Meet The Press: A Reader Q&A With Richard P.

Back in 2012 Richard Press volunteered to take reader questions, resulting in some interesting insight on the Ivy heyday. Ask him nicely and he might take some new questions.

* * *

Richard Press, Ivy Style’s “Golden Years” columnist, former president of J. Press, and grandson of Jacobi, will herein host a virtual question-and-answer session with readers, and the floor is now open. Use the leave comment feature to ask Mr. Press anything you’d like to know about traditional American style, or any other topic on which you’d like to hear him opine.

Suggested talking points include:

College life in the ’50s (Richard graduated from Dartmouth in 1959)
J. Press during the heyday of the Ivy League Look
What makes a man stylish (Richard’s seen a lot of well dressed men over the years)
How to comport oneself like an American gentleman
Good books, movies and music
What to wear tomorrow
The meaning of life

Richard will answer as many questions as his time permits.

87 Comments on "Meet The Press: A Reader Q&A With Richard P."

  1. Mr. Press,

    Do İ remember correctly that at one time the tab collar was an essential component of the Ivy League Look?
    What’s your opinion of that particular collar style?
    Would you have any idea why it has disappeared from J. Press’s offerings?

    Thanks for all of your posts so far.

  2. Dear Mr. Press,

    What are your thoughts regarding the quality of J. Press OCBDs (collar roll, etc.) that are currently offered to their customers? Is it inferior compared with what was offered when you were at the helm? Do you happen to know who manufactures it for Press today? Thank you, sir.

  3. Is it ever OK for a gentleman to use an electric razor?

  4. Mr. Press,
    Do you hold out any hope for a revival of traditional Ivy League attire by the students in the Ancient Eight? If so, can you speculate on the cultural or economic changes that would cause the revival.


  5. Hello Mr. Press,

    Back in the day, I remember my father having a “salesman” at J. Press – he knew dad’s sizes and tastes; might make recommendations based on prior purchases; he was more than just the guy who rang up dad’s purchases. Mom would speak fondly of Ken, and if we were in the neighborhood, would stop by 44th Street to say hello. Even recently, mom mentioned stopping into 380 Madison to inquire about Ken. (I could sense the disheartedness when she told me he had passed away.)

    Was this a relationship that would arise organically between a customer and salesman, or was this more of a formal (not necessarily strict) policy at J. Press? I don’t recall such a practice at Brooks Brothers, Paul Stewart, etc. (Then again, at that age, I guess you could say that mom was my “salesman”.) Did BB have such a practice, or was this limited to the smaller clothiers of the day? Or, was this a Pressclusive? Please tell us more about this tradition, how it fit (if at all) into the J. Press business model, and whether it is still in practice today…

    Thank you,

    Henry Babcock

  6. Update: Richard is at his desk composing responses right now. His first, alas, disappeared into the Internet ether, so from now on he’ll be composing in a Word document so as to prevent further delays.


  7. OldSchool:

    Tabs were indeed essential, but well behindof button downs. They ran about even in popularity with Madison (round) collar shirts and plain front shirts that were really button downs without the buttons. Tab shirt were a trifle more formal than pinned collars and better suited (no pun intended) for suits than sport coats or blazers.

    The style broke the boredom of wearing onlybutton downs and added a touch more formality.

    Tabs were worn with three inch width ties that allowed a tight knot under the clasped collar and would never be able to accommodate the wider textured materials often used in ties today. You should address any questions regarding J. Press to them as I am no longer a member of the team.

  8. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 11:28 am |

    Old School: Previous comment was by moi, Richard Press, currently adjusting to the new procedure——-Richard

  9. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 11:39 am |

    Mandy: I wish J. Press well. Although they rather conspicuously bear my cherished familial and former corporate monicker, I believe it inappropriate to comment on their policy as I am no longer associated with the company.

  10. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 11:42 am |

    Brad: Whatever works for you as long as you act like a gentleman.

