James Perse cotton cashmere ribbed tank dress | $225
James Perse boatneck tucked dress | $225
James Perse gauze cotton shirt dress | $225
James Perse stretch cotton-linen jumpsuit | $395
James Perse sueded stretch jersey skinny dress | $225
If you’re new here, you may or may not have picked up on my love of James Perse. Stick around a bit, you’ll begin to see. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m fiercely loyal to the brand. I own more James Perse than anything else; in fact, if I owned ONLY James Perse, I wouldn’t complain*.
But why James Perse?
Every single season – without fail – I fall in love with everything.
Case in point, behold fall 2014 (I love everything, but only NEED two things…):
I may question shoe styling choices here and there, but eventually I fall in line (Birkenstock Arizona sandals, Nikes..). James Perse is the embodiment of simple, easy, comfortable, AND stylish. Nothing screams JAMES PERSE, unless you know what to look for. In fact, if you pay attention during commercials, TV shows, movies, etc., you’ll likely see at least one character wearing James Perse at some point (I’ve seen a variation of the side panel shirt more times than I can count…Claire from Modern Family wears a lot of James Perse…)
Everything James Perse just speaks to me; it draws me in. Maybe I’m just a California girl at heart? I’m not sure what that means, but I do know that my ultimate goal sartorially is to be equally comfortable and stylish. All of my James Perse pieces accomplish that. (in my opinion anyway!).
Without good fit, you have nothing, and no matter how “chic” the item, it’ll look messy and “off” on you. It’s a perfect fit that makes or breaks a garment, and I’ve never had anything less from James Perse. You know that feeling when you’re trying something on and it just WORKS? It fits beautifully? and you know it’s just what you want? That happens nearly every single time I try on a piece of James Perse. I usually sigh deeply, and curse myself for even trying it on, because that means it’s coming home with me!
For example, James Perse’s casual t-shirt is hands down the best t-shirt (and I’ve tried them all…) for me. The drape is beautiful, the length, scoop-neck, sleeves…everything is just perfect.
If you’re already a fan, you know this, but the ruched dresses/skirts are the ultimate in easy-chic. I have several ruched dresses & skirts that I wear a lot because they just suit my body type (pear-shape) nicely. The ruching/tucking (if the sizing is right) holds everything in and really shows off curves without being over the top body-con. They’re also easy to layer with sweaters, cardigans, or even slightly oversized t-shirts. And every James Perse piece is so flattering, on most body types.
I find it relatively easy to determine my size in James Perse. Right now, I’m mostly a size 2 (I guess I’m a 6-8/29/small or medium in “regular” sizes), but when I was a 12-14-16 I wore size 4 pretty comfortably, in tops and dresses/skirts. But sometimes it can be tough to figure out how to size yourself in JP, especially if you’re not familiar with the brand. In general though, if a skirt/dress has ruching, or the new “tucks,” it’s meant to FIT. I like to go as small as possible in those items so they hold my hips in.
I own more than 50 James Perse items, and I’ve only ever had quality issues with two pieces: a white casual t-shirt, and my sweatpants. The white casual t-shirt got a hole in it within 2-3 wears, so I contacted JP, sent it back, and they sent me a new one. I had my sweatpants for a week or so when the stitching on the back pockets started to come out. Since I don’t use the back pockets, and always have them covered, I never did anything about it, but I probably should have taken them back, just to bring the issue to the brand’s attention.
At this point, I hang-dry most of my clothing, but I’ve found that James Perse holds up EXTREMELY well to drying on low heat. My oldest piece is 10 years old (black cami dress) and it still looks new; no fading at all, no pilling, no holes, no problems AT ALL. And I’ve washed/dried it hundreds of times. Generally I find that the brushed jersey items (like the leggings) do better dried on low heat. They will fade a bit, but they’re less likely to be covered in lint if you dry them.
Made in the US
Almost everything by James Perse is made in the US unless it has some crepe/silk in it or cashmere (sometimes fabric is imported and the product is finished in the US). I appreciate this, and it’s a big reason why I love the brand; I’m not sure if I would love it as much if they didn’t produce in the US. But I can’t say for sure.
