Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gone Clubbing

Have you ever shop at Club Monaco? I have bought a few things there over the years and I like their offerings and quality but never got a chance to review anything. I haven't been buying much from them for a few reasons:

  • I shop too much at J.Crew
  • They don't have many B&Ms around
  • Their prices are similar to J.Crew but they have less sales
  • Their color palette is mostly neutrals
However, I have been disillusioned with J.Crew offerings and after years of buying color I find myself drawn to more neutrals. Club Monaco does have a location in my local mall, so I decided to visit and try on few items.


Size Medium
From website copy:
We've elevated a sleek basic with a silk construction that can pair with everything from work trousers to denim for a night out on the town.
  • Scoopneck, long sleeves.
  • Button detail at the cuffs, subtly pleated back.
  • Easy fit.
  • Silk. Dry clean. Imported.
$129.50, 100% silk

The color of this blouse is beautiful. I think it is perfect to wear with jeans or trousers. I don't think it will drape that well over skirts, but I didn't try.

It has the high-low shape that may not work for some, but personally, I like it. I am not so concerned with being timeless. I have bought many pieces that were supposed to be classics, only to be bored with them in one season. I am easily bored; what can I say? I am usually surprised which pieces lasted longer in my wardrobe, more often than not, they are not the ones I was counting on.


The silk on this blouse is very nice, rather substantial, not the slippery kind and definitely not see through. I liked the gathering in the back. The tag was pulling it down and I imagine it will flow a little differently (better) when you remove it.

It would be very easy to dress it up or down with accessories and cardigans/blazers.

Benny Plaid Coat

I saw this Benny coat on FFM blog and I was instantly intrigued by it. FFM has such a good eye and she is always finding interesting things all over the Internet, doesn't she?

Size Medium
Size Small

 From website copy:
Crafted out of Italian wool and elevated with leather accents, the Benny Plaid Coat is a timeless and heritage-inspired piece you'll cherish for years to come.
  • Notched lapel, applied placket.
  • Corresponding four-button detail at the cuffs. Patch pockets at the hips.
  • Leather piping along the lapel and pockets. Fully lined.
  • Lightly padded shoulders for a defined look. 33" length.
  • Shell: wool, nylon. Piping: leather. Lining: polyester. Dry clean. Imported.
80% wool, 20% nylon
I liked the coat in person, it seems well made and flattering. It was bigger that it seemed on a hanger and I liked the fit of a Small better, although you cannot really see the difference in the pictures.
It is more of a top coat or oversized blazer than an outerwear, at least for me. I would not be able to wear it past November in our NJ winter. But if you live in a mild climate it may be perfect.

I liked the leather trim and although it adds to the dry cleaning bill it also protects the fabric edges.



Size Medium
From website copy: 
The easy fit and edgy leather details of the Regan Top will never lead you astray.
  • Boyfriend scoopneck.
  • Easy fit.
  • Leather-and-rib-knit sleeves. Vented hem.
  • Cotton, leather. Dry clean. Imported.

I took this top to the fitting room only because an SA recommended it, saying that this is their bestseller and that the trim is real leather.

I have to say I really liked it once i put it on. It is a simple top but it drapes well and the leather sleeves add to the cool factor. This would be a perfect top to wear on a night out with jeans or black slacks. Add some chunky jewelry and you are set to go.


This is something that my wardrobe is a little lacking. I have plenty of 'office ready' outfits, enough of casual stuff for the weekends and adequate number of festive party wear. But I am always a little puzzled what to wear for going out, when I want to look cool and sexy, but not like I am trying too hard.

I like the high-low design and the length of the sleeves, not too short for wearing year round and not too long to make it too demure to be fun.

The only con is the price. At $119.50, I think this is expensive for a relatively simple t-shirt, even if trimmed with 'real leather'. And of course all this leather trimmed stuff has to be professionally dry cleaned, something I am trying to avoid. The body is made out of viscose so maybe it can be spot cleaned? What do you think? I am crazy to consider this at all?


Size Medium
From website copy: 
Rocker-chic accents elevate an otherwise basic top for loads of sartorial appeal.
  • Scoopneck, three-quarter-length sleeves.
  • Trim along the neckline and center seam along the front and back.
  • Even hem.
  • Viscose, elastane. Hand wash. Imported.

Dawn top is the opposite of the Reagan top in a way that I liked it on a hanger but not so much after I tried it on. It was just OK and I did not care for the drape, the color or the shape. It had this bat wing effect I did not like.

