Up In Uniqlo’s +J F/W 2010

— Thu, 14th October 2010 —

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On the heels of its launch last week, we just got all up in Uniqlo’s +J collection for Fall/Winter 2010. Cutting to the chase, as much as we admire what Jil Sander has done will the line, it’s still fundamentally fast fashion…

… Feel the weight of these fabrics, eyeball their thickness, crush them and see how well they regain their shape. We did and quickly concluded that these pieces are unlikely to hold up for more than two seasons.

That said, two pieces stood out, and bordered on genius. Like the +J line itself, the quilted wool jacket with detachable hood raises the bar for all fast fashion. For $270, the utility and craftsmanship is impressive. From a style perspective, the jacket could have blended in seamlessly with Thom Browne’s ’09 Gamme Bleu collection for Moncler. To the touch, however, it’s not as substantial as we’d like, nor does it fit as snuggly as it should. Meanwhile, the real star of the F/W ’10 is the wool/flannel double-breasted Chesterfield coat for $190. Its achingly classic style and modern (fitted) cut make it the coat of the F/W season — every F/W season. Unpressed and pulled right from a shopping bag, its shape and fabric appeared remarkably unfazed. If the material were thicker (and a hair softer), the Chesterfield could easily hold its own in any Marc Jacobs F/W collection.

Uniqlo – 546 Broadway between Prince & Spring – 917-237-8800 – Map

Photography courtesy of Michael Kingsbaker

  1. What are your thoughts on the $189 50% wool, 50% cashmere sport coats

  2. Unfortunately, none of the sport jackets, if that’s what you’re referring to, fared too well in our ‘crush test’ (crushing the fabric to see how well it recovers its shape). Also, neither the tux jacket nor the ‘other jacket’ in the collection (don’t know if it has a name) fit particularly well. Disappointing considering that +J’s F/W ’09 collection had such great jackets.

  3. Great review Choosy! How would you compare this year’s Chesterfield to last seasons?
    How is the sizing on the Chesterfield? I’m about 6’1 – 170lbs, what size would you recommend?

    Any thoughts on the Wool Pea Coat ($229)? Heard the detail on that was pretty good.

    The women line looked pretty nice – any chance the guys can fit in it?

  4. Also anyone know how the stock is looking for the Men’s side?

  5. I think the reversible wool/ nylon jacket is a great buy… great fit and style.
    It is very Garçons/ Yamamoto!

  6. The Chesterfield is the most fitted piece in the collection, Diplomatik, but it’s hard to say given how slender you are.

    Unfortunately, we didn’t get to test out the pea.

  7. No size S and M left for the pea coat or chesterfield as yesterday evening when I stopped.

  8. All I know is that it is unbelievably slim cut. I’m pretty normal sized, and couldn’t close the buttons.

  9. I went on the second day and was quite umimpressed, I know we’re not talking true Jil Sander but more consensus design. Last fall”s selections wee much more fashionable. Did you see this collection’s creepy stone-washed-looking jeans? Blech!

  10. The mostly-mohair navy jacket and slacks were an *exact* duplicate from the 2010 S/S collection, when I got them in black. I’m short (5’8″) with broad shoulders, about 140 lbs, and the “tuxedo” jacket (size XS) and (29″) slacks fit me PERFECTLY and trimly. Just wish the armholes on the jacket were a little higher and rounder. Generally not as strong as the earlier collections. A lot of variations on very similar cuts, and nowhere the number of good and timeless outerwear pieces as in the last collection. And quite a lot in one weird orange-brown poop color.

    Tuxedo jacket

  11. Sorry, I didnt mean to post as anonymous two posts ago but wanted to let you know that I was upset at waiting about 20 minutes to get in and not a lot of clothes to look at at those price points. The only interesting items were thin cashmere at $ 180.

  12. Pmmnyc, just so you know they have jeans like that every season of the +J collection. They also last all the way too final sale each season.

    I was pleased with my purchases and felt that the outwear fared better this season while the suiting and shirting suffered in fit/quality but retained style. Last year the Chesterfield was a regretful purchase but this year it is quite the catch, same with the cropped peacoat, and a multitude of other jackets. Lets be honest here the spring outwear was blah except for one thin parka and the fall outwear only had the military jacket and the hooded two-tone jacket (best piece) to fall back on. So praising the first collection like it was some zion is a little much. At the very least it had interesting shapes while this is more contemporary.

    Still I am far from regretting my purchases and hopefully can get my hands on the Down suit jacket when it drops.

  13. Hi there, I was wondering what your height is. I’m 5’8″ and I’m afraid the Chesterfield (double breasted or single) or the hidden placket overcoat (which is longer than the Chesterfield) might be too long for me. The Chesterfield seems to be the perfect length for you.

  14. they had some down-lined overcoats, no? how’d those puppies look? going down there tomorrow…

  15. My take.

    I fall somewhere in the middle where criticism/acclaim of +J is concerned.

    Regarding quality, I have found the +J line superlative for its price points.

    The only item I’ve returned in the three seasons is a polyeurathane-ed anourak. The petroleum content skeeved me out. This season, it’s unsurprising given Uniqlo’s sourcing prowess and scale, that the cashmeres in the line were “Grade A.” My budget is the only thing that prevented me from walking off with two armfuls of the sweaters.The V-necks, cardigans were exceptional, in palette, design, and cut. I chose a hooded sweatshirt (“hoodie” makes my teeth hurt) in navy and it’s as good as what I’ve seen made by Luciano Barbera at twice the price. I purchased yet another stretch long-sleeved t-shirt for $20 and it’s spot on. A third item that I’ll stand up for is the basic dress shirt. At $49.50 it wasn’t the deal of the century, but it’s well made, a good fit, and the cotton staple is on part with shirts that are 30% more. If I had had the cash, again, I would have picked up one of the (deliberately) thin cashmere scarves.

    Now, implicit here is the fact that I only walked away with three garments, as opposed to previous seasons.
    Season one I purchased the sportcoats in light and dark grey, as well as a grey chesterfield. Crush test or not, they are beautiful. They are as well made as the Helmut Lang overcoats I own, and they *will* stand up over time.
    The following season I purchased a black trench/raincoat as well as a basic tux shirt. Again, no arguments here. They are clean, minimal – a perfect translation from Jil Sander to +J.
    If anything, I do feel that there was less creativity in this collection, but innovation runs in cycles – we can’t always score a touchdown.

    BTW: The women’s trench and peacoat in camel were among the best things I’ve seen from +J – in any season. I asked one of Sanders’ colleagues why no camel for the guys, and suggested that a handful of items each season be unisex.

    Now that Sander has re-upped for another three years (beyond her current contract) I’ll get up with the sun each season and will be content to find one or two fine garments each go-round. It’s not about the quantity, right?


  16. About 6′ 1”, Steve, and while we like our coats short, the Chesterfield was almost too short. At 5′ 8”, then, I think you’ll be fine.

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