J.Crew Ludlow Suit Review: The Everyman Suit

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Oct 29, 2020
J.Crew Ludlow suit review

Last time you bought a suit, you picked up that bargain basement rag and tried to tailor it up. That didn’t work too well for you, did it? You still need a solid, everyday suit that doesn’t break the bank. And you’ve heard talk of the J.Crew Ludlow.

In this review, we break down whether the Ludlow suit is worth the money and how to buy one if you’re ready to go.

Not your dad's suit
The Adult Man Image/Icon Image source: J.Crew

J.Crew Ludlow Suit

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Bottom line: The J.Crew Ludlow suit fits really well right off the rack. The brand has widened the lapels for a more classic look that’s a nice departure from the super slim fit style of the early 2000s. The Ludlow is classy, solid, and a great value.

Ratings:

The Adult Man Image/Icon  Design The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Quality of Materials The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Value for Money The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Craftsmanship The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Customer Service The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon

Pros:

  • British woven wool from Abraham Moon & Sons is exquisite
  • Fits well right off the rack---no tailoring needed
  • 3” notch lapel is a classic, enduring look

Cons:

  • The Ludlow suit is a slim-fit cut suit, which might be an issue if you’re a huskier gent

Suits. They’re the last frontier in fashion for many of us. 

Maybe you’re like me. You’ve got a solid casual wardrobe going, but you’re looking to step into the suit game. Weddings, interviews, looking like a baller on Saturday nights—these are significant reasons to look into a new suit.

I have a shameful secret. 

I don’t own any good suits (to be clear, I have three suits. Men’s Wearhouse tricked me when I was a young rube. I hate them. Details to come). 

But the pull for a classic suit got too strong, and I went with a modern-day icon: The J.Crew Ludlow suit

Buying a suit online, sight-unseen was tricky—so how’d it go? Keep reading for my full review. 

J.Crew Ludlow Suit Overview

JCrew Ludlow suit brown vertical model walking with blue shirt

J.Crew released the Ludlow suit in 2008 and it took off like a rocket. For many young guys, the slim fit has enough distinction from their father’s suits, and still offers that formality needed for the office and weddings. 

The Ludlow took over New York and DC with dudes fresh out of college picking up whole closets of the sub-$1000 suit. 

And that niche is surprisingly underserved still.

In a nutshell, this is the Ludlow: a high-quality slim fit suit that’s built for the office and formal events that’s well under $1000.

J.Crew Ludlow Suit

Since 2008, the Ludlow suit from J.Crew has become a modern-day icon. The brand has kept the style updated, leaving the slim lapels in the early 00s. Now, you can expect substantial fabrics and classic fits.

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Things to Consider Before Buying An Off-the-Rack Suit

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Ok, now I’m going to dive into that tantalizing morsel about why I hate Men’s Wearhouse. 

When I was 22, I was ready to buy my first suit. I went to the “experts.” My sales guy tried to hurry me out the door as quickly as he could and outfitted me with two terrible fitting suits. 

He made this promise to me: “tailoring fixes everything. You can get everything tailored to perfection.”

Well, he was completely wrong. 

When you’re buying a suit off the rack, it should still fit well. The most critical part is getting the shoulders on your suit right. 

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I wish I still had pictures of what those first suits looked like. After I showed the Men’s Wearhouse manager what these suits were like after delivery, he gave me a refund, no further questions asked. And I never went back.

If you’re wondering how your suit should fit, this video breaks it down well:

If you’re like me and can only focus on one thing, get the shoulders right. No tailor can fix an ill-fitting shoulder. 

So when you try on the suit, it should be pretty close to done already. Maybe you want to hem the pants, maybe you want to take in the sides a little. But it should look nice and presentable without tailoring. The snips and tucks are just for getting it perfect—not merely acceptable. 

J.Crew Ludlow Suit Review

Ordering Online

JCrew Ludlow suit on model

I picked up my Ludlow suit online, which felt like risky business. J.Crew does a good job with their returns and exchanges, so I wasn’t too worried. 

But picking up the wrong size meant I’d need to drive an hour to the closest store and get the right fit there, which I’m always looking to avoid.

The Ludlow is simple, so getting the right fit isn’t too difficult. You only need to figure out one key measurement: your chest size. 

If you don’t have one already, get a tape measure. To measure your chest, wind the tape under your armpits and over your nipples. 

model walking JCrew Ludlow suit in brown english wool

My chest is 42” in circumference, so I picked up the 40R size. I always recommend choosing 2 sizes below your chest size. So if you have a 38” chest, go with a size 36; a 46” chest would wear a 44.

The more common sizes also feature a short and tall fit. For reference, I’m 6’1” and I picked up the regular. Choose tall if you’re 6’3” or above, but between 5’9” and 6’2”, you’re in the regular range. 

As for the trousers, most of us know our measurements already. The pants are hemmed already, and I found the measurements are true to size. I picked up a 34/32, which is what I wear in jeans and I’m happy with the fit. But if you’d like to add a cuff with your own tailor, you may want a longer inseam.

The Ludlow Jacket

model in brown english wool JCrew Ludlow unstructured suit

I couldn’t resist the brown English wool suit with fabric from the famed Abraham Moon & Sons fabric mill. 

As I said, I picked up the 40R which fits perfectly (6’1”, 190lbs for reference). The Ludlow suit popularized the slim lapel a decade ago, but it turns out the look was a bit of a fad. So I had a close eye on their updated lapel and I’m really pleased with the classic 3” lapel look.

closeup of lapel on JCrew Ludlow suit jacket

I chose my suit mainly because of the fabric—I love the color and wanted something a little outside the norm. 

