In Person Review: The J. Crew Ludlow Fine Stripe Cotton Suit

How's it compare to its cheaper Factory cousin?

Ludlow Fine Stripe Cotton Suit – $416 (but $291.20 w/ the next 30% off code)

This suit is proof that the quality of the fabric can really make a difference. Because despite the really nice construction (especially the chest of the jacket), breathable Bemberg lining, slim sleeves and easy to tailor non-functioning buttons… this one is a bit of a disappointment.

Look, J. Crew can go a bit over-the-top with some of their item descriptions. And often times they can make it sound like their fabrics are sourced from some sort of divine mill, operated by centaurs and pixies. But the fact is… the Baird McNutt Linen in their Linen Ludlow breathes extremely well and is awesomely flexible. The Super 130s Loro Piana wool they use for their navy blazers is Katy Perry cleavage soft.

And the cotton they use for this suit is… well, it’s just sorta there.

Fine Stripe Close“Faded” black stripe on an off white background = sorta a khaki look.

It’s a little stiff (J. Crew prefer’s the word “crisp” in the item description). And maybe it’ll loosen up over time as you move around in it, and since it’s not fully fused, the jacket will start to conform to your body. But out of the box it just doesn’t feel all that different from the J. Crew Factory Corded Cotton Thompson Suit Separates.

And those Thompsons are terrific, being that they’re often priced under $200… as long as they have sizes in stock.

Like the J. Crew Factory Thompson, the regular J. Crew Ludlow “Classic” suit pants run awfully big through the leg. So much so that even someone with some muscle on their legs, like me, will need to get them tapered and brought in. They do offer a “slim” pant, but those aren’t on sale. Meanwhile, the jacket sides are slightly sculpted, but most are going to want to invest more in tailoring there as well.

Ludlow needs pant taperingJacket has a little taper, but will need tailoring for most. Pants need some real work.
Sizes shown: 38R jacket, 32×30 Pant.

You might think you’d be getting a greyish suit by looking at the pics on J. Crew’s wesbsite. That’s not the case. Instead of cooler, blueish/grey tones, the black stripe on off-white background leans noticeably khaki. More warm than cool. Which is fine, but don’t be surprised with the earth tone when you open it up.

Hang out for the next extra 30% off sale items code and it’ll drop under $300, but it still might be best to pass, or spend $100 less on the Factory Thompson option. Or maybe take a shot at the Italian Chino Ludlow (anyone got that one?). Better yet, cross your fingers for the Baird McNutt Linen Ludlow jacket to go on sale. The pants are already slightly marked down, and if the jacket can somehow do the same, an extra 30% off code would put that linen suit at $312.20.

That’s a bit more than the fine stripe cotton when at an extra 30% off, but good grief it’s worth it.

Especially the Linen in Navy or Grey. We’re talking Katsopolian levels of  “have mercy” there.

corded cotton alternatives Two alternatives: The Italian Chino, & the Irish Linen. Both have potential to maybe land around $300.