Old Navy vs. J. Crew

I have to give Old Navy a lot of credit here… I think their merchandise has improved significantly over the past year or so. (Gap and Banana Republic, on the other hand, seem to be experiencing the exact opposite.)
I took an afternoon break with Soccer Mom the other day and… wait for it… bought something from Old Navy. Usually I love styles I see online and then can’t find a size that fits properly! Anyone else think that the clothing fits a little looser than it should? Well I liked a few things, but they didn’t have my size and they weren’t alterable. But… just as I was heading to the fitting room, I spotted (haha) the cutest dress!
It fit beautifully and the fabric isn’t cheap feeling at all. In fact, it definitely reminds me of something J. Crew would carry… and look, it’s really similar for a fraction of the price:
That’s the Old Navy dress on the left and the J. Crew dress on the right.
J. Crew Scatter Dot Dress (Originally $170, now $120)
One thing to keep in mind about the clothing in Old Navy is that everything looks better after a trip to the dry cleaner! You have to try to look past wrinkles and crumpled clothes… A fresh pressed dress looks so much better.
Even more…

Have you bought something from Old Navy recently?

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Sandee Royalty

I picked up the heart sweaters from old navy and I ordered them in petites because the shape is better for me when it is a little shorter than the usual length. I am really thinking of getting the polka dot ones too!

Pamela (not pam)

Yep! Three pairs of shorts, not at the same time though. But I've been living in my sailboat shorts these past few days… I'm loving the polkadot dress and price! Will definitely have to check it out.

Molly Gerber

Carly, I really like that you are highlighting great pieces at great prices. I truly enjoy your blog and sometimes check for updates right at 11 (I live in MO). However, it is really insulting to me that you make such a big deal out of shopping at places like Old Navy or Target. Often, you make it sound like patronizing these places is shocking, surprising, or somehow embarrassing. As a young teacher, these are my staples! I admire your hard work and sense of style, but I just thought that, as you work to grow professionally, you might want to know that your words are occasionally offensive to at least one faithful reader!


I'm so glad you pointed out this touchy situation. I dearly love this blog and check it everyday, but I find it sad she seems to think poorly of affordable clothing, as if it isn't good enough. I wish I could afford to live in J.Crew, Lilly, and Vineyard Vines but sadly I cannot so the pieces I do have I cherish (:


I'm so glad someone said something about this! I thought I was the only one who found her wording sometimes offensive. Carly, I love your blog, but I simply can't afford J.Crew and Lilly all the time. Even Gap can be a little expensive for me, and I disagree with you–I think it's actually improving in its quality. I'm sorry that you find it shocking to shop at Old Navy, but many of us get our preppy essentials from there!


As I mentioned in the post, it wasn't that buying something at Old Navy because it's inexpensive was a big deal… it was that something FIT!!!! I have a ton of stuff from Target and Old Navy and buy many of my clothes on sale or get hand-me-downs from friends.

My issue with Old Navy isn't that it's "cheap" it's that I never can find something that fits properly.

This is literally what I said in the post: "Usually I love styles I see online and then can't find a size that fits properly! "

Nothing against Old Navy's prices at all!!! (And this was the whole point of the post, as well as this one:… You DON'T have to spend a lot of money. You can, of course, but it's definitely not a make it or break it as far as I'm concerned.

(Also, a LOT of my clothes are things I've had for years. I've been the same size since I was 17. So, I can wear just about everything from my junior year of high school…. almost SEVEN years ago! Cost per use, I assure you, is in the pennies for a lot of clothes at this point.)


I bought green polka dot shorts at Old Navy recently and they're really cute! I personally don't think Banana Republic is going too far downhill – they have plenty of cute shirts and sweaters!



So many cute things!

Even though I haven't done a ton of shopping lately, I have noticed that Old Navy clothing isn't bad quality at all.
I absolutely LOVE everything J. Crew (can I just live in a J. Crew store please?) but the prices can sometimes can be rather unreasonable for a student.
Thanks for doing this post on cute clothes from Old Navy that compares with stuff from J. Crew!

Of these pieces, I think my favorite would have to be that green polka dotted sweater!
It's such a vibrant color and looks perfect for layering with other pieces.

If I have time, I definitely want to pop into an Old Navy to see what else they have that compares to something at J. Crew!

Have a nice day! 🙂


P.S. I have noticed that the clothing at Old Navy runs bigger than other stores. I grabbed some yoga pants from there a while back and had to go down 2 sizes! Crazy!

P.P.S. I think what Molly Gerber wrote above me is a very interesting point to note. Even though I haven't been following your blog for very long, I can definitely see where she might consider your words a little bit offensive.


