J. Crew is one of those names in fashion that’s right up there with some of the most well-known brands and designers. The J. Crew label is associated with preppy, classic style, casual clothing that looks great with just a little bit of high-end sparkle. It’s American classic fashion that always works.
But J. Crew doesn’t stand alone as the only brand offering up great style like this. In fact, there are many brands similar to J. Crew that also have a great selection of classic styles. You might decide to add these brands to your shopping rotation if you like the fashion you find at J. Crew.
Was There a Real J. Crew?
So, who was J. Crew? Was it a real guy? Is there some story somewhere about a name named Jebediah Crew who built a business with nothing but gumption and a couple of nickels? The story behind J. Crew isn’t a rags-to-riches tale. In fact, J. Crew, as a brand, has gone through a lot of changes. The story of J. Crew is a roller coaster that shows how hard it is to successfully navigate the world of fashion.
No, there never was a J. Crew. At least, there never was a person with this name. You might say that if anyone qualified for this name, it’s two men named Mitchel Cinader and Saul Charles. In 1947, the two launched Popular Club Plan. This was a business designed around the idea of selling low-cost women’s clothing. It turns out this was an idea with legs.
The idea had gone well enough, and the business continued to be in business for the next three decades. After all, people like fashion. But this time, other retail giants had risen and become popular with shoppers. Brands like Lands’ End and L.L. Bean were taking advantage of a tried-and-true way to connect with customers: mail-order catalogs. They produced glossy, slick pages of fashion that were sent right to customers’ homes. And they were making money hand over fist doing it.
Popular Club Plan didn’t want to be left behind. The company decided to launch its own catalog, which it called J. Crew. Where the name came from isn’t well known, but the name itself would soon become extremely well known. The first J. Crew catalog was shipped out in January 1983. Almost overnight, J. Crew was a household name and a major player in the world of style.
The Catalog, the Clothing, the Company
The catalog distinguished itself by placing models in the midst of action scenes. The pretty people in the J. Crew catalog were cavorting around sailboats and in backyard parties, all wearing J. Crew items and looking fantastic. The catalog went out 14 times a year, with about 100 pages of preppy fashion that everyone wanted to buy.
Sales went from $3 million to over $100 million in just five years. The catalog was a hit, and J. Crew was a famous and much-loved brand.
But the retail game was changing, and J. Crew had to change, too. Mail-order catalogs were becoming old-fashioned as people flocked to malls to shop in person. In the late 1980s, physical J. Crew stores started to open up around the U.S.
No one knew, at that time, that retail was about to shift from catalogs and physical stores to a brand-new world: the internet. J. Crew was investing in physical stores at the worst possible time, though they wouldn’t know it until the world changed all around them.
High prices, a misunderstanding of customer needs, and the rise in popularity of online shopping, coupled with a recession in the mid-2000s, led to big problems at J. Crew. It was a perfect storm of bad timing.
The company found itself with more than one billion dollars in debt. Yes, more than one billion. That’s one hundred million dollars times one hundred. In May 2020, J. Crew filed for bankruptcy, just ten years after Forbes called the company “A Classic Success Story.” When giants fall, they fall hard.
J. Crew is still in business and still selling casual, preppy styles. However, there have been huge changes across the board at J. Crew. The brand has a new CEO and a new, less elite identity. J. Crew and many brands similar to J. Crew now offer stylish, classic fashion that doesn’t cost way too much money.
Rather than being elitist and expensive, J. Crew has shifted to offering affordable everyday fashion that’s high quality and stylish but still accessible to anyone who wants to dress well. And for customers who like J. Crew, there’s good news: there are many other brands a lot like this one.
Finding Brands Similar to J. Crew
Now J. Crew has become a place for casual modern fashion that isn’t quite so preppy or elite as in the days of J. Crew’s past, there are many brands similar to J. Crew that you might recognize. Expand your clothing collection with items from these brands that also offer up casual, classic looks that are stylish and modern.
The things you like about J. Crew are available in other brands, sometimes with a few key differences that will help you truly expand your fashion sense and the items in your closet.
