Hugh & Crye Review: Better Fitting Menswear

Originally posted at The Modest Man on August 27, 2019

In this Hugh & Crye review, we take a detailed look at an e-commerce brand that takes a distinct approach to fit.

A HISTORY OF FIT

The landscape of menswear has changed substantially in the last decade. On the first go around, e-commerce sites led to the dot com bubble which popped in 2000.

Hugh and Crye tee
Photography by Anthony Bolognese

Years ago, marketing teams weren’t needed during good times but the Great Recession forced everyone to reassessed how they created value for customers.

Stack it high and watch it fly.

The old saying in retail was “stack it high and watch it fly”. This was the running trend of big box retailers since the 70s and they competed on price alone.

Millennials, which are now the largest percentage of the workforce in America, are far more diverse in ethnic, racial and religious background but also in body type.

Activities like CrossFit and Starting Strength have produced a generation of men with butts, hips and thighs.

At the same time, this group is demanding clothing be near skin tight but also comfortable. Such expectations have put retailers in a bind as foot traffic has slowed in malls, consumers are pickier and more price points sensitive.

The advent of smart phones and a 24/7 connection to the internet has pivoted consumers to browse and shop online without ever having to step foot in a store much less have to travel across town.

E-COMMERCE 2.0

The U.S. had a long-standing quota system when it came to the importation of textiles. That all ceased in 2005 which has allowed for the slow dismantling of control through a select few companies.

With decentralization in the garment manufacturing world, an astute business person can travel overseas and develop relationships with factories for production.

The trick is ironing out production issues before mass quantities are made while creating a streamlined website that can interface with a reliable third-party logistics company (3PL).

Such direct-to-consumer brands offer a better value because of the lack of brick and mortar overhead, however, there are many other costs associated with running a digital brand that keep folks out of the business.

Being able to keep up with fresh designs, turning inventory each season still prove that such an industry is not one for those looking to make ‘easy money’.

HUGH & CRYE

The company Hugh & Crye is a small business that was started by a few gents in 2008. Their goal was to solve a problem in the retail industry by creating a shirt that had a better fit and feel.

Armed with reams of data on men’s sizing, they developed 12 unique fits that span across a matrix of three height ranges (short, average, tall) across four torso builds (skinny, slim, athletic, broad). The result: a lot of happy customers.

Hugh and Crye button down shirt

What makes this company interesting from an e-commerce perspective is how they have grown the business with one original brick and mortar location in Washington, DC.

It’s the only city in the nation where the terms professional and transient are in the same sentence. These young go-getters find themselves in DC looking for the next career move but in the long haul, find themselves transplanted over the world depending on where their passion lies.

With that, relationships with Hugh & Crye that were developed in DC remain. H&C has customers in all 50 states and in several countries. That in itself should be a testament to the staying power of selling a product that is built to last.

THE REVIEW

Hugh & Crye has an interesting product selection and I wanted to try a little bit of everything just to get a feel for their offerings. The piece I found most unique was the popover with a banded collar.

Hugh and Crye short-sleeve collarless popover Indigo blue

This is the only shirt that didn’t have a height specification so I merely selected the Pampelonne ‘skinny’ model in Indigo Blue. At first, I wasn’t terribly thrilled with the shirt design buts its grown on me and when rolling the sleeve a few times, is quite light weight and comfortable.

Hugh and Crye henley placket

The second piece I tried on was Hugh & Crye’s signature t-shirt. It has their logo on the front and is a great throwback. I selected this in size Short-Slim.

Hugh and Crye t-shirt

Looking back, I would have like to have tried the Skinny version just to see how much slimmer it would be through the midsection but the shirt overall made for a great weekend warrior with jeans.

To give the review a little diversity, I brought in my friend, Chris Williams to try on a few pieces. He’s the same height as me at 5’7” but 10lbs heavier at 170 with slightly broader shoulders and bigger arms.

The first shirt we put him in was the Ogden button-down in Teal, size Short-Slim. H&C shirts are a better fit on Chris and probably couldn’t have been designed better by a custom tailor.

Hugh and Crye button-down collar Teal, white check brushed twill

In the shot we did together, I am wearing the Rock Creek in Short-Slim and Chris is in the Georgetown Short-Slim colored pink dress shirt.

Hugh and Crye shirts

As you can see, the length and fit overall are great. We both have the sleeves rolled up but those are also just right at about 32”. They placed the sleeve button in the right spot so the shirt sits nicely on your wrist and doesn’t ‘eat’ your hand, a common issue for guys with small wrists.

CONCLUSION: WORTH YOUR MONEY?

All of the pieces we received were made from 100% cotton but did not shrink much after washing and were very comfortable.

One part where I think H&C has nailed it is on shirt length. Tucked or untucked, the shirts looked and felt great. The ‘tail’ design was done just right so even the dress shirts look good worn casually.

The website offers a LOT of specs with various models (which are real guys by the way) and designs to see how the shirts would look on you. As blousy as the popover was in size Skinny, I do wish they provided the finished measurements but that’s coming from a perfectionist technocrat.

These shirts are by no means ‘the perfect’ fit but it’s about as close as its going to get for a retail shirt with a variety of options. H&C has added their monogram to various shirts, contrast details and reinforcing where it is needed.

Hugh and Crye shirt

I would say that their styles are both timeless and modern. Guys of all ages can wear these without feeling like they are out of their element.

The final word is that the sport shirts are a must grab. I have seen others such as the flannel in person and believe they are worth picking up. The popovers will appeal to a unique set of guys and they are growing on me.

Lastly, the dress shirt collection covers the basic colors and collar styles, but at the price point, I think this is a very crowded market and there are other options that might be better.

At minimum, it’s worth picking up a shirt or two after reviewing their fit page to find what is right for you. I know I’ll be wearing mine for years to come.

I hope this Hugh & Crye review helped you determine whether this brand is right for you. Leave any questions in the comments sections below!