J. Press customer Frank Sinatra famously warbled, “Regrets I’ve had a few.” One of my regrets to this day is that I wasn’t around to fondle a tape measure around the neck of drop-dead gorgeous movie star of the day Kim Novak when she visited J. Press in 1957.
Fresh off her role as the object of Sinatra’s lust and affection in the light-hearted musical Pal Joey, the beautiful Novak strolled in asking to see “those wonderful shirts you’re famous for.” Boy, would I have enjoyed being the guy who’s turn it was to take that sale! Unfortunately, the deed was done by a salesperson far more handsome than yours truly, Ray Solomon. Ray was a roustabout J. Squeeze star in our upstairs slot on the northeast corner of 44th St. and Madison Avenue. Measuring her up and down Ray never got beyond selling her half a dozen Oxford Cloth Button Down shirts along with a picture In Life Magazine.
The venture occurred in when I was at Dartmouth perambulating around the Seven Sisters (Smith, Wellesley, Vassar, etc.) attempting to bribe dates with Shaggy Dog sweaters. If I got past first base perhaps, I might favor them with an OCBD like Kim Novak’s. Sometime the ruse worked, sometimes not.
The wages of sin.
Vertigo was the second grownup movie I saw. I watched it with my mother when I was 11; it knocked me out. I’ve loved Alfred’s movies, Miss Novak, and Jimmy ever since. I didn’t know that he was a Princeton man.
The fullness of the J. Press OCBD traditional cut shirt can comfortably double as a pajama top—particularly when soft and well-worn and hand laundered.
Edith Head also dressed Kim Novak very well. Courtesy of her nephew, I have her signed portrait (in a soigne décolleté gown) inscribed “Your Honor, this is my honor, Kim Novak”.
I loved your Madison Ave. store. I can still remember it when I was fresh out of PSU in 1973. I used to have your OCBD shirts sent to me at my St. College, Pa. address whilst an undergrad. I still have the pink one with the button flap pocket.
Too bad she wasn’t in the market for undershorts.
She was fantastic in Vertigo with James Stewart. BTW, was he a J. Press customer? He was a Princeton man.
Perhaps Ray Solomon experienced “Vertigo” when he so closely measured Miss Novak for her J Press shirts, without a bell or a book or a candle.
Gotta love it. What a dish she was.
Too old for us, though, Rich.