I’m Just a Paupered Princess© in J. Crew Clothing

*Sigh*. It’s early on a Sunday morning. All is quiet. Chippy is curled up in a bundle just feet from where I sit.


My little buddy is never far from me. Sometimes he’s so close that I trip over him. My clumsy!

The sky is sunny.  I’m a bit under the weather, though, due to a heavy sauce that I made last night. It was a cream-based anchovy sauce with a ton of shallot. Bonaparte wanted to have a French dinner. The sauce was generously poured over NY strip steaks.   We also had a beautiful bottle of Chateaux Margaux wine.  The wine was sublime–it tasted like dirt, my favorite kind of wine!  I chased my morning coffee down with a dose of Alka Seltzer.

Margaux 2005.

Honestly. THIS wine does not give a hangover. I’m Alka-Seltzering it from that heavy shallot-laden cream sauce!

  As I lay in bed and surfed the channels, my interest was piqued when I saw a beautiful pink dress on the screen.

Pink ece

I can’t help it. I just adore this dress. I think it’s from the Spring line though. 

The dress was showcased in Paris Fashion Week and was designed by Ece Ege, the Creative Director at Dice Kayek.  This dress literally took my breath away.  It was a work of Haute Couture artistry.

Ece Ege

Ece Ege. She’s my new favorite designer. Which means I’ll be obsessed with her for the next million years!

 It looked very Courreges. Anyone who knows me is well-aware of my love for Andre Courreges.  In fact, whenever I’m in Paris, I make Bonaparte drive by the Courreges Boutique. Just so I can gape in the windows at the beautifully simplistic shifts.

Courreges shift

Ahh..Courreges. So simple and refined. The exact opposite of me–but then again, opposites attract!

However, on the social scale of fashion. I’m not high enough, nor will I ever be, to achieve Haute Couture purchasing power.  I’m not even high enough to reach the level below of true “designer” clothing.

What is prompting me to write about this subject is the book I started to read:  “I’ll Drink to That”. It’s a memoir by personal shopper extraordinaire, Betty Halbreich.   This woman is a pistol. Even though she grew up privileged and in the realms of the upper class, she comes across as a true broad. I wanna drink a Manhattan with her.  But—she has the coolest job in the world as a personal shopper for the elitist customers who enter through the doors of the infamous Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue.  Oh. And she’s 86 years young.

I'll drink to that.

I’m really enjoying this book. Who knew those wealthy “ladies who lunch” could be so insecure?????

Anyway, between reading ol’ Betty’s book, and delusionally imagining myself in that incredible pink frock from   Dice Kayek Couture, I started to think of my own wardrobe and just about where  this Paupered Princess© happens to fit in fashion’s social scale.

Probably at the lower-end of the middle classes.  Naturally, with a touch of the higher end of the lower classes thrown in.

Fact is, even though I cannot afford designer labels, I do love to dress nicely.  And yes, I have a penchant for those Old Navy fitted t-shirts, which I actually size down to a “S”, simply because the fit is so incredibly flattering and they can be worn dressed up as well as down.  Ever the bargain hunter, I’ve purchased many of them for under five bucks!


Some of my Old Navy Fitted Tees. Best bargain to wear under a sweater or under a blazer or alone. Epic value for the price!

And, I’ve mentioned before, when I travel, I refuse to take my good jewelry along, so I’ll load up on hoop earrings from Walmart. Yes. Walmart! At less than five bucks for a card full of hoops, the value is incredible. Guess what?  Nobody is coming up to me to inspect my earrings and if I leave them behind, it isn’t an issue!


Best jewelry deal under five bucks.  I have a card at the ready in my travel case. Hey. I”m not taking the good stuff with me and neither should you!

But—and a huge “but”  (almost as huge as my “butt”!),  95 percent of my clothing is from J. Crew. 98 of that 95 percent has been purchased at discount. I was one of the original customers back in 1983 and I’ve remained loyal to the brand since then.  When I worked downtown on Wall Street, many a lunch hour was spent in the J. Crew shop at the South Street Seaport.


J. Crew is no longer at the Seaport but when it opened here in 1983, I was one of their best customers!

My kids and I have a family code name for the brand “Jacrew”. The clothing is multi-generational. My kids and Bonaparte all wear J. Crew.  It’s what we feel comfortable in.

Me and the kids.

Me with the kids. Every one of is is wearing at least one article of clothing from J. Crew!

I’ve gone through my ups and downs with J. Crew. Some years I vow never to set into the store again. Other years, it’s like returning to a relative that you’ve held a grudge with for a long time.

I also have a tendency to read one of my favorite blogs, J. Crew Aficionada Blog. before heading off to my local brick and mortar Crew. It’s crazy, but I love to read the reviews of the J. Crew clothing on this blog. It’s like the Crew Bible!

Presently, I am having a so-so Jacrew year. I’m loving the pants and some of the shirts, but I’m not loving the many of the color choices or dresses. But it doesn’t matter because I’m wearing Crew clothing from years back.

But, year after year, I know I can still rely on the clothes to make me pulled together. Come into my closet with me and I’ll put some outfits together for you.  OK?

J. Crew Blazers

The blazer mix.  The Schoolboys. The camel Regent. The two linen blazers from J. Crew Factory (which, at times has better quality and cut goods than the brick and mortar J. Crew). Yup. In the front are three navy Schoolboy blazers–and I’m glad I got ’em because they’ve been discontinued!

