Lost Youth: J. Press’ York Street Collection

In our recent post on the rise and fall of Ivy, we noted how since the fall of the Ivy League Look J. Press has gradually gone from a young man’s brand to an old man’s, while the clothes have remained largely the same.

Well as we’ve reported previously, J. Press is going after a younger customer again with its new York Street collection, and the clothes, designed by the brothers behind Ovadia & Sons, ain’t exactly the same. GQ did a write-up in its current issue. You can read it here, and note that not only are the clothes young and hip, but so is the writing:

… making boxy fits slimmer and subbing out basic fabrics with featherweight linen and British Millerain cotton. You know, the good shit.

Pictured above are Whiffens poofed out in items from the York Street collection. — CC

36 Comments on "Lost Youth: J. Press’ York Street Collection"

  1. Those jackets fit like those gentlemen have been shopping at Macy’s Ralph Lauren boys’ department, which is actually doable if one is not taller than 5′ 2″.

  2. my impression of Ivy is its timeless look…

    the light blue outfit above looks out of date already.

    if this is the direction of the Ivy Look, perhaps its time for me to change course.
    you couldn’t pay me to wear that, never mind asking me to pay to wear it.


  3. J.Press. Now making Young Men look like Foolish Boys.

  4. London says no !

  5. Just read the GQ piece and couldn’t believe this quote:

    “J.Press is like a sunken treasure ship,” says Shimon Ovadia. “We felt like this was one of the last great brands that really needed a resurrecting.”

    J.Press is still a pillar of this style. Why would they need to resurrected? I think that they mean exploited for some momentary exposure to a demographic that will have no long-term interest in the brand, and of course a quick profit for Ovadia and sons..

  6. I’m gonna post what I posted on GQ, because damn I’m tired of this.

    I used to believe the Ovadias were a pretty decent pair. But what a condescending article and collection. This is fast fashion in every way. Anyone who says otherwise obviously missed the sweat pants. I’d love to hear the argument that sweat pants sold at venerable old J. Press are “timeless.”

    Press does need to be marketed better, and they do need to carry slimmer options. I’m a thin guy and a Shaggy Dog Sweater fits like a damn tent on me (whether that’s J. Press’ fault is debatable). But this Tumblr-inspired, double monk-strap-with-one-strap-undone, dressed by the internet type BS is already dated (Seriously, is that blogger blue?). Press needs to take some pages out of Drakes’ or The Armory’s playbook, and appeal to men/youths who want to dress more adult, not men who want to dress like punchable youths. I’m 25 years old, right on the cusp of Takanobu Sugimoto’s 25-40 target demographic for this collection, and even I find the things here to be childish.

    It’s too late to be innovative again. Fashion is recycling everything they can get their dirty hands on (at an alarming rate), and crested piped blazers ain’t exactly innovative when Ralph Lauren markets two or three every season. Folks in fly kicks won’t care about J. Press in five minutes time, and they certainly won’t in ten years time.

  7. This is fashion and not style. Even if one does not adhere strictly to the “Ivy” aesthetic, these fits are wrong in the context of classic men’s tailoring and at odds with just about every principle of tailoring. The problems with these fits are too numerous to mention and immediately obvious to readers of this site.

    ocbd – right on re the “collection’s” genesis and direction. I hope it is just the momentary effects of too much yuletide brandy and that Ol’ Uncle Press will be dry come spring.

  8. I’ll take Brooks Brother’s Fitzgerald line as the best shot By a company to usher in a younger, slim line look.

  9. These guys need to eat a few meals, and have some wear and tear on their faces and hands from sports and work. Not to mention these clothes suck. Its been a bit over a year since I’ve been to my “home” J Press store in Cambridge (cause I live about 1000 miles away), but if I see this crap in their store the next time I am there, I will turn around and hit the bar just a couple hundred feet away towards the Square, and not turn back. Just have to hit O’Connells on the drive back.

  10. And another thing………I never met anyone at MIT or Harvard, that dressed like this, on their worst, or best day. Who the hell are they appealing too? These guys look like they are working for Women’s wear daily.

  11. If it means anything, someone at my school would be ostracized for wearing this teddy-bear look, and I’m talking about a high school. I guess Dallas is a bit more conservative than New York, anyway.

  12. I tend to think of this look as “pretend clothes”, sort of like the black tie t-shirt. Or putting a bucket on your head and saying “Look, I’m, like, ya know, a knight”. Kudos to the Ovadias for making bucks out of crap, but if it sells, then God help the Republic.

