Gentrified Campus: The J. Press 4/3

Our confrere Matthew Jacobsen of recently supplied us with a vintage article from the pages of Gentry Magazine (see “The Gentrified Campus.”)

Now he follows up with another one, this time from Gentry’s Autumn 1952 issue, that provides an eye-opening glimpse into how collegiate attire was presented to young men at the time.

As in the previous piece (which featured, among other oddities, a one-piece corduroy “loafing suit”), the curious is juxtaposed to the classic.

Timeless items include plenty of dark-gray flannel suits and odd trousers, double-breasted camel hair polo coats, and the ubiquitous rep tie. Surprisingly, the trendiest items are from J. Press, suggesting the brand’s onetime willingness to experiment.

The J. Press of today looks to the 1950s for inspiration, but the J. Press of the ’50s apparently looked to the Gilded Age. The results are a four-button-rolled-to-three Shetland sack coat (the caption suggests it can be worn with all four fastened), and a nine-button, lapeled odd vest in mustard doeskin that “follows Victorian influence.”

If anything is to be learned from this, it’s that gray flannel goes with almost anything, and that the quest for the traditional sometimes ventures into the archaic. — ZACHARY DELUCA



11 Comments on "Gentrified Campus: The J. Press 4/3"

  1. I would buy that coat today. Actually, I can buy that coat, just not in classic jpress prints. Western outfitters will sell it as an “old west” costume:

  2. whoops, here’s the picture of the black one with the 4/3 roll showing. 80% poly though.

  3. When the Gentry article appeared I had just completed Second Form at the then Hopkins Grammar School and proudly flaunted my 4-button sport jacket. My best friend told me I looked like a ringmaster of Barnum & Bailey Circus we attended at the New Haven Arena. Irving Press was was indeed unbridled as J.Press Merchandiser post World War II and favored many non-Ivy selections including Daks Slacks, long Victorian vests or occasionally foulard lined breast pockets for sport jackets or blazers that pulled up as faux kerchiefs. York Street Chutzpah.

  4. Charlottesville | December 7, 2016 at 1:48 pm |

    Ralph Lauren had 4-button jackets in his RRL line: . I thought they looked a bit costumey, if that’s a word, not unlike the Old West jacket Matt referenced above, but with better fabric and tailoring. Perfect for a visit to Westworld. The Press jacket above looks more wearable, although I’ll stick with my 3/2 sacks.

  5. Carmelo Pugliatti | December 7, 2016 at 7:29 pm |

    Mr Press,the coats from Brioni that J Press sold in 60s were darted or undarted? Thanks.

  6. Best of my recollection, standard J.Press 3-button undarted model with center- hook vent.

  7. I think Ralph Lauren did the clothing for Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” Owen Wilson’s character wears a tweedy 4-button sport coat throughout. Kind of strange looking actually.

    I found pics online but can’t seem to paste it here.

  8. Thanks. I found it earlier and should just posted the link myself! Not sure I’d ever wear a four-button. Neat piece of history, though.

  9. Mr. Press, did I read this correctly that Brioni made three-button, undarted, hook vented jackets for J.Press in the 60s? If so, how did such a collaboration arise?

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