  11. Dear Mr. Press:

    What was it like to be a Jewish clothier during the heyday of the Ivy League look? Did any Jews in the business try to hide their Jewishness? This blog and others have discussed the prominence of Jews in creating the Ivy League look, but no one, to my knowledge, has discussed the sorts of social exclusion that Jews may have faced in catering to wealthy, WASP clients.

  12. Richard Meyer | February 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm |

    To what do you attribute the slobbification of the Amercan male since the sixties?

  13. I imagine that, like many alumni, you have been back to Dartmouth at various times over the years. What was your opinion of the clothing that was on offer in the uni Coop store in the 60s and 70s?

  14. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm |


    Rewriting Ross Douthat’s column in yesterday’s Sunday Times, “The problem with Ivy League attire is that it doesn’t map particularly well into contemporary mores and life patterns. Ivy attire seems to depend upon a level of social and economic cohesion, religious intensity, and shared values that exist only in small pockets of the country.”

    The same applied to my father and his brother in the Heyday in the 1950s when they seized the moment. Eisenhower presided over eight years of peace and prosperity. Will new days with equivalent prosperity mean men will celebrate in three button suits with knotted ties on buttoned to the top collared shirts?

    Only knows God and I doubt whether She knows.

  15. Mr. Press, will we ever see J. Press offer RTW equivalent of Brooks Bros.’ Extra Slim Fit, etc for the man of slight build?

  16. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm |


    The late Ken Trommers was a was the only Waspy looking member of the NY J. Press staff and near the end of his career, he managed a guest membership in the Yale Club where after all the years he finally shared cocktails with his customers.

    When I entered J. Press in 1959, my Uncle Irving gave me he and his brother’s standard routine. Know the name of every customer you meet, who they work for, where they went to school, where the family went to school, where they got their clothes. Intrude in any detail of their lives they are willing to disclose and and next week when I ask you all about them, you better know the answers. And don’t forget. They’re not your friends and never believe you are on the same social level they
    are. They are customers and expect to be served.

    There were salesmen at Brooks and Stuart who adhered to the same script, and like Press, owners were on the floor at Chipp, Rosenberg, Langrock, The Andover Shop and their confidences with customers was inherent in their being. I refrain from comments regarding current circumstances.

  17. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm |


    Regarding questions of being a Jewish clothier and surrounding circumstances, “If they asked me, I could write a book,” which is exactly what I am doing. I don’t want to give away too much of the story now, but trust me, it’s a great story and when you buy the book you will spend plenty of time reading my pins and needles about the Fiddler from York Street.

    All the New Haven campus shops were founded by Jews and even Brooks Brothers was owned for decades by Garfinkel’s of Washington originated by Julius Garfinkel who spent most of his life a Unitarian, but was buried in a Jewish cemetery.

  18. Mr. Press,

    Perhaps the short question got lost in the shuffle, or perhaps I have ants in my pants and should wait for your response, but I, too, would like to know your answer to Richard Meyer’s question:

    “To what do you attribute the slobbification of the Amercan male since the sixties?”

    I’m certain there is no easy answer, but perhaps you could share your ruminations with us.

  19. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm |

    attn. Richard Meyer and Henry:

    Regarding “slobbification,” I would like to clarify my response with the opening line from one of my favorite poems by Edgar Arlington Robinson: “Miniver Cheevy child of scorn grew lean while he assailed the seasons.”

    It is pointless to assail the seasons and it doesn’t help that I’m not getting any leaner. I might as well continue with Mr. Porter, “Times have changed,” I know I am pushing the edge, “Anything Goes.”

    It started with Viet Nam and continues with all the revolutions; digital, social, economic, sexual. We may end up dressing like a third world country and the way it is going the third world may end up dressing Ivy. Que sera, sera.

  20. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm |


    The Dartmouth Co-op in the sixties and seventies moved up in class from their lower order versus Campion’s and Serry’s on Main Street in Hanover, but never made it into the big leagues.

  21. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm |


    I will overcome my no “no comment” about the current J. Press, except to remark that if they are able to attract customers who demand slim fit, they will more than likely respond to their customers’ requirements.