Asket (Similar Pricing)
Asket was founded in 2015 with the goal of designing the perfect T-shirt. This company has focused on perfecting just a few items every year to slowly built up its catalog of wardrobe staples and provide a catalog that’s built on a foundation of essential fashion.
That’s just what you’ll find at Asket: beautiful wardrobe staples. This includes the quintessential T-shirt, of course, button-down shirts, soft sweaters and knits, and amazing jeans, along with other items meant to be worn every day.
The catalog of wardrobe essentials and the classic, simple designs you can find at Asket give these clothes a look that’s similar to the items you’ll find at J. Crew. The two brands have very similar styles, though J. Crew does have the larger selection. Both brands focus on wardrobe staples and provide stylish, classic fashion in casual designs.
Pricing between the two brands is also similar. Asket maintains a permanent collection and does not try to keep items exclusive. The fashion here is widely available, and it’s meant to be accessible, so there is no high-end pricing or high-end rigmarole. Like J. Crew, Asket appeals to young, 20- and 30-somethings who want to feel good in classic, casual clothes that are stylish.
Boden (More Expensive)
Boden offers a colorful, sophisticated casual style that works beautifully as office wear. There are many semi-formal pieces here, along with the essential staples you’ve got to have, like jeans. Like J. Crew, Boden offers shoes and jewelry along with the usual items of clothing. You can literally get everything you want to wear here, which is a quality that J. Crew shoppers like.
Johnnie Boden did something that anyone would have told him not to do: he left his high-paying job in New York City in order to throw his future into a dying art form. Johnnie started his own mail-order catalog in 1991 at a time when that sort of thing was super old-fashioned.
The catalog was starting to go the way of the dinosaur when he made this seemingly silly leap into the world of retail. The catalog featured eight menswear styles, and it was hand-drawn. It was an insane career move, at least on paper.
Yet somehow, it worked. Boden has become a successful name in fashion despite this seemingly dubious start. Boden’s vision was to create long-lasting clothing. The clothes here are made in high-quality materials with quality construction techniques, which is one reason why these clothes are a bit more expensive, on average than what you can find at J. Crew.
Boden has put emphasis on more high-quality fabrics, such as cashmere and Merino wool. The company also still makes hand-drawn prints and takes extra time and care during the construction process, which results in very fine clothing but also drives the price up higher than what you can find with some other brands. Those who appreciate the extra attention to detail and high-quality clothing will find what they like at Boden.
Bonobos (More Expensive)
Bonobos specialize in menswear. Though J. Crew is associated with style for all genders, the brand is rather well-known for its suits. That means J. Crew has been a brand known for quality menswear for many decades. Bonobos provide that same classic style that gives men effortless style and casual grace.
There are a lot of different menswear options here, including golfing clothes and, of course, suits and blazers. Those who like the more preppy clothing selections from J. Crew will find just what they want with Bonobos.
Like J. Crew, Bonobos has a large catalog of classic styles like button-down shirts, golf clothing, swimwear, jeans, and all the casual fashion and professional looks you might want. Bonobos also has a full range of accessories and all the items you might want to wear.
The extensive selection of items is something Bonobos has in common with J. Crew. Both brands specialize in a classic, casual style that is simple and sophisticated. Like J. Crew, Bonobos appeals to young, fashionable people who want to look stylish and classic.
Bonobos focus on menswear that is meant to be both timeless and stylish in today’s wardrobes. Bonobos uses high-quality materials and construction techniques, along with quality tailoring, to create fashion that fits well and lasts while it looks good. Because of this focus on quality and tailoring, Bonobos clothing is more expensive, on average, than similar pieces from J. Crew.
COS (More Expensive)
Lots of cashmere and bold colors fill up the catalog of stylish, sophisticated fashion at COS. The fashions here are a little more semi-formal and made to be stylish, with looks that are a little more high-end than J. Crew. But like J. Crew, COS has a big selection of items, including jewelry and accessories.
