A Family Affair

My grandfather Jacobi Press, eponymous 1902 founder of J. Press, would have been honored by the propitious wardrobe bearing his original label worn by 4th and 5th generation Presses for my son Ben’s nuptials @Malibuwestbeachclub. Their outfits are duly informed by a level of sartorial taste not usually associated with LA that clearly reflects the famous Ivy Style originated by their namesake.

Ben is clothed in “Tailored To Individual Order” Fox of England, 9 oz. Cambridge grey tropical worsted bolstered by 5% mohair with a barely visible pattern of muted tan glen plaid background. Details include 3/8” lap seams with coat fully lined with grey Jacquard silk, tailored in the renowned 3 roll 2 J. Press natural shoulder model with a center-hook-vent. His dress shirt (Made to Measure) styled with contrast white collar and cuffs set against powder blue pin-dot body of 100% cotton Oxford. His tie: J. Press imported pink ground silk Macclesfield.

Grandsons suitably chose “off the rack.” Jared, recent NYU Tisch School of the Arts graduate sports a blue pinstripe. Weston, Tulane University sophomore, opted for standard Oxford grey.

My own Grandpa Press studied for the rabbinate prior to his emigration at age 16 from the family shtetl in Latvia. He scuttled the Press family tradition of a rabbi in each generation instead bidding farewell to the pogroms and poverty of the Russian Pale for the promise of a new life in The Golden Door of America.

Ben’s bride Rebecca Whitman’s grandfather had a more decisive rabbinical history. Dr, Alexander Guttmann (also known as Rabbi Guttmann) was the presiding Rabbi of the famed Hochschule Academy in Berlin. His family was rescued by Hebrew Union College retaining a position for him in Cincinnati as Professor of Talmud Studies. He was responsible for securing the safety of the academy’s valuable Judaic manuscripts dating from the12th century. He, his wife and infant child were on the last boat of Jewish escapees leaving 1940 Genoa, Italy possessing the priceless historic collection.

The Press family traditions are indeed a Fiddler On The Roof unto themselves.





Dear Mr. Press,

Mazel Tov on your son’s marriage!
I happened to find your article “Golden Years: My Brief Bromance With Frank Sinatra” that you wrote in July, 2017 and I was intrigued to learn that you once dressed Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, and that your association with him ended in 1969. Prior to that, I understand that Sy Devore of Los Angeles fitted suits for Sinatra and the Rat Pack among others. For many years I have been acquainted with Umberto Autore, a tailor in Long Beach, California who claims to have become Frank Sinatra’s tailor in the early 70’s. His story is a fascinating one. (See my book Sinatra’s Tailor, published 2019, Aakenbaaken & Kent.)

I also read with great interest that your daughter-in-law’s grandfather, Rabbi Guttman was rescued from the Nazi regime and settled in Cincinnati. My rabbi and mentor, Wolli Kaelter, was also among those who were rescued, studied at Hebrew Union College, and served as rabbi at my congregation, Temple Israel in Long Beach for decades.

It’s a small world, indeed.

Cantor Mark Thompson
Seal Beach, Calif.

Mark Thompson January 13, 2022

My bottle green J. Press blazer in the 3/2 Waterbury Button Sack Model with hooked vent still gets compliments everywhere I go despite the well-worn lining!

Robert W. Emmaus January 11, 2022

Handsome lads and wonderful and inspiring family story. I’ve been in awe of J Press since I first visited the Madison Avenue store in the 1980s, and I relish each new article I purchase. Long may you reign as unchallenged Royalty of Ivy Style!

Mixkey McDermott January 11, 2022

Dear Richard:

Write more, more often, on more topics. And, I like the made-to-order shirts.

Best, pjt (customer now for 43 years)

Peter J. Travers January 10, 2022

Destiny demonstrates Decision and Decision determines Destiny.

Donald Robert Wilson January 10, 2022

Everyone looks swell, dressed in their J Press best. Congratulations to Ben and Rebecca. And to you, Richard. (Didn’t my father tailor Ben’s Bar Mitzvah suit? He’d be thrilled to hear about Rebecca’s heritage.)

Judy Samelson January 10, 2022

What an inspiring story. Do we really have any notion today of the courage our ancestors demonstrated? At the core was a deep respect and love for family and traditions. Thank you, Richard, for sharing these lovely memories. Looking forward to many more.

Richard Landerman January 10, 2022

A heart-warming story as usual Richard. I concur with your assessment regarding “style” in Los Angeles, but I am also glad that I am not alone out here showing the “ivy” flag!

Jay January 10, 2022

Great History !
In the 60s ordered from your traveling salesman
Here. In later years living in Greenwich CT.
Please remain Authentic -don’t flurry as BB has.
Now go to the Press Archives and bring back the
Pre 70s Detail and Traditions please.

Best Wishes
John D. Lee

John Lee Bexley Ohio January 10, 2022

Wonderful! , I really enjoy your writing, and, as I will be 70 this year, I am thankful for almost 5O years as a J. Press customer!! (I am wearing a navy shaggy dog sweater as I type this). Keep up the good work! John Merrill, Waterford, CT.

John Merrill January 10, 2022

Very pleased to read the interesting history.

L. J. Lanzerotti January 10, 2022

Congrats! Sharp looking young men. We have the obligation to show them the way, and it looks like we are succeeding.

Mark January 10, 2022

Richard, where are you? It’s been a long time since Beecher!

betsy alderman January 10, 2022

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