  22. When you were at J. Press what was your biggest seller?

    What are the essential items a man should have in his wardrobe?

    What is your favorite J. Press item past or present?

    ps I’ll be sure to buy the book! Thanks for doing this!

  23. I used to see you at the Thames Coffee Shop on 44th St. almost every morning from 1973-1977. I was a young salesman just starting out in furnishings at Paul Stuart.

    I remember your love of the theater.

    My question is, do you still drink Vichy Water for breakfast? Do they still have Vichy Water?


  24. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm |


    1) Bestt sellers at J. Press were white oxford button down shirts and blue oxford boxer shorts, usually sold in multiples of half dozen. Also, undramatically, blue flannel single breasted blazers and grey flannel trousers.
    2) Most essential item in a man’s wardrobe: Natural shoulder three button blue blazer, OCBD, compatible ancient madder tie and breast pocket kerchief, grey flannels, oxford boxer shorts, navy hose, cordovan belt and shoes tied and middle button buttoned.
    3) Favorite J. Press item– original Natural shade Shaggy Dog shetland sweater made in Scotland by Drumohr.

  25. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm |

    Bob Freudenheim:

    Drinking Vichy water at breakfast was strictly Theatre. I still enjoy an occasional quaff of Vichy Catalan which Zabar’s mercifully stocks.

  26. Who in your opinion, personifies great style in dress for men? What is it about their style that gets your vote?

  27. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm |

    Jen: The easy answer is to name the usual movie stars a la Astaire or Cary Grant, but in truth they were publicly costumed for their professional roles and that doesn’t ring true to me. I am willing to give credence to Gary Cooper, helped by Bruce Boyer with the brilliant choice of evocative private pictures provided for his recent book, “Gary Cooper. Enduring Style,” by his co-author and Cooper’s daughter, Maria Cooper Janis.

    I have always been motivated by the depictions of George Gershwin from the book, “The Gershwin Years.” His personal style was indeed iconic. Great style in dress for men exposes the wit, essence and the intellect that sets them apart from other men of their time.

    Some of those outfitted during my watch and on my watch included Robert Frost, Frank Sinatra, Dick Cavett, “Goldfinger” Charlie Engelhard, Bart Giamatti, Dean Acheson,
    my father Paul R. Press.

    Each of them are forever fixed in my mind with the prescience their clothing exposed their unique qualities and talents.

  28. Mr. Press,
    In your opinion, what place does the slim tailored OCBD or blazer have in the wardrobe of an Ivy/Trad man? Is it true that only baggy is Trad?
    Much respect and admiration,

  29. Mr. Press

    It seems that during the 1960’s, the offerings at Press became a bit wilder in terms of color, (more colors of shirts or sweaters) and style (like bold colored or plaid pants). Was that also your observation. If so, what or who do you think drove this trend



  30. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm |

    BBGahman: The Ivy League Clothiers were primarily custom tailors until World War II. During that time they fit the personal tailoring requirements of each individual customer. A 39 chest, 32 waist, 33 seat was appropriately draped to those dimensions. If the man was slim, the wardrobe fit his frame, i.e., a slim frame. The silhouette still followed the J. Press pattern, vis a vis natural shoulder, gorge ratio/width of the lapel, button placement, etc.

    “Baggy” is a misnomer. It refers only to the shaggy quality of the tweed, the natural hand soft quality of British woolens and even the hard finished worsteds we selected, that with the exception of silks or linens, were rarely hard finished and possessed the innate fragility of the material itself to naturally “bag” with wear without frequent, yes, pressing.

  31. Mr. Press, this question runs the risk of engagement in the utterly trivial and perhaps unknowable. But what the heck:

    There is a particular woven silk repp stripe design–a five bar stripe on a bold ground stripe. Popular among Natural Shoulder types and fequently referred to as the “Brooks #1 Repp,” I’ve found myself wondering if this isn’t a misnomer. If acceptable for the sake of marketing and categorization within the Brooks repp stripe collection, there may be reason to suspect this design was made and/or stocked by haberdashers well before Brooks popularized it.

