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Mr Porter's Glossary of Men's Style

J Brand has been the go-to denim label for fashionable women since its inception in 2004. In 2008 the hotly anticipated men's collection launched, which has since grown into a full range of premium jeans, cargo trousers and chinos with contemporary design and careful finishing.

Launched in 1983, New York-based J.Crew has become an American style institution, renowned for its easy-to-wear wardrobe staples that reference menswear of the past but remain unerringly contemporary. "The functional details and authenticity of vintage military surplus and workwear from the 1940s and 1950s, as well as the elegantly tailored suits worn by JFK and the leading men in movies such as North By Northwest, Blow-Up and Novecento, are the kind of influences that inform our collection," Mr Muytjens explains. Previously unavailable outside of the US, Canada and Japan, MR PORTER was the first retailer to sell this iconic brand's menswear globally. The twin emphasis on effortless style and superior quality has propelled J.Crew from the humble mail-order catalogue which it was in the early 1980s to the fashion force it is today. President Barack Obama, Mr Jake Gyllenhaal and Mr Johnny Depp are fans of the label's sleek, no-nonsense style, and so are we. Read more about J.Crew

Jill Sander

Jacquard is a weaving process that enables the production of cloth with intricate, variegated patterns, often with some elements of the pattern raised. A jacquard woven silk with a paisley pattern is pictured above.

Jackass Pants

(Also known as go to hell pants)

A useful term to cover trousers favoured by Americans living in the Deep South, hardcore WASPs or ironic dressers fond of poking fun at Southerners and preppies. This sub-genre of trouser can include madras (see madras), Lilly Pulitzer and any trousers featuring cute representations of birds, dogs, whales or any of the other 12 plagues visited upon Pharaoh. While the wearing of said garments represents a subliminal cry for help, you'd be shocked how often otherwise talented designers feel the need to go there.

The word jeans comes from the French phrase bleu de Gênes - literally, the "blue of Genoa", from the port where Italian sailors wore them in the 19th century. Meanwhile, denim takes its name from de Nîmes, after the Provençal town where the rough cotton twill was originally produced. From miners in the California Gold Rush of the 1850s, through to teenagers a century later in the 1950s (think Mr James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause), and Times Square billboards advertising designer pairs by the likes of Calvin Klein and Levi's, denim has maintained its status as a staple of the male wardrobe thanks to its comfort, durability and iconic associations.

Unwashed jeans (often described as raw, rigid and dry) are not pre-washed, meaning they will change in appearance over time, acquiring a broken-in look. Sanforization is a process which prevents jeans from shrinking when they are washed. Un-Sanforized and unwashed means jeans will shrink when wet, so it's advisable to buy them two sizes up if you plan to launder them. These jeans are marked "shrink to fit" and can be intentionally shrunk by submerging them in water while wearing them, to achieve a personalised fit.

Washed jeans are less complicated, but offer a less "authentic" experience (according to denim purists, at least). If laundered correctly they will not shrink significantly, and already have a worn-in look thanks to various treatments manufacturers use to wash them.

Selvedge denim is woven on narrow looms, a time-consuming process that ensures the fabric has a woven "self-sealed" edge which is durable and will not unravel. This in-built seam runs down the centre of the denim, meaning the jeans only need to be stitched down one side of each leg in production (the selvedge edge runs down the other side). This makes them stronger and can also improve the fit. Another element to consider is production location (yes, really): denim nerds will tell you that it genuinely matters whether the loom is placed on a concrete or wooden floor since the latter makes the looms move and reverberate when running, adding "character" to the denim as it is woven.

Other terms you'll encounter when shopping for jeans include those relating to the cuff: straight leg, boot cut (slightly wider at the cuff, originally to allow ventilation and so sailors could pull them off more easily if they fell overboard), flare (they have a wide aperture - aka bell bottoms). Tapered legs decrease in width towards the bottom. If this taper is fairly noticeable, and the jeans are cut narrowly at the top, then they are usually termed slim fit.

John Smedley

Jean Machine was the definitive UK denim store in the 1970s, with more than 100 branches in its heyday offering both its own line and a variety of other brands. Fondly remembered by Brits of a certain age, Jean Machine never made it to the new millennium. This year, however, Ms Chloe Lonsdale, daughter of the Jean Machine founder, has revived it as Jean.Machine, a premium denim line characterised by an understated approach to style. Ms Lonsdale works with the Jean.Machine team to deliver the ease and confidence of the original Jean Machine while providing straightforward, stylish clothes. Read more about Jean.Machine


This is a method of weaving fabric - principally wool or cotton - that results in a slightly stretchy garment, which is why the resulting material is mainly used for close-fitting or athletic clothing.

Jill Sander

Jil Sander has been a byword for effortlessly cool, minimal fashion since the German designer founded her eponymous label in 1968. The brand's original principles of supreme quality, clean lines and aesthetic restraint continue to ring true today.

Jimmy Choo

Since launching in 1996, Jimmy Choo has become a global footwear phenomenon, famed for its stylish, luxurious shoes. The label launched a men's collection for autumn/winter 2011. Combining British style (with more than a hint of 1960s mod) with impeccable Italian craftsmanship, the collection strikes the perfect balance between classicism and contemporary style.

John Lobb

Since 1866, John Lobb has been supplying gentlemen with the finest shoes and boots and, although the styles have been updated, little has changed in terms of quality and attention to detail. John Lobb's shoes are still handmade the traditional way from a workshop in Northampton, with 190 steps and several weeks needed for the production of each pair. Treated with care, a pair of these shoes should last a lifetime. Read more about John Lobb

Mr Andrés Hernández, John Lobb's creative director, talks about caring for your shoes
John Smedley

John Smedley has been producing knitwear for 225 years and its collections are still designed and manufactured at the original location in Derbyshire, England. Keep warm in a fine-gauge merino wool knit or opt for a lighter Sea Island cotton sweater or cardigan, all available in a range of vibrant colours and neutrals. Read more about John Smedley


The German watch manufacturer, Junghans, has recently reissued original timepieces designed by the celebrated Bauhaus designer Mr Max Bill in the 1950s and 1960s. With their clean, uncluttered looks and precision self-winding automatic movements, one of these watches will make a timeless investment.

Junya Watanabe

"When I design menswear, it's important for me to consider where you wear the clothes and what purpose they serve. I love workwear and the American tradition" Mr Junya Watanabe

Once described as "the most elusive fashion designer in the world", in a rare interview with The Guardian newspaper, Mr Junya Watanabe shuns media attention and has seldom been photographed. Instead, the designer prefers to let his work do the talking. From his techno couture pieces, which blend high-tech fabrics with traditional construction, to his radically futuristic collections, Mr Watanabe's intellectual approach has seen the introduction of new concepts of cut, fabric and styling, in addition to affirming his position as one of the most influential contemporary designers.

Having graduated from the prestigious Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo in 1984, where fellow alumni include Mr Yohji Yamamoto and Mr Kenzo Takada, Mr Watanabe began working for Comme des Garçons in the same year. Under the guidance of the label's founder, Ms Rei Kawakubo, Mr Watanabe held several positions at the firm, before showing his first independent collection - but still part of the Comme des Garçons group - in 1992 ("whatever Junya does, I don't interfere," Ms Kawakubo explains). Menswear followed in 2001, with Mr Watanabe's men's collections less conceptual and more heritage-inspired than his womenswear. "It is important that you have a purpose when you design menswear," Mr Watanabe explains.