COS uses high-end fabrics, like all that cashmere, to create elegant styles. The clothes are made to last, and COS takes extra sustainability measures to ensure they do less environmental damage than other brands. Because of all this extra attention to detail, clothing at COS is typically somewhat higher in price than the items you can find at J. Crew.
Both brands appeal to fashionable young adults with a lot of styles who want to look classic and chic. Those who like J. Crew but want a more high-end look and experience will find that COS is perfect for them. If quality materials and sophisticated style appeal to you, COS should definitely be one of your shopping stops.
Lacausa (Similar Pricing)
Lacausa maintains a huge catalog of different items, as does J. Crew. If you want to shop for jewelry, accessories, and shoes, along with all your clothing and fashion needs, you want to shop at Lacausa. You can also find beauty items, shoes, home goods, and even some cool stuff at the apothecary shop here.
Like J. Crew, Lacausa has a huge selection of items, and the fashion here is simple, casual, and classic. Standard staples like T-shirts, jeans, and other comfortable, stylish clothes are what you can find here. There are also organic product lines and other specialist product lines for shoppers who want to refine their closets even more.
Lacausa has a similar take on casual, stylish clothing and similar pricing to the stuff you can find at J. Crew. The same things you like about J. Crew are available at Lacausua, including the huge selection of items that you can find here. These two brands are very similar, so if J. Crew hasn’t got what you want, you can always come here to seek it out.
Ledbury (More Expensive)
Ledbury specializes in creating high-quality menswear. Like J. Crew, Ledbury has a reputation for creating beautiful men’s suits. Ledbury has a huge selection of men’s fashion in classic, sophisticated styles here. The pretty looks at Ledbury harken back to the earlier days of J. Crew when this was the go-to name for all kinds of preppy fashion.
Ledbury prides itself on providing people with great-looking, great-fitting fashion. All shirts at Ledbury are available in two different types of fit and 14 different sizes. Shirts can also be purchased made-to-order. When your clothing fits perfectly, you’re going to look more stylish no matter what you’re wearing. But if you happen to be wearing a well-tailored shirt that fits well, you’ve pretty much-nailed fashion.
The fashion here is designed for all men who want to look stylish and classic, whether they’re on the golf course or at the office. Because Ledbury puts so much extra time and attention into tailoring, the prices here are a little higher than the prices you find at J. Crew.
You can shop for similar items across both brands and end up spending more with Ledbury. In return for the price, you get clothes that look more custom-tailored.
Mango (Less Expensive)
Chic, stylish fashion for young professionals who want to look good is what you’ll find at Mango. The clothes here are a little less casual than the selection you can find at J. Crew, but Mango is somewhat more affordable than J. Crew. You can purchase similar items at both brands and end up paying a little less at Mango.
Mango appeals to young shoppers, including teens and kids, mostly providing fashion for trendy 20-somethings. The clothing here is a little more trendy than the classic styles at J. Crew. If you’re looking for items that reflect the latest fads in casual style, look to Mango to fulfill your fashion needs.
Like J. Crew, Mango has a wide selection of items that includes every type of fashion imaginable, not to mention the accessories to go with the outfits you create from the pieces here. Like J. Crew, Mango also carries a line of home goods that includes bedding.
Mango was created to provide people with the modern fashion they can afford and access. Mango offers franchising opportunities and makes clothes out of affordable fabrics in order to keep prices low for customers.
By taking measures to keep prices low, Mango provides customers with highly accessible and affordable fashion that is similar to the casual style you can find at J. Crew, though they do it with looks that are a bit more trendy and timely than timeless.
Ministry of Supply (More Expensive)
The simple style at Ministry of Supply comes in a neutral color palette in classic, timeless designs. Many of the fashions at the Ministry of Supply have the simple traditional, casual looks of J. Crew clothing.
Ministry of Supply creates simple and elegant clothing in stylish designs, much like J. Crew. However, these fashions are even more simplistic, with a color palette that focuses on shades of gray, blue, black, and brown primarily.
