It Has Now Been Done Properly: J. Press Releases Pennant Label Fall/Winter Collection

If you follow Ivy, you know what happens when one generation tells another, “Wear what I did the way I wore it.” The resurgence of Ivy is an opportunity to invite a new generation to the party, but in a new way.

That is an easy thing to get wrong, and a hard thing to get right. J. Press was uniquely positioned to get it right, and they have nailed it.

Click here to check out the Lookbook. You will probably forget, once you get started over there, to come back, because it is brilliant. In the event that happens, buy something and have a nice day.

The recipe is art with strategy. From the Lookbook, “Not only is Ivy Style now available to anyone and everyone, it has been and continues to be revived and remixed across each decade since the “heyday.” Each garment within the J. Press Pennant Label has been meticulously chosen for its adaptability; it is able to be worn both in adherence with and in contrast to the original canon.”

Here’s one sign of the masterstroke. While there are innovations to palette and so forth, J. Press has so much Ivy in its DNA that this new collection can be worn on campus AND by a 50 year old with a sense of style.

J. Press walked that line by using prep as the invitation to this new generation. And it works. If a guitar teacher is good, they will ask a new student on day one to name three songs they love and want to play, and then teach them to play those songs they already know and love. THEN they ask, “Ok, now you wanna get good?” It is thus with Prep to Ivy in the Pennant Label.

The Pennant Label is an entire Ivy wardrobe interpreted. Sack Jackets. Corduroy Critter Pants. Puffer Vests. Every element. Some washed down. Some reimagined. All next generation Ivy.

SO Ivy, in fact, that Pennant will be offering made to measure at a target market appropriate price point in September. More on that later.

I got this gig by yelling that you have to reimagine Ivy if it is going to survive and that if you do reimagine it just a little, it will not only survive but thrive. The Pennant Label is proof of concept. Elements that a new generation can build upon over time, until a complete wardrobe of classic and traditional clothing that speaks to them is in their closet. This collection was curated – I’ve run through it and I cannot find a single misstep. I love J. Press collabs, but I really love when they stay home and make the art they really want to make.

Welcome to the party, new generation. Go to J. Press and pick out some favors.

34 Comments on "It Has Now Been Done Properly: J. Press Releases Pennant Label Fall/Winter Collection"

  1. Gregory Carrara | September 1, 2023 at 9:45 am |

    I could not agree with you more, John. There needs to be interpretation, and even at 59 (later this month) I keep a fresh eye out for refreshes and updates on classic things that I like, from clothes, watches, cars to music…and I love this look book and agree, not one misstep. All are not for me, but some definitely are. I think I will try out the trim fit dress shirt/oxfords…I see no reason to wear shirts that, while they look good on some people, billow out of my pants with a lot of excess fabric, and even worse when I wear a sweater, all make me look 50 pounds overweight. And while I am no Adonis, I work out very hard, and do tough mudders, I see no need to wear huge clothing in the name of fulfilling what some deem to be the draconian, non-negotiable, hard and fast rules of dress to be prep or ivy. Not for me. I like comfort, dislike anything tight fitting, but, want my clothes to fit me well. Note that I do not say perfectly, because there is fun in imperfection. In any event, this was a great post, always look forward to your insight, and everyone’s comments, whether I agree or disagree, and thank you so very much for your great work on this site! Happy Labor Day to everyone!

  2. Richard E. Press | September 1, 2023 at 10:05 am |

    Realizing any comment of mine might be considered self egregious, nevertheless pleased to offer bravos for the keen commentary.

  3. Charlottesville | September 1, 2023 at 10:58 am |

    I think this is the best “Modern Ivy” interpretation I have seen, and (in my opinion anyway) superior to earlier iterations of the Pennant line. Except that the jacket length may be a bit short for me, I see nothing among the sport coats that I would not be happy to wear, and the more casual clothing is also well done. There is even a charcoal gray suit. I particularly note that the shoes are well chosen, and a far cry from the garishly colored sneakers that are practically all I see on most people, regardless of ages. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the models are well groomed in addition to being well dressed, and don’t look like vacant-eyed anorexics, which is a nice change from the usual fashion spread these days.

    I congratulate the company and wish them the very best with this collection, and earnestly hope that college students and young men starting out in their careers will adopt J. Press as their own as so many of us have. Is it just a coincidence that The Wall Street Journal reports that the OPHB is again a must read and used copies are selling for hundreds of dollars on line?

  4. I think J Press should be congratulated for Pennant.

    The challenge for any traditional brand is always how far you move your brand forward without damaging it. I think Pennant is not only well thought through, both as individual pieces and as a collection, but also really competitively priced.

    There’s a lot to love about the fall look book – flap pocket shirts, 5 pocket cords, tartan.

