SHOP NOWBlazer by J.CrewSHOP NOWTie by J.CrewSHOP NOWJeans by J.Crew
SHOP NOWJeans by J.CrewSHOP NOWTrench by J.Crew
SHOP NOWT-Shirt by J.CrewSHOP NOWSweater by J.Crew
SHOP NOWBlazer by J.CrewSHOP NOWShirt by J.CrewSHOP NOWTrousers by J.Crew
SHOP NOWHoodie by J.Crew
SHOP NOWTie by J.CrewSHOP NOWShirt by J.CrewSHOP NOWCardigan by J.Crew
Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher
Should you hear a man ask why it's so hard to find good honest basics - clothes that stand between the mass-market's "will-this-do?" approach to quality and the de trop detailing of the luxury brands - it's probably safe to deduce that he hasn't heard of J.Crew. This ignorance is forgivable, however, as the brand has, until now, been unavailable to swathes of the world's men. It was created in 1983 and Dutchman Mr Muytjens has provided the creative leadership as head of men's design since 2008. The cause of J.Crew's current success is to realise that men in need of "ordinary" clothes still want them to look really good. A white oxford shirt may be a wardrobe stalwart, but that's all the more reason to expect one that fits well, and feels good.
In Mr Muytjens' words, "It's about looking at classic American menswear from the past and updating it for the present by playing with proportion, fit, fabrics and colours. We love the functional details and authenticity of military surplus and workwear from the Forties and Fifties, and the elegantly-tailored suits worn by JFK and the leading men in movies like North By Northwest, Blow-Up and Novecento. These are the kind of influences that inform our collection." The collection is broad and deep, ranging from bow ties to boxer shorts and suits to watches. It is a brand of which one can truly say, "How did I live without this?"
Discover what works for you and build on that foundation - if you are comfortable in your clothes, you will feel more confident. (And good posture helps as well. Listen to your mom and straighten those shoulders!) It's better to be understated than overstated - you should always prioritise classic over trendy.
Dress appropriately for your age: there comes a time when it's best to retire the ostentatious graphic tees and badly-washed jeans and stick to classics.
Try to add personal touches to your look, like rolling up the cuffs of your chinos or jeans and going sockless every now and then (tanned ankles never hurt). Pair your most broken-in jeans with wingtips or your nicest suit with a chambray work shirt, then take it one step further and throw some vintage pieces into the mix. Wear an old, broken-in leather belt with your suit or a vintage-distressed jean jacket under a clean-cut sport coat. It's all about taking what you have in your closet and mixing it in an unexpected way to make it modern.
Flip-flops are for the beach, not the office.
Invest in key pieces. Everyone needs a great-fitting navy or charcoal suit, a pair of classic brown dress shoes and a good grown-up watch (it might set you back a bit, but you'll have it forever). A two-button suit jacket is classic and versatile - it works as well with jeans as it does with suit trousers. Have a tailor make any necessary adjustments, but remember there's only so much a tailor can do to a suit: if you are looking to bring in the shoulders, it's likely the jacket is just too big. If you find a fit you love, stick to it.
I think there's something touching about items being passed down from generation to generation - they're completely authentic and tell a great story. I wish that I could step back in time and tell my dad to hold on to his watch, not to throw out that lamb's wool sweater with the hole in the elbow, and to save those perfectly worn-in 501s for me.
Don't be afraid of colour. If you aren't a guy who embraces the whole colour spectrum, it's nice to sneak in a pop of colour; red socks with a suit, a colourful scarf in the winter. Small touches go a long way.
Imperfection is good. I love to pair a crisp suit and tie with a rumpled shirt straight out of the dryer, or to wear frayed chinos with a navy blazer. Not everything needs to be ironed.
Go easy on the cologne: I once shook a man's hand and I smelled his cologne on me for the rest of the day. Remember how you felt when you couldn't get out of that perfumed bear-hug your aunt gave you when you were a kid? One or two sprays are enough.
When it comes to jeans, buy raw denim. Personally, I like to wear them and break them in myself - it means they tell a story and you actually earn the finish. A lot of guys will often buy jeans that are way too wide. A slimmer fit is more modern and looks great; as long as you don't take things too far slim jeans will make you look leaner.