Shop at the Ministry of Supply for comfortable, stylish hoodies, leggings, knits, blazers, and other wardrobe staples. The two founders of the Ministry of Supply met while they were students at MIT. They bonded over a shared goal to create comfortable clothing.
They put all that MIT knowledge to work and used tech to create better clothing, including a kinetic suit design that made headlines after it was worn in a marathon. Ministry of Supply is really the product of two mad fashion scientists, in a way.
Ministry of Supply makes fashion for young professionals who want to be stylish and who want to take advantage of the latest innovations in style. The clothing at the Ministry of Supply is slightly more expensive, on average than similar items you find at J. Crew. Ministry of Supply uses technical innovations and special fabrics in order to create high-performance clothing, which makes the prices here a little higher.
Outerknown (More Expensive)
Like J. Crew, Outerknown specializes in casual, go-anywhere clothing that is comfortable and stylish. These designs are classic, not trendy, and they’re made for simple, good looks and style. These are qualities the brand shares with J. Crew, which has become a hub for casual, classic fashion items that are more simple in design and not made to follow all the latest fads and trends.
Outerknown supports several programs and initiatives designed to promote good health for the environment, such as a program that keeps old clothing out of landfills. As a brand, Outerknown supports fair trade, circular economy initiatives, and eco-friendly practices.
Since Outerknown specializes in a fashion that’s optimized for enjoying nature and the outdoors, sustainability is a big part of the brand itself. Outdoor fashion and eco-friendly causes are a natural fit, and Outerknown has definitely made it work.
Clothing at Outerknown is more expensive than similar clothing at J. Crew due to the company’s commitment to sustainable, fair trade, and ethical business practices, not to mention the high-end looks of the designs and interesting fabric and style choices that cost a little more.
Items are Outerknown and are made with somewhat more unique materials, like hemp, which is known for being highly durable, sustainable, and Earth-friendly. Outerknown also uses a type of silk made from trees, a renewable version of the stuff that’s made by animals.
Using somewhat more unusual materials makes prices at Outerknown a little higher. However, this brand highly appeals to nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and the eco-conscious.
Pixie Market (More Expensive)
The hip, hot style at Pixie Market appeals to young teens and 20-something buyers who want to wear the latest looks without paying high-end designer prices. Pixie Market is a little bit more trendy than J. Crew, with a rotating roster of products that come and go as various fads rise and fall. However, like J. Crew, Pixie Market specializes in casual, everyday looks.
Pixie Market makes its clothing in South Korea, where employees receive fair wages and safe working conditions, a decision that makes Pixie Market stand out and also makes prices here a little higher than what you can find with other brands.
The company also promotes scrap recycling to reduce waste. Pixie Market focuses on using renewable fabrics and eco-friendly materials, such as organic cotton. This extra effort and commitment to corporate responsibility make the prices at Pixie Market a little higher, on average than the prices at J. Crew.
Polo (More Expensive)
Polo is known for specializing in no-frills casual fashion, just like J. Crew. Polo is also known for being a more high-end brand than others; however, because of the famous name attached to Polo. This brand is owned by designer Ralph Lauren, who is associated with luxury style and high fashion looks.
The Polo catalog is full of hoodies and everyday items in classic color shades, but even these casual items definitely have that designer flair and attention to detail that does make Polo stand out.
This isn’t trendy clothing, it’s classic clothing. This is something the Polo and J. Crew brands have in common. The pricing here is somewhat higher than the items at J. Crew because Polo is associated with high quality and high style, qualities that tend to cost a little more. Those who like the stylish, casual, simple look of J. Crew will like the elegant fashions from Polo.
Reiss (More Expensive)
Sophisticated style in designs that look high-end and elegant is what you’ll find at Reiss. They have the same classic take on fashion that you can find at J. Crew, though these clothes have a more professional or semi-formal look to them, as opposed to the more casual looks you find at J. Crew.
Riess creates high-end items in classic color shades, such as black and white, but you will also find pieces in more striking hues. Reiss was started in 1971 to create modern clothing that wasn’t trendy but timeless, a mission statement that seems to be close to the heart of J. Crew’s philosophy as well.
