For the Men: J. Crew's Spring Preview

I'm a big fan of the folks over at J.Crew men's, and am always interested in what they're up to. But when I saw their spring 2010 presentation recently, I was even more blown away than usual. Frank Muytjens—a guy with a magic touch and an eye for masculine, affordable, and modern-looking clothing options—has been the head menswear designer at J.Crew for several seasons. For next spring's collection (which hits stores starting in January), Frank showed us 18 looks, on models draped to perfection in suits, sweaters, beachwear, and casual attire—with each guy exuding a sense of great personal style. Here, areten of my favorite looks, and my thoughts on each one.—JIM MOORE

"This is what's now referred to as the J.Crew slim-cut suit, in a heightened blue wool. It's a color different from the deep and dark navys we've seen in seasons past; a bit of mohair is blended into the fabric, giving it a luster. I love the way Frank [Muytjens, J.Crew head menswear designer] makes the color blue look new, and the way the suit is worn here—with a rumpled chambray dress shirt (chambray means shirt-weight denim, and its the shirt trend of the season) and a khaki cotton tie. It's modern elegance with a completely different take than last year's Mad Men look. Loving the sockless and slightly-shorter-pant vibe, too."

"Again, Frank goes for the washed-and-worn look with this safari/military hybrid jacket. Note the bellows flap-patch pockets, the epaulettes, and the wrist-tab styling…all very Out of Africa-meets-N.Y.C. The jacket is shorter, which makes it feel younger and hipper. Keeping the underpinnings neutral is the key here. There's that chambray shirt again, this time in charcoal, and check out the dirty-white, straight-cut jeans (bright-white would look too clean-cut) with nonchalantly turned-up cuffs, teamed with camp moccasins. Truly great American style."

"We dig plaid shirts here at GQ, but they're usually reserved for fall and cut from flannel or wool. Here's a perfect example of a spring version, designed in the most lightweight cotton possible and made in a shade of green that complements every guy's skin. Wear it untucked—it's trimmer and the tail is shorter. And there are those dirty-white jeans again—a go-to option for guys wary of all the Clorox-bright versions out there. Boat shoes look great with everything in the spring, but especially when the look is this uncomplicated."

"I'm a fan of wearing a cotton sweater for spring as long as it looks authentic and isn't too thin or droopy. Frank's managed to achieve the look and heft of a winter shawl cardigan, while still keeping it lightweight enough for cool summer evenings. The shawl collar gives it a classic Paul Newman vibe, and yes, folks, there's that chambray shirt again. The faded navy cotton shorts are cut slim and worn as they should be: just above the knee. Chances are you'll rock this sweater ten months of the year, so think about buying it early, in the winter months, when it first hits the web site."

"This sports jacket is made of a lightweight denim that's been washed to give it just the right amount of patina without losing its suit-like structure. Its stylish wrinkles make it easy to travel with, and the color and fit give you an abundance of outfit possibilities. The bold gingham-check shirt is washed out and softer than the colorful ones from last season, but it still looks sharp with an un-done tie, a tie clip, and a thin cashmere cardigan. The slim flat-front chinos complete the look, and the heavy caramel wingtips give the whole outfit some weight. Try wearing a belt that's a different shade of brown than your shoes—it's a move that makes you look like you aren't trying too hard, and it'll get you tons of compliments."

"Color can be a little hard to pull off, but this red chambray shirt makes it easy, thanks to its perfectly washed-down shade. Buy a blue one and then experiment with the red—you'll love its informality and layerability, not to mention the fact that it can be worn untucked (thanks to its leaner shape). J.Crew's skinny rinsed jeans have a great fit and wash for a guy who doesn't want to look like he's in a band. They're just laid-back enough for a gentle roll of the cuff and a pair of just-worn-in desert boots."

"This is the season to grab a khaki cotton suit and wear it a hundred ways. I like the informal/formal thing Frank's doing with the styling of this one, with the dark shirt and mini bow tie—perfect for a summer wedding or a spring city evening. Boat shoes with no socks give the suit a cool texture, and the crisp white pocket square works the contrast-style angle in a very cool way."

"The most important rule in mixing two pieces of denim is to make sure they're a contrast in washes—one darker than the other. This born-in-the-USA weekend look starts with a soulful denim shirt. The tapered jeans are of a slightly darker shade but are also washed, and the casual, half-untucked look keeps you from looking like a ranch hand. J.Crew always has great luggage and canvas bags, and this faded weekender feels authentic with the all-denim outfit. A pair of brown thick-soled lace-ups anchors the whole look."

"We gave a huge shout-out to this Baracuta golf-inspired jacket last spring, and here it is again, this time in bottle green and looking city-chic with a lightweight cashmere V-neck sweater, a bright blue shirt, and white jeans. The DNA of this outfit is a lesson in the classics. When these very basic pieces are combined, they create a look that's both retro-inspired (am I seeing Paul Newman again?) and completely modern. In other words, this look is as comfortable on the 18th-hole green as it is on 18th Street."

"One of the greatest things about shopping at J.Crew is that all the suits are sold as separates. Which allows you to get the right fit in both the jacket and the pants, and gives you the freedom to wear each piece on its own. Case in point, this navy suit jacket, which is great by itself or as a suit. The look here is part Milanese man (pink mini-check shirt) mixed with a dash of British gent (pocket square and tie bar) and a dose of American dude (jeans with loafers). This is great personal style, where the essence is knowing how to mix the classics, adding color, and learning the importance of accessories."

(GQ magazine)

Lots of great, "pulled-together," no fuss looks.