Been a long stretch since October 2018 when I penned the first of 118 Threading the Needle columns. Frosting on the cake: IGTV videos allowing me to revive my primordial off-Broadway stagecraft. The real theatre always boasted a one-day intermission on the weekly performance schedule. My contributions will be beginning hence to appear bi-weekly allowing for comfortable audience digestion after each epicurean repast.
Unlike politico or entertainment blogs, my commentary is meant to be a succinct representation of historical, social and sartorial facets of American Style deriving from J. Press. The company bearing my grandfather’s name reflects a current safety net for those disembarking from the sinking ship of other former favorite enterprises that defined “dressing down.”
J. Press upholds the original sign over my grandfather’s store, “Gentleman’s Tailors, Clothiers and Furnishers.” Since 1902 the loyalty of regulars since those early years together with a growing swath of patrons unaware of the company’s historic roots continues its rebirth.
My favorite Hall of Fame menswear critic George Frazier (recently dissected in my column several weeks ago) held forth in his 1960 Esquire Magazine dissertation:
Today both men and women sell the clothes in our specialty shop surroundings although virtually all the tailors and emporiums Frazier referred to have either disappeared or discarded the attributes that gave them notoriety. J. Press holds firm to the clothing philosophy and good taste that has been it signature for 119 years.
Meanwhile, stay tuned for publication:
THREADING THE NEEDLE: J.PRESS, SHAGGY DOGS, AND THE ORIGINS OF IVY STYLE—MEMORIES & ANECDOTES BY RICHARD PRESS—WITH A FOREWORD BY G. BRUCE BOYER.
Priming fingered paws for book signings post-COVID vaccination. Come on Baby let the good times roll. See you round the bend.
I Wen to school in Virginia when we wore coats, we’re not yet co-ed. The girls came down the Ivy corridor to learn what a party is. We shopped at Alvin-Dennis in Lexington and Eljo’s in Charlottesville. On lacrosse trips to Harvard we shopped you near the Square. Although that was nearly 50 years ago I still wear every tie/braces bought while there. If you ever want to define time, look in my closet
I’ve enjoyed every one of your columns, as I have enjoyed shopping at the New Haven store since the mid-1960’s. In many ways, your column reminds me of Simon Clode’s “The Explora,” which he launched on the site operated by his family business, Westley Richards Ltd, until his untimely death a year or so ago. His columns, like yours, explored matters of taste and history that had a personal and admittedly subjective appeal to me. I always found that Gabe and Marty knew more about the goings-on at Yale than almost anyone, and on more than one occasion during my twenty-three years of working and teaching at Yale I was grateful for their insights. As much as I miss them both, Jimmy and James have made the shop a welcome place to visit still, and a shop that continues to occupy a unique place in the Yale community.
Paul Press, Pitt’32
I’m a farm boy from Indiana and I never understood the idea of “dressing down”. We learned how to dress up when the occasion called for it—and that, plus my conservative politics—has served me well these past 75 years.
The fun of wearing a mixture of J.Press with a Socal style is the best.
I agree and look forward to the book!
Richard: Howard Edelstein from Cleveland here. Did your father have any Pittsburgh connection. I recall my father (who went to Pitt in the early 1930’s) mentioning he had a friend named Paul Press in those days. Enjoying your writings. Howard
As with SARTOR RESAURTUS by Thomas Carlyle— “The Tailor Retailored” — elegantly, classically, eminently.Donald Robert Wilson
I look forward to the book. Your histories have been a comfort through these difficult times. Gabe, Mr York and all the others would be proud.
Many thanks for your notices and , as a former occasional visitor to the Harvard Square location, I shall look forward to the publication referred to herein.
Looking forward to your publication. Now, if only Paul Winston would…
For those of us unable to acquire the book, perhaps you’ll make Mr. Boyer’s foreword
(not forward) available on this delightful blog.
Maintain the good work and fine standards!
I always look forward to your charming column.