The email below came in the day before yesterday, which is when the Blue Blazer Hierarchy launched. Reader BTR mentioned in the comments that the Ludlow cut from J. Crew just isn’t flawless for everyone, despite the perpetual love. Meanwhile, Suitsupply gets plenty of play, and like the Ludlow, they’re a step up from budget, fused suits, yet still accessible for most if you save up. The construction, feel, and fit is superb on each for the price point. But there’s plenty of differences too, and those are outlined for debate below. Top Photo Credit: John Blyberg
Would you say that J. Crew Ludlow suits are nicer in fit/feel/quality than a (similarly priced) SuitSupply option? I’m rebuilding my wardrobe for post-college life and I can’t decide which of the two I should be looking at for suiting options.
The Case for the J. Crew Ludlow: J. Crew has nailed the jacket on multiple levels. To many, the chest piece and overall feel is more substantial than the construction of a Suitsupply suit (not that Suitsupply doesn’t have a great drape & feel itself). The arms are nice and slim right off the rack, and the buttons on the sleeves are non-functional which makes for easy tailoring. Armholes are nice and high. The fabrics are often incredible. And if you keep an eye on the sale section and/or buy out of season, you can sometimes land a J. Crew Ludlow in the high $300s. Suitsupply seems to offer lots of loud patterns and striped suits, while J. Crew will stick mostly to classic solids and subtle patterns. The button stance is slung elegantly low, and the jackets are slightly shorter without being chopped. These are progressive suits that shouldn’t make you look like you fell victim to a trend in a few years. The one risk is the very slim lapels. Lapel widths seem to be bouncing back, and some have said the Ludlow’s 2.5″ lapel is just too slim. But plenty disagree. (top right: Ludlow in Worsted Wool)
The Case for Suitsupply: While they don’t ever go on sale, Suitsupply does offer more than one cut. So if you want peak lapels, patch pockets, or a chopped jacket, they probably carry it. But if you’re building a foundation, you’re going to want to stick to their Napoli fit. And that Napoli fit is a suit that will never, ever go out of style. The lapels are wider than the slim Ludlow, but far from fat. Not going to fall out of favor anytime soon. The jackets have soft shoulders and a tapered waist, and the button stance is timeless. Higher than the Ludlow, but still plenty of lapel & shirt showing. Sleeve buttons are functional, but Suitsupply offers short and long sizes, and the arms seem to run true. Armholes have terrific movement. The construction is also fantastic for the $469 price, and the fabrics are also sourced from respected Italian mills. (top left: SuitSupply in Wool/Linen)
The Bottom Line: J. Crew’s lapels are slimmer, the button stance is lower, and you can sometimes get one on sale. The overall fit of a Ludlow is on the slim side, and some of their suits even offer slim-fit pants in addition to classic fit. The Ludlow is also sold as suit separates, so you’re not stuck with a married pant to a suit jacket based on a certain jacket size to pant waist inch-drop.
Suitsupply never goes on sale, but their lapels and their button stance won’t go out of style… ever. And at $469, that’s much less than what most wool Ludlows go for at full retail. Suitsupply is still trim, yet offers more room, especially in the pants. And while they aren’t sold online as separates, they seem to run decently true for most body types.
Leave your take in the comments below, and feel free to make the case for a write-in suit candidate. (Just keep it around $380 – $580)