Preparing for the Worst: 7 Worthy Alternatives to J.Crew
Rest in peace?
It’s official: J.Crew has filed for bankruptcy. The not-so-welcome news was announced Monday, and patrons of the beloved brand went to Twitter to mourn what certainly seems like its downfall. But … what does filing for bankruptcy mean exactly? While it doesn’t sound good, the brand isn’t necessarily going to go out of business right this very minute, or even at all. Considering the strain many retail stores are currently facing, what with people not able or reticent to go to physical stores to shop, it’s not an altogether surprising decision on J.Crew’s part.
With that being said, it’s still understandable if you want to have a contingency plan in case the worst does befall J.Crew. If anything, let it serve as an opportunity to broaden your sartorial horizons. There’s no denying the merits of J.Crew — the consistently classic styles, the mid-range price point, the sales. Yet there are plenty of other worthy retailers with similar style ethos and price points, ones that you might even take a liking to more than J.Crew. You may be skeptical, but all that time (and money) spent fawning over J.Crew meant the neglect of comparable stores and clothing. Who knows what you could have missed?
There’s no time for regret now, only time to look forward to the brands that could soon be populating your closet. We know it’s hard (and might even feel a little traitorous) to shop anywhere besides J.Crew, but we’ll get through this together.
Considering the minds behind this brand were brought together by former J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler, we’re confident in our belief that if you like J.Crew, then you’ll love Alex Mill. The brand is big on the idea of crafting a ‘uniform,’ meaning the clothes you’ll find are relatively pared back basics, with a slight French workwear twist to them. If you ever find yourself in desperate need of a chore jacket or something of the like, Alex Mill is bound to have a few in supply. We recommend this artfully distressed sweatshirt, this classic indigo short sleeve tee, these surprisingly sleek cargo pants and this everyday work jacket.
You’re most likely already familiar with Todd Snyder, but we just wanted to gently remind you what you could potentially be missing. It’s often easy to get caught up in the brand’s ultra-luxurious offerings and convince yourself that everything the brand has to offer is unattainable. While there are some pricey items from Todd Snyder, we would be doing you a disservice not to highlight the numerous basics they have to offer, ones that won’t completely break the bank. We recommend these French inspired camp shorts, this striped summer sweater, these classic chinos and this fun (but not outrageous) gingham shirt.
Favored by hypebeasts and skate bros alike, while the brand is often spotted on, let’s say, youthful persons, that doesn’t it can’t (or shouldn’t) be worn by men … of a certain age. Besides, if you frequented J.Crew for their preppier styles, Noah is likely to fill that void in your heart (and closet) with their often equally preppy clothing. Once you manage to sift through all the graphic shirts and skateboard decks, you’ll actually find some unabashedly preppy wares that even feel a little retro, but never dated. We recommend this striped rugby-esque polo, these mismatched striped swim trunks (to be worn as regular shorts), a shirt jacket in an unlikely silhouette and a failsafe grey crewneck.
Often considered J.Crew’s younger and cooler sister-brand, Madewell has only somewhat recently delved into menswear, but they’re not to be discredited. The clothes from the brand do have a more relaxed feel than some of J.Crew’s offerings, and not the place to go searching for suiting or work-appropriate attire. But if your office is relatively casual or you just want some casual pieces for looking effortlessly cool come the weekend, the brand isn’t going to fail you there. We recommend this wavy, vintage-y shirt, this subtly striped crewneck, a less stuffy pair of chinos and the ideal linen summer shirt.
While Entireworld has come to dominate the sweatpants and sweatshirt game, people tend to forget (or maybe don’t even know) the non-loungewear goods the brand has to offer. In fact, Entireworld is pretty consistently turning out clothing fit for being out and about in the world and not just for sitting on your couch. Much like their sweatsuits, their shirts and pants often come in an array of bright colors, providing a slight twist to otherwise classic and already familiar silhouettes. We recommend this lime green knit polo, these corduroy shorts because we’re betting you have yet to own a pair, a fairly standard chambray shirt with a slightly oversized fit and this simple yet fun tee with contrasting collar.
If Corridor sounds familiar, you might have noticed some pieces from the brand on J.Crew’s site (and Madewell’s, too). So knowing that the brand has the ‘Crew’s stamp of approval, it’s well worth checking out their complete offerings for yourself. The clothing from Corridor has a definitively workwear aesthetic to them and often look like something might happen upon in an over-priced vintage store. The fabrics are almost all sourced exclusively for the brand, meaning they’re sustainably crafted and you can shop with a clear conscience. We recommend these easy, breezy linen trousers, this button down made from authentic madras, a greaser-esque indigo jacket and some military-inspired shorts.
When it comes to French clothing, it doesn’t get more French than A.P.C. The storied Parisian brand has long dominated (since 1987, to be exact) the market for chic yet understated clothing, the kind that’s inconspicuous yet recognized by those who know. It’s no surprise that A.P.C. has continued to be a mainstay in many a closets — the brand sticks to what they know. While occasionally they’ll venture outside of their usual goods with collaborations (most recently with Carhartt), they know they’ve got a good thing going and do little to disrupt that. And before you object that A.P.C. is too far out of your price range, just remember that you’re paying for clothing made to last for years. We recommend their famed jeans, a button-down with an officer collar to switch things up, this throw-it-on-and-go t-shirt and a quietly patterned summer shirt.
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