J Crew’s November Collection – Momentum

That’s Yale in the fall.

The Amazing Tom sent me an article from the NY Times (PAYWALL I THINK) about J Crew and Brendon Babenzien. The article isn’t all that remarkable, but, to borrow from Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, “However, the directive having come from the Commander, I gave it its due attention.”

But I did notice this:


That is, for those of us who long for a return, a young man, socializing in a necktie. More importantly, it is an image of a young man socializing in a necktie that a company, a large company with resources, is using to sell things.  Are we at the point where young men in neckties sell things?


We’ve already shown some of Babenzien’s work here, and I am happy to announce that he is continuing the direction with the November Collection, featured on their site.

Is it stuff I would wear, probably not, but I am not who they are aiming at.  The return to an iteration of trad has been in the works for a while, and Babenzien is doing it as well as anyone.  If you are a younger reader here, you could do worse than to take a look.


That’s the home page, with a video loop of a sportcoat riding a bike.


Another young man in a tie.


Making sure I have this right, but I think I see two young men in the autumn with NO wool cap, NO puffy jacket, a button down and a tie and what LOOKS LIKE SOME VERY IVY loafers with white socks.



And finally, a suit, they are selling suits. Albeit corduroy. Still, a suit.


Good news as the leaves are falling.  Richard Press on my show next week and a review of Threading The Needle II.



25 Comments on "J Crew’s November Collection – Momentum"

  1. Podcast question: Will it be a separate show available on say Apple or Spotify?

    • John Burton | October 28, 2022 at 6:13 pm |

      Still working that out. Am thinking that it would be better for our advertisers on the site if it were available broadly, which was the initial intent anyway, but also better for the sponsors of the podcast, Duck Head and Andover and St. John, if it got a wider audience. What do you think?

      • I think so. If it is on a podcast platform like Apple and Spotify it makes listening/sharing much easier. Similarly for sponsors, more ears = more dollars.

  2. Charlottesville | October 28, 2022 at 11:46 am |

    As you say, JB, this is a solid step in the right direction. Hopefully it will encourage young men to develop an interest in dressing up, which in turn may be a gateway drug to the real thing. From J. Crew to J. Press? We can certainly hope.

    • John Burton | October 28, 2022 at 6:15 pm |

      Yes, Crew to Press in the same generation.

    • I can personally attest to the existence of a J. Crew to J. Press pipeline.
      As far as basics go, they do a great job. Sure, the collar points are a little short and the pant rises a little low, but they hold high quality standards for the price.

  3. J. Crew is trying but that corduroy suit jacket looks like something from Thom Browne.

    Only women wear such a short jacket.

  4. Speaking of companies that went bankrupt a couple of years ago, I think Brooks Brothers merits reconsideration. With Bastian at the design helm they are slowly (painfully so) beginning to right the ship. Among the much maligned swings-and-misses are some real hits. …Of course, they’re not as good as they were, but I have a feeling they’re also not as good as they will be.

  5. Faded denim with grey tweed is an early 70s, San Francisco look. It works with loafers well enough, although I would go with navy blue socks. But, whatever. There is no way I’d be able to get my feet through those stove pipes. The navy sport coat looks to be about right. There is a cashmere sweater-blazer pictured with some comfortable cut chinos. Interesting.

  6. I dig a lot of J Crew’s stuff this fall. They’re like a more modern, risk-taking take on Ivy/trad. Press and Brooks for the staples, Crew for the fun pops of color and tailoring. I’m here for this!

  7. Like so many “preppy” and fashion brands, the shirt collars need to be longer with more roll like JPress and O’Connell’s.

    Re Mitchell re the cord suit, the jacket does not as short Them Brown but should be a bit longer. A lot of fashion brands sell jackets of that length. A straighter, sack cut would have looked much better on that model. The choice of shirt was dreadful. It’s great to see a Paisley tie but it was the wrong choice for that suit. I agree that J Crew has tried hard but failed badly on the details and styling. The brand needs better designers and stylists.

  8. NYT is saying these looks are “just in time for the ‘grandpacore’ trend.” Not sure how I feel about that!

    • “Grandpacore”, “geezer style”. How insulting!

      I’m 50 years old and I look up to the older generation.

      I was raised by relatives and neighbors who lived through the Great Depression.

