Friday, November 25, 2011

J.Crew Clea Dress & Biennial Satchel

Finally, I am getting around to post the photos about the Clea Dress and the Biennial Satchel, which I ordered a while ago during one of the promos. The dress is a size 4 in heather charcoal and when I ordered it, I figured it would fit similarly to the Origami Dress I had tried before in a size 2 and about which I blogged here before. I was wrong. The Clea Dress is a much smaller fit, with a higher waist. The fabric is a nice wool and the stitching is beautiful, though. The lining is poly. I didn't find the wool itchy at all, but then I am not that sensitive to it.

The bag is the red Biennial Satchel. As you can see, it's a big one. I am 5'6", if you are wondering about proportions. If you are considering it, keep in mind that you need to distribute the weight inside the bag relatively evenly. I put more things in the middle compartment and I noticed that it started to sag. And just as I was going to take it out in the daylight, I noticed some defective stitching (read hole) along the zipper in an area that would get a lot of wear, so I knew it would be a matter of time before the leather would rip. That was really annoying, because I had to return this as well. All in all, the coat, the dress and the bag were a bust for me. I had also ordered a Sherpa Zip Hoodie  size M in warm walnut, and instead I got a Blythe Silk Blouse size 00 in fiesta purple colour. I have read about wrong items shipped to customers before, but this is the first time it happened to me.

Today I made my way to the store with all the returns and managed to check out some of the new items. I will have reviews soon.

Have a good weekend, everyone!


  1. oh, how annoying! The Clea dress is beautiful- looks like what the Teddie dress should have been! I love the bag- will you try and pick it up again sometime?

  2. thatdamngreendress, I e-mailed the PS immediately after I returned the bag.

  3. I'm envious that you can wear wool without an itch. Are you keeping the Clea dress?

    That's unfortunate about the hole on your bag. I hope the new one works out but the fact that it droops is not so good either. I've sworn of J.Crew bags for now. I was collecting them and now I have far too many bags, not just J.Crew, so it's time to take stock and sell some off. I've been doing that slowly.

    My experience with the Darlington pursette put me off J.Crew bags a bit and then I bought one from the weekly exchange that was listed as NWT and obviously was used, even though they left the tags on, likely with the intention of selling it later. Sour face. But it made me stop and look at what I have so there's the silver lining I guess.

  4. Returns and wrong items! Oh well, not meant to be and a hole in the bag? Oh not good.
    I found the Clea terribly itchy in the green, I wonder if the carbon fabric is softer? It doesn't really matter as I don't much care for the poly lining anyway.
    Thanks for the reviews!

  5. Thanks for sharing pics. I have the bag and at 5"2" just can't decide if it's too much bag for me. It should look like a large handbag a la Rachel Zoe at best and not like small luggage. Good info about distribution issues. Maybe that will be the deciding factor for me.

  6. Thanks for the reviews! I returned the Biennial because it was too heavy when it was empty. When I added pen, small (magic) wallet, credit cards folder, hanky, iPhone 3GS, could not face lugging this around. SAM was not surprised by my complaint, said she found it too heavy also.

  7. WFF - I'm chiming in again because I need to decide on this bag within 30 days. I appreciate the discussion. I agree it's heavy. And unlike Zoe or the Dashes, I do not have car service to sport the heavy bag/high heel combo.

  8. Bummer about the bag. The colour is so eye-catching. Went to a few stores today and did not see 1 leather bag in that colour, JC really did come up with something special this year. But the crappy quality is inexcusable.

    Also bummer about the incorrectly shipped items. That hasn't happened to me yet but knock wood. Hard.

    And LOL at gigi's comment about the car service. I remember there was a discussion on the Mothership when the bag first came out. I posted TSA-approved dimensions for carry-on luggage and the Biennial JUST makes it, it's that big. I'm so over big and heavy bags. Pain in the neck/shoulder/elbow/wrist.

    Anyway, happy shopping, looking forward to your reviews!

  9. Thanks for the reviews! The Clea dress went off my wishlist after Dani's review (I can't stand itchy woollens against the skin). As for the Biennial, do you think you will exchange it for another one or just return it? The colour is very nice.

  10. xoxo: I have already returned it. I didn't find it itchy, but then I am not that sensitive to wool. I was a bit disappointed in the bag, esp. since this is the third JC bag that has been a miss for me.

    DaniBP: I didn't find it that itchy, and would have kept it if the fit had been right. Not a whole lot of good luck with the latest orders.

    gigi & WFF: it is a big bag, no question about it. I didn't find heavy for me.

    CC: yes, I haven't seen many (or any, if I think hard) red bags around this year.If I get it again I will remember to leave it home when I travel to the US. :)

    Louise: I am hoping to get it again eventually.

  11. I'm hoping to buy the Clea dress! Any insight as to how to pick a size? According to the size charts I'm between 8-10 but I have another JC shift dress and that's a 4! Much appreciated! I thought you looked lovely in the dress - too bad it's not a keeper at all.

    1. Hi VIvian, sorry for the late reply! I would stick to my regular dress size at JC. I am usually a size 4 in dresses and mostly 2 in tops. The dress I tried is a 4, and it fitted tight. HTH

  12. Thanks for your review. The Biennial satchel appealed to me and I was close to purchasing it. However, given my remote location -Key West- I had to buy it online. I was wary of its size and visual trickery to body proportion, so I googled and came across your post. Thanks! I appreciate the photo as well. Thanks to your experience, I will not be wasting $350 on this bag.

    Have you heard of the Pippa bag from Modalu? It became "global" after Pippa Middleton was seen carrying the bag. Anyhoo, it hardly seems coincidental, but a few months ago, Jcrew came up with a similar style.
    If you are unfamiliar with the Modalu Pippa bag, visit their website and you'll notice great similarity in the basic structure between the Pippa and Biennial.

    However, unlike the Biennial, Pippa is made to be "user friendly", roomy with many compartments, and has the three major sections.

    Seems I'll be purchasing the Pippa instead of the Biennial. Thanks again for the post!

    1. Di, the Biennial didn't work for me, but a lot of other ladies who post on the JCA liked it. I just didn't like how it was sagging once I would put something inside it. The pics with it are deceiving because the bag is empty or stuffed with paper most of the time, so I know I am not imagining it. My wallet, makeup case and sunglasses case were sufficient to make this bag sag like crazy.

      Yes, I know Sparrows and Sparkles has the Modalu bag and loves it. I should look into it. Or just get a classic Coach and be done with it. :)


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