Before I round up some of the best menswear alternatives to J.Crew, let’s take a second to pause and acknowledge the (well dressed) elephant in the room:
J.Crew is pretty great.
From high ticket items like their exceptional Ludlow suits to small accessories like wallets and gloves, J.Crew has cultivated a reputation for offering stylish, well constructed staples that are simultaneously modern and classic.
In short, J.Crew sets a high bar for other retail men’s stores to live up to—and unfortunately for those of us who are budget conscious, they charge accordingly.
While J.Crew’s clothes are great, they can often be expensive, especially when compared to comparable brands and menswear outlets.
This isn’t always a dealbreaker, especially since J.Crew’s clothes are well made and tend to last a long time – allowing you to get your money’s worth – but it can sometimes be painful to know that you’re paying 150% to 200% more than you would if you bought a comparable piece from another brand.
Fortunately, you don’t have to look too far to find J.Crew alternatives that are just as stylish, but a bit better priced. In this post I’ve rounded up 11 stores and brands you can turn to if you’re looking for alternate options to J.Crew.
I’ve given each one a score out of 10 (which I’m calling a “J.Grade”, because I’m the worst) to indicate how strong of an alternative it is to J.Crew.
The Best J.Crew Alternatives for Men
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first, shall we?
J.Crew Factory (aka JCF) is basically J.Crew’s little brother. They offer a smaller range of styles, but the ones they do have boast many of J.Crew’s usual hallmarks: slim cuts, solid quality/construction and timeless looks that should last well beyond one season.
JCF even has their own answer to the Ludlow, which they call the Thompson. The Thompson was originally available in just a few colors and fabrics, but it’s clearly been a hit for JCF, because the line has expanded pretty significantly and now comes in a wide variety of options.
Best of all, the base prices at JCF are generally better than they are at J.Crew, and even better still, JCF tends to run a lot of sales.
At the risk of stating the obvious, JCF is far and away the best J.Crew alternative, especially if your only complaint about the flagship brand is the price.
J.Crew’s closest competitor is also one of its best alternatives.
Like J.Crew, Banana Republic’s offerings cover almost every end of the menswear spectrum, from formal wear to casual shorts, but they specialize in business-casual staples that will help you look sharp and on-point in both professional and personal settings.
In my opinion, both the style and the quality of most of BR’s merchandise rivals that of J.Crew. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a piece from BR that didn’t last me years (although I’m admittedly a stickler for following laundry instructions), which speaks to both how well made their clothes are and how timeless their styles tend to be.
I’m a huge fan of their luxury touch polos, shorts and traveller jeans, and I also own a BR suit, which fits and looks great. But when it comes to suiting I think the J.Crew Ludlow has the edge. A lot of BR’s suits look great, but I find the softer shoulder of the Ludlow to be a little more my taste.
Nonetheless, Banana Republic is an awesome J.Crew alternative, and a brand that should be high on your list if you’re looking for modern-classic styles.
In addition to selling thousands of menswear products from hundreds of different brands and designers, Amazon launched their own in-house brands to compete with the big American retail giants.
Of their in-house brands, the best J.Crew alternative is Goodthreads, which offers classic staples in modern cuts at surprisingly good prices.
At first blush, it might feel weird buying your clothes from the same company that delivers your groceries and produces your favorite show (I didn’t even want to like Jack Ryan, but I’ll be damned if John Krasinski isn’t a star), but Goodthreads has gotten some great reviews.
Their selection still isn’t that varied, but the pieces they do have stack up well, even in a market as competitive as retail menswear. And when coupled with all the benefits of Amazon Prime, it’s a pretty tempting package.
Don’t let the price point fool you. The menswear at Target may be half the price of what you’d expect to pay for comparable pieces at J.Crew, but the quality is a lot higher than that—and fortunately, so is the style.
For years now Target has been the stylish man’s affordable go-to for staple pieces like tees, khakis and jeans, but as its reputation for solid staples has expanded, so has its offerings.
Their in-house brand Goodfellow offers pieces a wide range of pieces and styles that rival what you’d find at J.Crew: from shirts, sweaters and pants to stylish outerwear and even their own line of grooming products.
If you’re looking for the kind of smart, masculine pieces you’d find at J.Crew or Banana Republic at a much more affordable price point, Target is a smart bet.
The Japanese-based brand is the best-selling clothier in Asia, but has so far only dipped a toe into the North American market. Unlike stores like J.Crew and Banana Republic, which offer fresh designs and new pieces every season, Uniqlo takes a different approach, and stocks the same staples month in and month out.
As a result, they offer a smaller quantity of styles than J.Crew and other retailers, but the quality is pretty amazing—especially for the price. Uniqlo somehow offers quality that’s comparable to J.Crew and Banana Republic, but at prices that are more like H&M and Zara’s.
Case and point, their merino wool v-neck sweaters. For my money—and at this point, I’ve spent a lot of it at Uniqlo—they’re the best vees on the market, and at a price that’s roughly half what you’ll pay at J.Crew.
(Note that they only get a 7 overall because of their limited selection of offerings. But for pieces that are directly comparable to some of J.Crew’s staples, like v-neck sweaters, shirts, jeans and more, they’re more like an 8 or 9.)
Falling much further down the list than Gap’s more grown-up brand, Banana Republic, the flagship Gap brand isn’t as obvious a choice for a solid J.Crew alternative.
Gap specializes in casual staples; if J.Crew and Banana Republic provide stylish clothes you can wear both to work and out to dinner in the evening, the Gap provides clothes you can wear if you want to look good while walking your dog on Saturday morning.
