This is the latest in our new series “My Kinda Clothes,” which takes its name from a delightful phrase coined by Charlie Davidson of The Andover Shop.
Richard Press will be trickling out a series of these posts, based on what he wore at different times of his life, from boarding school to Dartmouth to his years at the helm of J. Press. We commence with the kinda clothes Richard wears today.
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Safari jackets became my magnificent obsession in 1977 when expeditionary outfitting company Willis & Geiger allowed my then family company J.Press the right to merchandise its eponymous Safari Jacket, which had previously been restricted to Abercrombie & Fitch.
The original Abercrombie & Fitch Co. declared bankruptcy that same year, closing its landmark New York store on Madison Avenue and 45th Street. The 12-floor, museum-quality emporium featured a shooting gallery, hundreds of guns in the gun room, which was decorated with stuffed game heads, plus fishing, boating, skiing and archery gear, a sporting bookstore, and five floors of clothing suitable for different climates and terrains.
The Abercrombie bankruptcy left Willis & Geiger its largest creditor. However, J.Press continued to carry its product until the brand was sold to Lands’ End in 1990.
Since then the Safari Jacket has been my costume of choice, and I wear it accompanied by matching khakis or Nantucket Reds from Murray’s Toggery Shop. If I’m feeling like a Hemingway rogue, I tie on an ascot. More than half a dozen Safari Jackets remain in my closet, including the slightly ragged 1977 remnant souvenir (pictured above), hanging next to less-than-pluperfect copies from LL Bean, Orvis, TravelSmith, Tag, J.Peterman, Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren.
Several years ago, while performing the comedy of marital comity, my wife purchased a women’s Safari Jacket from TravelSmith that allowed a wiseguy on the 86th Street crosstown bus to taunt us, “You guys on the Road to Timbuktu?” — RICHARD PRESS