Following a particularly gluttonous holiday season I reigned in my appetite and lost a spot of weight. Feeling healthy and trim, yesterday I set out in the blizzard’s aftermath to visit the newly opened J. Press York Street store and see if I could squeeze into anything.
I had fairly low expectations based on the images of the collection, and the neon signs in the store’s windows didn’t seem particularly promising. But I have to admit, I didn’t hate it. York Street is pleasant enough, with lots of ephemera and “mantiques” (a word that recently lodged itself in my vocabulary), comfortable leather couches, and a separate tailoring section in the rear.
One of the things that immediately jumped out was the number of jackets without darts, although the tailoring was obviously very slim fit. The sportcoats were on the short side, but the men I saw wearing them looked much better than the models in the promotional material. It seems that the models for the fashion show and website were given jackets a size too small for some reason, because the proportions didn’t seem as off in person.
Taken piecemeal, the sportsweat isn’t nearly as offensive, though some of the patterns and color schemes are puzzling. The ties could easily be fit into the normal J. Press collection, but are not surprisingly on the narrow side.
I appreciated the fact that, for the most part, items that could be made in America were. This contrasts with the fact that some of the tailored clothing just down the street at Black Fleece is now made in Thailand.
My overall impression was that if this project can avoid the pitfalls of Rugby (garish sportswear, over-styling) and perhaps come down in cost (which despite being inflated is still comparable to mainline J. Press, without sacrificing too much quality), it’s a positive development. It will offer something to young professionals who may in the future become regular J. Press customers.
That said, for my taste I would only purchase sweaters and ties from York Street, so I suppose I’m pleasantly surprised but not particularly interested. — DAN GREENWOOD
Daniel Calvert Greenwood is a New York-based classical singer specializing in Gilbert & Sullivan, Rossini, and drinking songs of the University of Pennsylvania (which he did not attend). He is a descendant of the Quaker preacher Thomas Brown, Maryland’s first governor Leonard Calvert, and the inventor Thomas Shaw, and is a neighbor of Christian Chensvold.