The Leisure Class

The Leisure Class

Four score and five years ago yours truly had his tushie spanked in New Haven Hospital. Still reeling from the multitude of birthday plaudits also accorded my four days older wife, Vida. Amidst the congrats, @Ivy Style/Facebook resurrected a 1987 article from Success Magazine at the time self-described, “Focusing on people who take full responsibility for their own development and income.” I have long forgotten the magazine and its accolades Ivy Style/Facebook jolted the recollection.

The article drew upon the previous year purchase of our family business duly reported @nytimes:

  1. Press Inc., the tweedy men's clothier that has been a favorite of Harvard and Yale graduates for more than 80 years, has been purchased by a Japanese marketing and licensing company for an undisclosed sum. The purchaser, Kashiyama USA Inc., is a subsidiary of Kashiyama & Company, which, with 1985sales of more than $1 billion, is one of the largest men's wear producers in Japan. The company is no stranger to J. Press, the Japanese licensee of that chain for 14 years.

Success Magazine emblazoned its encomium: “THE LEISURE CLASS—Samurai Salesmen—Why Must the Japanese Import Their Blue Blazers From J. Press?” The hallelujah commentary concluded that there’s even an expression in Japan  if you’re dressed sharply, you look very J. Press.

A further quote recalls vice president of a Wall Street investment bank who buys everything he wears at J. Press, “You could walk into that place blind drunk and still walk out looking respectable.” 

The report continued the head of the New York store ‘charming WASPY’  Richard Press noted F. Scott Fitzgerald told his college-age daughter to be careful of those Yale wolves in their J. Press tweeds.

Still take issue being called “charming WASP.” I remain a Curb Your Enthusiasm altecocker clad in remnant worsteds and tweeds out of my archival closet knotting a truly ancient madder bow tie over my ragged collection of white/blue/yellow/pink J. Squeeze OCBDs.


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This explains why the Ivy League look was so popular in Japan when I visited Tokyo many times while stationed in Asia. I never could quite figure out how they got from kimonos and geta to tweeds and saddle shoes. An interesting story. Thanks very much.

Anthony K Farina

Richard is a follower of the “Dress British, Think Yiddish” school.

ben gerson

I enjoyed your article.

Dimitri Pavlowitch

Love the above commentary

Dimitri Pavlowitch

Where we come from, the term “WASH” is more appropriate: White Anglo Saxon Hebrew, as my late father would describe us.

W.H. Marks

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