Before J.Crew was the clothing mega-retailer it is today, it operated as a direct-to-consumer brand called Popular Merchandise. Like Lands’ End and L.L. Bean, it sent catalogs to customers, the first of which mailed in January 1983. The brand offered a range of logo-less, heritage-inspired garments that were refreshingly affordable.
The respected designer Sid Mashburn got his start there in ’85 and oversaw all menswear except for sweaters and knits. “At that time, as Anne my wife coined it, it was kind of preppy hippy,” he said. “It was a little Grateful Dead but a little Northeast Prep, too.” The brand resonated with customers and wardrobe staples like rugby shirts, rollneck sweaters and barn coats defined its style. In ’89, the brand changed its name to J.Crew and opened its first retail stores.
This week, J.Crew re-released a range of garments that made it famous in its Heritage Collection. Act fast because these classics won’t be around long; looks like some sizes have already sold out.
Deck-Striped T-Shirt by J.Crew $45
The 1984 Rugby Shirt by J.Crew $60
Unisex 1988 Rollneck Sweater by J.Crew $75
Unisex 1989 Side-Zip Anorak by J.Crew $148
Unisex 1983 Barn Jacket by J.Crew $178
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