The Golden Years by Richard Press

Golden Years: Bow Tie Laugh Riot

An extraordinarily witty and cleverly packaged new book by James Gulliver Hancock succinctly titled “The Bow Tie Book” addresses the idiosyncratic cravat style alternately viewed as eccentric, erratic, professorial, bohemian and Churchillian. The book is loaded with a compendium of bow tie history from many eras in an uproarious agenda. Social Primer K. Cooper Ray

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Holiday Party Footwear: Jay Butler’s Low-Vamp Bit Loafers

As you gear up for holiday parties and prepare to break out the Black Watch tartan and other festive items, here’s another footwear option. Those who aren’t fans of velvet slippers might want to take a look at the bit loafers by Jay Butler. Founded by Justin Jeffers, an enterprising young man in Pennsylvania, the

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From The Archives

The Old Money Look: Princeton Boys And The Sandpapered Shirt Collar

The recent New York Times piece on the the new/old Brooks Brothers oxford shirt contained the source of an important sartorial anecdote. Years ago I’d seen a reference online to the custom that Princeton boys back in the day who didn’t come from WASPy families and prep schools would sandpaper the collars of their shirts

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Golden Years: A J. Press Tie For Dr. King

My father Paul Press met Martin Luther King, Jr. at a Reform Jewish Temple in New Haven. Dad was president of the temple and Robert E. Goldberg its rabbi. Goldberg, a jocular and very left-wing Talmud scholar, was a close friend of playwright Arthur Miller and officiated his marriage to Marilyn Monroe. He was also


Golden Years: Road Trip To Rahar’s

Rahar’s was a home away from home for me and my pals. The watering hole served as Northampton, Massachusetts headquarters for visiting collegians pursuing female companionship at Smith College. The dilapidated bar and restaurant occupied the ground floor of a post-Civil War Victorian mansion set on a spare hilltop a block off Main Street, just


What To Wear While Watching Football

Whether you’re watching football today in a freezing stadium or in your cozy living room, here’s a role model for how to dress. Pictured is Ivy Style’s Golden Years columnist Richard Press — former president of J. Press and grandson of founder Jacobi — at  the Dartmouth-Penn game in 1958. Happy New Year from Ivy


Golden Years: Hot Under The Collar

“The Man In The Brooks Brothers Shirt” in Mary McCarthy’s 1946 short story wore his shirt buttoned down. But in New Haven during the heyday of the Ivy League Look, guys in dirty white bucks often made a different choice. They bought their shirts at Fenn-Feinstein, White’s, Langrock, Arthur M. Rosenberg or J.Press, dissing the


Golden Years: Anything Goes in New Haven

Reposted in honor of National Dog Day. This column originally ran on June 13, 2011. * * * Last night the Broadway revival of “Anything Goes,” which had received nine Tony nominations, ended up winning three. As I watched, I couldn’t help but remember one of the great historical anecdotes of J. Press: The time



Golden Years: On The Cuff

Last week a reader posted an image on Ivy Style’s Facebook page that appeared to show Cary Grant in a buttondown-collar shirt with French cuffs. One sees this occasionally in old photos and movies, but it’s not something you can exactly go out and buy readymade today. We asked Richard Press to weigh in on


Golden Years: Read My Lips

“Destiny and Power,” Jon Meacham’s surprisingly vivid biography of former President George HW Bush, is Shakespearean in its depiction of family, power and public service. It also briefly described an incident from one of the great days in the life of 10-year-old Richard Press. My beloved uncle, State Senator and New Haven City Court Judge


Golden Years: Politically Incorrect In The Heyday

During the Ivy heyday, before the Free Speech Movement, discourse on college campuses was largely the opposite of today. Pro-establishment speech was politically correct, while anti-establishment speech was incorrect. Richard Press reminds us that while the tables have turned, there has always been speech that is discouraged. * * * Professor Herb West delivered his


Golden Years: The Dartmouth Blazer Brawl

  My days at Dear Old Dartmouth began on a September morn 60 years ago with dad cruising confidently along Route 5 in his Buick super convertible and mom inhaling a pack of Camels for the five-and-a-half-hour drive from New Haven to Hanover. It was on this the virgin voyage to New Hampshire that my


Golden Years: Rebel Without A Suit

Yesterday saw the e-publication of phase one of Richard Press’ memoirs, which he has been hard at work on for the past couple of years (and which is why you haven’t seen as many Golden Years columns). The lengthy stand-alone essay, entitled “Rebel Without A Suit,” is available from Amazon for $2.99 and can be


Golden Years: From The Pale To Yale

“Blood lust” describes my passion for Daniel Horowitz’s engrossing saga, “On The Cusp: The Yale Class Of 1960 And A World On The Verge Of Change.” Dan Horowitz grew up around the corner from me in New Haven. We haven’t been in touch for over 50 years, but his visit to the Ivy Style Exhibit


Pattern Recognition: Happy National Tartan Day

April 6 is National Tartan Day. In its honor, Richard Press shares some thoughts. For more Tartan Day coverage, visit our fraternal site MasculineInteriors.com. * * * The Heyday of Ivy, the period after World War II until the civil disorder of the late 60s, regarded costume with contempt, at least at J.Press. Understatement was


Goldfinger On Forty-Fourth Street

Yesterday fashion luminary Oscar de la Renta died at age 82 at his home in Kent, Connecticut. The Ivy Style team had been preparing a series of posts on the concept of elegance, and when news broke of de la Renta’s death, Richard Press quickly revised his latest column, once again showing that King Richard


Golden Years: Suiting Up Eli Frosh

Suiting up Eli frosh in the heyday was do or die for New Haven clothiers. Salesmen at J. Press were instructed by my dad Paul Press (front right) to memorize the Yale Freshman Blue Book. He quizzed them daily about dorm addresses, hometowns and secondary schools the book provided. Freshmen lived in seven ancient dormitories


Golden Years: Getting High On Reefer Twill

We continue our exploration of the double-breasted jacket’s place in the Ivy genre with these recollections from King Richard XLIV. * * * The best-selling blazer in J. Press history was gathered by its roots from Aunt Florence. Irving Press’s spouse was a lady who lunched at the fringes of La Cote Basque and other


Golden Years: Goodbye To All That

The walls are slated to come tumbling down on the J. Press building in New Haven at 262 York Street. The structurally unsound building is scheduled to be razed next month. The J. Press story began the turn of the century, serendipitously around the corner from the current J. Press quarters, on College Street. JC


Golden Years: The Tables Down At Mory’s

Last week I spoke at “the dear old Temple Bar we love so well.” Mory’s, founded in 1863, moved from “the place where Louis dwelled” of “Whiffenpoof Song” fame to its currently shabby chic colonial quarters on York Street in 1912. Originally a private club, townies were never allowed on the premises unless they were



Golden Years: An Apologist For Tradition

Ivy Style wraps up its recent series of posts on menswear rules with these thoughts from Richard Press, who is pictured at left with his uncle Irving, circa 1984. * * * How did personal taste and idiosyncrasy fit within J. Press offerings and customer consultations when the business was family owned? Here’s a precis