The Necktie Dream

The Necktie Dream

In 2011, long before the COVID pandemic, a doctor’s association in New York supported banning neckties for doctors after a study revealed that the dangling strips of silk can transmit bacteria leading to infection. This would have been devastating news during the Heyday of Ivy Style in the 1950s and beyond when J. Press sold countless caduceus ties in school colors for the Yale, Harvard, and Columbia med school fans. One of our celebrity patrons included New Haven resident and Yale alumnus Dr. Benjamin Spock.

In 1968 more than 10,000 ties were randomly packed in corrugated boxes strewn about the shipping room on the mezzanine of our 44th Street store. Every morning the downstairs crew grabbed handfuls tossing them onto the tie counters surrounding the center stairwell.

They were never imprisoned in glass showcases. Jacquard Macclesfields began the merry followed by Repp stripes, Wool Challis, Ancient Madders, Silk Knits and seasonally appropriate bleeding India Madras. Irving Press, my uncle and boss, habitually strode around the counters messing them up, making them an irresistible petting zoo for customers to stroke, finger and feel.


Grasshopper was our signature emblematic tie in our New Haven campus store. The slim 3” navy ground was emblazoned by thick yellow insects. Gossip on York Street spread the tale of a Smith girl asking her Yalie date if the tie he was wearing signified membership in a club. He responded he was “tapped” by Grasshopper.

The emblematic tie ensemble provided either a jungle or barnyard of pigs, geese, wild turkeys, mallard ducks, tigers, elephants, bulldogs and horses. Adjoining was a silk locker room of squash rackets, golf clubs, and lacrosse sticks. Wall Street was not to be denied a bull and bear. And let’s not leave out beer mugs and martini glasses.

How will it out in the new Year? J. Squeeze dreams the impossible dream of a post-COVID necktie revival. We placed our bet with a full presentation of past favorites, still on top of the counter to touch and feel. 

I tie my tie, you tie your tie











The J. Press Yale Sports tie is my all-time favorite! It’s a conversation starter with any former jock who’s introduced to me. Almost every former jock wants to see if his sport is on the tie… then reminisce about the good old days. Me, too!

Here are the sports sewn on the tie blade:
• Track & Field
• Tennis
• Basketball
• Polo
• Baseball
• Crew
• Soccer
• Swimming
• Lacrosse
• Football
• Hockey
… and Handsome Dan, the Yale Bulldog Mascot!

My youngest Son played Varsity Football and Lacrosse in High School and was recruited to play Varsity Lacrosse at Yale.He played all 4 years at Yale. His Old Man played Football and ran Track in High School and was recruited to run Track at his college…. which I, too, did for 4 years.

Bill Welty

Thanks to all who replied. I loved Gerard Casey’s comment likening CNBC anchors without ties and with stubble to Iranian government officials. Mr. Press, I met you in the New York store decades ago and have never forgotten your courtesies Thanks for keeping alive one of the rudiments of Western civilization as seen in the tie. I have hundreds of them packed in my closet dating back to the 60’s, including three or four grasshopper ties in various shades. It is encouraging in these dark days to know that there are still gentlemen of taste and style active in America. Keep up the writing and the encouragement. More of us need to be heard from!

Gary Gober
Nashville, TN.

Gary Gober

Indeed the tie, no matter the knot or style, completes the look for any well-dressed man. However, if we desire the next generation to adopt this principle, we will need to introduce a line at a price point that caters to that generation’s culture of cost discipline. Expensive ties are luxuries these young gentlemen can ill-afford as they wrestle with mounds of student debt and COVID-related job cuts and furloughs. How about it then? And while we’re at it — an affordable pair of pajamas to introduce these young men to the palatable pleasures of “dressing for bed” in the late evening . . .


I have winnowed my tie collection but still add one if hard to resist: worn mostly in SF, NYC and London; and formal events.

Randy Ventgen

JPress=superb ties. I taught secondary school for years. One day, a student remarked, “cool tie, bro”. Of course, it was none other than a JPress necktie. On another occasion, I was dining out just before an evening meeting. I was kitted out in a tweed jacket and tie. As I left, a patron said, “Physician?” I replied no. “Attorney?” No again, and I replied “Latin teacher”. I owe those two memories to JPress.

Virgil Evans