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Dressing Room Diaries at Chico’s: Not a Ruffle In Sight

On Monday, we discussed my increasing frustration with all the frills, ruffles, tiers, and over-the-top details I’m seeing at some of your favorite retailers. Many of you agree that it’s hard to find non-gaudy clothes these days. I decided to challenge myself to find some unadorned options at Chico’s, which several of you mentioned as hard to shop these days.

EYEGLASS FRAMESEARRINGS

If you’re new here, welcome. A dressing room diary is when I go into a local store for a try-on session so you can see what’s new and how it looks on a woman over 25. For reference, I am 5’4″ and weigh around 140 lbs. I have broad shoulders with straight hips, a long torso, and long arms. I often buy one size larger on top. You’ll see me try on clothes in colors and shapes that may or may not flatter me because I want you to see what’s in the stores and get some styling ideas. I tell you what sizes I am wearing to help you understand how things run.

CROPPED DENIM JACKET size 0STRIPED TOP size 0BRIGITTE SLIM LEG PANT size 6R

These Brigitte slim pants are as simple and generic as you can get. Chico’s does offer embellished options for those who love it, but for those needing simple pull-on pant to anchor a look, these are a great option. They come in nine colors and are on sale. I paired them with a soft, flexible denim jacket that feels more like a shirt than a stiff jacket. Its shirttail hem and 3/4 sleeves make it petite-friendly with a high lycra content for comfort. I felt it runs large, so suggest you size down. I’m wearing it over a simple striped v-neck tank that would pair with many things.

UPF BUNGEE DRESS size 1

I loved this little dress which would pack like a dream and is very comfy. It’s made from a stretch fabric that blocks UVA and UVB rays and has a modern vibe. This dress is something I’d have no problem dressing up while traveling. It comes in 4 colors with an elbow-length sleeve and classic collar detail. If the bungee cord isn’t your thing, you could always simply untie it to loosen the hem.

NO-IRON STRETCH SHIRT size 1JULIET ICON STRAIGHT CROP size 0.5

These Juliet pants are in a fresh alabaster and blue stripe. Their pull-on style adds no bulk in the tummy area, so they’re easy to style under most tops. I tied a classic no-iron shirt at the waist, which really illustrates just how straight my hips are!! No matter how much weight I put on, my shape stays straight…it just expands along with my tummy. Chico’s has a large collection of non-patterned no-iron linen and cotton shirts every year, which I can vouch for.

LINEN POPOVER DRESS size 1

Here’s a perfectly simple summer dress to toss on when the weather is hot. No puff sleeves, no ruffles, no contrast embroidery, and no little girl vibes. It’s a beautiful aqua shade, has sleeves, side pockets, and is a modest length. You could belt it if you have a great figure or wear it as is for so many occasions. They need to make it in more colors!

CARDIGAN size 0TANK TOP size 1LINEN CULOTTES size 0PETITE HERE

I’m totally smitten with these wide-leg culottes. Of course, I’m not wearing a petite, so they’re almost full-length on me. The petite version is here. They’re a pull-on style with great pockets and a nice drape. I went for a column of color using one of their microfiber tank tops that come in nine colors. I topped it with this lightweight, airy summer cardigan that hangs open, or you can just twist and tuck it as I did.

NO-IRON STRIPED SHIRT size 0 PULL-ON ANKLE JEGGINGS size R 0.5

Here’s another no-iron shirt, this time in crisp cotton with 3/4 length sleeves. The stripe is navy and white, and the fabric has 4% spandex which makes it very comfy. The product details describe it as a black stripe, but the color is described as deep navy, which it is. I’m wearing it over unadorned, pull-on denim jeggings. They come in five washes, I’m wearing the Inverness indigo.

LINEN FRONT TIE TOP size 1LINEN BUTTON HEM CROPS size 1

These pants and this top are too large for me, which really ruins the effect, but the color is so pretty I wanted to share them. The top is a linen knit in the prettiest blue and white. The dots look like watercolor spots which just adds to its warm-weather appeal. This size 1 is so oversized on me, it’s apparent that it runs larger than normal, and I suggest you size down. The linen crops are also too large for me and must be selling pretty quickly. They’re a pull-on style that comes in three colors and has great side pockets.

DENIM JACKET size 0TANK TOP size 1WIDE LEG LINEN CULOTTES size 0

I found these white linen culottes to be a bit transparent, which is always a challenge with pale-colored linen. They also come in red! I like them nonetheless and would wear them with nude panties and not tuck a top into them. Here’s another denim jacket; this one is also very soft and stretchy. It has flat felled princess seams, which give the jacket some nice shaping and a slimming look. It’s also on the shorter side, so works well over longer tops and for the petite gals.

MORE FROM CHICO’S

There were plenty more things that weren’t over the top with embellishment. I never think of Chicos for classic, timeless clothes, but there are lots of option available if that’s the style you like.

