J Crew's New Short Sleeved Stretch OCBD Reviewed

J Crew's New Short Sleeved Stretch OCBD Reviewed

A short sleeve button down shirt is a great option for the warmer weather. It’s a bit more put-together than a polo, without the full-on stuffiness of a regular, long sleeved button down. Plus, if you get it in either bold prints, or very subdued solids like white or pink, it’s a great, casual option that can look great with a pair of shorts, just as quickly as it could under a blazer. Especially when it comes to dressing for the summer, versatility is key, and that is what we are all about here. Now, as always, you’re going to want to go with a fabric that is more designed for the summer than just a standard cotton. Something with a bit of stretch, and a bit of breathability would be ideal. You want to be comfortable. That is why the J Crew Slim stretch short-sleeve American Pima cotton oxford shirt ($59.50) caught our eye. A bit of a mouthful, to be sure, but if the fabric is as great as it sounds, and if the fit is good for a short sleeve shirt, then this could be a real winner for the warmer months. 

Packaging & Experience

Depending on the day, the free shipping threshold is different at J Crew. But, if you meet it, which usually is not too much of an issue, especially if you try out multiple sizes or fits, then shipping is indeed free. It’s not the fastest, but it’s not terrible either, at about a week on average, in my experience. Packaging is usually bland, in either a paper bag or cardboard box. Items insides are wrapped in plastic, and that’s it. Just sort of thrown in there. However, J Crew offers free return shipping, and not just that, but they include the label in the box. And not just that, but they include both a UPS or a USPS label so that you can take your pick depending on which is more convenient for you. I think that is huge, and it is by far superior to, say, how Banana Republic, or many other big box brands handle returns. So, for that, major props. A-

Style & Design

This shirt is a classically styled oxford shirt, but with short sleeves. There is a chest pocket which I could do without, but otherwise, this is standard fair. Nothing really to write much about here. The color white, which we went with for this review, is nice and clean. The texture to the shirt is nice as well, and looks almost ever so slightly pique from up close. It’s rich, which is nice to see from an OCBD shirt. The collar is also neither too big nor too small. It’s a well styled shirt, that is classic in just about every regard, and like we said at the top, could go just as well with a pair of shorts or even swim trunks to the beach, as it could under a blazer to a dinner on a hot day. A

Quality & Construction

You are getting typical J Crew quality here. It’s all well-made, and all the stitching is neat and clean. The fabric has some real heft to it, but still remains breathable, smooth, and comfortable. That is thanks to the American Pima used in this shirt. It really is noticeably smoother and softer than a standard OCBD cloth. While the product details on the site list only “cotton” as making up the fabric, there is indeed noticeable stretch to the shirt, though it is definitely quite subtle. The stretch is likely from the weave, and not from some incorporation of spandex, elastane, or similar. So, again, it’s not a lot but it is there. It adds to the movability and comfort of the shirt some. It’s nice to have. Overall, this is the sort of shirt that gets better and more comfortable with each wear, as it breaks in, and becomes smoother and softer. And, when you buy from J Crew, you can expect it to last a solid amount of time, and hopefully many seasons. You also have a company widely known for its stellar customer support behind the product, and that is no small thing at all. A

The Fit

(Note: I am 6’1” and 165 lbs. and usually wear a size S or 15” shirt in a slim fit.)

I went with my usual size Small in the slim fit version of this shirt. On me, the waist and length were perfect, but there was some slight pulling in the chest, by the armholes. This is especially strange considering that, while the armholes themselves were quite narrow, the opening of the actual sleeve was enormous. And this is my biggest, and really only, complaint about this shirt. And I see short sleeve button down shirts do this all the time. The sleeve opening is simply way, way too wide! It’s doesn’t look good flopping around a bicep like that. It looks, quite frankly, absurd. And when it comes to a piece like a short sleeve button down, nailing the fit is key. And yes, while some people do, of course, lift more than others, and thus have bigger biceps and triceps to go with it, who on Earth has only a 20.00” chest but a 7.50” bicep?! Who is this shirt made to fit?! Consider that the average sleeve opening on a slim size small polo is 6.25” — more than a full inch slimmer! — and you really have to wonder. Thus, this shirt seems like it would not fit most very well at all. If you’re slim guy, there will be much too much room in the sleeve, and if you are a stockier guy, then the waist and chest will be way too tight! The fit makes this shirt no good for most anyway, at least without tailoring. It’s a pity. B-

MeasurementsJ Crew Slim Short Sleeve Stretch (S)J Crew Ludlow 15/33Charles Tyrwhitt Extra Slim Fit 15/34Spier & Mackay Slim Fit 15"
Wrist / Sleeve Opening7.50"10.00"10.00"9.33"

Value & Conclusion

J Crew Slim stretch short-sleeve American Pima cotton oxford shirt — $59.50: When it comes to J Crew, you know what you are getting. It’s a quality garment at a reasonable price, made even more reasonable during one of their inevitable and perpetual sales. At full retail, it’s maybe then not worth it, simply because it can so often be had for less. Either way, though, the quality is there, the style is there, and the comfort and movability that you would want in a summer short sleeve OCBD is there. The fit, though, is just way out of whack. If you are fine taking it a tailor, then go for it, I suppose. But, considering that a tailor might not always be able to help the fit issues here, depending on what is off about it for you given all discussed above, our recommendation might have to be to pass on this one. After all, for just a few bucks more, you can get a custom short sleeve shirt from any number of places that will fit you perfectly. It’s a harsh reality, but anything like this from J Crew has to be compared to the modern e-commerce custom MTM places. When there are serious fit issues with a J Crew garment, it makes these new places look even more enticing. Final Grade: B

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