We are tantalizingly close to spring and with that comes the promise of some new clothes (if, like me, you finally took that bag of rags to Goodwill). J. Crew’s spring line-up provides a great template of basics to add to your existing wardrobe to freshen it up a bit without overhauling your entire closet. And that’s the good thing about J. Crew. With a look to the past and a nod to the ever-changing zeitgeist of American fashion, they’re able to play with the boundaries and unspoken rules of prep without ever alienating its customer base. Each seasonal catalog gives us the ability to create a look that is timeless and current, a hard balance to make for a brand that, itself, has had to reinvent and pivot more than once.
So, with that, here are 15 items to add to your rotation for spring 2022.
Plaited Linen-cotton Cable-knit Sweater
I like spring because I like layering. And, since gaining a few pounds during lockdown, I like layering even more. This linen-cotton cable-knit sweater is a great option for adding a bit of coverage against the temperamental elements of the vernal seasons. With just enough detailing to keep it interesting, throwing this on, sleeves pushed up, and paired with white khakis and aviators – why, you got yourself looking like a Kennedy family member from a Time photoshoot.
Garment-dyed Ripstop Bucket Hat
The bucket hat Renaissance is upon us. Rejoice, sailors and Gilligan’s Island fans alike! The ripstop bucket hat comes in a few neutral shades (and one quite pretty yellow) to tone down the riskiness of the headwear while still being ahead of the trend. Lightweight and pre-faded, this hat is one to tug over your eyes while you rest on the porch swing later this month.
Short-sleeve Cotton Cardigan Polo Sweater
If you even have a passing fancy for menswear, you’ll know what a seminal film The Talented Mr. Ripley was for a generation of fashion-conscious men. While many of us are still jonesing for Jude Law’s wardrobe as Dickie Greenleaf, we’ll have to settle for one-off inspirations. This polo sweater fits the bill, giving a bit of mid-century dolce vita at a reasonable price.
Birkenstock Arizona Sandals
Of course, Birkenstock has been a perennial favorite for the J. Crew crowd, so that’s nothing new. But the addition of a few colorways reinvigorates the existing line-up a bit. Like Mink, a mustardy-orange hue that is bright but not ostentatious. The perfect shoe for any occasion (except, I guess, a funeral), I live in my Arizona sandals at least 6 months out of the year. And, yes, Dear Reader, I do wear socks with mine.
Short-sleeve Yarn-dyed Seersucker Shirt
As classic as one can possibly get, the seersucker shirt can be dressed up or dressed down. With a natural texture, this shirt has just enough of a pattern to it to make it interesting while not being totally flashy. It would pair great under the above cable-knit sweater, giving each a great contrast in patterns and texture.
6″ Dock Short
Look, I’m going to be honest with you. I love a short short. Who wears short shorts? I do. I want my thighs to be almost dangerously exposed. Perhaps I’m an exhibitionist. Perhaps it’s due to liking a lot of television from the ’70s during my formative years. Either way, these dock shorts, with their cotton-linen blend and neutral colors, are right for me. I may even take them to my tailor to bring them up another inch or two. Yes, I do live dangerously.
Slim Dock Pant in Stretch Cotton-Cordura Nylon
J. Crew’s dock pants are the kind of pants you could wear all spring and summer long. Made of a cotton-elastane blend for extra comfort and stretch, one can really move in these pants. Designed to be a slim, tailored cut, they’re inherently a bit polished, giving one the chance to look dressed up with ease.
Rancourt & Co. x J.Crew Horse-bit Loafers
Yes, I can sing the praises of Birkenstocks all day long, but with wedding season upon us, it’s nice to have an excuse to buy a new shoe. These loafers are a great blend of traditional and prep, mixed with a bit of nautical flair. With just enough accent to keep one interested, it feels like a dress shoe masquerading as a Sperry and there’s something I appreciate about this blend of styles and (in)formalities.
6″ Stretch Swim Trunk in Print
Oftentimes, men’s trunks are lacking in style but J. Crew gives you a staggering 23 options to choose from for wherever you’re heading on your next vacation. With a back-pocket closure to boot, you can throw these on for that sweet, sweet continental breakfast with just your room key and a pair of shades to take with you.
Marathon Watch Company x J.Crew Pilot’s Navigator with Date Watch
By far the priciest item on this list, I know it may not be for everyone. I’m not a watch person myself, but I am a style person and I think the Pilot’s Navigator has a lot of that. Minimally designed in tan neutrals, this is a watch that will go with anything and go along with you for any adventure.
Organic Seersucker Three-pocket Camp-collar Shirt
First introduced in 2005 and recently re-engineered in new sustainable fabrics, the three-pocket shirt is one of those grail items you’ll find reasons to take out for any occasion. Relaxed in a seersucker fabric, this shirt is accompanied by three pockets (two on the sides, one on the chest) for easy storage. I’d wear this more as a jacket myself, a light layering piece with a Penguin book to keep me company with an iced coffee in hand.
Cotton-nylon Survey Parka
Unbelievably versatile, this parka will go way beyond spring. It’s designed after the British Antarctic Survey parka of the ’80s, but with a modern American twist (see the plaid interior). With nautical elements and just the right amount of weight, this parka is a great piece to keep for these transitional months and crisp mornings ahead.
6″ Tech Dock Short
Uh-oh, another short short. Not even the editors could stop me from sneaking another on this list. Similar to the dock pants listed above, the dock short is a versatile staple in your spring/summer wardrobe. It has a Spandex blend to keep it comfortable while giving you quite a few color options to keep it interesting.
Garment-dyed Twill Baseball Cap
Someone on Instagram once asked me if I were trying to hide that I was going bald. Their assumption was based entirely on the fact that I am almost constantly in a baseball cap in photos. The answer is no (or, not yet at least). But I do love a baseball cap. It’s easy. A bit pithy and irreverent. I live in a beat-up Yankees hat most of the year. But, I have to say, these twill caps may just make me a convert to another style altogether.
Short-sleeve Slub Cotton Camp-collar Shirt in Print
I don’t know about you, but when I’m on vacation I usually pack one “nice outfit” to wear to dinner. The Square Dot Green Ivory print shirt would go into that category. Its camp collar and pattern give it a bit of nonchalance but I could easily tuck this into the dock pants above and slip-on boat shoes for a nice dinner by the beach. I like to keep it easy but cleaned up a bit and, really, isn’t that the ethos of J. Crew anyway?