Grand Central Ivy

Commenting on several of my recent columns depicting Ivy League football, a college friend reminds me, “Win 2, Lose 6 Cornell knocked off then undefeated Dartmouth affirming an Ivy verity—a league of scholar athletes promoting equal opportunity within a relatively narrow range of available talent. Any given weekend it’s possible to move from the bottom to the top.”

This year, Yale came from behind against Harvard to score a 50-43 thriller in double overtime. It took the Elis half a century to get even from its 1969 debacle when Harvard made a miraculous comeback scoring 16 points in the final 42 seconds to tie the game against a highly touted Yale squad. Meanwhile, this year’s spectacle produced a 21st Century riot special. The New Haven Register reported, “Spurred by a generational call to action on climate change, hundreds of spectators stormed the Yale Bowl field Saturday in protest, delaying by 40 minutes a Yale-Harvard football game that was momentous even without a collision of sports and political culture.”

Why write about Ivy League football on J. Press time? It’s in the company bloodline. J. Press was tagged Home of the Ivy League Look to a national audience by LIFE Magazine in 1954. The beat goes on although perhaps more at home nowadays at southern university tailgates than its Northeastern birthing roosts.

The challenge for Ivy Style adherents remains adapting to the current clothing culture while nevertheless carrying forth the original traditions of our trademarked good taste and faultless tailoring.

Truth or fiction—you decide. A street-smart mover and shaker is surprised to receive a J. Press Brochure in his home delivery newspaper, be it The New York Times, Wall Street Journal or Washington Post. Piqued with images of seemingly real life models in circumstances familiar to him, he heads to 44th Street (or Avenue L in DC or College Street in New Haven) garbed in his usual weekend hoodie, jeans and canvas sneakers. Entering J. Press, he is greeted by a knowledgeable staff member steering him into the portals, nooks and crannies of our touch and feel store. Tweed outerwear, Shetland sweaters, Irish Poplin neckties, tattersall and tartan sport shirts, and unending varieties of sport and dress trousers. Soon thereafter, he becomes numb to the raft of praise from friends and associates commenting on his new look—dressing up rather than dressing down. Another Ivy upset, this one away from the gridiron.

His new wardrobe, mimicking the brochure, portrays our subject leaving his usual weekend jaunt to Zabar’s draped in a Camel shade English Melton Duffel Coat with flap-patch pockets, attached hood, horn toggles and leather loops. Underneath the coat, a Fair Isle multi-colored soft brushed sweater from the Shetland Islands over white Oxford button down shirt and aubergine English cotton corduroy trousers.

Other choices hanging near his closet; Harris Tweed Herringbone Reversible Coat with reverse side weatherproof gabardine and his natty Grey Herringbone Field Coat.

All Ivy with style.





Dear Richard,
On 11/26 I stopped in to your 44th St store to see Tom Davis and show you or whomever present my treasured Shaggy Dog Cable. Alas there were none of our age to be found, only a cheerful Gen Y salesperson who told me that Shaggy Dogs don’t have that “strange knit pattern” in them. I protested telling him I had purchased it in your Mt. Auburn St. store in about 1963 and pulled up the label to prove it but he seemed unimpressed only pointing to the display of new plain knit Shaggys. Mine has served me well for 56 years and I think it’ll last several more.
What do you think about a return of the cable knit Shaggys – any possibility ?
I was unable to attach a photo of the item

Dan December 10, 2019

Only at J. Press can the addition of a ticket pocket take a conventional grey flannel suit out of the Board Room directly to Yale Bowl without stopping at home to change!

Robert W. Emmaus December 10, 2019

You are smart to make the point that you’ve adapted to modern times while maintaining your tradition of “good taste and faultless tailoring.” As a Columbia alum whose son attended Wash U and now is an investment banker in NYC, I’ve shared this piece with him, suggesting he take a look at J.Press.

Barry Kelner December 09, 2019
A fellow Ivy chap (Cornell ‘49) reminded me at our Atlantic Club workout of the famous Fifth Down during a Cornell-Dartmouth football game in Hanover in 1940. Seems Dartmouth was about to win when late in the fourth quarter the referees mistakenly awarded Cornell a “fifth down.” Cornell scored to win and lord it over the host Dartmouth Indians. However, in the following week Cornell’s president, showing the decency long practiced by Ivy Leaguers, announced that the Big Red would forfeit the game. Seems all’s fair in love and Ivy League sports.
John Hamilton Miller December 09, 2019

Dear Mr. Press:

There are a group of colleges just beyond the Ivy League that add to the tradition and style of J. Press such as my alma mater Colgate. And for example, visit Trinity College in Hartford and one will see J. Press style still in abundance.

Please keep writing your enjoyable articles.

Michael J. Dale December 09, 2019

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