I chanced to meet famed attorney Eddie Hayes in a hotel suite. No, nothing like that. There was a visiting tailor I was there to interview — Stephen Hitchcock, as I recall — and the client before me getting fitted was none other than the notorious clotheshorse Mr. Hayes, who was the model for the Tommy Killian character in Tom Wolfe’s “The Bonfire Of The Vanities.”
I introduced myself as a fellow subject from the book “I Am Dandy.” I remember when it came to the point of shoulders that Mr. Hayes asked them to be big and prominent, saying something like he always felt they made a man look more powerful. He had an attractive lady friend with him. I silently “ahemed” to myself.
Oddly enough Hayes has written a fine paean to the natural-shouldered look for The Daily Beast, which happens to mention our own occasional columnist The Millennial Fogey. Entitled “A wonderful store that helps you travel in time,” the piece is an homage to J. Press.
Here’s a snippet:
I worked 70 hours a week during the summer after my freshman year to have money to buy school clothes. I worked as a busboy, a ditch digger, and a plumber’s assistant. I don’t want to horrify you with what plumbers’ assistants did before someone figured out how to make pipes less likely to split open, but when I went home I repelled even my mother.
When the time came to go shopping, I went to Brooks but also to a store called J. Press. Even then I could see that it was at least as good as Brooks. Both stores smelled of nice houses, graduate schools, and hope for the future.
I woke up the other morning and after remembering that Trump was in and noticing that it was raining hard, I thought about those stores, for some reason, and I remembered John Kennedy, who was slender, elegant, and a war hero, and who also bought clothes at J. Press. So it was either my head under the covers or a walk in the rain to look for a memory of things I wanted and grew up and got.
It’s a fun read, so check it out. Not only do you get memories of khakis and buttondowns and UVA in the heyday, you also get a young district attorney working in homicide and a Polish call girl. It’s like a TV cop drama, but trad. — CC