      They taught me:

      1. Always say “please” and “thank you”.
      2. Share whatever you can with the less fortunate.
      3. Save you best shoes and clothes for church on Sunday. For men that meant a tie and dress shirt.

    • [Sigh…] Must every trend now have “-core” as a suffix? I don’t get it.

      Twentysome-odd years ago or so, friends and I devised a people-watching game called “Indie Rocker Or Old Man.” Horn-rimmed eyeglasses, fuzzy cardigans, and polyester trousers were most often the sartorial signposts, which basically meant we had to gauge the wearer’s age. This was …not a terribly difficult game.

  9. Bill Stephenson | October 29, 2022 at 7:10 pm |

    As Mitchell pointed out, at some point customers will wake up to the fact that Jacket lengths like the cord look absurd. The only thing that I can figure out is that it is a marketing scheme to sell proper length jackets when customers realize that they look ridiculous.

  10. Noddy Ninety | October 29, 2022 at 8:39 pm |

    I liked the looks of Babenzien’s new fall collection so much, I went down to the new men’s shop at 316 Bowery to check it out. Nice folks working there. Comfy couch. Good coffee. Reading nook. Record player.


    The Giant chinos are mostly worthy of the hype. Back pleat (?) is kinda weird, but the fabric is substantial and they’re designed to be DIY cuffed in a charming way (unless your inseam is over 32″).

    The poplin and broken-in oxfords are better than they look online. Collars are a little longer than they’ve been lately. Still short, but I got the plaid ones so I won’t have to wear ’em with ties.

    The Kenmare suit is a massive upgrade over the Ludlow. Much more classic. Coat has no darts and natural shoulders. Yes, it’s short. But the pants have a longish front rise. See the picture above.

    J Crew to J Press is the move for some folks, but I’m going in the opposite direction.

    • A well-rounded Ivy-ish wardrobe involves a lot of Js: Press, Crew, Simon, and Peterman. Am I missing any? There’s J. Jill, but I don’t think they have much womenswear Ivy going on.

      Anyway, I miss living in the city and being able to go to specialty flagships like that. Thanks for the details! A review of the store might make a good full article here.

    • Noddy Ninety | October 30, 2022 at 5:22 pm |

      Like Jason Locke, who commented below, I grew up wearing J Crew, so my nostalgia is contributing to my return to the brand. I remember looking forward to getting J Crew catalogs in the mail. The pictures were clever, sometimes downright funny, and otherwise appealing in a wholesome, unpretentious way. In its ads and catalogs, J Crew never took itself too seriously. I’ll bet this was a conscious decision to distinguish itself from Ralph Lauren. The Ralph Lauren guy was Jay Gatsby. The J Crew guy was Holden Caulfield.

      If you fondly remember those great old J Crew catalogs, check out @lostjcrew.

  11. Jason Locke | October 30, 2022 at 9:51 am |

    I came of age wearing J Crew in the late 80s / early 90s. The catalogs were filled with page after page of Ivy style and the quality was excellent. I bought all my ties and jackets from J Crew. I also still have a classic J Crew winter jacket from 1990 — replaced the zipper years ago, but still functional for winter walks. I recently bought some of the Thomas Mason® for J.Crew washed poplin shirts. They are terrific. Looking forward to seeing what’s next with J Crew.

  12. Robert Archambeau | October 30, 2022 at 10:47 am |

    I, too, find the jacket a bit on the short side, but still within my personal operating parameters. In general, I’m enthusiastic about the Kenmare as a weekday workhorse for my academic job—enthusiastic enough to have ordered one about ten minutes after reading about it here. (JB can take that quote to J. Crew when he’s looking for advertisers!).

  13. Trying the same thing over and over expecting different results! Won’t happen. The old J Crew and Brooks Brothers are history.
    In actuality J Press is the only devoted retailer left.
    My opinion only!

  14. “Grandpacore.” Fogey.

    This look/vibe/subculture has been with us for a long time. Wes Anderson-ish.

    As long as there are liberal arts colleges and Presbyterians, this will look will persevere.

  15. “The soul is died the colour of its thoughts.” Heraclitus…if this colouring is any insight into the machinations of JC’s soul, their head’s in the right place. The Kenmare cut suit looks a bit more to code than their Ludlow. Seems they’re sourcing their wools from WHalstead https://www.williamhalstead.co.uk/

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