Let there be color. In recent seasons, J.Crew's women's line hasn't shied away from highlighter shades, but Frank Muytjens and his team on the men's side usually go darker. Not today. After last season's ode to indigo and navy, there was teal, marigold, sea foam, and lilac on display. Muytjens explained he'd been looking at the work of Ellsworth Kelly and felt emboldened to bring blocks of color into his stuff. "I love this teal," he said, nodding at a striped sweater. "And this marigold." Will the American man, removed from fashion's whirl, dive into a mauve trouser? TBD. Trust that J.Crew will keep its old standards on offer, too. And who knows, Muytjens' enthusiasm could end up catching. An ultralight new version of the now-standard Ludlow suit came in a navy just a skosh more royal than the navy you'd expect. "It makes all the difference," he said.

Lightness softened texture as much as tone—the Ludlow also came in a Japanese chambray—but in the end tone had the biggest impact. A classic blue gingham shirt was subjected to bleaching for a mottled effect. Elsewhere, color was applied. One soul at J.Crew HQ is tasked only with hand-painting the camouflage shorts. They represented a welcome intervention of the slow and the small in the midst of J.Crew's national—and more and more, global—reach. They'll be available at the retailer's menswear-only boutiques—in limited quantities. The man has only two hands.