J. Crew Gets A Little Ivy

J. Crew’s Fall Lookbook is out.  Here are some photos.  It is the premier collection for men’s creative director Brendon Babenzien there, and while it isn’t at all pure Ivy, there are enough influences to tell you which way young designers are leaning.  That’s good news.


Jacket looks good, sweater dips a little too much at the neckline but I would imagine they are doing that to show you the shirt, which also looks good. Nice, Mr. B.


Don’t be fooled, that’s not herringbone. In fact, I don’t know what it is but I remember being bored in 4th grade science and sketching that pattern out in a composition notebook.



Definite Ivy connotations, right? I don’t love vertical stripes on a rugby shirt (you are always gonna remind me of a referee) but the New Balance and the oar are cool.


The old camera trick. Not the trick, the camera. That’s old. We see where this is going. And I love that roll collar (is that what it’s called?) – I still hae one from the 80’s. As I say, moving in the right direction.


That’s a wall with Ivy on it. See what I did there?


They are doing a collaboration with Alden.  There’s bucket hats and tweed in abundance.  Sign of the times.



15 Comments on "J. Crew Gets A Little Ivy"

  1. John, I appreciate your post on J. Crew.

    Back in the 90s, I had a J. Crew rollneck sweater. J. Crew called it a “po’ boy” collar.

  2. Charlottesville | July 27, 2022 at 9:46 am |

    Bravo! The styling may not be for me (that’s what J. Press is for), but things appear to be moving in the right direction, and Mr. Babenzien has managed to avoid the overdone clichés of Vineyard-Vines-style “Prep.” The sport coat at the top is Harris Tweed, the sweater, although not real Shetland, is brushed wool and the copy expressly notes that it is “a staple of Ivy style.” There is also a paisley tie in the collection that at least pays homage to ancient madder, even if it is wool rather than silk. And the models are cleanshaven and have normal haircuts, so I will overlook the Dickie Greenleaf pout in the first photo above, which is probably not the poor kid’s fault anyway. Perhaps he just saw Tom Rilpey coming at him swinging an oar.

    These items are so vastly preferable to the usual mall store offerings, that I will try to refrain from any more purist cavils. I hope it is a big hit and influences other retailers. Perhaps, like Polo in the 80s, J. Crew can be a gateway drug to true Ivy style.

  3. I didn’t attend R r W, so I’m not sure if it’s appropriate for me to wear that sweater or cap?

    Just kidding! I suspect I would like the individual pieces for the top picture (as you pointed out, it is likely styled to display the goods), I love the lakeside look of the woman in the second picture. Overall hopeful for the brand, but I had high hopes for Mr Bastian over at BB as well, and I’m still very nervous about that.

  4. The Amazing Tom | July 27, 2022 at 11:11 am |

    Great post as always. Nice looking sport coats. I was in a J Crew with my wife a few months ago. The only thing that would fit me are ties.
    My assistant will take the afternoon off when J Crew has a sale.

  5. Hardbopper | July 27, 2022 at 11:20 am |

    I’m with C’ville as usual. Tweed over a sweater is a fall must, given that the coat is roomy enough.

    Several years back J Crew sold an Alden LWB with a Commando sole. That would do just fine.

    Lead the way home, JC. Step it up just a notch every season for the next several years and good style will be in style again.

  6. Hardbopper | July 27, 2022 at 11:37 am |

    BTW, the sleeve-head on the tweed sport coat, I believe is a shirt sleeve or a bald sleeve head? Not really sure. I would prefer to see that shoulder dropped a 1/4 inch. The armscye would still be too high and tight for me, but I understand JC is a younger man’s brand.

    Train them up in the way they should go.

  7. J. Crew sure was lost in a sea of private equity blandness there for a while. It’s really nice to see the company getting back to its best self. Mr. Babenzien has picked up the baton the company fumbled when they canned Muytjens. Speaking of, @Nick, Bastian and Brooks also just posted their F/W 2022 lookbook and, while it’s skewing young with the fits, a lot of it looks pretty encouraging to me.

    • I’m glad to hear it! I haven’t had a chance to check out the lookbook yet, but I will. And as part of the tiny Gen X demographic, I understand when brands focus on larger, younger audiences, but I find it more difficult than I would like to find clothes/brands I’m excited about.

      • As a so-called “x-ennial” I can at least partially relate — I’m definitely past the age that most brands are catering to, and the slim-fit thing is oh so tired. I enjoy the hunt, though. It’s fun to pick and choose the good stuff from these young’un-skewed brands and the traditional makers alike.

  8. Robert Archambeau | July 27, 2022 at 1:13 pm |

    Mr. Babenzien from… Supreme? Supreme was never remotely my thing, but when I saw people wearing it around campus I always thought it was done with an eye for detail. Glad to see Babenzien respecting the J. Crew prep/ivy legacy while also working some changes. That “not herringbone” pattern is an interesting example of innovation that references tradition. About the only thing I find off putting are the large letters, but that may just be me. I’ve never been keen on legible clothing, unless it’s worn at the actual venue of a sport one is playing or while rooting for one’s team. (I have plenty of fall weather gear for my old school, Notre Dame, so if J. Crew put that roll neck sweater out with an N.D., I’d be all in).

  9. Laura Arnold | July 27, 2022 at 3:09 pm |

    To be honest none of this is too surprising to me knowing Noah and Brendon’s previous work. I (and many friends) have been looking forward to this lookbook for a while now and it’s just as cool as expected. Ivy influence has been scattered all over popular brands (like ALD) for a while so this isn’t really new but is still very much appreciated. I’ll definitely be picking a few things up when everything is released.

    • When one of the best-dressed readers of this site comments favorably, make no mistake: J. Crew done good.

  10. J. Crew styling has always been tasteful. Something I can’t say of BB (or J. Press, to be honest). J. Press clothes look much better in person than they do on their website or in their catalogs. Same is true of BB. Somehow, everything on BB website looks cheap. However, in person it actually isn’t bad at all. Just went to one of their NYC stores a few days ago and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the jackets. All half lined or unlined, with very soft shoulders. Wonderful fabrics.
    J Crew is almost the opposite — great catalog, often mediocre quality when you see the offerings in person. That being said, I’m glad they’re doing a collaboration with Alden again. Good for them, good for Alden. Brooks Brothers should observe and learn.

    P.S. What in the world is “pure Ivy”? The so-called “heyday” (so-called only on this blog and nowhere else in the world), that lasted for around 10 years? I wonder if there’s a single real Ivy League graduate who’s actually heard or used such a term…

  11. @Charlottesville: the Talented Mr. Ripley references were great; thanks for the chuckle.

    The sport coat in the first pic is really beautiful; and I’d be very curious to see the one from the second pic up-close, or more fully, because if it’s a traditional fit and cut, I think that crazy tweed pattern is actually fun & quirky, but totally wear-able.

    I went to the site to view the “look book”, and it had some nice things. Although (and certainly as a function of my age), I did some serious eye-rolling when the copy described the company as a “heritage” brand.

  12. John Brewer | July 29, 2022 at 11:22 am |

    For further reading on this subject, Esquire UK has an article at their website highlighting the new direction at JCrew. Ironically, they article questions if this is “Big Prep’s last Stand.”

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