York Street: The “Daring New Line” From J. Press

One thing’s for certain: You can’t accuse J. Press of being a sartorial mausoleum run by dinosaurs anymore. Like or dislike its new direction (and you can like it on Facebook), today J. Press took a bold step towards recapturing cultural and fashion relevance with the unveiling of a slick new website.

In addition to extremely upgraded e-commerce functionality and product copy that sounds like it was actually written by a native speaker of English, the site gives a prominent and separate identity to York Street, the new collection designed by the brothers behind Ovadia & Sons, which it proclaims “a daring new line.”

J. Press is late in the game when it comes to updated prep-with-a-twist. In fact, while the game isn’t actually over, some players have decided to leave the field. By a bizarre coincidence, York Street is making its debut precisely as Ralph Lauren’s Rugby line is shuttering.

The products will certainly raise the eyebrows of die-hard trad fuddy duddies, but that’s of little matter since it’s not aimed at them. To whom exactly it’s aimed I’m not entirely sure.

This patch madras jacket looks kind of familiar…

… while this look is reminiscent of a Ralph Lauren cruise collection:

This suit (called the Jacobi) is perfectly understated, save for the shrunken Thom Browne proportions. It’s priced at $1,450 and comes in sizes 38-46. However, there’s only one length.

And that length is short indeed:

J. Press’ youth-targeted items were once created by gentlemen merchandisers who went to football games (where, you know, guys wore a jacket and tie), to see what the kids were wearing. Now the youth-targeted items are created by fashion designers tempting us with things like a bandanna tee:

Which should pair well with these:

Sprinkled throughout the collection are Ivy League accessories, such as lapel pins, evidently meant to conjure a connection between the fashion items and the schools of the Ancient Eight. J. Press still maintains a cultural connection to Harvard and Yale at its Cambridge and New Haven stores, though a fraction of what it was when the Ivy League Look was at its zenith. But with York Street the presentation comes off as merely strategic merchandising.

Finally, the new website includes a photo of the coming York Street shop on Bleeker Street:

As you can see, the store is empty. I’m sure we’re all deeply curious as to whether it will remain so once it opens. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

34 Comments on "York Street: The “Daring New Line” From J. Press"

  1. I often wonder if I’m ‘fuddy duddy’. Maybe I’m not as I raise no eyebrows at this. I expect all this now. Had they done something different however you would have seen my eyebrows launch into orbit.
    I’m going to keep on wearing Ivy. Thank you for the light entertainment, If I was 30 years younger….. I still wouldn’t be a customer!

  2. Without straying into rudeness, how is this Ivy Style, or is that your point? J. Press and Ivy have said farewell?

  3. Ironchefsakai | February 4, 2013 at 8:15 am |

    Several have commented on the York Street line noting that, if J. Press could only supply more affordable clothing, then maybe it wouldn’t have to resort to something so gimmicky in order to attract young buyers.

    Some of the pieces in the new collection look alright–even wearable–but they still look highly affected and tacky (very Gatsby-esque nouveau riche) compared to J. Press’ traditional offerings, which are apparently the more affordable of their options. Although I understand overheads may result from fashion collaborations, I somehow find the pricing hard to reconcile with the merchandise being offered.

  4. The Ancient | February 4, 2013 at 8:38 am |

    More than a little poncy.

  5. Leitmotif
    Price point and style have very little to do with each other, a case in point is Mr. Crittenden’s offerings, excellent style at a lower price point. Interestingly, the price point (level of retail price) of York Street and traditional J. Press offerings is basically the same. So this is all about style, a style J. Press thinks younger customers want, sadly.
    I’m older, my wardrobe is complete, I fear for younger guys that can’t afford to dress Ivy style.
    Fabric must be worth it’s weight in gold, York Street sure didn’t use much. 😉

  6. Is thıs Gay Ivy, Gigolo Ivy, or what?

  7. Hello MAC,
    You have confused me with Ironchefsakai, I think. Nevermind. I still agree with you!

  8. Overall, this collection looks quite tacky. It should be a hit over at Unabashedly Prep. Like MAC, I’m also an older guy with a complete wardrobe, but I do add to it occasionally. I try to keep an open mind about things. I even find Thom Browne to be interesting and amusing, but his clothes certainly aren’t for me. It will be interesting to see if York Street as a business lasts more than a few years.

  9. The low-rise pants on the suit are a tad disappointing but its the bandanna tee that frightens me.

  10. Despite some of the more egregious pieces cited above, the basics (OCBDs, chinos, navy blazer) seem to hew pretty close to the archetypes. I’m interested to see how they handle the fall, with (hopefully) a more subdued color palate.

  11. Robert Cunningham | February 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm |

    I actually really like the madras jacket pictured above and plan on buying one at the harvard store when they come in.

  12. Christopher Redgate | February 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

    The navy hopsack blazer is amusingly similar to a vintage Deansgate hopsack I procured for myself recently, right down to the white buttons, (which I may replace- haven’t decided how I feel about them yet,) except my white buttons are mother of pearl and I would be willing to bet that York Street’s are plastic. Also, my jacket is long enough for me, and it certainly didn’t require such a vast investment.

    I’m not surprised or bothered that J. Press has decided to go in this direction. What would surprise me would be to see it do particularly well. There ARE (young) people who want this look, but as a recent university graduate I can say with some certainty that they can’t afford it at this “price point”. For myself however, I’m happy to stick to “getting my ivy on” by combing thrift stores for forgotten treasure and saving up slowly for the occasional main-line J.Press item.

