Can you remember buying your first set of nice clothes?
Maybe it was a killer pair of chinos. Maybe it was a sleek pair of shoes.
For me, I bought my first great clothing item when I was 24. I finished college while working nights in fine dining. In the restaurant industry, there’s really no point in wearing anything that costs more than $20 because it’s going to be completely wrecked no matter what you do.
So when I started teaching, I felt I was ready to step my style up a notch (little did I know then that your clothes get destroyed while teaching too (many good pants were shredded in dodgeball games).
Where did I go to get my new stylish wardrobe?
J.Crew, of course.
The brand has been helping younger gents dress better for years. After spending so much time checking out the latest brands, I felt it was time to go back to the original. And with summer in full swing, I picked up some of their lighter fabrics to finish the season in style.
What Is J.Crew?
J.Crew is all about timeless style.
You can bet that what you buy today will still be stylish in five years.
Just think about it. If you’d bought a well-fitting pair of chinos ten years ago, would they still be in style? Of course.
Founded in 1947, J.Crew is known for its bright, preppy style. While they offer the full range of neutral, classic looks, their shirts often feature fun prints that stand apart from the crowd.
Things to Consider Before Buying Summer Outfits from J.Crew
The clothing giant is a great place to start your shopping journey when looking to build your summer wardrobe. They have a massive selection of the basics, plus a huge inventory of more unique pieces.
J.Crew is also a great place to look if you’re a shorter gentleman or a huskier fella. Their range of sizes is impressive. So even if you fall outside of the average height or weight-class, you have plenty of options to choose from.
J.Crew Summer Menswear Review
J.Crew Tech Chino
I picked up a sizeable haul from J.Crew for the summer, so I’m just going to dive in with my favorite item—the Slim Fit Tech Chino.
I’ve tried a lot of technical fabric chinos over the past six months and I’ve really enjoyed learning about new brands and new types of materials. But I found myself short on that classic chino look that you can only get with cotton.
Still, I didn’t want to give up the stretch and comfort factor, so J.Crew’s Tech Chino hits a nice balance.
The last pair of pure cotton chinos I owned went in the trash can four years ago after a fateful day playing dodgeball with my students (I used to be a high school teacher). I went for a dodge and my pants exploded.
After that, I just can’t trust pure cotton chinos. The Tech Chinos have a small amount of elastane woven in, which allows me to bend with ease. It’s been years since my last dodgeball match, but I’m confident I could jump back in the ring on a moment’s notice.
I was surprised with the amount of taper and the slimness through the thigh. My past experiences with J.Crew has been that their clothes run a little large, but that wasn’t the case at all for me. It seems like they’re moving toward a more modern fit, and the Tech Chino definitely sits in the “contemporary” category.
What kind of summer doesn’t have shorts?
In North Carolina, going into summer without shorts is practically like having a death wish. Even typing this is making me sweat.
I picked up a few of J.Crew’s most popular shorts: the 6” Dock Short, and the 7” Tech Short.
The Dock Short is made with a similar fabric to the Tech Chino—98% recycled cotton and 2% elastane for added stretch and comfort. The 6” inseam might feel a bit short for you if you’re used to having your shorts fall at your knee or even just above your knee.
I have larger thighs, and the 6” inseam usually sits an inch and a half above my knee, which is perfect for my taste. J.Crew also offers longer inseams if you’re not interested in showing off that much leg.
The Dock short is the ultimate casual short, complete with an elastic waistband and drawstring. These puppies have comfort and relaxation written all over them, and that’s exactly how I’ve been wearing them.
My only gripe with these is the pockets tend to flair out a good deal which can make my waist look wider than it is.
I also picked up the slightly longer 7” Tech Short, which has the more classic “chino short” style. The big catch is that they’re made with a nylon blend instead of cotton. These are super stretchy and very comfortable.
The Seaside colorway I got is a nice pop of color for spring and summer. These shorts feature a snap-button and zip fly. I recommend sizing down if you’re in-between sizes. They have some extra stretch in the waist so you should fit into them easily.
To round out my summer wardrobe, I decided to dabble in a few Madras shirts and their garment dyed slub cotton t-shirt.
The Madras shirts are new for me, but they’re perfect for a beach day. And the t-shirt—well, if you’ve read TAM for any length of time, you know how I feel about t-shirts. They’re like apple-fritters. They may not be your favorite, but if a brand can make an exceptional t-shirt, it’s a good indicator of their quality across the board.
I picked up pink and red colorway for the Madras shirts. Each are made with very lightweight recycled cotton fabric, which does a great job wicking sweat.
