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It all started with a mail-order catalog full of stonewashed chinos, twill skirts, and cotton roll-neck sweaters—available in colors like Granny Smith—that became nineties campus staples. But soon after the New York City-based company opened its South Street Seaport store in 1989, J. Crew began stretching its design arm to reach a more affluent, sophisticated customer. Today, its eight Manhattan locations are filled with stylish, comfortable fashion. Cut along classic sportswear lines, the clothes for men and women are sized accurately and fit well. Pants, a J. Crew specialty, come in three signature styles: Everyday Fit (sitting higher on the hip); Favorite Fit (at the hip); and City Fit (just below the hip). Both genders will find sophisticated conservative pieces like superfine black wool suit pants alongside quirky, rainbow-bright items in Grapefruit Yellow and Guava Pink. And while most of the outposts are in the city’s toniest zip codes, prices are reasonable to modest splurge, even for limited edition items like hand-beaded sweaters and double-faced cashmere coats. An added bonus for NYC shoppers: In each store is a red phone that links customers to J. Crew’s We'll Find It For You service. If you want something that's out of stock, the folks on the other end of the line will search every store and outlet in the country, just to try and make you happy.
J.Crew’s online-only gown collection (from $295) has many beautiful options for both low-key weddings and black-tie affairs. The designs come in standard materials like satin and silk tricotine and all boast a half-inch seam allowance. Brides worried about sizing can also order extra yardage at no charge. Alterations not included.Bridesmaids
Wedding color schemes are made easy with this store’s tasteful bridesmaid options. Current keepers include the vampy halter Gracie ($150), the chiffon floor-length Arabelle ($350), and the silk-taffeta Lorelei ($130).Men's Formalwear
With a jacket for $365, pants for $175, and a cummerbund for $75, J.Crew is ideal for grooms. The suit options include a wheat, stone, navy, or charcoal-pinstripe in a two- and three-button style with satin ties ($72) and bow ties ($52).