The Slim-Fit Suit for Bigger Men

Mj 618_348_jcrew crosby
Courtesy J.Crew

J.Crew’s slim-fitting Ludlow suit has become the go-to for any guy in his late-20s who realized his job is now a career, is standing in his best friend’s wedding, or is just aiming to update his style game and grow his wardrobe while keeping costs relatively affordable.

But not all men are created equal, and not all are slim enough to fit the tight, tailored look. So for the broader subset, J.Crew has added the Crosby, available in stores and online Wednesday, which keeps the characteristics of the now famous Ludlow suit – the high armhole, soft shoulder, narrow lapel, and European fabrication – but with a wider fit for wider men.

“As much as we love that slim fit, and as much as it works for a lot of different body types, there was still a more built, athletic guy who couldn’t fit into it,” says Frank Muytjens, menswear director at J.Crew. “So that’s how everything all started.”

J.Crew’s designers crafted the fit through a process of more than 200 steps, adding material at key points, including an inch in the thigh and chest, 3/4-inch in the shoulders and seat, and a 1/2-inch or less in the arms, lapel, and leg-opening. Small changes for a precise fit.

But to suggest this spells the end of slim suiting would be wrong cause it just ain’t true. The Crosby, named for the Lower-Manhattan street that runs parallel to Ludlow (for somewhat obvious reasons), still offers a slim, well-tailored look right off the rack, but with proportions that fit a burlier, athletic man. Like a construction worker, fireman, or rugby player, specifically one that scrums for the New York Knights, who J.Crew recently outfitted.

“I freaked out in the best possible way when I saw those guys in the Crosby,” adds Muytjens, who says he was inspired by customers who were loyal to the brand, but were looking for a little more room to move. “I thought it was really amazing. It was exactly what it needed to be, and it carried our message across in a very cool way. Rugby guys are by definition bigger, taller guys, so you immediately get what that suit does for them.”

The Crosby ($650) also has the same fabrication as its predecessor, drawing from the English and Italian mills that provided the detailed look and feel of the Ludlow. The brand is launching the new line in deep navy (Italian wool), charcoal (in Worsted Wool and Flannel), and a charcoal Herringbone windowpane that’s only available online. 

See the whole Crosby collection here.


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