For my purposes, it’s fantastic. It’s an unstructured suit with patch pockets, so it’s not quite formal enough if you’re in a profession that requires shoulder pads (lawyers and bankers). But even an unstructured suit flies these days if you’re an accountant or any other profession where the highest level of formality seems to be a dress shirt and fleece vest. 

The lining is simple—nothing impressive, but it gets the job done. The inner pockets aren’t too bulky, and there’s a notch if you’d like to carry a pocket watch on you (baller move). 

Ludlow suits became popular because of their slim, tailored fit off the rack. And that’s exactly what I have here. I was planning on taking this suit to a tailor (because I plan on that, always). 

JCrew Ludlow suit jacket lining detail

But I really don’t see a need to. There’s enough taper in the mid-section without being overdone, the sleeves don’t have any extra fabric, and the shoulders fit spot-on.

Jacket alterations are where you’ll drop the big money, so I’m relieved to find that I won’t need to bring this to a tailor at all. 

J.Crew Ludlow Unstructured English Wool Suit Jacket

A nice balance between casual and formal, unstructured suits allow you to keep a refined look while not being too stuffy. This jacket from J.Crew is made with excellent quality English wool from Abraham & Sons that feels great and looks rich.

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The Ludlow Trousers

JCrew Ludlow suit pants english wool brown

To complete the set, I picked up the matching English wool trousers in a size 34/32. 

I only realized after the suit arrived that a cuffed hem would look amazing, but the inseam is far too short to pull that off now. 

Still, at 6’1” and a 32” inseam, these fit really well. I was going for the “no-break” look and got exactly what I was looking for. And they’re not too short, either. 

Ludlow trousers are slim, so if you have large thighs or like a roomier fit, I recommend going a size above your normal. You can have the waist tailored back to your preferred size while keeping the extra fabric in the legs. 

JCrew Ludlow english wool pants

Both the trousers and jacket are 100% English wool—not a blend. If you’re anything like me, the Ludlow suit might be your first venture into more formal fits. As a 30-year-old, I’ve only been dressing like an adult for a few years now. We’re used to wool with some polyester woven in for stretch (and cost). 

This wool is different—it feels a little more stiff, which I actually love. The fabric is thick and substantial, so I feel like I’m wearing a solid piece of classic menswear that’ll stand the test of time. 

J.Crew Ludlow English Wool Trouser

These slim fit trousers don't fit like your dad's suit. The Ludlow English Wool pants are simple---no side tabs, no cuffs, but the fit is excellent and the fabric is top-quality.

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What do Other Reviewers Say?

The J.Crew Ludlow suit is a modern-day classic and has built a name for itself as a solid, everyday suit that’s well under $1,000. Crowdsourced reviews are scattered amongst individual fabrics and fits, but the consensus is that the quality is excellent for the price. 

Some people tapered the sleeves and pant legs more for that true slim fit, but most reviewers left the suit as is. Another promising trend was that many reviewers had three or more of these suits in their closet. 

My Thoughts Overall On the J.Crew Ludlow Suit

What I Like

  • The Abraham Moon & Sons English wool is thick, solid, and excellent. It’s hard to find this level of quality at the price. 

  • I don’t need to get this altered at all—it fits well off the rack.

  • I like the classic, enduring look of the 3” notch lapel.

What I Don’t Like

  • The Ludlow is a slim fit, which may present a problem for huskier gents. I’d also love to see a few options like tabs on the pants, but the Ludlow is all about simplicity. 

Who is the Ludlow Suit for?

The Ludlow is for the guy who wants an excellent suit at a fair price. If you don’t need something with too many unique features but just want a classic-looking piece for important meetings at the office, weddings, and other events that need a touch of formality, the Ludlow is a go-to.

The Verdict

If you work in a place where you only get taken seriously if your suit has a designer name attached to it, you may want to find something different. 

But if you’re looking for a high-quality suit at a fair price, the J.Crew Ludlow is a fantastic option. J.Crew has expanded their list of fabrics, so there are some unique looking suits to go along with more traditional looks like navy and charcoal. 

I’m loving my English wool patch pocket suit. I saved a few extra bucks expecting to take it to a tailor, but after trying it on, I think I’ll just leave it as is. That’s rare for an off-the-rack suit. 

The Ludlow is a simple suit—it’s not too flashy and doesn’t have any unnecessary embellishments. For me, that’s perfect. I can add my own style with accessories, and I can trust that the classic cut of the suit will still look just as timeless 10 years from now.

J.Crew Ludlow Suit

Since 2008, the Ludlow suit from J.Crew has become a modern-day icon. The brand has kept the style updated, leaving the slim lapels in the early 00s. Now, you can expect substantial fabrics and classic fits.

Check Best Price Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

What is the thread count of J.Crew suits?

The thread count of J.Crew suits depends on which fabric you get. The thread count isn’t always available, so check which fabrics you’re most interested in to find the specific thread count.

Where do I buy J.Crew suits?

You can buy J.Crew suits in-store or online. I bought mine entirely online and was really pleased with the process.

When do new suits come in for J.Crew?

J.Crew adds new suits to their line every season, especially in the late spring and late fall (for summer/winter).

Are J.Crew suits good?

The J.Crew Ludlow suit is a fantastic value.

Does J.Crew tailor suits?

J.Crew doesn’t offer tailoring services. Get your best size and take it to a local tailor you trust.