In 1959, Marianne and Karl Lipsky opened a small specialty store in the Berkshires and named it Jennifer House in honor of their first daughter. A few years later, the duo launched a catalog division of their business. Since they had a second daughter (named Jill) by this point, they coined the moniker J.Jill to pay homage to both of their children. DM Management (a direct mail company) bought J.Jill in 1987 and went public a few years later. Because of the brand's popularity, the parent company created two more specialty catalogs under the J.Jill umbrella.
When DM Management hit a slump in the mid '90s, it rebranded J.Jill to appeal to a slightly younger demographic, and business quickly bounced back. In 1999, the brand launched an ecommerce division--around the same time that it started opening brick-and-mortar stores. J.Jill's new retail presence was so popular that it began to eclipse the catalog business. The brand was acquired by Talbot's in 2006 and then sold to Golden Gate Partners in 2011. Most recently, it was acquired by TowerBrook Capital Partners in 2015. Today, the company is headquartered in Quincy, MA, and it operates more than 260 stores across the country.
J.Jill offers clothing in several different size categories, including misses (sizes 2-18), petites (sizes 0P-18P), women's (sizes 16W-28W) and tall (sizes 4T-18T). Styles are all designed for a perfectly proportioned fit that flatters. Knit tops include tunics, turtlenecks, crew necks, and short-, long-, and three-quarter-sleeved tees. You can also find an array of tanks and camisoles, ranging from basics for layering to more fashionable tops with embroidery and/or embellishment. Other tops include button-down shirts, blouses, henleys, kimonos, and more. Sweaters are available in styles like pullovers, cardigans, ponchos, toppers, and wraps. Outerwear options range from lighter materials like denim and linen to heavier wool and quilted jackets.
Dresses are available in styles like shirtdresses, wraps, knit dresses, maxi dresses, boatnecks, tank dresses, and more. In pants, you can find a number of different cuts and materials--including cotton, knit, denim, and corduroy. Leg shapes vary, with options like slim, straight, wide, boyfriend, cropped, and capri lengths all being popular. Leggings are also available in several different colors. Skirt lengths include maxi, midi, and mini, and J.Jill offers pencil and A-line cuts among various others. Nightshirts, pajama sets, robes, and slippers make up the brand's sleepwear collection. J.Jill also has plenty of shoes and boots, including pumps, ballet flats, slip-ons, sneakers, wedges, booties, and more.
While many manufacturers hone in on a specific size niche to target their apparel to, J.Jill tries to appeal to everyone. The brand's clothes are relatively traditional, and most options are flowing rather than being strictly form-fitted. Clothes are kept to a very high quality standard, and the brand hasn't suffered despite changing hands several times over the last decade. Prices for clothes fall into a middle ground between discount brands and luxury designers, so they will be affordable for most shoppers (especially when they go on sale). Since clothes don't give in to passing trends, most options are evergreen, making it a great brand for consignment. We give J.Jill 4 stars out of 5.