Just before Labor Day weekend, J.Crew announced that it would introduce changes and additions to its product lineup that would make the brand more, well, accessible.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the company’s relatively new CEO James Brett promised the beloved American brand would soon introduce less expensive clothing, and make both the new clothes and its current product available in more sizes. And as it turns out, “soon” meant today.
Visit J.Crew’s 400+ stores across the country (or its website) right now and you’ll find a selection of new and updated products for everyone. For guys in particular, the changes have manifested in a new accessories collection called Oar Stripe, which offers totes and weekenders cut from leather, nylon and canvas. It also includes new belts, Chelsea boots and derbies in leather and suede.
If you’re a fan of the Ludlow Suit, you’ll also find fall editions of the Un-Suit — a new and highly undersung version of the tailoring staple that comes without a lining. That makes it slightly more casual — and a lot less expensive — even though it’s made from a wool-cotton twill from Abraham Moon, one of England’s finest fabric mills. You can pick one up for just $356, compared with $650 or more for some variants of the lined Ludlow suit.
And while you can still buy higher-priced items from the brand, they’ll have to justify their prices with the use of special materials or more involved design. (Nothing is more emblematic of this duality than J.Crew’s new line of Japanese stretch-selvedge denim, which tops out around $150 for a pair of straight-legged jeans.)
But by and large, J.Crew is making a good-faith effort to do more for a bigger group of people than it has in the past several years. After all, there aren’t a ton of guys who would spend $1,000 on a cashmere blazer, or $300 on a limited-edition coach’s jacket. But a lower-priced t-shirt (now $14.50, instead of the previous opening price of $29.50) is a good way to show people who love the brand — and those who’ve never set foot in a J.Crew before — that they’re worth a closer look.
“You have to have a competitive T-shirt,” Brett told the Journal. “If you lose them on the basics, then they’re not shopping you that often.”
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