If you’re new around these parts, allow us to formally welcome you to the mall brand renaissance, where the jackets are suede and red carpet-ready, the chinos are giant and drenched in ‘90s nostalgia, and the polos are knit and way cheaper than they should be. The vibes, in other words, are at an all-time high.
Something is in the air at your local galleria, and it’s not just the smell of stale Cinnabon. Over the last few years, Abercrombie has excised the demons of decades past, swapping its jacked flagship sentinels and seamy ad campaigns for a sunny, down-the-middle take on Americana. Under the watchful eye of ex-Supreme designer Brendon Babenzien, J.Crew’s menswear continues to garner capital-B Buzz. Banana Republic is good now. Even Madewell, J.Crew’s denim-obsessed younger brother, received a gentle facelift recently, courtesy of a trio of industry veterans, among them GQ’s former deputy fashion director Jon Tietz.
The Best of the Mall’s New Menswear
All of which is a long-winded way of saying the mall is so back, baby—and you don’t need to swing by the food court to get in on the action. To prove it, we checked in with a quartet of resurgent mall brand mainstays and organized the best of their most recent drops into four elite-level outfits you should wear from now until the crocuses bloom. Get in, loser: we’re going shopping.
For the Amorphous Cocktail Shindig
Not sure what to wear to the latest confounding RSVP to hit your inbox? In a word: a suit. In a few more words: a suit that looks exactly like this one, cut from a deliriously luxe super 120s wool and tailored to fit slouchy and relaxed everywhere you want it to be. Extra points if you double-down on the formal vibe with a lustrous silk shirt and a groovy patterned tie—and tuck them both beneath a shaggy cardigan.
For the Impromptu Office Visit
Contrary to your colleagues’ water-cooler speculation, you do, in fact, exist outside of the pixelated confines of Zoom. So when the time comes to prove it, seize the opportunity to flex accordingly: ditch the starchy button-up for a megawatt knit polo and swap those well-worn derbies for swaggering boots with serious yee-haw energy.
For the Bed-to-Bodega Shuffle
The fastest way to elevate your lazy weekend fare? Keep the sweats, but nix the Cheetos-stained hoodie in favor of a V-neck sweater that oozes retro heartthrob vibes—and anchor it all with one of the most exciting It sneakers of 2024.
For the Weekend Getaway
Not to exacerbate your wanderlust here, but if billowy linen pants in a just-right shade of eggshell don’t make you want to hightail it to somewhere sunny, you might have bigger problems than the forecast. Just gearing up for an excursion upstate? J.Crew’s legendary barn jacket—re-introduced this week in highly-limited quantities—is about as quintessentially rugged as it gets. Snag ’em both now and scoop the ticket later.