A longtime Yale pal periodically sent me bits from his alumni magazine that he knew would buzz me. Here is my favorite bit reflecting obvious changes that have occurred on the New Haven campus as the Class of 2025 awaits the welcoming address by President Peter Salovey.
Marty Nichols ’52, in a 2013 Yale Alumni squib remembered his immigrant father bringing him to B. Gordon Integrity Clothes on the gritty Lower East Side of New York outfitting his son for Yale. Unaware of sartorial nuance governing the Eli power elite, the public-school aspirant came to realize he was entering a world he did not recognize. President Charles Seymour’s welcome address to the freshman class in Woolsey Hall was his first occasion to wear suit and tie. He discovered it was obvious they knew something he did not, all fused in dark grey flannel where his not quite electric, but decidedly sunny blue plaid B. Gordon suit seemed to glow.
His recollection of times past:
Marty Nichols survived his clothing humiliation believing his fashion exceptionalism built character. He wonders if perhaps his classmates learned about diversity and acceptance. His closing remark, “No matter, but I still wish that Mr. B. Gordon had been on speaking terms with Mr. J. Press.”
Perhaps Mr. Nichols is unaware my grandfather, Jacobi Press, himself an immigrant off the boat in 1896, six years later in his early twenties founded the firm bearing his name.
The current J. Press headquarters is temporarily located at 206 College Street two blocks off campus. 21st Century J. Press in New Haven features an exuberant window display of its signature American Style worlds apart from the gray suits light and dark of former days.
Its New York emporium in the Yale Club building on Vanderbilt and 44th Street continues the 119-year historic relationship between J. Squeeze and Old Eli.