"We are too poor to buy cheap." – said my Nana ALWAYS. And it continues to be my mantra. I am a SAHM and as such, have budgeted a limited amount of money each month to clothing for myself, my husband and my 3 kids. I don't think any of us have anything in our closets or dressers that wasn't purchased on sale, with coupons or using reward points. The only thing I buy at Old Navy is my boys' jeans. In the past, I would buy them t-shirts there, knowing I didn't need to them to last and/or because I had coupons from using my GAP card. However, I have a different opinion on their quality and believe it has gotten much worse in the last year. I much prefer Target if I need a few trendy items or sweat pants. Their quality is much better (and still cheaper most of the time.)


I tried on that polka dot dress the last time I was in ON, but the arm holes were too big. Apparently I need to grow bigger boobs. I recently bought a cute teal blue/ navy blue striped 3/4 length sleeve sweater and was very surprised. I usually stay away from stripes, but it was really cute!


I recently purchased a chambray buttondown with small white polka dots from ON, and Anthro has one almost identical! I agree with you; Gap and Banana are suffering lately. But Old Navy is thriving!


I went to old navy the other day. I saw the polka dot sweaters and I was thinking about how they looked so much like J. Crew!

Whitney H

Old Navy really has been doing great recently! I got a pair of jeans from them because they actually fit and were a decent price. (I didn't want to spend much since I'm trying to lose weight!) Their shirts in the spring were also really cute. I'm going to check these out! Thanks!


I find that some ladies have all the luck when shopping at Old Navy. I on the other hand, do not. I purchased a shirt at the end of spring this year and haven't found anything since. Before that, I can't tell you when the last time I'd shopped at Old Navy was. ON just doesn't typically fit me well and I find sometimes the quality is lower than what I would like. I'll have to check ON out again b/c your finds are great! The hit and miss of it is just a bit frustrating. J.Crew, however, has my heart and can seem to do no wrong. 😉


Carly Traynor

I haven't bought anything from Old Navy recently, but I did go there a few days ago and was pleasantly surprised at the number of cute items they had available. They have definitely improved their selection over the past year and I may have to return for another look after seeing how similar some of their clothing is to J.Crew's.

Maggie Blane

I have not bought anything from Old Navy lately, but I have at J. Crew. When I do shop at J. Crew I LOVE that they give student discounts!

Ashley Cameron

Carly, I love this post! I stumbled upon these great finds just a few days ago and did a huge shopping spree online with an EXTRA 25% off! I love reading your blog and am glad to see you are equally or more obsessed with J.Crew as I am. But just like the next girl, their clothes don't always fit into my budget. So I am so excited for these fun fall additions to my wardrobe at a bargain price. And I would love to see more posts like this!


I've been eyeing that dress online but have not gone in the store to check it out yet. I was in there a couple weeks ago and came out with a darling striped tee dress (someone had ordered and returned to the store so it was on the clearance rack) and a navy/white polka dot cardi.
I want to try the chambray popover.


I've had problems with Old Navy Sizing being way big too. It also has been very inconsistent. My first sign that things were changing was my purchase of a super cute green trench coat that fit perfectly. Still, there isn't one near me and I'm leery of ordering online without trying stuff on. Those sweaters are calling my name, though.


Carly, I loved this post! Recently, I've been debating whether or not to invest in one or two items at J. Crew, but after reading your post, it's amazing to see the overlap between products. I suppose I will look into driving a little further to check out Old Navy : ) Thanks for posting!

Madylin B

Scored an adorable pair of blue polka dot capri's, and a coral polka dot cardi! So excited to be able to wear them more when it cools down.

Julia D.

Out of the four pieces posted, half I liked better from Old Navy and the other half I would have still bought at J.Crew. Thanks for highlighting affordable trendy clothing. It rarely makes sense to invest in trendy pieces the same way you would with something that is timeless, so it is good to see that you can still have clothing that is trendy and looks good without costing too much.

LaurenJean Rice

I'm so glad that I wasn't the only one to notice these Old Navy/J.crew comparisons!

The bottom line is that I don't normally fit into J.crew stuff (cost is a whoooooole other issue!). I tried on the Old Navy heart sweater and it fit me PERFECTLY. I was so excited! I can't wait to sweater weather to come upon us. 🙂

Have a great day!


Those Old Navy sweaters are spot on – no pun intended. I might have to look into them because they're really cute.


Absolutely! I had my eye on the Madewell oxfords, but I thought I would check out Old Navy first. Sure enough, they were $15/pop and I like the look of the Old Navy version better!

Team Jacob

Late to this post but Old Navy and Gap don't make the quality they use to. So sometimes picking are slim.
Last fall I did find a few things from both stores.
I bought the Old Navy dress in green, black dots and white hearts…love the fit

Marilu Latham

i dont have so many years living in USA, but i am curious to know, how is the quality of Old Navy's , i mean clothes…fabrics…?..

THanks 🙂