’m afraid the rolled-up bottoms will make me look chopped off.

Oh, and could you ask your buddy Jill to use some stronger, bolder colors. I like her stuff and I’d buy more, except most of the colors are too washed out on me.

Mari Partyka February 3, 2010 at 3:36 PM

WOW – I might have to top by J.Jill before my trip this weekend (remember I ALWAYS treat myself to a new outfit before traveling).

Enjoy your pants!

Lisa Paul February 3, 2010 at 2:34 PM

So funny, Lian. I’ve never been in a J Jill store, but seeing the catalog makes me want to check them out. I love my Lee jeans with a bit of lycra, so I am all for that. Lisa

Lian February 3, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Let me amend that– the chinos come in sizes 14 to 28. It’s the jacket that comes in a 1x to 4 x.

See, I could never actually be a customer service rep!


Lian February 3, 2010 at 12:19 PM


Please DO NOT REMOVE YOUR PANTS AT WORK. That, my friend, is career suicide. Not to mention unhealthy.

As I am still staring at the catalog– and no, I am not moonlighting as a customer service rep, but maybe I should– the chinos with a bit of stretch come in women’s sizes as well– 1x to 4x.


Lian February 3, 2010 at 12:15 PM

I think the chinos are here to stay at J.Jill for a while.

Denim and Diamonds– wow, that’s so Falcon Crest! I wish you luck with the Good Jeans.


chpdlivr February 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Whew……..I was hoping you’d like them! Not sure why, other than you’ve never steered me wrong about stuff……..movies, tv shows, music. And OMG can I relate to that “please let them fit” prayer. I say it when I get stuff out of my closet. I have to go to an event this weekend called “Denim and Diamonds”. My girlfriends asked what I was wearing…..I said it would be my “good” jeans if I can breath in them…otherwise black pants (the old stand-bys!).
Wonder if there will be chinos left if I wait another month!

Tara February 3, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Speaking as someone who is at this moment in time, so uncomfortable in my scratchy polyester pants that I’m ready to rip them off and forgo pants for the rest of the day (yep, I’m at work), I am sooo jealous!! I wonder if they make plus size chinos?

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