Ask any British man of style what he most looks forward to on a trip to New York – J.Crew will regularly spring up in conversation.
Punchy but not gaudy, understated but well-constructed: the American brand is a perfect embodiment of where men's style is at; a welcomed bridge between the high street and something more substantial.
At the center of all this dapperness? Frank Muytjens, J.Crew's head of menswear. To celebrate the opening of the brand's first British store, on Regent Street, we sat down with the Dutchman as he dished out his style mantras.
"Our guy is someone who's interested in fashion but does not necessarily have the time to shop. We try to have a large offering with formal and informal wear – high and low," says Muytjens. "We try to make our guy’s life as easy as possible."
1 | It all starts with fit. Many guys go one size larger. Whether it's to believe they can wear it or because they want some room to dance, I always try to convince them to go for their true size: usually one size smaller. They're regularly amazed at how well it fits them. Fit is hugely important: it impacts on your mood, even your posture – and in turn your confidence.
2 | Some guys dress head to toe in designer clothes and cover themselves in logos because that’s what they think they should do. I don’t think a man should have logos on his sweater or his vest.
3 | Changing things up is important; a suit, shirt and tie is all well and good but taking a piece of clothing from some other area of menswear – like a chambray shirt – can really tie an outfit together. You just need to look at what you have in your wardrobe. Usually the extra piece is already there.
4 | Every man needs to own a chambray shirt. I love a chambray shirt. It has a very grounded air about it. It's easy to wear, both casually with a jean – that’s my uniform – or more dressed up with a suit or a vest. It's very adaptable.
5 | Every man should have a uniform.
6 | Anything with a crew neck is great: a nice cashmere sweater with a crew neck and a pseudo-suit is a sharp outfit.
7 | Sweatshirts are on my mind at the moment. The key here is that this isn’t your gym sweatshirt; put more thought into it. Make sure it's better fitted and the fabric is nicer. There shouldn’t be any logos. It will immediately look more dressed up. Wear it with smart clothes – a nice shirt will do – to create some tension and distortion in your style.
8 | T-shirts are amazing too. Invest in good fabric: not only is it comfortable, it's often dressy enough to be worn to a party.
9 | A good haircut is essential. Beyond that, some grooming products can help you create your style, up to a point. There is such a thing as too much effort though; sometimes there are some things not worth correcting. A little imperfection is a nice: a bit of sloppy hair or some stubble can be part of your style.