Even as the brand has struggled, many menswear enthusiasts can’t help but root for J. Crew. For a certain generation, the mall brand was a gateway into more advanced menswear. Their main line made prep accessible, their Wallace & Barnes line opened the door to workwear, and their frequent collabs introduced shoppers to new brands they hadn’t heard of.
The latest collaboration with fashion-forward running brand Tracksmith is an ample reminder of what J. Crew at its best can be. The running gear looks like the kind you might see in photos in a high school trophy display case, replete with short shorts and collegiate-inspired hoodies. The collection leans heavily on a green and gold color palette and is available now, with prices ranging from $20 for socks to $255 for sunglasses.
The new collection has the unmistakable fingerprints of Brendon Babenzien, the streetwear designer who cut his teeth at Supreme and his own label, Noah. Babenzien was appointed the creative director of menswear at J. Crew last year, leading people to declare that J. Crew was back before Babenzien even set pen to paper on any designs.
With this latest collection, Babenzien is clearly following his own interests, infusing J. Crew with a much-needed point of view that’s arguably not been seen since the Mickey Drexler/Todd Snyder heyday. Bebenzien is an avid runner, and his own label Noah has a strong prep influence. So for J. Crew and Tracksmith to come out with a preppy running collection makes perfect sense.
Since there are plenty of brands making highly technical running clothes with cutting-edge synthetic fabrics, it’s refreshing to see a collection that runs in the other direction. The long-sleeve tee is made primarily with merino wool, a fabric that’s naturally moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating. There’s even a merino wool turtleneck specifically made for cold-weather running.
In addition to tees and hoodies, the collection includes shorts and Bislett pants; it’s a style based on a design from the 80s that includes stirrups for keeping the pants from riding up in cold conditions. The standout piece is the hoodie, featuring a winged “J” emblem in yellow, with yellow piping on the cuffs and hem.
There’s also a women’s Tracksmith collection, which consists of a more varied color palette of pinks and yellows. Included are shorts, tanks, zip sweatshirts, and pants. You can shop the men’s collection below, and you can shop the women’s collection here.
Tracksmith X J.Crew Trackhouse hoodie
Tracksmith X J.Crew Bislett pant
Tracksmith X J.Crew Van Cortlandt Grand 4″ short
Tracksmith X J.Crew Harrier long-sleeve crewneck
Tracksmith X J.Crew Fells turtleneck
Tracksmith X J.Crew merino wool-blend tube socks
Tracksmith X J.Crew Harrier merino wool gloves
Tracksmith Charles sunglasses