The J. Press  Look In Novel Form

The J. Press Look In Novel Form

Just picked up Martha Hall Kelly’s latest novel The Golden Doves published April 2023. Here’s an unlikely bit from a book exploring the fate of Nazi doctors in World War II: “Compared to my slick Ivy League father, who holds a higher position in the competing CIA, Karl has none of the J. Press no-socks-and-penny-loafers’ edge…”

Author Kelly is a native New Englander who splits her time between Litchfield, Connecticut, Hobe Sound, Florida, and New York City and knows the look she’s writing about. She’s also big time. Her debut novel Lilac Girls became a best-seller the week it was published in 2016 and then went on to sell over two million copies.

The author is well versed in The J. Press Look gained by her frequent visits to the well-heeled, understated Florida beach town Hobe Sound.

More “open” than earlier times of its founding , Hobe retains its ultimate old-money mystique. Jupiter Island, formerly solely an enclave of privilege, propriety and privacy known to a lucky few. That exclusivity and low-key civility was the goal of its original developers’ family, the Connecticut Reeds. Permelia Pryor Reed and her husband, Joseph Verner Reed, created their then genteel world in the 1930s - "no notoriety, no newspaper articles, just close friendships and casual fun. A quiet life, totally unlike booming Palm Beach.”

The author’s native standby, Connecticut’s Litchfield County, is known for its New England inland charm with tree-lined streets, historic homes, quaint shops, and restaurants together with a commitment to arts and culture. It is also home to a number of historic prep schools among which are Kent School, Hotchkiss, Salisbury, and Taft. Blue Blazers worn with OCBDs over Khaki Trousers are standard dress up schemes. In the warm weather the sidewalks feature much Madras and Seersucker, Ivy frosting on the preppy cake.

A final quote from the same book accurately proscribes the J. Press City Look: “His crew cut is shorter, but otherwise he looks remarkably unchanged, in his J. Press blue pinstriped suit and tortoise shell glasses.”

Ah, the J. Press 2024 Lookbook in novel form!





Richard, I found more than the usual interest in your article about Martha Hall Kelly for a couple of reasons. First, Joseph Verner Reed, Jr. was two years ahead of me at Deerfield Academy. Second, my son Win and his family live in Litchfield. His wife, Cara, owns a women’s store there, Oliphant Design. Litchfield is a typically charming New England town, as you mentioned.
Another interesting story from you, thanks.

Charlie Hotchkiss
June 13, 2024

Charlie Hotchkiss

A good book, but I’m not sure about no socks—Bruce Boyer, a great Press fan, is opposed.

Charles Porter