  13. I don’t understood the current fad of wearing blazers or suit jackets that are two sizes too small, with your stomach and tie popping out of the bottom.

  14. As other brands start shrinking their jackets, Thom Browne is having to shrink his even more. This must be some kind of shirt jacket, as it has a locker loop (?), but the jacket length is actually shorter than the sleeve length:


  15. Roy R. Platt | February 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm |

    They might be going for this look…..


  16. Christopher Redgate | February 4, 2013 at 7:40 pm |

    Haha! @MAC, I find the jacket that Chaplin has on there strangely appealing. I definitely would be more tempted to wear that than the Thom Browne madras thing in Christian’s link.

  17. What remains synonymous with The Ivy look is a handfull of signature pieces and you all know what they are. What we see here is fashion (revisit the definition). The above is not for consideration by the true Prep, Ivy or Trad. Sameness IS. All this short, wide, narrow, darted, low rise, high rise, is all designers can offer to resell a traditional blue blaser or slacks to us. Don’t let them get in your head! Stay true to a proper fit and wear such for years and years!

  18. Any word on country of origin for this stuff? Since pricing is more or less consistent with the main line, presumably it’s mostly US/UK?

  19. I guess I know where my preferences lie. I just bought a vintage (probably 10-15 years old) Orvis Harris tweed jacket off Ebay. I will have to see if I still shop Press via the web, or their Cambridge store when I am out there. Not surprised they are trying to branch into new markets, just know I am not one of those customers.

  20. James Redhouse | February 4, 2013 at 10:15 pm |

    I’ve got mixed feelings about this: On the one hand, I hope York Street has the same fate as Ralph’s Rugby. On the other hand, if this line makes J. Press enough money to allow them to stay in business and continue to produce their regular, authentic Ivy clothing, I’ll just close my eyes to York Street.

  21. Reactionary Trad | February 4, 2013 at 10:52 pm |

    Doomed to failure.

    P.S. I’m so much of a fuddy-duddy that I still say “hep” instead of “hip”.

  22. It is doomed! Look at the prices. They are more expensive than Rugby, but I don’t imagine they will set up shop across the country.

  23. Go away, Richard.

  24. Clarification: Comments by above “Richard” are not those of Ivy Style Featured Columnist Richard Press.

  25. I think I can top your fuddy-duddiness, RT: I say neither “hep” nor “hip.”

    I also say “whilst” and “amongst,” and actually pronounce the “wh” sound, too.

  26. willjohnson | February 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm |

    Truly awful. What J. Press needs is not a grotesque Gant Rugger retread at higher prices–rather, it needs to de-balloon its clothing, which must have expanded sometime in the late 80s or 90s and never returned to the classic proportions sold from the 60s through the mid 80s.

    You can’t buy trousers at Press that don’t engulf shoes these days–I’ve tried! Nor can you find a decent jacket that doesn’t hit mid-thigh (and I’m 6’0”!). They have finally, finally added a very limited selection of slim (i.e. normal) sized clothing. I don’t want short-rise, capri-length, skintight khakis that cut off circulation to my delicate parts and cup my ass, nor uncomfortably high armholes and a jacket that doesn’t cover my seat; I want pants that hit at a natural waist, and neither don’t billow around my normal-sized legs nor obscure 80% of my shoes, and a jacket that has a natural, easy, and reasonable fit.

    Brooks Brothers has pretty successfully re-adjusted its suits and jackets from the literal excesses of 90s fat-man-wear. If J. Press did the same, I cannot imagine they wouldn’t find success–the design and fabrics are superb. Just get a big and tall department like the rest of the world!

  27. On what planet do they wear clothing like this? Absurd.

    You couldn’t pay me (or anyone I know) to be seen in public in these “preppy” outfits.

    Here’s an idea: why not have the suit pants end mid-thigh, with the wearer using his shirt tail to cover up his exposed undershorts? Now, that’s a look, and would work because obviously the maker is trying to save on fabric costs.

  28. Hmmm…this all looks a bit forced, if you know what I mean.

  29. Ovadia & Sons was a children’s’ apparel company, explains it all.

  30. RLN hit it on the nose…..this is exactly the sort of contrived, ersatz prep that Castleberry and his readers will lap up.

  31. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. As an early 30something DC young professional, living in and working in the city, and devoted old school J. Press client, I would never, ever, consider buying these costumes. Ever. Please leave J. Press alone–its doesn’t have to appeal to everyone. My friends and colleagues, and fellow club members, are happy and content to carry the old school, some would say old fogey, banner, of classic J. Press. Keep that collection in New York!

  32. If a guy is excessively short it’s plowin’ time in the fields of opportunity at J. Press.

  33. I very much like the York Street smaller sized diamond-point bow ties, as contrasted with the large butterfly bow ties in the J. Press regular portfolio that are too large for my face (I call the latter “clown ties”). Also, the York Street fleece pullovers with the two stripes on the left sleeve are very tasteful and collegiate/classic in design. (I just bought one; I’m 52 and a dean on a college campus). I suspect if you look piece by piece, you will find some terrific items and some suspect choices. Just as with almost any other label. That said, I would never consider wearing the shorter jacket lengths found on York Street, Thom Browne, et. al (as I believe a proper jacket covers one’s rear), but many of my students absolutely love the look.

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