Some of the J. Crew and Factory skirts

The skirts. Not one of these was purchased at full price. In fact, the red flouncy skirt in front and the black checked skirt in the back were purchased at J. Crew.com for 29.99 each. The pencil skirts are from both Factory and the J. Crew brick and mortar store.  The yellow factory skirt is one of my favorites. The wool is such high quality.  The little pleated navy number was a recent purchase at J. Crew Factory. 50% off!

Inside detail on red flouncy skirt. The ribbon reinforces the waist. Note I still have the plastic tag 11 months later.

Here’s a great detail from the red flouncy skirt. The inside of the waistband is reinforced and heavily reinforced I might add. The skirt is a heavyweight wool. Perfect for winter. Oh–look! I forgot to take the plastic thingy out. I’ve had the skirt for almost a year!

Tippis and Charlie sweater.

Some of my Tippi Sweaters from J. Crew. The raspberry one is a “Charlie” sweater from J. Crew Factory and the fit is just as good as the Tippi sweater. I love these because they are lightweight and wear extremely well–especially over the years! And–I only buy them on sale!

Emerald Tippi. Lilly Pulitzer Murfee scarf. J. Crew Factory skirt. Halogen Shoes.

This makes a nice autumn ensemble. Emerald Green Tippi. Lilly Pulitzer Murfee scarf, J. Crew Factory skirt and Halogen heels.

Black Number 2 Pencil skirt. Yellow factory pencil skirt. blazer

I can wear this Black Schoolboy blazer with a red Tippi, a black Number 2 Pencil Skirt, my plaid Old Navy scarf and metallic Ivanka Trump pumps..or I can wear my yellow factory skirt for a change up!

I love the color combos

I’m normally not one to wear a lot of color at one time, but I do like the way the yellow, red, black and the colors from the plaid scarf  blend with each other.

J. Crew Black pants. J. Crew Black Schoolboy . J. Crew Red Tippi. Old Navy Scarf. Ivanka Trump shoes.

Or, if I don’t want to wear a skirt, I can slip on a pair of  J. Crew black Ryder pants…

Navy Ryder Pants. Navy Schoolboy. J. Crew Factory scarf. J. Crew Emerald Tippi Via Spiga Flats.

..or just wear the navy Ryder pants with a navy Schoolboy blazer, that same green Tippi sweater and a J. Crew scarf around my neck. The shoes are Via Spiga flats from a few years back.

Casual. Navy Factory Gigi Pants, J. Crew white shirt. Old J. Crew embellished shirt (Factory I think) Factory plaid popover shirt.  Patent Repettos

For a more casual look there’s the navy Gigi pants and the plaid popover shirt I purchased from J. Crew Factory (um…Bonaparte found out about THAT purchase from reading the blog!).  Or..I can wear a simple white tunic shirt from J. Crew or an embellished sleeveless shirt. My Repettos are perfect for casual but refined footwear!  I like to keep things simple and don’t wear a lot of jewelry. My go-to necklaces are usually faux pearls–either a statement or more demure one!

Did I mention that I need to be careful about some things I blog about?  Yeah. Sometimes I’ll go shopping and sneak my purchases into the house. I’m really brilliant because I’m delusionally thinking that Bonaparte won’t find out.  He’ll read my blog and ask me if I’ve gone shopping. Liar that I am, I’ll look him in the eye and say “No”.  Then he’ll point out what I’ve written.

Curses. Foiled again!

On a more productive note, I’ve hung the mirror that was sitting on the floor for over eight months. I didn’t even realize that it could be hung over the door.  I need to pay more attention to what’s going on!

Look. I hung the mirror

FINALLY! I hung the mirror! Who knew it would hang over the door? BTW, I’m wearing some Old Navy today.  Fitted Tee, Rockstar jeans and that plaid scarf. I’m also wearing my most comfy black Repettos. The humidity is making my hair big. Odd how I”m not wearing J. Crew today, isn’t it?

Off to take more Alka Seltzer for my heartburn. Enjoy the rest of the day! XOXOXOXO!

Since the subject is clothing, and since I’m thinking about The Kinks—here’s “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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21 Responses to I’m Just a Paupered Princess© in J. Crew Clothing

  1. Hi Catherine! Your should really give a shot at Polyvore, I’m sur you’d be a hit over night with your styling abilities. 😀

  2. Megan says:

    I love your wardrobe! And I shop just like you! We can make a good deal look good! 🙂

  3. izabolinha says:

    Oh Catherine! If I ever can leave here and fly to new York again, I want to go shopping with you 😉

  4. izabolinha says:

    Well, Paris would be closer but probably a bit too expensive 🙁

  5. Sherri says:

    How did you know I desperately needed a Paupered Princess post? Now I have a perfect excuse, other than my current depressed state, to re-create your outlet mall day. You make every day sunny, Catherine.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sherri! Awww. I’m so happy that I make your days sunny. That’s such a great compliment and I’m taking it! I do believe that you definitely should re-create that outlet mall day–it’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Hugs! XOXOXO!!

  6. Leslie Preston says:

    What great ideas! Thank you! I studied each picture and asked myself why I’m not “able” to put outfits together. Ensemble! Such a sophisticated word. I need to rest now….

    • Catherine says:

      LOL! Leslie. If I don’t plan my clothing out (i.e. when I’m working), I can’t function the next morning. I need to be completely disciplined about the clothes! XOXOXO!

  7. Diane says:

    I love your style

  8. calensariel says:

    It just blows my mind how much effort and energy goes into your posts. To hell with a book. I think you should do a magazine! 😀

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