I'm paying for my bridesmaids' dresses as well. I ended up ordering from David's Bridal for $80 each. They were originally over $110 each. The one I picked had a belt which we are taking off and I'm making a sash for each girl.
David's Bridal is a good cheap option, however, I recommend steering clear of the polyester numbers - they look good on very few people - also a word of advice don't get your tailoring done there - they do a good job but it's pricey and takes forever.
For the other dress - I feel like you would have to see the jersey in person before deciding - some jerseys have a little sheen which would make it look dressier - while others look matte and more casual - with any silk, satin, or jersey, I would definitely recommend a foundation garment.
FYI- if you know for sure the size, style, and color of the J.Crew dresses you need, you can find tons on ebay. I've tried on dresses at a J.Crew store just to be sure of size and fit, and then bought off ebay.
Also- you just missed an additional 30% off sale at J.Crew so if you have the luxury of time, I'd wait because they have them fairly often. HTH!
Just my 2 cents on JCrew bridesmaids dresses. My sister had decided on these dresses for her wedding-she picked them out MONTHS ago. We went to the store (called ahead), made sure they had the ones she wanted, in the colors, etc. The sales associates were awful. I have never shopped there before, so maybe the SA's are all like that- but come on, it's not Barney's. They had no reason to be so snooty and rude. Had no interest in putting my sister and the us 3 bridesmaids in a dressing room. My sister politely asked if we could use the men's one (totally empty). They unhappily agreed.
The dresses were awful. They were cheap looking, horrid fabric, unflattering. It's not like us girls were out of the ordinary- sizes 6, 8, and 10 respectively. No one looked good. They bagged in weird places, the pleating was odd, fabric bunched here and there. They were very overpriced for what they were. I think because they are in the "bridesmaid" category JCrew tacks on $100 to the price. If these dresses were part of their normal spring line, they probably would have run $120, not over $200-250.
I have actually been meaning to write a letter to the JCrew Corporate office-moreso because of the horrible way my poor sister (the bride!) was treated while we were their. (This all took place about a month ago)
Needless to say, I pulled my sis aside afterwards- after keeping my opinions to myself at the time of the original fitting- and told her what I thought. She agreed that the dresses were a let-down but was at a loss as to where to find any others since we needed navy blue. I then found absolutely adorable dresses at Ralph Lauren. They fit perfectly- flattering, well-made, CHEAPER! and the other girls love them. She is thrilled that she never went through and placed the order with JCrew. Wedding is in August!
RL has a friends and family sale coming up on Tuesday I think? do your research!