    Couple of observations. I recently tried to get the correct fit on the Pennant drizzler jacket and it was a bit confusing. I think they should make their online sizing a bit clearer and demonstrate the difference between classic, trim and Pennant really obvious.

    Also, I’m still not convinced about the lapel width and length, especially for younger customers – but that’s just my opinion.

  5. For 20 years now J Press has been trying to figure out how to sell to young people. Have they figured out that they need to have their prices be 1/2 or less than the regular line? (Remember Brooks Bros University Shop?)
    Can’t tell from the brochure what they are charging.

  6. When is JP expected to publish the Classic Fit Fall Catalogue? I enjoyed last year’s very much, but was unable to fly back east for a measuring up.

  7. It’s nice that tweed Sport Coats are being made available. The grey jumped at me, then the green, and the houndstooth…all of them. The sleeveheads look more comfortable than the usual superhero uniform and the two-button cuff is cool. I was hoping that by now, the high gorge and wide lapels fad would have passed.

  8. A quick glance at the look book shows a lot to like, and at price points that are much more budget friendly!

    The overall vibe feels a bit like “RL Rugby, but make it Ivy” – and I mean that as a high compliment! Very, very curious to see what the m2m program entails – especially since I’m only a short metro ride away from the DC store.

    My only possible nit: I wonder if the “younger = trimmer” formula might not have as much potential now as it did 5-10 years ago. Mad Men aired its finale 8 years ago, and it seems like the last of its sartorial momentum has petered out. The pendulum may finally be swinging back the other way, as evidenced by J.Crew’s bugle-successful “giant” chinos and Oxford shirts. If the aim here is to draw in a younger crowd, bigger and looser fits (within J.Press’ small-c conservative bandwidth) might be a better lure. After all, we’re getting pretty close to today’s kids’ definition of “dad jeans” being skinny jeans…

    Then again, I’m just the latest in a long line of casual observers and petty critics that J.Press has outlived by preserving style instead of chasing fashion. So: Here’s hoping I’m wrong, this stuff sells like hotcakes, and they make a huge return on investing in the next generation of Ivy & Prep!

    • I agree, Ryan, on the “younger = trimmer” point. Once it starts to get around that a youngin’ can only get a couple of seasons wear out of a sport coat, regardless of retail price, because they simply and naturally outgrew it, buyers will swing back to a preference for “regular” fit. Meanwhile, they can always hand it down.

  9. RebeccaTrotter88 | September 2, 2023 at 4:15 am |

    It is so very good to have you back. I shop for my boyfriend very frequently and I will be picking up a few Pennant items.

    Selfishly, will you be posting any more pictures of yourself? xoxo

  10. Not bad at all!

    Kind Regards,


  11. Just picked up three shirts.

  12. NaturalShoulder | September 2, 2023 at 8:37 pm |

    The first picture gives off a Dark Academia/Donna Tartt Secret History vibe. Much to like in the catalog; bravo J. Press. I am particularly intrigued by the Zephyr OCBDs. Sounds like fabric may be lighter weight which would work well for me in Texas.

  13. Dan Christensen | September 2, 2023 at 11:09 pm |

    Re: “you have to reimagine Ivy if it is going to survive”:

    Ivy has survived for at least 60 years in spite of any “innovation”.

    • If I say it is finally going to rain tomorrow and you say it hasn’t rained for 60 days, both can be true. But I am curious, what is the argument against innovation?

    • White Pinpoint | September 4, 2023 at 12:06 am |

      Agreed, Dan.
      Who needs innovation when what you’ve got is so good?
      As one reader once commented, the only innovations that gained widespread acceptance were widening and narrowing of lapels and neckties.

      • I always think this attitude, when I encounter it, and that happens less and less, ignores the self-expression aspect of dressing. Each generation lives in a different time, and wants to express that time and their lives in their own way. The idea behind Ivy in the first place was part innovation, part respect. Why SHOULDN’T Ivy stay that course, and innovate with respect? As has been done here.

        • It takes a few days for these conversations to get philosophical. Kinda groovy.
          It’s a fine line. When innovations are refinements, it’s like Haydn, followed by Mozart, then Beethoven, then Brahms. When innovations are gimmicks, it’s like Walter Murphy’s “5th”. Btw, WM is a remarkably talented musician, but the example stands. I see this Pennant Collection as neo-classical. More, please.

        • Gregory Carrara | September 4, 2023 at 8:18 pm |

          I agree with you, John.

        • Diego Grilli | September 5, 2023 at 1:32 am |

          Re:” the self-expression aspect of dressing”

          I express myself by sticking to the rules.
          Let others innovate.

  14. I like the herringbone jacket + denim shirt combination. It’s cool enough to be traditional and contemporary at the same time.