    Do you recall Press stocking repp ties of this particular stripe design back in the day? Can we guess that Brooks would enjoy no monopoly on a claim to its genesis?

  32. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm |

    AldenPyle: You are “right on.” In the 60’s Richard Press thought his uncle and his father were asleep at the wheel and pushed some of their buttons. He introduced brighter colors in the sweater department, bolder chalk stripes on the chalk stripe suits, more strident plaids in bold Indonesian silk, a little Lily Pulitzer here, a little Brioni there. A lot of new presents under the tree. They weren’t all mine, but my youth and exuberance didn’t hurt J.Press which thrived at a time when the fires of Ivy started to diminish elsewhere and kept the home fires burning.

  33. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm |

    S.E.— If you can promise they will not sue me, I am willing to agree with your premise. Ties that you describe were on the J. Press tie counter for decades, imported from British resources including Welch, Margetson, that were often provided in the cherished domain of George Graham.

  34. “AldenPyle: You are “right on.” In the 60’s Richard Press thought his uncle and his father were asleep at the wheel and pushed some of their buttons. He introduced brighter colors in the sweater department, bolder chalk stripes on the chalk stripe suits, more strident plaids in bold Indonesian silk, a little Lily Pulitzer here, a little Brioni there. A lot of new presents under the tree. They weren’t all mine, but my youth and exuberance didn’t hurt J.Press which thrived at a time when the fires of Ivy started to diminish elsewhere and kept the home fires burning. ”

    Thanks. Do you recall which store would have had the best response to the more vibrant stuff you brought in or who the target customer might have been?

  35. Dennis Bolay | February 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    Mr. Press
    Were there any particular men’s colognes that best represented the Ivy League style of the 40’s and 50’s?

    Thank you.

  36. Mr. Press,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions; your insight and experience are invaluable. Also, thank you for your input to this website with your column.

    My question is, what is your advice for a young man who is finishing undergraduate studies soon and will be venturing into the great wide world? Take it how you may: e.g., sartorial advice, or general words of wisdom. Any advice you may used to give to young customers?

    Take care,


  37. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm |

    Alden Pyle: The fires burned brightest on 44th Street, with glimmers among an adventurous student niche in New Haven, and decidedly restrained at Harvard.

    The target customers were non-Ivies making their first trip to J. Press and entice them with some of our new goodies to bring them inside the tent. Also the restless in the student body that weren’t ready for jeans or Nehru Jackets and didn’t want to stray with unknown consequences keeping within bounds with a little more spritz.

  38. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm |

    DennisBolay: Brooks Brothers introduced English Lime first.
    The owner of English Leather was a dedicated J. Press customer and we sold his lotion from the 1960s and through the seventies. In the late 60s with the assistance of Bob Jaffe, a close friend from Dartmouth and an executive in the fragrance industry devised a lotion Irving Press had him copy from a shop off Savile Row. I came up with the name “County Lovat” and Jaffe produced and romanced it. it became our staple fragrance and died at the end of my career at J. Press in the late 80s.

  39. Richard Press | February 20, 2012 at 10:06 pm |

    Harry: My advice is a grandfather’s advice: try to learn thyself, experiment and if possible get into the world for awhile if and when you can. Abide the words of Jack Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” I hope senescence did not cause a misquote. And get used to being an adult. Dress like an adult. Carry the flag of sartorial intelligence. Get yourself a grey flannel suit, white oxford button down oxford shirt, dark ancient madder tie with narrow kerchief breast pocket exposure, navy blue hose that covers your ankles, dark cordovan laced shoes, and even Mark Zuckerberg will respect you if you have the brains or talent for an interview with him, or Goldman, or teaching, or Graduate School or just hanging around and learning to be cool without looking dumb. Nobody is ever too rich, too thin or too well dressed. If you don’t believe me than you better look elsewhere for advice.