  13. Roy R. Platt | January 13, 2013 at 11:45 pm |

    Wonder if this line will do as well as J. Press for Urban Outfitters did?

  14. @Ace
    I couldn’t agree more.

    It feels as though J. Press wanted to ape Brooks Brothers Pee-Wee Herman tailored Black Fleece line with this collaboration.

  15. All these negative comments renewed my faith in the good sense of true Ivy afficionados.

  16. The materials and quality are great, I’m sure. Still, maybe they have special sizing upon request… say extra long in jackets and extra high in pant waist. Only then would I consider wearing these fits. Seriously, the whole cropped jacket/low rise pant thing has really gone too far.

  17. Agree with @Roy R. Platt. That collection came and went so quickly that if not for the ridiculously priced jackets still lingering on the UO website in the ‘sale’ section, I doubt anyone would even remember it. J.Press already offers ‘trim fit’ shirts (made in America too) and I own a Shaggy Dog from this season that fits perfect even on a beanpole like myself. If they were really interested in reaching a younger demographic they’d find some way to take their price points down. No 30 year old is sitting around with $1500 in their pocket to blow on a suit waiting for J.press to offer a ‘trim-slim-skinny-quadruple-darted-four-piece-suit-with-waistcoat-and-monocle’ model to finally discover this brand. That person is already doing MTM. All other young, curious eyes glance at this stuff, see near triple digit prices for a strange looking shirt, and keep walking to Uniqlo.

  18. Don’t care for the fit of these outfits. However, if it results in preservation of the look, so be it. These young dudes will eventually outgrow this look and move onto the big boy suits that Press sells.

  19. The clothes scream, “look at me!”

    The necktie tips sticking out beneath the suffocatingly tight, rear end-exposingly short jackets scream, “look at my crotch!”

    Ugly, vulgar, garish: these clothes are a perfect reflection of our “culture” today.

  20. Horrible,silly, fit!
    Shame on JPress.

  21. Ironchefsakai | January 14, 2013 at 10:34 am |

    I’m a 36S, so trim and tailored both agree with me, but I hate this flavor-of-the-month approach to fashion. With that said, I think Jim makes a good point that, “if it results in the preservation of the look, so be it.”

    My own interest in fashion was sparked when I accidentally stumbled upon advice on how to wear a suit from GQ’s Style Guy some years ago. For a while I took GQ’s word as law, following their trends closely; but I eventually realized just how myopic it was in its view of male fashion, and how cloyingly stylized it made things out to be (Thom Browne has been mentioned above…). I began reading materials posted on sites such as this one, abandoned my fixation on GQ, but while I’m sure most Style Forum members would still have a field day with some of my lingering, faster-fashion attire, I think it’s safe to say that my tastes have matured to seek more “timeless” fashion. I’ve always had a taste for more muted colors and traditional looks–a cobalt blue blazer never woukd have appealed to me–but I can see where this line might appeal to our younger fashion-intrigued brethren who might find this an exciting introduction to J. Press, whose more adult options will develop a stronger appeal as the audenxe matures and develops more refined tastes.

  22. What’s ironic is how this is set against a backdrop of old wood and beautiful traditional neckties.

  23. Well stated above Ironchefsakai!
    I’d rather bring the young in this way to the classics, than lose them to some freak Euro high-fashion designer for the rest of their lives.
    We all eventually have to grow up and realize how silly fads are!

  24. Ironchefsakai | January 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm |

    It’s also worth noting one of the major arguments of Christian’s piece from last week that the so-called Ivy Leage Look grew on campuses as an alternative to more adult options–it was fashion on adolescent whims–and that the wearers of the look will editorialize the options purveyed by the manufacturers and not the other way around.

  25. As a mid-30s professional living and working in DC, I’m a frequent patron of the J.Press location near K Street. It’s very old school and why I love it- pure old school classic style. I’m sure this location will never have these costumes on display. It’s patrons work on K Street or near by federal agencies, are members of the Met and Cosmos Clubs downtown and golf and tennis at the Chevy Chase Club, and whether 30 or 80, we dress the same and will continue to do so. Old and young fogies like J. Press just as it is.

  26. What everyone is forgetting is that GQ’s editors put together these outfits as thats how its done in the magazine world my friends, as it is in the new February issue featuring several York St. pieces. I don’t see anything wrong with the individual items, just dont care for the way they are shown here. I would wear most of it in a different way. I will say after reading all the negative comments that at the end of the day your opinion doesn’t really matter.

