Since 1915 the Brooks Brothers headquarters stood entrenched on 346 Madison Avenue, the Rock of Gibraltar, warp and woof of establishment power.
Brooks Brothers even motivated my grandfather, the eponymous J. Press to march me across Madison Avenue from his second-floor shop to their Boy’s department for my Bar Mitzvah suit some seventy years ago. The salesmen on the first floor knew him well, bowing to him as he as if he were royalty. Soon after trying on my boy’s size 14 grey flannel suit, he paid for it in cash, trooping back to his shop across the street where he tore off the offending label, affixing his signature one in place. Grandpa proceeded to pin and chalk the suit preparing me for my fashionable Torah presentation at the altar of Temple Mishkan Israel.
The turn of the 20th century New Haven retailers all borrowed the Brooks No. 1 sack suit and button-down collar shirts with David Langrock, Bill Fenn his brother Jack Feinstein, Arthur Rosenberg, Izzy White, Sam Rosenthal, Moe Maretz all “following suit.” Grandpa enlarged the Brooks apocrypha redefining his own version with a flap pocket on the OCBDs and raised notch lapels on suit jackets, sport coats and blazers all with signature center hook vents.
Recalling his days at Yale former Episcopal Archbishop of New York Paul Moore, Jr., in the memoir My Harvard, My Yale, credited Jacobi Press with doing more than anyone else to establish the Ivy Look. “His tweeds were a little softer and flashier than Brooks Brothers tweed,” Moore writes, “his ties a little brighter.”
Manufacturers and retailers nationwide got in the act including manufacturers Gant and Sero Shirt Makers in New Haven, Hathaway Shirts in Waterville, Maine, Troy Guild in upstate New York, suit makers Norman Hilton, Julie Hertling, Hickey Freeman, Linett, H. Freeman, Haspel Brothers, and Gordon-Ford.
LIFE Magazine, nevertheless, recognized the J. Press campus stores along with urban Brooks Brothers as progenitors of the Ivy League Look. The article heralded its 1954 coast-to-coast implosion by Main Street retailers.
Today J. PRESS expands 21st century resources rejuvenating popular styles honed during its long and illustrious history, currently serving the day to day and weekend requirements of our store and online clientele.
One block east of the now skeletal Rock of Gibraltar, side-by-side the Yale Club, together with our New Haven and Washington, DC shops, J.PRESS proudly retains the crown— Cynosure of American Style.