  40. Landon S. Holder | February 20, 2012 at 10:34 pm |

    Mr. Press-
    I have had an internal debate with myself for many years now pertaining to the construction of suit and sport coats. Bypassing the fully bonded garment, I have never been able to conclude whether half or full-canvas is truly superior. I know that they have they’re individual perks and downfalls, but for a man who dresses like I do (somewhere in between Ivy League and Preppy, and very often more fitted) it is hard to choose one for the other in all instances. What advice do you have pertaining to the internal construction of suit and sport coats?

    Thank you so much for answering our sartorial enigmas!

  41. Mr. Press, a few more:

    Of all the cloths you commissioned for jackets, which were your favorites? Any bold Cheviot Prince of Wales or Shetland herringbonnes worthy of a mention?

    Just out of curiosity, did you ever attempt a hopsack weave of woolen (not worsted) fabric? A dream not yet realized is woolen flannel hopsack in French Navy. Bold weave; none of this micro hopsack stuff that’s suitable for, well, suiting.

    Finally, I am aware that Brooks maintained a healthy stock of lightly lined, untipped repps. Did Press flirt with this sort of tie construction?

  42. Mr. Press,

    I sometimes come across old J. Press ads that reference items I am unfamiliar with. Do you happen to know what made a J. Press necktie a “Burlington Knot”? Or what the shirt fabrics “Madralyte” and “Cheviox” were? I am also curious about the hats J. Press sold during your tenure. What were the most popular styles?

  43. Richard Press | February 21, 2012 at 5:15 am |

    Landon S. Holder:
    Hope this resolves the internal debate.Most of the suits sold during my time there were 1/4 lined. The mode adapted sensibly to the requirements of ready made production. Most of the custom suits and jackets were fully lined sewn by hand. Custom tailored clothing offered silk linings that occasionally adhered to exotic customer taste that included silk or at the least bemberg linings. Foxheads, polo mallets, squash rackets, golf clubs, ancient madder, polka dot, college stripes were only a few of the favorite choices and the extra expense sometimes could become over the top.

    The downside of a fully lined coat are it fragile qualities that invites bunching, wrinkling, fading over time and requires hand pressing. Go with your pocketbook.

  44. Richard Press | February 21, 2012 at 5:29 am |

    S.E.: My favorite cloths were the W. Bill glenurquhart plaid cashmeres from W. Bill. Robert Frost favored black/brown Donegal Tweed Herringbones and they looked like the stone walls in his poetry. The cliche Prince of Wales Glenurquhart with a subtle red overlay is a cliche and tailored with the Duke of Windsor rope shoulder it is unmatched. Cashmere hopsack blazers are custom favorites, and wool flannel reefer twill blazers were huge J. Press favorited for years. Untipped reppes are extremely difficult to produce in any quantity and my experience is with them is modest.

  45. Richard Press | February 21, 2012 at 5:42 am |

    katon: “Burllington Knot” was the 3 1/2 inch width necktie originally produced for J. Press by Welch, Margetson in England beginning in the middle 1930s. Madralyte refers to a 100% cotton broadcloth that has the feel of end on end madras without the box weave. Cheviox was the ungrammatical term used to describe tweeds from the Cheviot Islands off the coast of England.

    J. Press favorites of the Heyday were center brim felts made for us by Lock Hats of England, snap brims produced by Palco Hats of Norwalk, Connecticut and inimitable Tyrolians made by Fritz Huckl of Vienna. I miss them all, but I have been very naughty since I stopped wearing them in 1960 when Jack Kennedy and much of the rest of American let them go by the board. Also for a personal reason, I had a small hat size, 6 7/8 and frankly looked like a jerk wearing a hat with such a small head.

  46. Ivy in exile | February 21, 2012 at 6:14 am |

    Hello Richard,

    An interesting question might be if you have any questions in return for the readers here about the enduring appeal of the Ivy League style in menswear?

    With best regards from an American in London.

