A grab bag of columns featuring J. Press have recently been featured in the public domain. Peter Tonguette, has written about literature, film, and the arts for many publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, et al, heretofore provides a massive dose. He scribed a book length chapter @thespectator.com headlined “Richard Press on J. Press and the art of getting dressed.”
Tonguette predicates his theme tossing me into the mix:
J. Press is now the leader of a smaller niche market — an admittedly vibrant one for those who choose to model their style of dress on, say, John F. Kennedy rather than John Fetterman. All the same, Richard Press is undaunted. He turned eighty-five this year, and he has spent most of his life working for — or having an association with — J. Press, most recently as the author of a delightful pair of books recounting his adventures in and around menswear: Threading the Needle, published in 2021, and its recent sequel, Threading the Needle II. He has a seemingly limitless storehouse of insights and reminiscences, and ample reserves of gusto with which to tell them.
“Basically, it's a natural shoulder,” he says of the fundamentals of the Ivy League suit. “It doesn’t have to be three-button, although J. Press has promulgated the three-button natural shoulder suit. It’s using materials that are softer finish. They’re not hard finish. For winter weight, whether it’s flannel trousers, it’s almost 100 percent woolen or cotton, using little if any polyester whenever possible.” And he can go on and on — about Oxford button-down shirts, about brushed Shetland sweaters (J. Press’s inimitable Shaggy Dogs are the most unique on the market).
He reiterates my dismay at the demise of the suit as a standard for upscale attire, noting my observation that there are still jobs out there that require grown-ups to dress like grown-ups, especially in the nation’s capitol. A well-earned example, many J. Press customers visiting our DC store work in government, administration, they’re judges, and they have to wear a suit. The trend is hardly favorable when a recent NY Times obit stated,”Males attending the memorial service are asked to dress appropriately with a coat and a tie.”
My suit rant continues, “But enough about dressing for work. The weather is warming up; summer is upon us. Let’s say you are a young man under forty. What do you wear in the months ahead? If he lives in a more formal geographical location — i.e., urban or top-grade suburban, and if he was going to a wedding — I should say maybe a poplin suit, a seersucker suit, a madras jacket with white slacks.”
Mr. Tonguette ends his @TheSpectator encomium observing, “One senses that Richard Press relishes dispensing such advice. “At this time of my life,” he says, “to be so actively involved truly keeps me going, along with the gym and my dirty Martini every night.”
The secret is out.