All Club Monaco tops seem to fit TTS, I took Medium in all of them and they seem to fit me well with an easy, not too tight fit I personally prefer.
 




Size Medium
From website copy: 
A lightweight yet thickly woven knit makes the Brittany Sweatshirt a casual pullover with loads of contemporary style.
  • Scoopneck, long sleeves.
  • Ribbed neckline, cuffs and hem.
  • Allover woven knit.
  • Body: polyester, cotton. Trim: wool. Dry clean. Imported.
$89.50??

Brittany sweatshirt reminds me of some of J.Crew sweatshirts. It fits OK but a little boxy. It is too short for my taste and I am short waisted. The colors are actually very flattering but I think the shape is not.

And then of course, it is way overpriced, I am not sure if it worth half of the asking price. It is 80% poly, 20% cotton for crying out loud. But maybe it is just me.

***
That's all folks!

Do you own any of Club Monaco pieces?
What do you think of their current offerings?
Would you consider any of the items I reviewed?

Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!

28 comments:

  1. I get bored too, I used to save up a lot for 'big pieces' that should have been classic and lasted me a 'lifetime" but 5 years is about it for me now and then I want to dump everything.

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    1. I cannot do the saving up, it creates too many expectations.

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  2. Not sure if you know, but Club Monaco was originally a Canadian company, started by Joe Mimran and his brother (the same Joe Mimran who now does Joe Fresh), so there are many Club Monaco stores in Canada. When it was the Mimrans' company, I shopped there as much as I did at J. Crew, probably a 50/50 split. After Ralph Lauren took over the company about 10 years ago, I stopped shopping there because the clothes went all weird (strange details, poor fit) but for some reason, this year, they have really improved. I have been going in constantly - the quality is excellent and I have been finding some really great pieces.

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    1. Louise, same here. I used to shop there a lot before Ralph Lauren bought it. Their designs suffered and I did not buy anything for awhile until last year when I noticed a big improvement in their offerings (or is it because I started looking elsewhere outside of Jcrew)? The old items I had from CM like their merinos held up pretty well. Their designs are simple (they do the camel and black thing so well) but the fabric, draping and quality are excellent. It's probably the only store now that I can buy excellent, lined wool pants (their Manhattan Tex Pants is awesome). Because nothing excited me on the coat front from Jcrew, I bought their navy Lori peacoat which I have been wearing almost daily recently. Thanks AJC for this post. I liked you in the Regan top but I'm sure you can get this on sale. Most of my CM clothes I bought on sale.

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    2. Louise and Marie,
      No I did not know that it was originally Canadian company and that it was then bought by Ralph Lauren, how interesting. Marie, I have to check those pants for sure, thanks for the tip.

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  3. I've never seen Club Monaco clothing in person. I don't want dry cleaning costs, and nothing in this batch was so fabulous that I'd have to have it in spite of the need for that. I imagine this is a case of the fabrics being nicer in person, something I can't tell from the pictures (Anthropologie is like that for me, I'm not wowed online but everything seems nice in the store). I think I'd pass on these, unless there was a specific need to fill.

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    1. I do think those clothes are nicer in person, they don;t photograph well because they are rather simple, especially the silk blouse and Regan top.

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  4. I like the leather trimmed t, but I would check Zara for a cheaper alternative. I can't justify cost per wear.

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    1. I will do that, Zara can be great!

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  5. I love the look of CB clothes but I have always been disappointed in the fit. I used to work not far from a store and while the style of the clothes in the window were always attractive, once I tried them on the fit was always poor. I think I never bought anything except for a party dress that I could never wear because then I got pregnant and my body changed. I agree with Louise that the past two seasons seem better than before (especially last summer). I do love their cashmere but as you said their sales are not good enough to push me to buy.

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    1. I didn;t look at their cashmere, I have to check it out next time. They are definitely less structured and less tailored, which may affect the fit.

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  6. I like that plaid coat, it looks cozy and totally preppy. Similar shape to the J.Crew Plaza coat that they no longer seem to offer and also the Black Fleece one I recently bought, which is a perennial offering for them, they just change up the color or pattern or style details, like fur trim, each year. I guess everyone but J.Crew is into this style this season and that is too bad because theirs was quite nice. I had it in ivory but it was a victim of the one-in, one-out rule I had for coats. I was always afraid I would spill something on it, clumsy clod that I am.

