I stopped by the new J. Crew Men's Store in Soho (Below Broome on Broadway) yesterday to see what all the fuss is about and I have to say I was really excited about not only the store design, but ALL of the product. Part Liquor Store concept, part flagship store concept, it marries the hip/cool side of J. Crew with the classic American side so many men have embraced for years. As you know by now, I have always been a big fan of J. Crew for men, so it should come as no surprise when I tell you that this will become my absolute must-go-to for all of my male clients...I am just not really sure why a man needs to shop anywhere else!!!
J. Crew has mastered prep in a way that makes it so un-country club and so modern with an edge that I really think that they just have their pulse not only on what men are comfortable (from both and aesthetic and feel point-of-view) wearing, but also what guys today really desire. Men, even the most stylish just don't want to look fussy or overdone anymore...its less about designer and more about true style and value. Sure perhaps this is a sign of our recessionary times, but I think it has more to do with a real shift in the way we (men and women) think about fashion...we don't really want to be seen as the society of conspicuous consumption anymore. We want to give back, we want to share and we want to simply feel more relaxed with regards to how we live our lives...no one really cares or should care about keeping up with the Joneses!!! Its not so much about a return to minimalism as it is a departure from materialism...J. Crew taps into this more so than any other menswear brand right now and for that I give them mad props (OK I am a little Idol obsessed right now...couldn't help myself)!!!
So now on to the product...EVERY piece in the new men's store is closet worthy!!! Their washed shirt selection is beyond stellar and was one of the categories I was most enamored with. At about $60 a pop, you should own several...they can be the base of not only your work wardrobe, but also your casual wardrobe. Don't get me wrong guys who have to be super polished, I am not suggesting you forego your custom shirts, I am simply challenging you to mix it up a bit. I am also obsessed with their tie collection. From the perfect chambray to smart glen plaids and ginghams, if I were a man, I would have gobbled them all up ($50-$70)...so spring chic, I could barely contain myself.
After you have made your way through the all of the fab casual finds in the front of the store, the suit boutique in the back is a toned down habadashery of sorts and a must stop. If you are a recessionista and just can't drop $2,000 for a suit right now, the J. Crew selection is fab! From the perfect khaki cotton for about $400 (sold as separates by the way) to more serious corporate (not uptight corporate) mid-greys and spring blues for about $550, how can you go wrong? I also hovered for a bit to watch the sales guys in action and I have to say, the service was up to par with any major tailored clothing retailer. Big guys watch out...J. Crew intends to give you all a serious run for the consumer's money!!!
Of course, as you have read they also have some truly inspired vintage pieces...from the vintage watchbands (I was told they were found in Europe) to several choice vintage Rolex watches and of course the much touted vintage tie bars, this store truly has it all!!! Finally, their designer collaborations are genius...from Selima to Mackintosh, I repeat myself, why would you ever shop in another store? The way I see it guys is that you can go ahead and drop $4,000 on a couple of Italian suits or you can buy an entire beyond chic, beyond understated, beyond modern wardrobe for the same price at the new J. Crew Men's Store...you do the math!!! Now, if J. Crew could just figure out how to develop a cool chick concept, I would probably never rise from my bow at the J. Crew alter.