Growing up, I always dreamed of being as cool as the models I saw in the Free People catalog that appeared in our mailbox every season. The women were so effortlessly stylish, in that laidback bohemian-chic way that conjures up images of frolicking in the surf on the California coast or sipping tea in an indie coffee shop (which, FYI, is what most of the models were doing in said catalog).
Honestly, I would have settled for feeling as cool as the girls who shopped at Free People. I was an awkward high schooler who wore clothes my mom got on sale at JCPenney and who envied my peers who were walking the halls in breezy crocheted kimonos, intentionally distressed jeans, and $200 sundresses.
Now that I’m an adult who shops for herself, I own a few pieces from Free People—so to my younger self, I’ve officially made it. One of those pieces is the very popular (and pricey) Dolman Quilted Jacket.
Seen on celebrities like Hilary Duff, Lucy Hale, and Taylor Swift, the jacket has hundreds of rave reviews from Free People shoppers and is what I would call the coolest of the cool (the Regina George of the Plastics, if you’ve seen “Mean Girls”). Here’s what I love—and don’t love—about the Dolman jacket, and whether or not it’s worth you spending $200 of your money on.
What I like about the Free People Dolman jacket
In my experience, it can be difficult to find a spring (or fall) jacket that’s not too heavy but not too thin. So you can imagine my surprise when the Dolman jacket delivered on both counts. Made of 100 percent cotton, it’s lightweight enough that I can wear it on a sunny-but-crisp March afternoon in Maryland, where I live, yet warm enough that it keeps out the cooler air when nighttime rolls around. The quilted cotton material is very soft and begs to be curled up in—and doesn’t wrinkle if you do!
The jacket, which I bought in my usual size small, has a slouchy, oversized fit that slips easily over any outfit and somehow manages not to look frumpy—an issue I often have with “relaxed-fit” outerwear on my 5-foot-5 frame. I like that it can be worn zipped or unzipped without issue—it’s cut so that the jacket drapes over you in a comfortable and flattering way even when it’s not zipped up, rather than flapping open and losing its shape.
As someone who loves muted colors, I’m a big fan of the “pine slumber” color (a soft olive hue), which makes it look just the right amount of worn-in straight out of the package. The other color options—lavender, mint green, blush pink, burgundy, and rust—have equally vintage vibes.
What I don’t like about the Dolman jacket
For some reason, I just can’t figure out the sleeves. They arrived cuffed and, as someone who doesn’t like too-long sleeves, that’s how I attempted to wear them. But with the sleeves rolled up, they’re almost too tight on my forearms, pulling the shoulders down and making the jacket feel restrictive. Perhaps I just have unnaturally large forearms? (I do lift weights…) Regardless, this is my biggest grievance with the jacket. When the sleeves are not cuffed, they’re a little bit too long for my liking, falling well past my wrist. But at least I can move my arms freely in this scenario.
Additionally, while the cotton material is soft and cozy, it isn’t water-proof, so this jacket isn’t something you can wear in rainy weather. That isn’t a deal breaker for me, but if you’re someone who’s looking for an all-purpose spring jacket that’ll hold up to April showers, consider yourself warned.
Is the Free People Dolman jacket worth buying?
That depends on what you like in a spring jacket. If you’re looking for something fitted and sleek, this isn’t it. It comes in sizes XS to XL, and while my size small is deliberately oversized and slouchy, even sizing down is unlikely to yield that figure-hugging look. However, if you like a jacket that’s more relaxed and laidback, I give the Dolman jacket my seal of approval. It’s so comfortable that I would even wear it around the house if I wasn’t someone prone to spills (that’s not a risk I’m willing to take!) and it gives you that effortless, casual-cool look that Free People is so well known for.
At almost $200, it’s an investment, to be sure. But the jacket feels high quality and durable, so I expect it will last for many springs (and falls) to come. As I plan on wearing it for multiple seasons, I consider it my new staple of my outerwear wardrobe.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.