    I have shopped Club Monaco since I moved to Canada, as Louise mentioned, there are a lot of B&Ms here. The details on their clothes are a bit different sometimes but not usually so trendy, at least the ones that appeal to me. I find the quality to be decent and a few of the things I've bought have been perennial favorites. I guess I like the neutral palette.

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    1. So you did buy the Black Fleece coat! It is beautiful! I like the look of this style but I prefer coats that close at the neck, I like to bundle up like that.
      Club Monaco offerings are interesting, I always thought they have a European vibe but now I know it is in fact Canadian. J.Crew is definitely much more all American and suburban at the same time (or is it actually the same thing?), despite their high fashion aspiration.
      And I can't believe you are clumsy, you always seem so organized and in control.

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    2. I cannot resist the siren call of Black Fleece and I wait for the 25% off promotions and then blow the budget. When I get a replacement camera I will put up a review. It's really amazing. I want to sleep in it.

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  7. I love browsing at Club Monaco, but have never bought anything. The tops are the most appealing to me as I find the dresses, while cute, too short. I did a bit of trying on there last month, but bought nothing. The prices felt just a bit too high, but I do want to go back. I like the cool girl feel of their clothes and find them typically more unique and urban than some of the other mall stores. Unfortunately I don't have a CM close enough to me to just pop in, so it is destination shopping, which I don't often have time for.
    Thanks for the great reviews.

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    1. I agree about the dresses, they remind me of Madewell, also cute but too short. And you are right, prices seem high, they are basically the same as J.Crew but we know J.Crew prices are just a start.
      You nailed it, it is more urban than J.Crew. My life is suburban and middle class but my aspirations are probably more worldly and 'cool girl', which is kind of hard to achieve in J.Crew rainbow colored pencil skirts and polka dot blouses, lol.

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  8. I like the style of the clothes, but the neutral palette has always been a deal breaker. I don't have a store anywhere near me, but I check out CM when I travel. Last week in NYC I almost bought the Aram fisherman sweater. Almost. But it was $139 for a blend and I decided the cut was not classic enough. I might consider it on sale.

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    1. I saw that sweater and I liked the style a lot, but I am afraid it will be a pilly mess in no time.

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  9. I used to shop at Club Monaco a lot, but stopped because of quality issues--I once had a CM trench coat button break in half, and then when I went to exchange it they tried to give me another one with a broken button (I returned it). Also a lot of pilling and ripped lining in a blazer. Not sure if there quality has improved in recent years--hopefully!

    Just so everyone knows, CM does offer a 20% discount for students (not sure if it is extended to educators as well, but it couldn't hurt to ask).

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    1. Caitlin, that is awful you had so many issues, something to consider, for sure.
      Was it before you started shopping at J.Crew? I know I started to think that the $45 t-shirt developing million tiny holes in belly button area after two wears is a new norm...

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    2. Yes, this was in 2006-2008, before I really started shopping at J. Crew (I am in Canada, where CM stores were plentiful at the time and JC stores were non-existent). Seems like the quality issues follow me ;). Hopefully their quality has improved since then, it sounds like it has! I did try on a pair of pants in CM recently that were quite nice (Emily pants if I remember correctly).

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  10. Thank you so much for the reviews, link love, and kind words, ajc! I really appreciate you trying on the Benny Plaid Coat for me, too! What did you think of the colors IRL? It sounds as if the weight would actually be quite good for Florida.

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    1. FFM I always feel like I owe you (and Gigi) for all your compilation posts :)
      I loved the colors in person, to me they looked exactly like on my screen, rich and vivid. I think this coat would be perfect for your climate, my only concern is the size, since I took a Small I am not sure if you will be sized out, you are so tiny.

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  11. i'm a big fan of club monaco - they're got a lot of good basics, and i've got a lot of their pants and skirts. you're right on the neutral colours though, which is why i tend to not buy a lot each season from them. if they had more colour, they'd give j crew a run for their money.

    phiphi's blog

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    1. I think that if there is one thing that differentiates J.Crew it is the colors! I never tried CM pants or skirts, I have to remedy that!

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  12. Hey AJC's in a new fitting room ! I like the Benny coat but I think it might have limited use on the East Coast. It would be perfect for FFM in Florida or during the Fall. I like C.M. and they have some nice tweed pencil skirts. Thanks for the reviews.

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    1. Marsha, I am cracking up about the fact that we tried the same coat around the same time, you know great minds...
      I agree about the coat, lovely but limited use for me, maybe if it was one third of the price...

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