From GI Khaki To Classic Poplin



Captain Irving Press drowned in khaki during World War II running the PX (Post Exchange) store at Fort Ritchie, Maryland. Upon his discharge he contacted his PX uniform maker sharing their mutual interest converting the plant from Army uniforms to postwar civilian wear.

G. Bruce Boyer, recent book-signer at J. Press 44th Street, noted in his latest tome True Style, the Golden Age of Ivy can be dated with the 1944 passage of President Roosevelt’s G.I. Bill of Rights allowing so many young ex-servicemen the financial means to attend colleges and universities.

Veterans flooded York Street in their army khaki trousers garnished by blue blazer, OCBD and Repp tie fulfilling Yale’s strict coat and tie dress code of the era. Meanwhile, St. Grottlesex trust funders caught on, flocking to the College Street Army & Navy Surplus stores emptying their shelves of their $3.95 Army Surplus Khakis to complement their pricier Squeeze three-button jackets.

The U.S. Army 100% cotton twill fabric proved nearly impossible to sensibly tailor as a suit jacket. Norbert Ford, head of Irving Press’ original GI manufacturer, now labeled Gordon-Ford, made all the linen, seersucker, and corduroy suits for J. Press beginning the early 1950s. Together they honed the old Army khaki into J. Press warm weather best-seller, “Wash & Wear Poplin Suits.” In 1959, the $42 suits of Dacron/Cotton Poplin were featured in a vast array of color tones including Khaki, Desert Tan, Opaque Ivory, Olive, Black Olive Mix and Deep Indigo Blue.

J. Press later fostered new tailoring resources and production facilities allowing introduction of our perfected 100% cotton and cotton rich blend Poplins. Their legendary comfort and ‘dry touch’ ensures this classic category a primary place for summer wardrobe requirements with an extended range of garments including Poplin Suits, Trousers, Shorts and Outerwear.

Who says JAWNZ can’t be sophisticated?


Richard Press

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published