The only “negative” I’ve found with James Perse is the price. But given how long my JP pieces last (without looking like they’re 10 years old), it’s really only a drawback up front. I’ve paid full price for more than half of my James Perse pieces, and the rest I’ve gotten on sale, either from their own sales, or online via Shopbop or Nordstrom. James Perse’s private sales are REALLY GOOD (and I usually try to score free shipping or similar for you guys!), but final, so you have to know you’re going to love/wear it before buying, but the great prices are worth it. Of course, there’s always eBay, both for buying & selling James Perse (although that can get overwhelming too!). And whenever there is a James Perse sale, I always do my best to provide fit details and feedback so even if you don’t have a lot of experience with the brand, you’ll have more information.
I think I might have been hooked on James Perse from my first piece all those years ago. It didn’t take long for me to start adding more and more JP items to my wardrobe. Not everything is a hit, but more often than not, even when ordering online, I can make something work. At this point, I know pretty well what shapes and styles work best on me, but if you’re new to the brand, it’s worth spending some time trying pieces on (so far, only Nordstrom and Saks have good selections outside of a James Perse store, Shopbop & Revolve have good selections online) to familiarize yourself with the sizing. But once you do, watch out 😉
Some of the James Perse in my closet…what’s in yours? what’s your favorite James Perse piece? What’s your oldest? newest?
note – I’m trying very hard to consolidate everything James Perse into one category. So far, it’s here, but it’s not comprehensive by any means…yet.
*just in case you’re wondering, James Perse didn’t pay me to say these things, but I do use affiliate links via which I can earn a commission if you buy something. I do work with the brand to advertise and promote sales and new items, and received a few pieces as gifts (many years ago!!), but everything else I’ve paid for myself. I would evangelize (and do) for James Perse if I never got a penny for it. What can I say? I’m hopelessly devoted…
Jessica @ Beautify My Life says
Great timing — I was working on a post today about being brand loyal vs. boring, and included a link to your post!
Jessica @ Beautify My Life´s last blog post ..Am I boring, or just brand loyal?
Ugh!!! I just wrote you a long comment, but it wouldn’t post so I hit refresh…and I lost it!!! Too tired to remember it tonight. Lots of thoughts for the a.m.
Short story: I’m in love with the black dress! And the grey oversized sweatshirt. I’m going to make my list and budget now. My “holy grail” brand is probably VINCE, although not nearly as impressive as your living “Museum of James Perse”! Haha
Heather Van Ryn says
I am a huge James Perse fan. Mostly what I have in my closet is JP. I love the v-neck t shirts, slub button down shirts and the ruched skirts and dresses. Just bought the short sleeve wrap front dress in quarry and fig, and the black sleeveless dress with the side ruching. I have many, many tanks, several fleece jackets, a heavier shawl collar style jacket and even a pair of black shorts from years ago. The quality is supreme and the fit unbeatable. I tried Vince, but found it not as relaxed and easy to wear as JP. I pretty much wear JP everyday. I agree the price point seems high at first, but once you experience the fit it seems reasonable. Hardest to spend for the white tees, which do not stay white long in Phoenix due to the heat. I still buy them in bulk and always have extras in plastic waiting to replace when needed. One more note, I find JP ageless. So much of what is available to women over forty looks, well, old lady. JP looks as good on a woman of 50 or 60 as it does on my 18 year old daughter, who also appreciates the qualities of JP.
I agree with you, Heather, about the “ageless/timeless” factor of James Perse pieces. I believe they work because of the simplicity of line. It’s the same with VINCE for me, and I think that the reason it works better for me right now is that I’m carrying extra weight. (And VINCE pieces usually have a little more structure built-in).
I used to really like JP. I just noticed everything is made in China now. I guess outsourcing is cheaper, but so is the quality, IMO. And the price doesn’t reflect that, it’s outrageous. Somethings gotta give. We have too much supply and not enough resources to sustain this. Where do all the clothes go that no one buys? Are we repurposing I enough in this industry? It’s giving me a lot of pause about what I spend money on and why.