Reading The Tea Leaves Of Mainstream Menswear

February 19, 2015

Reading the Tea Leaves of Mainstream Menswear

You can be forgiven for not paying a lot of attention to the runway shows and brand presentations that feed the hype cycle of modern retail (and also, on a practical note, help retailers choose their wares), but you may want to pay a little attention to what J. Crew is doing. The Crew is a useful bellwether for American menswear in general–the staple of the shopping mall doesn’t necessarily set trends so much as confirm them. Nearly every remotely style conscious dude has a couple of things from J. Crew in his dresser, and it’s a common recommendation for dependable, current-looking formal and casual stuff. 

In its collection for next fall, J. Crew appears to be embracing two concepts that have been floating around the menswear ether for awhile now: Pleated pants and double breasted suits. And, although I haven’t yet broken out the tape measure, I get the sense of a slight broadening of lapels. A revolution it’s not: that’s one or two pairs of pants with shallow pleats and one suit, but it may represent an initial step away from ubiquitous flat fronts and skinny ties/lapels that have been the mainstay of J. Crew catalogs for the past decade (linked image from 2005 J. Crew catalog).