Pricing note: At post time the Sussex is 35% off. That sale price runs through Saturday, so you’ve got to think there’s something else on the way for Cyber Monday.
About the Author: Ryan N. is a fully remote professional web developer who keeps a close shave as to not be confused with his strongly-bearded twin brother. He plays guitar and drums, loves going to concerts with his wife, and loves being a dad.
Kenton boots. Ludlow blazers and suits. Their slub tees and polos. While J. Crew will experiment each season with trendier and sometimes strange choices, there are still certain items like boots, suits, and blazers that have remained a foundation of their product catalog through all of their ups and downs. And the Sussex Quilted Jacket (and vest) is one of those bedrock items.
The Sussex (or something highly similar) is what many will picture when they think of a heritage quilted jacket. Both field or flight inspired. It’s NOT some shiny, life-jacket-with-sleeves puffer. It’s more timeless. Diagonal quilting, standup collar, slash front pockets and zipper chest pocket, thoughtful accents and considerations, and available in “highland navy” or the “dark moss” green seen in this post.
Comfortable both unzipped, and fully fastened.
Ryan N is 5’9″ and 160 lbs, wearing a size XS.
Let’s start with the workmanship. It’s a beautiful jacket, and it’s hard to find anywhere that J.Crew cut corners in terms of fit and finish (although we’ll get to a construction oddity later in the post). The moss green is subtle — neutral even — but minimally saturated, far less so than on the website, where it appears closer to olive. Many quilted jackets look flat up close, but there’s a bit of a twill texture to the 64% cotton / 36% recycled nylon shell, which not only helps with visual interest, but also keeps it matte.
Truly matte outer shell, and contrasting corduroy collar details.
The fill is 100% Primaloft (polyester), but you’d never know it from the site description, because.. they don’t mention that it’s insulated at all. The “Primaloft” moniker is also absent from the materials tag, nor is it found anywhere else on the jacket. I literally found the tags in the pocket while shooting pictures. It’s not the first time J. Crew’s product descriptions have missed something (or been just flat out wrong), and it probably won’t be the last. At least in this case, it’s a nice win for the buyer/wearer.
Snap closures on the rear panel of the jacket really enhance the mobility.
Sizing-wise, it may run a little generous for some. I tried both my usual S as well as an XS, and I felt like my 5’9″/160lb frame was swimming in the S. That said, the XS is on the trim side, but I prefer that in my jackets. If you prefer a roomier fit and/or may wear bulkier layers underneath, take your normal size. For the slim-cut crowd, try a size down. Whatever size you choose, there are snaps on the rear panel that allow for unrestricted movement. Nice choice by the designers there.
Beautiful duckcloth-esque liner, comfortable and cozy.. with a caveat.
The liner is both a huge positive and a huge negative. Substantial and cozy, the liner feels almost like duckcloth, with nods to workwear. (Not sure how J.Crew describes this as a “lightweight layer you’ll wear pretty much all year” when it’s clearly a three-season piece) 100% cotton, it feels utilitarian, and kinda makes you feel like trekking out into the wilderness with just a hatchet. There’s also some nice contrast piping where seams meet, but.. there’s one big negative.
Sleeve hole seams are unfinished rather than piped.
Not only less comfortable, but potentially could be subject to more wear and tear?
There is no piping around the sleeve holes, nor down the sleeve liners. It’s literally the one place with wide open, unfinished seams. This makes no sense to me, and is this close to keeping me from recommending it entirely. It grabs a bit at your top layer (but again, I prefer my jackets slimmer fitting), making the process of taking it off and putting it on potentially more of a chore than joy.
It’s really frustrating given the bountiful plusses of this jacket. I even reached out to J.Crew customer service who confirmed it was made that way and not a defect. While not a complete dealbreaker, it’s still disappointing. Some cleaner feeling/looking seams at the arm holes would’ve really elevated this jacket.
More corduroy details on the sleeve hems and pocket entryways, making for smooth transitions.
The rest of the jacket is truly thoughtful and streamlined. Corduroy collar, pocket and sleeve hem accents are not just sharp, but comfortable, keeping your neck comfy and making pocket access smooth. Two grommets on each underarm allow for breathability. The chest pocket is plenty roomy, as are the slash pockets, and all are lined with the same duckcloth-like fabric of the inner liner.
Button closure on the interior pocket. Probably could have been just a patch pocket.
The “interior compartment,” as J.Crew calls it, is a 5-inch square pocket on the bottom of the inside. There’s a button closure here, but it feels awkward/like an afterthought. Probably could have just made it a standard patch pocket and left it at that.
All in all, this feels like a high quality jacket with a super-accessible price point when on sale. Not perfect, but if you can roll with the aforementioned minor complaints, it’s great. It seems like it’ll truly stand up to the elements, keep you warm, and not hold you back.