It was just a couple of weeks ago that J.Crew launched their Ludlow line of dress shirts.  When I first discovered them in a shiny new email I was intrigued.  Last week I found myself in a Boston mall at a J.Crew men’s shop staring at a table full of them.  Since losing over 25 pounds (and still going) I have been forced to tailor some clothes, and buy others new.  I managed to fit some dress shirts, but others were just way too big.  The Ludlow seemed like a logical option for a few reasons:

  1. I buy most things J.Crew
  2. They are slim fit, and are meant to be worn with the J.Crew Ludlow suits and jackets (which I own a few of)
  3. The price at $88 per shirt is reasonable

I tried the shirt on in a light blue stripe all the while asking the sales person about the initial public reaction, his thoughts on the shirts, etc.  He said the first week he could barely keep them on the shelf, and the week before they had actually started to sell them he’d had many requests.

My initial assessment was that the shirt fit well through the torso.  There was very little extra fabric hanging around my lower back, under my arms, or in the chest.  As one shirt maker once told me, I am built like a fire plug with a big neck and shorter arms.  That said, the collar was a tad more snug than I would have preferred, and the sleeves a little long.  These are easy fixes, however.  An extra button could be added to each sleeve so I can avoid shortening them the little half inch or so that it needs shortening.  And a rarely wear a tie, so closing the collar will hardly be an issue.  Though, there’s nothing that another 5-10 pounds lost couldn’t cure.  So I bought one in a MEDIUM – my new favorite size!

My bigger concern, however was to be how the shirt would fit after a cleaning.  I wore it the first night I had it, and sweat a good deal (it’s summer.)  I took it to the cleaners the following day – laundered, no starch – and got it back to day.  Here is my assessment as it corresponds to the numbers in the photo series above:

  1. Minimal shrinkage in the torso.  I still have another 5-10 pounds to go, so I am not too concerned.
  2. Collar shrunk a bit.  I can close it with ease, but I wouldn’t want to wear it like this all day.  Again, losing a few more pounds will help this.
  3. Another shot of the torso.  Six months ago, I doubt I would have fit into the LARGE.
  4. Sleeves did not shrink at all (of course).  I wish the shirt came with double buttons on the sleeves, but luckily I learned to sew a button at a young age, and can add them myself.

    

    

All in all, I like the shirt.  I will wear and wash this one a few more times before I make any decisions whether or not to buy more.  Again, at $88 each they are reasonable, but it’s still not pocket change.  If I had to give it a grade, I would give the Ludlow Shirt a B+.  It’s a great looking shirt.  It’s a great fitting shirt.  Is it perfect?  No.  Will I consider making it my new favorite dress shirt?  We shall see.

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