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.




1 comment

When I first looked in the window on Mount Auburn Street in 1950 I was too poor to afford anything behind the glass. Now, 70 years have gone by and it is still the type of clothes I like to wear.

Charlie McCarthy November 10, 2020

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published