  47. Richard Press | February 21, 2012 at 6:35 am |

    Ivy in exile: Need more time to think about it, but thanks for the question about the question,

  48. Ne Cede Malis | February 21, 2012 at 8:40 am |

    Mr. Press,

    What are your most lasting memories of your time at Loomis? Do you attend reunions?

    LC ’96

  49. Richard Press | February 21, 2012 at 9:31 am |

    Ne Cede Malis:
    I attended all and was chairman of them all thru the 50th. Lasting memories are the friendships gathered there and world class teachers particularly Norris Orchard, George Warren, Ollie Campeau and Dave Bridgman.

  50. Thank you so much for your time, Mr Press, and I don’t have a question, but a clarification. The Cheviot Hills is a range of rolling hills straddling the England–Scotland border between Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.
    Cheviot sheep (whence came Cheviot wool) come from the Cheviot hills.
    Sorry to be so pedantic. Again, thank you for your time and insights.

  51. Richard Press | February 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm |

    Robert Bain:

    Ah, having to endure the trial of ignorance and age!

  52. Mr. Press,
    The debate rages on: to dimple the four-in-hand knot, or not. When I think of the Ivy Era necktie, a relatively narrow tie–including the part of the tie that knots–comes to mind. Sans dimple.

    Fully aware that you remain committed to the bowtie, I wonder: during the Ivy Heyday, did you see much of the dimple? Was it encouraged?

  53. Mr Press:

    What motivated Press to expand to DC, and why DC over Chicago or other cities? Also, what brought about the end of the San Francisco location? My understanding is that the DC Press opened up in the 80’s, which seems a bit late in the company’s history given how many ivy grads ended up in DC. Did the firm talk about opening up any other locations?

    Thanks for your time–I’m a big Press fan, as was my father.

  54. Mr. Press,

    As a testament to the quality of the menswear J. Press sold, my uncle, Yale ’52, still has his first tweed jacket purchased in New Haven…and he can still wear it (‘though rarely does). I think the look is enduring because it is classic, understated, neat and comfortable.

    Thank you so much for your insight and I look forward to reading more of your posts!


  55. Richard Press | February 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

    S.E.: I checked out all the yearbooks—it’s exactly fifty fifty. More of the button downs have don’t have dimples, but the tabs and pinned collard do.

  56. Richard Press | February 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm |

    John: DC was opened in ’87 by Kashiyama. We closed Frisco because our manager, Jack Kennedy, wanted to move back to New Haven and assume some of my dad’s responsibilities there with me in NYC. Similar to Paul Stuart and the Andover Shop we decided to keep the geography tight.

  57. Mr Press.

    What was fraternity life like at Dartmouth? I keep ‘The Real Animal House’ by Chris Miller next to my bed to read when I need a laugh. It sounded like a great time to be in a fraternity. Being Australian, and having done my university studies by correspondence as I was in the military, I never experienced it. Can you please offer a few words on the subject. I also look forward to your book.

  58. Richard Meyer | February 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm |

    Martin: As a frat brother at the same time as Animal House, a lot of the tales in that book were “urban legends”.

  59. Richard Press | February 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm |

    Martin: It indeed was a great time. Chris Miller wrote brilliant satire, my story is more reminiscent. He hit his mark and if I can meet him halfway I will be very happy.

  60. Would you mind commenting on the numerous campus shops that existed in New Haven in the 1950’s and 60s? What were the differences between Rosenbergs, Press, Gentree, Whites’s and the like? Were they selling essentially the same stuff or did each have a distinct style? Many thanks.

  61. Richard Press | February 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm |

    Tom Conroy: A quickie synopsis: Fenn/Feinstein, one degree behind Press with less inventory and narrow range of merchandise; Rosenberg, custom tradition continues with less attention to ready made; White’s, stronger in furnishings with some Norman Hilton flavoring; Gentree, national brands in pseudo-Ivy; Press, sachem of the tribe, large inventories carefully monitored, close attention to detail. demands of profile customer, utterly sophisticated interior and exterior. A jaundiced view? Absolutely.

