The J.Crew Menswear Prescription: Just Enough-------
For the ladies, J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons went for more, more, more—more flowers, more sequins, more fur, more jewels. But for the label’s men’s collection, Frank Muytjens and his team played it a shade more subdued. Good thinking. What’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander, after all, and the guy J.Crew is courting isn’t a fashion plate—he’s a regular guy who just happens to like to look good. There are a lot of those across the U.S., so no wonder the stuff’s been flying off the shelves.
The palette, accordingly, was restrained, a tonal mix of slate grays (“lifted from Brancusi’s sculptures,” Muytjens told Style.com), oatmeals, khakis, and army greens. Tailoring continues to be a point of focus, and the best-selling Ludlow suit showed up again this season in a variety of new iterations, among them cashmere herringbone tweed. (“Navy tweed—how come nobody thought of that before?” asked the presentation’s stylist, Jack O’Connor, who doubles as jcrew.com’s Ask Jack advice guru. Somebody has, the sticklers will say, but that’s no reason not to be glad of its reappearance.) There’s a military-inspired, guy’s-guy ease to the collection, which doesn’t move it too far forward from recent seasons past, but what worked then works now. These aren’t meant to be statement clothes—”you won’t be shot by the Sartorialist,” O’Connor promises—unless that statement is attention to detail. So the suit jackets are nipped just a bit to hug the body, the 484 jeans walk the fine line between slim and skinny (and non-selvedge pairs run under $100). Collaborations remain a strong suit: J.Crew’s down vest and coat come courtesy of Seattle’s Crescent Down Works, the mocs from the blogger-beloved Russell Moccasin Co., not merely styled into the show and the shops but for the first time designed in conjunction with Muytjens. Good business it may be—shopping guys love a heritage brand, after all—but there’s an enthusiasm behind it that’s hard to fake. “The Russell moccasins are my personal favorites; I’m wearing them now,” Muytjens said rapturously after the presentation. “They’re so amazing. We went to see the factory [in Berlin, Wisconsin] and worked with the owner—we were basically on the floor with all of those beautiful shoes…” The enthusiasm’s catching. More, more, more.