The feel is similar to a lightweight oxford shirt, and again I’m impressed with the fit. I’ve found that a lot of brands leave a ton of extra room in the chest, but these fit snug.
I’ll be wearing these Madras shirts a few ways— buttoned up is the standard, but they look fantastic open with a t-shirt underneath, too. And I opted for the red colorway for one of my shirts because it’s a great year-round option. The red, hunter green, and navy combo is going to crush it at Christmas dinner.
As for the t-shirt, I’ve been on the hunt for a great white t-shirt for a while now. This garment dyed slub cotton shirt is excellent. The cotton is thick enough that you’re not accidentally showing nipple through it, which makes up about 80% of the positive review for me.
Now that I’ve tried this t-shirt, I’m heavily considering going and picking up a few of their henley’s in the same fabric.
The slub cotton has a “lived-in” look, so this still isn’t the crisp, thick white t-shirt I’m looking for. That said, it’s an excellent relaxed look, though my preference would be to get the same shirt again in a darker color where that imperfect garment-dyed look can really show off.
The fit is excellent again—so J.Crew has stepped up their cuts to suit the contemporary guy.
Sturdy fabrics in a massive array of styles, colors, and sizes. J.Crew's button downs are always a good bet, but don't sleep on the garment dyed slub cotton t-shirts either.
I also grabbed a few poolside items to keep the sun off—the Garment Dyed Baseball Cap and the Portico Sunglasses.
Having a good baseball cap is a must in my book, especially if you haven’t had a haircut in a while. You know the feeling—you woke up, you look insane, but you don’t want to shower and do your hair. Hat—boom. That’s my summer anthem.
This cap is made here at home in L.A. and though it looks worn and rugged, it’s substantial. The dome of the hat is shallower than average, so it’s not very structured up top. It’s a great option for when you just want to toss something on your head and walk out the door.
The Portico Sunglasses caught my attention, too. My baby-blues need their precious UV protection. I love how dark the lenses are, so these are excellent for those extra bright days. My only issue is with the size. I’m better with 40-50mm frames, and these are around 52mm so they fit larger on my face.
If you’ve got a self-professed big face (you said it, not me), definitely check these sunglasses out. But if you have a thinner face or regularly feel that glasses are too large for you, you’ll want to skip the Portico.
What do Other Reviewers Say About J.Crew?
Influenster gives J.Crew a 4.5-star average with over 6,000 reviews and Sitejabber rounds out to a 4 out of 5 rating with over 125 submissions. BizRateSurveys gives them an 8.9/10 with over 33,000 reviews.
People like the Crew.
Many reviews were from folks that were larger than average, shorter than average, taller than average, etc. Because the brand has such a wide variety of clothes, you’ll be able to find something that fits you, even if you haven’t had that experience elsewhere.
My Thoughts Overall On J.Crew
What I Like
J.Crew has stepped up their fits. The shirts fit snug across the chest and the chinos had a very contemporary slim fit in the thighs.
The quality of the materials is solid for the price. There’s value here (especially if you snag the clothes on sale).
You can return your online purchases in-store. With so many stores across the country, that basically makes returns hassle-free.
What I Don’t Like
The Deck shorts flared out at the pocket, which made my waist seem wider than it was.
Who is J.Crew for?
J.Crew is one of the best entry-points for guys looking to boost their fashion game. They have so many styles and fits available, you can really get lost and see what appeals to you. And now that they’ve modernized their fits more, there are plenty of flattering options that will prove to you just how important getting the right size clothes really is.
As I mentioned earlier, I first shopped with J.Crew about six years ago to outfit myself with some crisp, professional clothes. It’s been a while since I picked up a full outfit from the brand, and now that I have, I’m reminded of how much the brand can do for regular guys like us.
While I’ll probably still get statement pieces (like a leather jacket or a fitted blazer) from other brands, there’s no denying that J.Crew carries excellent quality staples like t-shirts, oxfords, and chinos.
If you can snag these items when they’re on sale, all the better.
Is J.Crew a good brand?
Yes, J.Crew makes great quality clothing and their prices are reasonable. If you’re just starting to look for clothes that fit well and flatter your body type, J.Crew is a terrific place to start. They have a massive variety and you’re bound to find something you like.
Is J.Crew Factory the same as J.Crew?
No, J.Crew Factory and J.Crew are different. J.Crew Factory is at a lower-tier than J.Crew. The construction and fabrics aren’t as premium, though the prices are often much lower, too.