Where Are Men Buying Suits Off the Rack?

When The New York Times heard from 81 men who responded to a survey about off-the-rack suits they had bought since 2021, the style that came up the most was introduced around the time Barack Obama was first elected president: J. Crew’s Ludlow suit.

The Ludlow suit, which has been offered in various colors and fabrics, has a slim fit and starts at $298. After its introduction in 2008, the Ludlow became “instantly omnipresent,” according to GQ. The Wall Street Journal said the suit “changed the way we dressed.” Guy Trebay, the men’s fashion critic at The Times, wrote that the style “transformed our relationship to suiting.”

Most survey respondents who mentioned the Ludlow suit said that they owned more than one version. Steve Zegans, 45, a content strategist in New York, owns two. He described the style as “refined and classic.”

A J. Crew Ludlow suit from 2012. The slim-cut style was introduced four years earlier and was mentioned the most by respondents to The Times’s survey.Credit…Emily Berl for The New York Times

Steven Rojas, the director of marketing at the Twenty Two, a hotel in New York, owns four. Mr. Rojas, 42, also has suits from Sandro, Dior and Thom Browne, he said, but he has gotten more use out of his Ludlow suits because the style strikes a balance between contemporary and classic. It is, as he put it, “versatile enough for both professional settings and the dance floor.”

To get a sense of how male shoppers are navigating the off-the-rack-suit landscape, The Times reached out to more than 1,400 men between the ages of 20 and 80 from across the United States last summer and fall. (Off-the-rack, for this article, meant a suit bought online or at a store that fit a person’s body with minimal or no alterations.)

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