Fashionable Life: Men’s Style with J. Crew’s Frank Muytjens

The brand’s fourteenth men’s-only store is now open in Logan Circle.

Frank Muytjens, Senior Vice President of Men’s Design for J. Crew.

Frank Muytjens has a PSA for the men around town: you’re probably wearing the wrong size.

Muytjens, J. Crew’s Senior Vice President of Men’s Design, is exactly the kind of man you want to take style advice from. He studied fashion in his native country, The Netherlands, before beginning his career in Geneva and eventually shipping off to the U.S. to work for Polo Ralph Lauren. His diverse background is largely credited as the key behind J. Crew’s east coast prepster turned all-American cool image.

The ingredients to this new American? “Classic, but with the right twists,” said Muytjens. Think expert tailoring, streetwear influences and really good fabrics—especially denim.

Which brings us back to men’s problem with size. “As much as guys are into the skinnier fits and silhouettes, I think a lot of guys are still buying one size bigger than they actually are,” said Muytjens. When coached back into their true fit, “they look so much better,” he added.

Some of this size confusion may be because the men’s fashion market is changing. “Men’s style has been all about being more fitted, and guys have become okay with that. But, in the last two seasons, there’s been a resurgence of a slouchy silhouette, of roomy, not-so-fitted garments,” said Muytjens.

His recommendation for navigating this new territory is to embrace the change, mixing classic and street to get a modern look. “That juxtaposition is really nice, wearing slouchy, oversized pieces with a fitted, tailored piece,” he said.

To fashion first-timers, Muytjen’s advice is to wear more color—something likely to resonate with the D.C. crowd, too. “A lot of guys have trouble with adding color to their wardrobe. You can start by adding color with a colorful sock or tie, a colorful pocket square, and take it from there.”

Men in the district now have the opportunity to add more color and flair to their wardrobe with J. Crew’s new men’s-only shop in Logan Circle, which opened its doors last week. Located on 14th Street, the store is only the 14th of its kind. The location will be a one-stop-shop for dress shirts, weekend flannels and “everything in between,” said Muytjens, who curated the apparel and accessories for the new store.

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Inside J. Crew’s new men’s-only shop, located in Logan Circle.

Something unexpected keeps resurfacing while talking to Muytjens about men’s fashion and J. Crew’s current collection: Japan. Japanese influences seem to be the hidden cool factor in J. Crew’s clothes. Muytjens is particularly fond of the men’s Japanese-inspired denim collection, which launched last year and sources high-quality fabric from a Japanese textile house. He has also headed many collaborations for the “J. Crew in Good Company” collection, which includes partnerships with several Japanese brands. Patterned socks from AnonymousIsm and shirts and sweaters from Comme des Garçons are highlights. Other collaborators include iconic shoemakers Alden and of-the-moment street brands like Adidas and Nike.

The brand’s wide range of influences and collaborators shows that reaching out of your style comfort zone is a risk, but certainly not without reward. Muytjens thanks his eclectic international background, too, for allowing him “to not take any rules too seriously, and to have fun with them.” His style success is proof enough that in fashion, having fun is the one element to never forget.

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