I purchased the J.Crew Keeper chambray shirt almost two years ago, and it is without a doubt the most worn shirt in my closet - I wore it all. the. time. It was comfortable, it went with everything, and it was just all around the perfect shirt...until it ripped (even then, I still wore it around the house. shhh, don't tell anyone). While the Keeper chambray shirt was a long time J.Crew staple, it turns out they have replaced it with the Always chambray shirt. Since I was such a fan of the original, I purchased its replacement during a recent 30% off sale. Here are the similarities and differences between the two.
|Keeper chambray || Always chambray|
Similarities: Both are 100% cotton, which is very important when it comes to picking the comfiest shirt in your closet! I assume that sizing is very similar between the two - I can't say this with certainty as my Keeper chambray is a size 12 and my Always chambray is a 10Tall (more discussions of that below), but according to the measurements online, both regular sizes come in at the same body length of 27 1/4. If you have the Keeper in a size that you like, I'd advise going with the same size for the Always chambray.
Differences: The most immediate difference is in the color of the shirts. Both are portrayed brighter online than they are in real life, but I assumed they would be similar. Granted, my Keeper chambray has gone through the wash many many times, so some of the color differences is due to fading, but even the online version of the Always chambray is much lighter than the real life version. I personally prefer the slightly lighter coloring, so I'm hoping that the Always chambray will fade a bit with time as well. Another big obvious difference is that the Keeper chambray had two pockets with buttons on the chest, while the Always chambray only has one button-less pocket. While I like the look of the buttons for the most part, the fabric tends to get a bit wrinkly and distorted (as you can see above), and it also puts a limit on layering it under sweaters (the button placement just makes you look...chilly, if you know what I mean). So points for the Always, as it requires less maintenance and is more versatile. The Keeper also had buttons on the sleeve (which I never used), which the Always does not.
I wanted to also just show you how the tall sizing looks on me here - I'm 5'9'', so I don't always need tall sizing, but appreciate the option if it's available. Since I always felt that my Keeper chambray was just a tiny bit too short on me, I opted to go with the tall sizing, one size down for the Always chambray - I typically order one size down when I buy something in talls, as I find that talls generally run larger overall. I do prefer the tall sizing here - it's two inches longer in the waist (29 inches instead of 27), which I really like (I think it looks more proportional, don't you?). If you have longer arms, you'll appreciate the longer length of the sleeves as well - I always roll my sleeves up though, so this wasn't a big deal for me. I also think the waist comes in at my natural waist as opposed to a little too high.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the Always chambray, so if you've had your eye on it, get it so we can be twins :)