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J.Crew Ludlow Legacy Blazer in Italian Wool Flannel – $219.50 ($450)

Pricing Note: J. Crew just dropped these back down to a “steal alert” price of $219.50 as part of a quiet, limited, “men’s essentials” promotion. Just yesterday they were $315 with a code. So this is probably as good as it gets. No code needed this time. Prices are as marked. They are NOT final sale at post time. So they can be returned/exchanged if need be, although sending one back through the mail will cost you a $7.50 return label. Deal ends this Thursday, 2/8/24. 

There are cheap navy blazers (synthetic or cotton fabric, usually stiff feeling)

and then there are navy blazers (nice wool, well constructed, soft and drapes well)

The J. Crew Ludlow Legacy blazer is the latter.

Size 36 S, unaltered, on Ryan who is 5’9″/160

It’s still darn near impossible to find a nice-wool navy blazer for around that magical $300 line. It’s a menswear essential which works with everything from jeans to chinos to cords to dress trousers. You’d think there’d be more options, right?

And while the Ludlow Legacy carries a steep MSRP of $450, it has been going on sale/promotion lately. A 30% off code would drop it to $315. 40% off moves it to a very palatable $270. And if you’re real lucky, you may be able to get it for less. Maybe.

Available only in their Ludlow style (modern, slim fit), and only available in navy, the Legacy blazer doesn’t try to do too much. But it’s not lacking features and polish either. J.Crew decided to switch it up this year by dumping the timeless (and frankly expected) 2-button front, and instead opting for a 3-roll-2 closure. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as you can see online and in-person, it basically disappears in real-time wear as it’s designed to:

The top-most button on a 3-roll-2 jacket “rolls” behind the lapel on purpose.
It’s a tailoring detail that some geek out over. Bottom line: the Legacy blazer wears like a standard 2-button.

Two sizes were ordered for testing. Unboxing these bad boys turned out to be quite… whelming. While the fit and finish is overall fantastic (buoyed by a sweet zippered half-fold garment bag included), the unboxing itself definitely left something to be desired. Garment bags were included, yes, but the blazers were separate from the garment bags, in plastic bags with the garment bags folded on top. Would have been nice to see them protected better, given the investment?

One came with a skinny hanger, the other came with a wide shouldered hanger. Use a wide shouldered.
Those white threads are what’s known as a “basting stitch” and meant to be removed by the blazer’s new owner,
just like the “X”s on the tail keeping the vent(s) closed/stable for shipping.

Now, I don’t know if this was an oversight, or just a luck of the draw, but upon receiving my 36S and 36R jackets for review, one had a super-nice wide-shouldered hanger, while the other… was just a standard, flimsy plastic shirt-style hanger. It could be that I was getting two jackets and they didn’t want to send me two hangers, but it stands to reason that buying an almost $500 blazer should come with a nice hanger DEFINITELY included.

Soft & lightweight wool flannel from Vitale Barberis Canonico.
Wear it in everything but hot hot heat.

For the overall design, it nails the “modern” blazer look. Switching out the stilted gold or brass buttons for a tonal finish lends a more casual but refined appearance, as does swapping pick-stitching for topstitching. There’s a standard welt pocket at the left chest, but on the lower half there’s patch pockets that come with flaps. Nice. That’s pretty unique, and looks smart.

Fabric and construction are flexible. Passes the hug test.
Flapped patch pockets on the lower half make it look less like a re-purposed suit jacket.

The Vitale Barberis Canonico wool fabric comes from an Italian family business that’s been in business since the 1600s, so it’s no wonder it feels absolutely fantastic in hand. It even flexes a bit, passing the “hug test” when wrapping your arms fully in front of you. It drapes beautifully, and is a lightweight rather than a heavyweight flannel, best for for 3-season wear. Brilliant.

Half lined for extra breathability.
There’s an odd misconception that half-lined blazers/suit jackets are “Cheap.”
It’s actually more expensive to do it this way, as you can see the “guts”/there’s nowhere to hide sloppy work.

A half-lined back keeps you cooler in warm weather, yet keeps you comfortable when it’s not. Flapped-patch pockets on the front look fantastic, and help it from looking like a repurposed suit jacket. The lapel lays nice and flat, and flipping the collar up reveals a sweet contrasting felt liner. Inside are two standard inner chest pockets, a pen slot, and a small pocket near the inner bottom, presumably for keeping your phone without making a bulge.

Non functioning sleeve cuff buttons make for easier/less expensive tailoring.

Jackets usually come down to a 36S or 36R for me, and given the choice, I’m going to go with the 36S here, although both felt equally excellent. The sleeves fit right, the shoulders hit right, it’s just a matter of sleeve and body length. Thankfully, J.Crew does what many blazers inexplicably won’t, and went with non-functional cuff buttons (THANK YOU) for easy tailoring (read: significantly cheaper). So choose whichever fit works best for the rest of your body, and leave the rest to some very simple alteration work. Since the 36S was not particularly chopped in the rear, it was a pretty easy choice for me to leave the tailor out altogether.

Felt undercollar. 

There’s really not much of anything to dislike about this jacket, especially when it’s recently dipped close to the $200 mark. That’s a screaming deal for a top-notch blazer. Full retail is a bit pricey, but when it gets down to that under-$300 threshold, it’s well worthy. J.Crew knocked it out of the park here, and here’s to them keeping that legacy going.

About the Author: Ryan N. is a fully remote professional web developer who keeps a close shave as to not be confused with his strongly-bearded twin brother. He plays guitar and drums, loves going to concerts with his wife, and loves being a dad.