50 Comments

  1. This post was A+. Everything wearable, cute and sophisticated. Great job!
    It would be great if your “How would you style it” posts featured outfits like these. Personally, I would find them more interesting and inspiring having readers offer style tips for clothes that I would buy, or maybe are in our closets. So many creative women in this community.
    Have a great day!

    1. I agree. This community is brilliant. I have simpler taste than many people who dress mannequins but I will keep my eye open.

  2. Mary Frances says:

    I see lots of things I like on the Chico’s website but don’t often find a lot of those pieces in the store. I think they stock the stores with what sells in that particular location and I do not live in a high fashion area.

    Just wondering: is there a certain width of leg or what that distinguishes between wide leg pants and culottes

  3. This post is an eye-opener! I have stopped looking at Chico’s because of the bold prints in strong colors that are rarely in my palette. The outfits you have modeled all look very good with pieces that seem versatile.

  4. Lois Williams says:

    Very few offerings at Chico’s are made for tall women! Some of my friends who shop there look stunning but length of pants and sleeves are challenging for us. I’m beginning to think petite’s at least are doing better in choices which is great but waiting for more options for me.
    You modeled lots of great looks, Jennifer

    1. I hope retailers will get more on the ball about sizing.

    2. You can order tall length pants from Chico’s on-line. Not a huge selection, but they are available. Talbot’s also carries tall – on-line, J. Jill also – on-line, as well as many tops. They carry the most tall sizes.

    3. I am 5’9” with a 33” inseam and also appreciate stores that carry tall options. JJill does, Talbots used to but I do not think they do anymore. Most of the pants Jennifer models would be too short on me. While I love Jennifer’s posts, I wonder if she has a tall version of herself out there in social media land.

  5. Happy Friday. Thanks for showing us some great choices from Chico’s without the bling, ruffles & loud prints. I buy my jeans and jean jackets at Chico’s as well as plain tee shirts and the fine gauges sweaters that pop up in the fall. I check out the website before going to the store. I don’t care for the way they arrange the clothes. I looked at the no-iron linen shirt on line and I will stop into the store the next time I’m in the neighborhood but it be too long on me. I wish they still made petite shirts.

  6. My favorite look is the striped navy shirt with jeans. Timeless and sophisticated and this outfit will always strike the right note.

  7. Virginia Flynn says:

    I love the blue and white dot linen top and blue pants! My favorite shade of blue and you wear it well even though you say they were too big. Thank you for this look into what is available without ruffles!!

    1. I love that shade of blue too!

  8. Sydney Haskell says:

    Happy Cinco de Mayo Jennifer! Good choices today at Chicos. I have never found anything online from them but will look again. I am very basic in my style and I love that you model clothes for those of us that are mature and short. At 5’2” it can be difficult to find things that are designed for tall slim women and just cut down for us. They need to be actually designed for mature petite women. You do a wonderful job finding these unicorns for all of us. Thank you. Sydney

    1. Happy Cinco de Mayo. I agree. The armholes need to be shallower and the detailing needs to be scaled for petite.

  9. The DRD posts are wonderful! Most of my shopping is done online so seeing outfits on you along with your size commentary is sooooo helpful. I’m sure a great deal of time and effort goes into these outings/posts so….THANKS!

    1. I’m glad you find them helpful!

  10. I will have to look further at the basics at Chicos. I walked into my local store last week and walked right out. It seemed everything was loud bordering on garish, which doesn’t suit me. Thanks for showing these items.

  11. I recently ordered the bungee dress and the no iron striped shirt. I am a pretty simple dresser and have many pieces from Chico’s. Since their sizing is pretty consistent, online shopping is easier. Great post!

  12. thank you so much for Chico’s w/o frills. I will give them another chance!

  13. Love the bungee dress, I have it in black as that was only color my Chicos had. I’m 5’1” I’ve worn it with tennis shoes and sandals of different heights. I also have the linen knit top with the tie.

    1. It looks very versatile!

  14. For me, Chico’s is another example of the website being better than the store. My local Chico’s is staffed by older women who are consistently overcome by technology. They cannot check me out, do a return, answer a website question, or even check stock online. They stand around chatting amongst themselves rather than helping customers, and they seem to be working there simply for the employee discount. The last time I went there, I vowed never to return. As an older woman myself, I hate the stereotype, but in this particular case, it’s true.

    1. Bette,
      I have found this to be the case at some Chico’s and also Jjill, that is, the salespeople standing around chatting. So much so that I have to go out of a dressing room for another size or I simply leave the store. I will say that if I get a survey from that store, I’m honest so the managers understand what is happening in the store. Also I will check back in after a few months and usually things are better.

