The Harvard Gazette recently published a piece on the Ivy League Look and J. Press. It includes quotes from Ivy Style’s Richard Press and myself, and also features a video clip consisting of an audio interview with J. Press Cambridge store manager Denis Black over a slideshow of images.
Check it out here. — CC
Hahvahd Gazette gave Richard E. Press a new monicker, Richard J. Press. Too bad Mom & Dad didn’t think of it in 1938.
Great video! When we can read a beautiful (and richly illustrated with unpublished ancient pictures) book on J Press?
Great piece. I try to purchase something from JPress and the Andover Shop whenever I’m in the area.
I believe Dennis Black’s father managed the Brooks Brothers store in Boston in the 1950s. I recall having a nice conversation with him one day in 1959. Dennis himself used to call me every fall when the new Shaggy Dogs came in.
Good to see the ol liberal reprobates at the Gazette didn’t find Ivy Style too emetic to consort with. Great work, CC!
Great read and video. I found it interesting that Mr. Black differentiated between “Ivy” and “Prep” by saying traditional Ivy didn’t utilize loud colors or items such as embroidered cords.
Favorite line? “It represents stability.”
I was pleased to see that Mr. Black focused on the primary difference between Ivy and Preppy.
In my book, his necktie and pocket square are Preppy.
Best window display in Cambridge, hands down. J. Press clothing is expected to last for generations unlike today’s fast fashion. The shop even sells suede elbow patches when tweed starts to wear out. Brooks Brothers is more for students while J. Press is for faculty. They are the best store in New England for a Harvard French literature professor, or anyone who wants to dress like one.
This is off the top of my head, but one could argue the Prenners took the J. Press vibe and amended it with imagination and retail know-how. Other stores had done so previously, but Ben Silver rises above the rest, I think. The genius of Ben Silver is the focus on catalog and internet, related, the (wise) decision to not expand.
Purely as an aside, my wife and I were visiting in Cambridge last summer (2016) and were a bit dismayed at the overall appearance of Harvard Square. As in many urban shopping districts across America, the crush of daily activity takes a toll, but we sensed a marked difference from a prior visit a few years ago. All of the entrances to the university now have security guards posted. We weren’t sure if we were welcome anymore to stroll through the campus. Also missing, at least that day, were the street entertainers that usually are found near the COOP. Clearly, the area also is not immune to the current slackened retail environment, with a number of vacant store fronts in the surrounding area. Overall, the commercial part of the neighborhood looked as if it could use a good scrubbing.
We did briefly visit the J. Press store, which always looks the same; a virtue, or not, depending on one’s perspective. It is most certainly unique.