J Crew Men's Shop: An Image of American lifestyle

Sitting on the corner of Madison Avenue and 79th Street is building landmarked by pale stone bricks and navy awnings covering its two entrances. In white lettering it reads “ J. Crew Men’s Shop.” The brand itself needs no further introduction, for its clothing has matched American sportswear to British bespoke, and as a result a lesson in style was born.

Despite this popular appeal, enter the brand’s Upper East Side estate and discover a laundry list of hidden secrets. Among the best unkempt is the history of its building. Its former inhabitants was newspaper and magazine shop the Universal News. Today, J. Crew’s uptown Men’s Shop hosts a whole new world of products to offer the fashion-conscious, modern man.

Average price: Prices under $100 are unlikely. Button downs range on an average $150 dollar. Leading at the highest dollar is a Thomas Mason Tuxedo Shirt, $168, and at its lowest, a Crosby Shirt at $98. A casual pant, offered in a variety of fits and design averages at $75.00 while a dress pant, including suit trousers and their popular Bowery slim pant styles averages at $280 price point.

Blazer cost a par of $300. The retail price increases as the twill combination — take for instance an Italian wool, or cashmere style— becomes richer in sophistication and extravagance. Shoes are another investment. Without considering the New Balance and Vans the J. Crew consistently carries, the leather dress shoes and boot collections cost an average of $300. However, know that when you put down this penny it will be sure money well spent.

Ludlow suit jacket in glen plaid American wool.

Ludlow suit jacket in glen plaid American wool.

The Good: J. Crew’s Alden collection is a character of the New York brand’s classic aesthetic. Alden, a New-England brand that celebrates shoe-making since 1884. Not only is this craftsmanship a trade, but its use of Horween leather — Horween No. 8, also speaks to its durability. Horween shares an American heritage, opening its Chicago tannery in 1905, its popularity rests in smooth yet undeniably durable leather. A price estimate for this collection would range between $553-$718 depending on its material type.

The Ludlow suit is also specialty product of the brand. Sharing the name with a downtown street in New York, the Ludlow suit is regarded as J. Crew’s finest suit. Qualities that make this suit jacket a game changer include its lapel design, collar and sleeve setting. Its 2.5inch wide, pad-stitched lapel offers twenty plus rows of stitching speaks to its quality, as while the hand-draped collar represents its excellent design. The sleeve setting is a revolutionary attribute that requires computer technique to achieve its excellent placement. The suit pant shows a simpler characteristics: its Bemberg lining smooths out the pant even and added fabric supports is tailoring.  

Thomas Mason Tuxedo Shirt; Alden cap-toe cordovan boots.

Thomas Mason Tuxedo Shirt; Alden cap-toe cordovan boots.

The Bad: Exploring the store and all its treasures, its difficult to image finding anything below excellent quality. Focus more on the leather shoes, rather than leather accessories, belt did not seem to be treated with the same standard, as were feelings mutual for the canvas bags, $118. Rather, shop this J. Crew Men’s Shop for simple updates to the wardrobe. They will make comebacks to your everyday style season after season.

Average rating: 4 cufflinks: The store’s Je Ne Sais Quoi manifests itself through the floor space of this two story shop. Could it be the feelings summoned by the space? The wooden display tables and rustic ceiling panels that depict a grandfather’s dean. The space is quite heartwarming. There is a vintage vibe that brands all of the above: the merchandising of trousers alongside koozies and bottle openers, and art books, apparel style with accessories in the achievement of creating outfits and staff members who embody the dapper casual Friday’s look. These elements sustain J. Crew as a trail blazing lifestyle brand in the industry.

The only setback that keeps the store from standing as a perfect 5 cufflinks was the store’s customer engagement.  The staff was friendly, yet reserved, and there is nothing reserved about this clothing. It is sharp in silhouettes, quality of material and most concerning to customer’s interest: style.