But that’s not to say they should be dismissed entirely, especially if you’re looking for a good casual alternative to J.Crew. Their jeans, cords and chinos all come in styles (and, crucially, fits) that rival J.Crew’s offerings, but at much better prices.
If your style tends to be more casual, or you’re in the market for some solid weekend wear, they’re definitely worth a look.
Swedish retailer H&M occupies a funny place on this list. The first thing to note is that in terms of quality, their stuff is way below J.Crew’s level, which basically eliminates them from being a true alternative right from the jump.
But if you go in knowing that anything you buy probably won’t last too long, H&M becomes a lot more interesting. They offer a huge variety of merchandise and frequently come out with new styles, but usually carry over a lot of their staples.
If you use J.Crew for your basic staples like plain tees and socks, but don’t want to pay premium prices for basic pieces, then it might be worth looking at H&M. But other than that, H&M is more of a store you go to when you’re in a pinch and you need something stylish to wear at the last minute. It’s not really a place you can rely on to build a durable wardrobe that will last you years.
Another European import, Topman is the menswear wing of the popular British women’s wear store, Topshop.
Like J.Crew and many of the stores listed above, Topman has a wide range of offerings, covering everything from underwear and basic tees to suits and bow ties.
In my mind, Topman is kind of like a cross between J.Crew and H&M.
Like H&M, its aesthetic is a little more European and/or fashion forward than J.Crew, which tends toward a more all American look. But its quality is definitely higher than H&M, if not quite at J.Crew’s level.
If you’re looking for pieces that are a little more fashion-forward, or if you’re a particularly skinny guy who finds that even the slim fit of American brands still doesn’t hue close enough to your body, then Topman could be a great go-to.
Options for Suits:
Where to Find the Best Alternatives to J.Crew’s Ludlow
At this point, J.Crew’s Ludlow suit is an almost-iconic piece of menswear. Its cut strikes a great balance that’s somehow thoroughly modern and, at the same time, totally timeless.
But when it comes to suits that we well made, well cut and affordable, J.Crew has a lot of competition. Here are three of my favorite suit stores, each of which makes for a strong alternative to J.Crew.
Founded in Amsterdam, Suitsupply made a big splash when it broke into the North American market a few years ago, and with good reason. Their off-the-rack suits are comparable in price to the Ludlow, but they offer a much wider range of cuts, patterns and styles.
Like J.Crew’s suits, Suitsupply’s are well made and well cut, meaning that even though they’re off the rack, it doesn’t take much tailoring to make them look bespoke.
In the past few years Suitsupply has also been stepping up its casual game, and now offers a pretty wide range of casual wear, including shirts, polos, sweaters, jackets and more.
Everything Suitsupply makes look like something James Bond might wear, and I can literally not think of higher praise for a menswear brand. (The only hitch? Much like 007’s wardrobe, most of Suitsupply’s stuff doesn’t come cheap.)
- For Suits: 8.5/10
- For Casualwear: 7/10
Arguably Suitsupply’s closest competitor, Indochino differentiates itself from J.Crew, Suitsupply and other sellers of off-the-rack suits by offering made-to-measure options that are tailored to fit each individual buyer.
Their price points are comparable to both J.Crew and Suitsupply, but they offer a wider range of options and opportunities for customization: you can choose everything from the lapel style and the interior lining to the button color and whether or not you want your name stitched inside the jacket.
If you’ve bought Ludlows in the past but are looking for more customization at a similar price, Indochino is probably your best bet.
But if you like the Ludlow specifically because you know it will look great without requiring you to make a bunch of decisions, then this probably isn’t the place for you.
- For Suits: 8/10
A great suit alternative to both J.Crew and Suitsupply, Spier & Mackay also sells off-the-rack suits in a variety of styles and patterns, and like Suitsupply they’ve expanded into trousers, sweaters, outerwear and other casual staples.
But wit Spier & Mackay, the big advantage is the price. Their suits start from just $300 Canadian, which is only about $230 in US dollars—an almost unheard-of price for a suit as well made as these.
If you appreciate the quality and craftsmanship of J.Crew’s suits but find the price point a little out of reach, Spier & Mackay may be your best alternative.
- For Suits: 7.5/10
In reality, J.Crew has hundreds of competitors; basically any brand that sells menswear could, technically, be considered a potential alternative.
But, while I’m sure that there are a few more brands worthy of making this list (feel free to leave them in the comments if you know of any!), there really aren’t many that could be considered viable J.Crew alternatives.
At the end of the day, it’s pretty hard to compete with J.Crew’s high quality and modern-meets-classic aesthetic.
Fortunately there are a few brands that past muster, and now that you know what kinds of clothes to buy at each, you can use the brands on this list to build up your wardrobe with pieces that rival J.Crew’s style and quality—without rivalling their prices.
Nail the Details
Assembling a handsome wardrobe is a key component of looking sharp and standing out, but it’s still only one piece of the menswear puzzle.
If you really want to learn how to out-dress the other guys and stand out from the crowd, you need to know how to nail the details—all the details.
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More Resources ↓
From Irreverent Gent:
- How to Shop for Men’s Clothes
- The 8 Most Stylish Types of Shoes for Men
- 9 of the Sharpest, Most Stylish Sweaters for Guys
J.Crew Alternatives From Around Ye Olde Internet:
Irreverent Gent founder Dave Bowden is a men’s style specialist, an Amazon bestselling author, an unrepentant introvert, a (patient, if long-suffering) Toronto sports fan and the husband of a wonderful (and fortunately much more patient) wife.