The impact of J.Crew on menswear is pretty undeniable as their reach is much bigger than your average start up or heritage brand. The way they can play on all levels and are working with small and large brands from the USA and overseas is very nice. While to some of us the formula is an obvious one after seeing decades of success from shops like Beams, but the fact is that the North American market is far behind and has misplaced it's values for years. What Frank Muytjens is doing isn't ground breaking, but it's interesting he notes menswear designing has to be within a certain framework. That framework is even more refined and limited within a brand like J.Crew and North America, beyond sport coats and trenches, so all things considered it is fairly impressive what they've done in the last couple of years and will continue to do. Video by Gordon Steiner
Entries in J Crew (12)
Monocle and J.Crew might seem like an unlikely pair to team up but over the last 6 months the market leaders have been cooking up some interesting projects. I know I've noticed the increased advertising presence in Monocle's last couple of issues as J.Crew have been ramping up their menswear and the latest catalog. Now online, you can view the "Men of Monocle" piece that J.Crew have put together. They have photographed the guys behind the magazine in London, styled tastefully in J.Crew's spring collection and their recent collaborations. The catalog/magazine is the first real collaboration that's now in the public eye between Monocle and J.Crew but I wouldn't be surprised to see another form of collaboration in the future, maybe a shirt, or something like that. We don't often get to see the Monocle staff in front of the lens so it's nice to put faces to pens for once. The styling itself is very comfortable and what you might expect from both brands. —
Over the last couple summers I overcame my own issues with wearing shorts and have actually started looking forward to wearing them in the coming months. I used to just prefer pants; jeans, chinos, cords - I just thought they looked and felt better at all times of the year. I've come around and now I have to say one of my favorite pairs out there is the fatigue, or camp short. This spring Engineered Garments have brought back their best knee length pants in a variety of perfect colours and fabrics. The reverse sateen, light-weight denim and chambray complete a perfect arsenal of shades to get you through the summer. The model isn't new and the chambray and reverse sateen are common materials in the EG collection, which are nice familiar faces now. I was lucky enough to recently find a pair of the chambray shorts from SS09 for $45 which is definitely an easier price to swallow. That said, J.Crew also have had a very nice version of the shorts and thanks to Mr. Pate's heads up, they were one of my favorites last summer. —
It's no surprise I'm highlighting fatigue pants here as they've been showing up on the blog regularly for months now - from both Simon and myself. I feel like they are one of the best looking casual pants I could wear. I love the obvious military reference but with no big cargo pockets, they are much easier to mix into your daily wardrobe and get lots of wear from. Whether you pair them up with moccasins, boots or white bucks - as I plan doing regularly this spring - the fatigue pant is quite diverse and is well worth having on hand. The tough part can be finding a good pair however. Although they don't show up online, J.Crew apparently have a good offering and for the price it's probably thee easiest option. I have their fatigue shorts and am a big fan of those. I personally really like the Workaday version Engineered Garments have made this fall. The sateen twill was a nice fabric choice, but I wasn't in love with it until I saw the version pictured after the link. It was put through a single wash cycle with an unknown chemical to give the cotton a little bit more of a rough feeling. They came out perfectly and you can see them in action in our latest online issue, Fall Edits. Above you can see that Daiki is truly a fan of the pant as well - these are his choice outfits to pair up with his array of army green pants. There does seem to be a similar theme on top, but you can see the aesthetic and casual nature the pants lend themselves to quite nicely. —
J. Crew have recently release their latest effort in collaboration with Red Wing Shoes. These are probably my favorite result of the American relationship and I can seem them selling very well – so don't wait if you want a pair. The use of of the waxed canvas looks really nice and feels good. It showed up in Red Wing's SS10 Lifestyle collection, but the J. Crew team actually helped re-work the cut and details of this shoe slightly. The pattern around the eyelets is a bit different to accommodate the canvas and still have the same strength. Also the suede tongue piece looks quite nice. I'm not usually one for two or three tone combinations but this is looking very tasteful and an easy wearing shoe.
