I don’t wear jackets a lot, except for occasions where I really need to dress up at work. I’ve always really liked the idea of them, though, especially with jeans. You can feel sort of protected and secure in a good jacket. That’s what I think at least whenever I’ve bought one. But jackets so often turn out looking boxy on me and I end feeling like I’m in some kind of dowdy-yet-severe uniform, like a Gestapo matron or something. Which is why I thought I’d give the Monroe Jacket a try, because it has an adjustable sliding buckle in the back to give it a more tailored look. Plus it’s called Monroe, which implies sexiness and possibly also non-interventionist foreign policy. I also requested the Monroe Skirt, a pencil skirt that can be worn with the jacket. In theory, at least.
That’s because first thing I noticed when I received both pieces is that while they’re both black, they don’t match. They’re a shade different from one another and the fabric doesn’t look quite the same, so that wearing them together (as the website copy suggests) looks like an outfit put together from separates rather than a suit. It was distinct enough that I found myself checking the item names to make sure I’d gotten the right skirt.
You could probably get away with the mismatch at a low-light evening event, but it would look a little off in a workplace setting. Since the pieces aren’t sold together, I suspect one was restocked at some point with a slightly different fabric from the original run. As it happens, I’m not crazy about suit looks anyway and was planning on wearing the pieces as separates, so it’s not a problem for me. But anyone hoping to make a suit by pairing the jacket with the Monroe skirt or pants ought to make a special call to Igigi so they can verify whether or not certain pieces match. But on to the reviews…
Jacket: I love it. The back buckle isn’t a gimmick—it really does adjust in a way that brings in the sides, and you can even work the buckle by reaching behind while wearing the jacket. This means I can wear it buttoned in a way that fits over the bust, but I can also cinch the strap tighter to wear it open, creating a curvy fitted look that you can only usually get with too-small jackets. (And who the hell wants to go around in a jacket that’s too small, like some sad corporate She-Hulk? Nobody.) The fit was very comfortable—nothing pulling or riding up.
I think what I like the most about the Monroe is that it’s a jacket style that’s both feminine and grown up, classier than the “it’s my first office job and I’m trying to rock the naughty secretary look” from Torrid but more stylish than the career wear in the plus size section at Macy’s. It has some great touches, like a gorgeous lining that goes all they way down the sleeves and functional flap pockets (that I’ll probably keep sewn shut). But one strange oversight was with the buttonholes on the jacket—they look unfinished, with threads hanging down in loops that can actually catch on the buttons. A few have pointed this flaw out in reviews on the Igigi website so I know it’s not an isolated problem. But given the attention to detail on the rest of the jacket it seems odd. The jacket seems like a good value for its price except when you consider that possible extra cost for a tailor to fix the buttonholes.
I plan on getting some grey or pinstriped trousers to go with the Monroe for a work look, but I really loved how well the jacket goes with jeans and flats—a good look for times when I’m giving a presentation in a casual setting but still want to look smart and expertish and authorial.
Skirt: Also great. The website photos make it look clingy but it’s no tube skirt—it fits close to the body in all the places it should without being butt-hugging. It’s stretchy and comfortable but well-constructed (also fully lined), with a back zip and a high waist. I can wear this with anything—a cardigan, a denim jacket, or a blouse on top; boots, pumps, or sandals on the bottom. At $62 it’s a lot to pay for a basic item, but the Monroe looks well-made enough to last a few years, and it’s the sort of thing that can be worn in any season except maybe the very height of summer. I plan on wearing this a lot.
It was so hard to resist picking a dress for this review, since Igigi does dresses exceptionally well, and I’ve loved just about every dress I’ve bought from them (including my wedding dress). But I’m glad I went with the separates this year. And if you want to see/buy some gorgeous dresses, or have a chance to WIN a gift certificate towards buying one, there’s a contest…
How to participate in the IGIGI Weetacon Giveaway: Go to the IGIGI website and pick out your ideal dress for a special occasion, important business meeting, date night or what have you. Then leave a comment on this review, telling us which garment YOU want and where you plan on wearing it. You can increase your chances of winning an IGIGI gift certificate by leaving comments on each of the other Weetacon IGIGI reviews at this page. Comments must be received by May 14 at midnight PST. Winners will be notified and announced on this page and the IGIGI at Weetacon 2013 page by May 18th.
UPDATE: The winners of the IGIGI contest have been announced! My winner is Natasha K. and she will be hearing from the Weetacon administration very soon. For a list of all of the winners please go to to the IGIGI at Weetacon page.