  27. @Mıtch K

    I would say at the end of the day the opinion of gentlemen with good taste matters far more than you could possibly imagine.

  28. Orgastic future | January 15, 2013 at 3:21 am |

    What’s the average age on this site? You guys always seem a little “get off my lawn-ish.” Maybe J. Press should introduce an AARP line more suited for the stuffy headmasters that seem to bash anything that’s not a blue blazer, OCBD, and weejuns. Like all great things, style is born out of youth. Get over it or put yourself out to pasture.

  29. Reactionary Trad | January 16, 2013 at 10:27 am |

    @Orgastic future

    The quality of your comments is on the same level as the quality of your “taste”.
    A bit more respect for your elders and betters is called for.
    If Ivy style is still alive, it’s thanks to those of us have attempted to preserve the canonical elements in pristine fashion, not those who have deformed them in the name of what they call style, but what is actually no more than fleeting fashion.

  30. I’m a young guy, (twenty-four) And in my opinion, this line of clothes just looks awful…I will say that J.Press could use to introduce some slimmer options, but couldn’t that be done just by adding one smaller size to their current offering?

  31. I’m 34 (which I consider still young) and think this is cartoonish nonsense.

    Look, we don’t hate EVERYTHING new. It’s an unfair characterization. But bullshit is bullshit.

  32. There really isn’t anything new in ivy style or mainline men’s fashion, just minor tweaks. Most designers call this updating, but it’s actually recycling.The pendulum swings in every lineage of fashion or style, with the exception of some very outlandish designs. Those outlandish designs being totally impractical for any man not a Lady Gaga backup dancer.
    Some tweaks last, most don’t. The short jackets with low rise pants will pass, hopefully quickly. Those who purchase that look will have regrets in years to come, unless they know a very short junior high student to pass it down to.

  33. Don’t misconstrue my previous post as a condemnation of anyone pursuing this new J.Press look. I’m over 60, but no one has ever accused me of being a “Get of my lawn-ish” concerning clothing. I own many “fun” things for appropriate venues.

    I believe most of the advise given by we older folks has to do with our mistaken purchases, we all have them. Even Christian wrote a post concerning his discards, I would have kept the monk straps. But, it all boils down to personal style within Ivy parameters.

    The point and beauty of ivy style is to build a wardrobe over the long-term, we are not all old or new money or Wall street bankers. Most great wardrobes are built over decades and the items are congruent with the style one pursues.

  34. I agree it is cartoonish, perfect word, I want something to fit on the slim side but certainly not like it was painted on me…and besides, electric blue suits just aren’t “the thing”…

  35. Honestly, the best way that J. Press could appeal to the youth would be be to offer a line of less expensive clothing. I’m not sure about other college students, but there is no way that I can afford an $800 sport coat.

  36. Ironchefsakai | January 18, 2013 at 9:03 am |

    I reiterate the perspective I gleaned from Christian’s large piece, Ivy-related fashion is a two-way street between merchants and customers: merchants supply a large number of possible means and customers edit, honing the actual style. In my eyes, you can take Ivy (as it were) in one of two ways.

    The first of these is a static vision: Ivy Style is only that which was developed and popular in 1920s-1960s. Anything since is a (most likely cheap) imitation thereof and nothing more.

    But I think it’s more in keeping with the ethos of those Ivy-Style pioneers to view it as a dynamic concept. Ivy Style may be dead in that there is no monolithic dress code or style sense at any of the Ivies. My own Ivy-educated comrades habitually wear cargo shorts and Big 10 t-shirts. But as a fashion statement, the Ivy League Look still lives, in cadres such as Ivy-Style.com’s base, in Japan–and perhaps even in GQ-esque one-shot fashion. This collection should never be regarded as traditional Ivy League fashion, it’s been introduced to the market, and it’s up to consumers to decide whether it really makes it into the broader lexicon of Ivy to come.

    I hope the look’s rejected because it’s aesthetically jarring, and the cuts are a caricature of themselves, but for a style that grew out of British countrywear and sportswear, I don’t see a huge issue with Ivy Style jackets cut with higher armholes and slimmer fits, and pants with low rises. It kind of makes sense to me, given that casual attire has taken a turn in this direction, that Ivy (a look predicated on feeling comfortable and casual all of the time, to the fullest extent possible) would follow suit.

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