      1. Good for you. We do need to speak up.

      2. Very true. Most of the staff are older woman and when you enter the store they give this look , kind of are you returning stuff or buying.? If you have a return they act like they are helping another customer. I am a Chico’s shopper and customer for the last 10 plus years. With aging and retirement with weight gain issues it is not easy to find perfect fit – if the style is good- color is too bold or neck is too big. The prices are also ridiculous , they start with minimum 49 dollars and up to 100 plus and suddenly they drop it to 29 plus. I am from Midwest who lived there 40 plus years and there are more boutiques and salespeople are more fr than here. But to be honest Chico’s offer better quality and variety

  15. Janice in Ky says:

    I really liked everything you showed today, but the blue poke a dot top and pants really caught my eye. However since neither come in petite and run large on top of that they would be a no go for me. At 5’ I’ve always had problems finding things that fit at chicos. I am going to check out the Bridget pants next time I’m out shopping, keeping my fingers crossed. Most all of my pants are pull on style. Thank you for all the hard work you put in for all of us.

    1. They do carry many more petites online so you might find more there

  16. Chico’s fit is much more forgiving than other brands: they use 3/4 sleeves, bracelet sleeves, princess seaming, etc. to give shape to garments to be attractive on more women, without making garments ‘fitted’.

    I think they have increased the Juliet line of pants in the past year: for me, it fits much more nicely than the Bridgette.

    Chico’s also uses some more unusual and artistic fabrics at an affordable price (during their many sales) and has some hand-sewn-appearing details that are really unusual. I am actually always surprised how affordable their clothes are for some of the high quality fabrics and details.

    If you look past some of their most flamboyant styles, there are lots of terrific basics AND special pieces.

    1. I agree with you. Many of their clothes are multidimensional. I often prefer the Juliet pant because of the fabrication.

  17. I never think of Chicos for myself because I’m not only hipless, but 4’11”! Your DRD has encouraged me to go and try! I’m somewhere in between liking details and embracing minimalism, largely because of my lack of height.
    Last week I was at a Talbots outlet/ clearance store in Hingham MA, Talbots’hometown.
    I did so weel because while the were a lot of wild prints there were tons of simple classic clothes. In Petites too! If any readers are close by one of these stores, it’s so worth it. ( when I went they were having a huge sale… simple cotton sweaters for $5!

  18. I like everything you styled. The bungee dress and the linen culottes are headed my way. Thanks for this article – so helpful.

    1. I was so happy with this try-on. I’d about given up on Chicos.

  19. suzanstew says:

    I also have to give Chico’s credit for its eyelet/ruffle dress inventory. The only ruffle dress that I have ever liked is from Chico’s. It’s fitted in the bodice and at the waist and hips and the tiered skirt isn’t excessive. I love most everything you have shown in this post. Since the only women’s clothing store in our town is Chico’s, I’m glad to see this group of stylish and wearable clothes.

    1. They do cover the gamut for everyone’s taste. I was happy to see these options for women who like more paired down styles.

  20. It seems to me that there’s a huge market for basic, good quality clothing, just waiting to be fulfilled. I am willing to invest in these pieces, if I can source them.
    Chicos offers some quality pieces. I have several tanks that are workhorses in my summer wear. For me, a lot of their pieces are just too much detail and out of my comfort zone. My preference is to control my bling with my accessories. I am not inclined to wear any of the front tie tops either. Just a personal choice.
    Yes to all things linen!

    1. I prefer my “bling” in my accessories too. It allows my clothing to be more timeless.

  21. Love these Chico’s looks. Everything looks so comfortable to wear. Unfortunately their petites are not really petite and they have to be ordered online only. I still like to look at the store. They have great jewelry.

  22. Loved this dressing room diary. Since I’ll be driving by a Chico’s later today, I think I’ll have to stop and browse. Thanks for this post.

  23. You found some good stuff! Seems like the most modern looking items mimic Eileen Fisher! I like the black and white outfits with the cardigan ends tied under. You nailed the proportions with the wide pants!

    1. Yes! They sure do mirror EF at half to a quarter of the price.

  24. I have the bungee and popover dress that I bought last year. They are my go to items for summer. Love them!

    1. They’re great little dresses.

  25. I found many outfits you displayed today very cute and stylish. I have shopped Chico’s in the past but feel they have become way overpriced for me. Love the striped blouse that you wore with the dark jeans but I can’t justify almost $90 for a blouse. Also, Chico’s does offer a lot of their style in petites which I need. Thank you for all the options you give us.

  26. Wow Jennifer, you found some really cute clothes at Chico’s. I’m also not a fan of a lot of glitz so these are nice to see, since I’ve given up on shopping there. I love the bungee dress. Just may have to give Chico’s another look.

    1. That dress almost came home with me. It reminded me of the styles I used to find in fashion forward boutiques. Frankly, it’s simple sophistication surprised me from Chicos.

  27. Bobbie Hayek says:

    Loved seeing the clothes on you, a real life woman! This is my first newsletter and I’m looking forward to more in the future!

  28. Linda white says:

    What do you think about peblum tops for over 60?

    1. I think if they’re flattering for your shape and you like the style they can be great. Peplums can help give a straight figure some curves and don’t have to look overly girly. In fact, they’re fairly sophisticated on a jacket.

  29. Pat Patterson says:

    Happy Happy Friday😀. I absolutely adore the outfits!! Great choices, I picked up an outfit from Chicos this month, colorful and very comfortable.
    Have a beautiful weekend 😍

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