Today, Reiss maintains a line of childrenswear as well as clothing for all genders. Because this brand uses high-end materials, such as genuine leather and mink knit material, the prices here are a little higher than comparable items at J. Crew.
Like J. Crew, this brand targets 20- and 30-somethings who like the classic, timeless style and want to look good. If you like J.Crew but need a style that’s a bit less casual and made with even more high-end materials and design, Reiss is a perfect option.
Taylor Stitch (More Expensive)
Taylor Stitch specializes in rugged workwear and outdoor clothing. Come here for camouflage, knit caps, button-down shirts, and tote bags. Here, you can buy corduroy pants, get a sleeveless vest, whatever you need to look like a lumberjack. But a hot lumberjack for sure. One that’s super fashionable.
This is definitely an outdoorsy brand with a fashionable, stylish look that you can find across all the items available under this brand. The nature-loving look works well with clothing from Taylor Stitch.
The clothes here are a bit more rugged and work-ready than the more casual fashion looks at J. Crew, but both brands have a great selection of a ton of different fashion items. Like J. Crew, Taylor Stitch sells a range of accessories, too. You can also shop among different product lines at Taylor Stitch, such as the organic product line or clothes that are USA-made.
Taylor Stitch also has a selection of sweats and ad activewear, too. Made to be durable, Taylor Stitch clothing costs more, on average, than similar items a J. Crew. That’s because these clothes are made to be extra durable, something that is common in workwear and tougher, more outdoorsy fashions.
The clothes from Taylor Stitch are made with tough fabric and construction methods, so they will wear harder longer, a feature that always costs a bit more.
Uniqlo (Less Expensive)
Uniqlo makes clothes for women, men, kids, and even infants. You can find all types of fashion here, including maternity clothing and accessories to go with it. Like J. Crew, Uniqlo specializes in casual and classic fashion in elegant and simple styles. Their product line includes button-up shirts, blazers, jeans, and loungewear, including everything else you might want to wear.
Uniqlo has a huge catalog of clothing, with most items being available in a huge range of colors. This brand specializes in fashion for young shoppers, and they always have stylish staple pieces, like polo shirts and jeans. Uniqlo specializes in what they call “LifeWear,” clothing to make life better. Their brand of casual, affordable fashion is very similar to what you’ll find at J. Crew, but the prices here are even lower.
Uniqlo offers accessible, affordable fashion, a philosophy that J. Crew has built its brand on.
Wearing Brands Similar to J. Crew
There are many brands similar to J. Crew that offer many of the same features that people love about J. Crew. Whether you like the casual style, the big selection, the affordable pricing or some other facet of the J. Crew brand, there are other options you can turn to when you want to expand your wardrobe and add even more to your style.
J. Crew has had a long and winding road, with the brand changing and reinventing itself a number of times. If you still have questions about this well-known brand and brands similar to J. Crew, we’ve got the answers. We found the most commonly asked questions about J. Crew, so you can get the answers to the stuff you want to know about this changing, up-and-down fashion brand.
Where are J. Crew clothes made?
J. Crew uses manufacturers that are based outside the U.S. and Europe, notably in Saipan, China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam.
Did J. Crew fail? Will J. Crew go out of business?
After filing for bankruptcy in mid-2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, J. Crew is attempting to bounce back. The brand is still selling stylish fashion, but now, they are offering clothing at more affordable prices. By offering more affordable, casual fashion for modern people, J. Crew has reinvented itself again.
The brand seems to be on its way back up, and it’s making a name for itself in a modern style yet again. For now, J. Crew is on the way up. But as the brand has proven a number of times, that’s subject to change.
Who owns J. Crew and what brands does J. Crew own?
The umbrella corporation that owns J. Crew, Anchorage Capital, and Leonard Green & Partners also owns crewcuts and Madewell.
Popular Timelines – J. Crew
Retail Dive – A timeline of J. Crew’s rise and fall