  62. Mr Press-
    I enjoyed reading these so much and look forward to the book.
    Im a school teacher on a budget- where would you suggest i look for that must-have grey flannel suit?

  63. Whatever happened to the classic summer tweed weave
    that had a nubby stitch which gave a heathered look
    and finish to the garment? Certainly not as popular or
    easy to find as it once was. Last I remember was Paul
    Stuart had some on display,early 90’s in pastel choices.
    Not J. Press only but the industry as a whole, is it just
    not in demand anymore?

  64. Mr. Press,

    What I take from this discussion is that even after Ivy went off-the-rack, two abiding characteristics were excellent cloth and top drawer tailoring. Am I correct in reaching this conclusion? Sadly, the former is as neglected these days as the latter. Not by Press, but other shops. The polyester blend era did, well, so much damage. With respect paid to Brooks management circa 1978, I cannot convince myself that a sack suit of Dacron-whatever blend is Ivy.

    The Burlington Knot–thanks for the clarification. I am guessing it did not remain 3.5″ throughout the 1960s. Yes? How narrow did Press necktie blade become? Less than three inches?

    I confess that I remain most interested in the custom era–the 30s and 40s. Did Rosenberg remain mostly custom well into the 40s and 50s? Why would someone have chosen one over the others?

    This is great fun. Many thanks.

  65. Richard Press | February 22, 2012 at 5:22 am |

    Zambonesman: Maybe a not so off the wall suggestion, go into J. Press, show’em the q and a, and challenge them. They still have the know how,

  66. Richard Press | February 22, 2012 at 5:25 am |

    T.C.: They still exist in Donegal swatch books. As I suggested in the last comment, hitch over to J. Squeeze and tell them what you want. They must have it in the archives.

  67. Richard Press | February 22, 2012 at 5:33 am |

    S.E.: Brooks and Press did dacron and wool, dacron and linen in the sixties and you never would have noticed much of a difference between them and the 100% real thing. J. Edgar Hoover and the whole F.B.I. never could spot the difference in their “hand.”

  68. Mr Press-cannot wait for your book, and thanks for sharing your knowledge with us-my question: do you find it offensive when people wear Ivy League ties or scarves who did not attend those schools? Thanks again!

  69. Richard Press | February 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm |

    Educator: Probably most people wearing them don’t realize their significance. Anybody wants to wear a school muffler or tie to advertise their aspirations, let them enjoy.

  70. great answer, Mr. Press; let them enjoy!

  71. Richard Meyer | February 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm |

    Do you have any contact with Paul Winston?

  72. Richard Press | February 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

    Richard Meyer: With great pleasure.

  73. I bought most of my clothes in the 1960s from your traveling representative, a Mr. Jacobs (I think) at trunk showings in Birmingham (my hometown), New Orleans (where I attended college and law school) and Atlanta (where I moved to after law school). He was a real gentleman. I bought at least four terelyne and wool summer suits and two wool winter wool suits from him, plus inumerable shirts and ties. Unfortunately, you stopped coming to Atlanta after Brooks opened a branch there in 1968.
    The thing I have found most distressing about clothing for the last 20-25 years is the fused or partially fused suit jacket. I think I can spot one at 20 feet. Not only do they drape badly (they bend, rather than flow) and I feel like I am wearing a barrel when I put one on (as I seem to spin around inside of it, as it does not move with me). Is it all that much more expensive to make a fully canvassed suit or is it that most of the public just does not know or care? Quite frankly, I gave up on Press a long time ago, because of fusing and an overly padded shoulder.
    Ever since the demise of Norman Hilton, my favorite has been Samuelsohn, as it is not fused and seems to understand a true natural shoulder.

  74. Richard Press | February 22, 2012 at 8:56 pm |

    Ken Pollack: Our Southern traveller was Ray Jacobs and 1968 marked the beginning of the end of road exhibits by J. Press when we opened our store in San Francisco. I have always enjoyed your past reviews of the genre, always incisive, and you may well understand my Proustian preference for remembrance of times past.