This past weekend, on behalf of the Inventory team and under the guise of Tanner Goods, I took my seminal trip to the North East to check out the Pop Up Flea. —Michael Anderson Curated by Michael Williams of A Continuous Lean and Randy Goldberg of Urban Daddy, the show’s theme, “Stay Handsome”, proved to be a more than adequate description of the finely crafted goods available. A valiant chorus of “pop-up” retail endeavors have sprouted up all over New York, setting the scene for the impending holiday retail shopping rush. The PUF was a unique experience all in its own: fresh and exciting in every way. Each member of the PUF roster set out to deliver a beautiful selection of carefully merchandised goods just waiting to be snatched up by adoring fans. The roster included: Gitman Vintage, Hickoree’s Hard Goods, Billykirk, J.Crew, Jack Spade, Alexander West, Farinelli’s, Epaulet, Alexander Olch, Ohio Knitting Mills, Tanner Goods, Tellason, Michael Andrews Bespoke, C’H'C’M, Schott NYC, Sit and Read Furniture, No Mas, Digby & Iona and Amass. The environment at the PUF was admittedly the most impressive aspect of the weekend. Walking around, seeing all those brands and stores in one place, being able to walk up and ask them any question under the sun was, simply put, awe inspiring. I’m so used to looking at items on the Internet. Being given the opportunity to witness the story and meet the people behind the labels really left a memorable mark on my journey out east. Speaking to each of the vendors, I was able to gather a greater understanding of their product, aesthetics and the importance of their branding. It is one thing to look at something on the Internet and decide whether or not it is cool. It is a completely different experience to see the items in person and realize what makes them all so special. I am certain this aspect of the show was something that everyone, from the organizers and brands involved to the public consumer who stopped through, whole-heartedly enjoyed. I know it because the look on their faces, each and every time, said it all. While every vendor at the show had a plethora of impressive items for sale, a select few really stuck out to me. Fortunately, many of them can be found online and in-store so if you missed out you just might be able to get your hands on a thing or two in time for the holidays. C’H’C’M was one of the shops that impressed me the most with its unique and finely curated selection of manufactured goods. Sweetu Patel, the proprietor said it best. “We are obsessed with classic, timeless garments for everyday use.“ Items like their Diemme 'Roccia Vet' Boots. Mountain Boots with a “Date” colored suede upper, yellow laces and a clean-cut crepe sole left me lusting for them the entire trip home. Their selection of Macintosh jackets and other treasures such as this Borsalino 'Legionnaire' Hat (80% Wool, 15% Alpaca & 5% Mohair) were also among my favorites. For those of you looking for the very finest in antique knick-knacks, authentic vintage jackets and delectable pickled items could find everything to love at the Hickoree’s Hard Goods booth. By far, the most interesting items they had were the two pairs of 1950’s Red Wing Irish Setter sport boots—one pair on foot and the other still available online (someone with a size 12D is in luck). Considering their age, the box these things come in is still in immaculate condition. J. Crew was on hand selling a splendid selection of co-branded products and boots, along with a few of the more appropriate items from their lineup (Think the Men’s Store on Broadway) The amazing Russell Mocs they had were just plain too nice. I really need to get around to getting a pair of these made up sooner or later. I was blown away by the quality of the goods and the merchandising that J. Crew has had to offer as of late and it really showed at the Flea. While the fit on some of their items may arguably leave a lot to be desired…it’s hard not to recognize how much they have going on right now. Overall, it was the small details that made the PUF experience everything it was. The northeastern fellas at Rogues Gallery were on hand creating amazing screen-printed shirts along with some well-constructed bags, pillows and accessories. The Alexander Olch booth had an old-school typewriter set up to complete the look along with their fine ties, suspenders and bow ties. A few of which you can still snatch up in the Inventory Stockroom. (and yes, they were actually using the typewriter…) Tony from Tellason produced a superb batch of his premium “Strummer” jeans for the show in 3 different batches of Japanese denim, hand numbered out of 38. His extensive knowledge about every single step of production and the industry as a whole was quite impressive and anyone within earshot probably learned a lot. Luckily you can snag a pair at Smith + Buttler and Blackbird. Gitman Bros. also had a stellar selection of their Vintage line of shirts on hand. Always-impressive work. Last but not least was the man behind the ACL curtain, Michael Williams. He was on deck showcasing a bountiful production run of some ACL branded and co-branded items for his newly launched ACL shop. The Mark Mcnairy “dirty” bucks with a red brick sole and Goodyear welt construction were way too appealing. Check them out along with a few of his other products over on his site under “ACL shop” I can’t wait for the next round.
J. Crew is always good for affordable accessories come fall. While some of the cuts in pants and shirting never seems to work out, you can't go wrong with a knit cap, wool socks and a plaid scarf. Each item could easily be considered an essential for the season and would look great with a number of items in our closet. I'm not usually one for a messenger bag, but the "Original" Postal bag is always worth a drool each season. I particularly like the grey and red pattern in the scarf and haven't seen one so nice anywhere else this fall.
J. Crew's fall items are spilling into their shops and online store pretty steadily now. There are a good number of items that are easy to wear and would easily be in daily rotation. My selections from the brand are still fairly particular, but when they get it right it's hard to say no. The price is often quite good compared to our favorite brands, but that is reflected in the design and quality more often than not. However, the fit is getting better and the details seem to improve each season. This fall you'd have a hard time finding a better corduroy sport coat for anywhere near this price. With a slim cut, great pocketing, suede elbow patches, double back vent and a soft corduroy, it's a true fall sport coat. I would need to try it on before committing but all signs are looking good with this one.