  75. Mr. Press,

    Would you agree that the late 60s were “the beginning of the end” of almost everything, not just J. Press road exhibits?

  76. Richard Press | February 23, 2012 at 6:53 am |

    Boston Bean: Please refer to my “Miniver Cheevy” reply above to Richard Meyer and Henrr.

  77. Dickey Greenleaf | February 25, 2012 at 7:54 am |

    How many famous people have you had the pleasure of fitting, and who was the most impressionable of all.

  78. Richard Press | February 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

    Plenty. Frank Sinatra.

  79. mark zauderer | February 26, 2012 at 9:54 pm |


    I think I was one of the last remaing customers of Felix for my custom suits. What happend to him?

    I recall seeing you after you left, on the New Haven line, where I was so engrossed in conversation witb you that I left behind a box of 50 exquisite cigars. I hoped you rescued and enjoyed them.

    Thanks for staying in touch with your many loyal customers.

    Mark C. Zauderer

  80. Mr. Press,

    As a young man who doesn’t speak English as his first language, do you have any advice on how to speak and write decent English? Do you have any suggested books or movie titles or plays? Thank you.


  81. Richard Press | February 27, 2012 at 10:42 am |

    mark zauderer: Felix died about three years ago. He was extraordinary.
    —-sorry for the cigars.

  82. Richard Press | February 27, 2012 at 10:44 am |

    Chenlong: Get thee to a good school. The last question: The Great Gatsby, Citizen Kane, Death of a Salesman, currently in a new revival.

  83. Judy Samelson | March 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm |

    Dear Richard: Who DOESN’T love reading lovely things about their parent. Thanks for saying Felix was extraordinary. I think he was, too. But then that’s what daughters think of their fathers, isn’t it?

    And to Mr. Zauderer: For the record, he died in Dec. 2007 and it’s nice to know he is missed—not only by his family but by his loyal customers. I can only assume you looked swell because (a) you were dressed in J. Press suits and (b) your J. Press suits were fitted by my Dad.

  84. EVAN EVERHART | August 15, 2018 at 12:28 pm |

    Hello Sir,

    This may seem a bit of a left field question, and due to the age of this post/questionnaire stream, I am unsure as to whether you will receive or review this, but as I do not have twitter or any of those other new-fangled technological social networking things that I abstain from using, I thought that I would attempt to posit my question here.

    That said; during your time, working with your family’s company, did you ever come across, or hear of a tailor by the name of Isaac Schnipper? He was a rather tall man, a Russian/Belarussian émigré. He also had a number of children, also in the “schmatta” business directly as manufacturers, and also as buyers and etc.. Please inform.

    Thanks again!

  85. Dear Mr. Press,
    was the leather jacket ever a part of the Ivy League wardrobe? Was the Mackinaw jacket?

    Thank you for your answer.

  86. F. Scott Mercaldo | July 6, 2020 at 10:19 am |

    Dear Mr. Press,

    Thank you for this. I was hoping that perhaps you might be able to use your influence with the people at J. Press and see if they might release the full, unedited video of the event you held at the 44th Street store in 2018. If it isn’t on the cards, is there any chance that, perhaps, you could do your own “Evening with Richard Press” in a YouTube video? It is wonderful to hear you speak in the brief snippets of film that we have from that evening on 44th Street, or even your Ivy Style exhibition walk-through, and I’m sure that I speak for many others that would love to see you speak at length, sharing some stories from the heyday. Perhaps a Zoom event hosted by Mr. Chensvold?

    Best regards,


  87. Mr Press.

    Interested in your perspective on the markets / clothing / quality of JPRESS clothing in the US versus that of Japan. I’ve been on the Japanese site a number of times, and have enjoyed the marketing, style, although some of it seems relatively fashion forward. What are the differences in consumers? Quality of clothing? Does one version of JPRESS have an advantage over the other? Also, for my benefit, why are they run like two different companies?

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