  15. This lookbook is nice but I think it’s also not particularly innovative or new or anything. As far as modifying Ivy, there is nothing really new here that hasn’t been done before by Ralph Lauren and others for decades now. That’s not a knock. All of this stuff looks great and it makes J Press more appealing to the kids when they see people like themselves wearing it. But it’s not particularly unique. Hope it works but it’s just J Press Jr to me.

    Rowing Blazers is good too if people like this sort of Hip Ivy thing!

    (Very opinionated because I work in fashion!)

    • Hi Amy! I think the fact that the innovation doesn’t yell loud enough for you to hear it over the Ivy means they innovated just enough. 🙂

  16. Peter René Lebenthal | September 5, 2023 at 4:50 am |

    This collection is exactly how I dress nearly every day. I could buy almost everything I see in the lookbook even if I am 56. My only problem is that JPress doesn’t have a shop in Paris, France. Please ….open one soon !!!
    Bonne journée à tous !!

  17. This is a return to the classic look book, with more details and information than I’ve seen in a while from Press. Hope to see that carried over to their regular fall catalog/look book as well. I enjoy learning about the individual pieces. What role they serve in the wardrobe, their provenance, etc. Would be great to juxtapose some old images from past catalogs as well. Great stuff…

  18. While I appreciate the efforts to appeal to a younger clientele (as well as to reinvigorate an older clientele including this commenter), I do not support the offshoring efforts of the Pennant Label. Almost all the offerings are “imported”, and my personal investigation of the spring/summer line in the DC store sadly confirmed that equates to Made in China. Were the price points so drastically different between the main J Press offerings and the Pennant Label, I could perhaps better understand the decision to step away from the longstanding tradition of Made In USA/Made in UK/Ire that Press still touts in store/web in an effort to make an introduction to the student/exploring/younger customer, but from what I can tell, the price points are only incrementally different between the two lines. I believe the (unintended?) consequence of the Pennant Label, especially now that they are offering suiting/tailored clothing options) is to condition customers to a lesser quality garment that has the appearance of J Press heritage. Contrast with Rowing Blazers for instance. While their approach and cuts may not be to everyone’s liking, they are certainly competing for a similar demographic of client. Yet, virtually every garment they offer is made in Portugal or elsewhere in Europe to a high standard.

    • Hmmmm. Treading softly here but this comment could definitely be interpreted the wrong way. Let’s start with the thought that anything Made in UK/IR IS imported. Same with Portugal. And yep, even elsewhere in Europe. So it seems that your issue is China? Have you seen the Pennant line, because I have, and I assure you, it is right there with everything else that Press does. That said, there is a tendency amongst some of us to see a style we don’t love and equate it with poorly made. It might just be that you don’t like it? And ANY price point differentiation reverberates. I would rather just have a global mindset and get a new generation into the aesthetic. Another thing to keep in mind – while you and I who are steeped in Ivy tradition may care about quality, people being introduced to the style have nothing to compare it to. You don’t know if your first pizza ever is good, you only know if you like it. That is what is being accomplished here.

  19. Thank you for the dialogue, and I hope my comment is not interpreted differently than it was intended. Certainly, manufacture in US/UK/Ireland/Europe is “imported” as you noted and also not the end-all be-all, but I know that it is an element of traditional clothing that has historically served as a reliable barometer of quality workmanship. On this point, I will leave for your consideration that there is a reason that certain garments on the J Press website (as well as other vendors) are identified as being made in USA, Scotland, England, while other garments are simply labeled as “imported”. To your question, yes, I have seen the Pennant Label goods in-store in DC. I liked the look of several items although the quality appeared to be hit or miss. For instance, the tennis jacket was particularly handsome, and I thought a much-needed item to be brought back from the past, but the zippers were of poor quality and there were loose threads abounding -and yes, hidden inside was a Made in China label. I was sufficiently inspired by the encounter with the Pennant Label that I sought out the original/presumed source of inspiration – and purchased a vintage Fred Perry original (made in England) and the quality difference is palpable.
    All that said, I do not want to rain on the parade of this entry. The styling is handsome in this look book, and I would love to see it succeed in bringing more, younger people along for the ride (am trying to lead my college-aged nephew to the water, so to speak). If anyone at Press is reading, to that end I suggest you consider taking the Pennant Label on the road, and revive the old tradition of trunk shows, especially to college and university campuses (and bring along some of the Main line offerings as well).

  20. The thing I love about J Press in general and the Pennant line in particular is how it’s simultaneously heritage and modern. I wish they printed the Pennant fall lookbook like they do the regular catalog, as this is all truly a vibe and inspiration for future fits when it gets cooler.

  21. Hi Richard,
    Are you able to make Notre Dame products, like you do for the ivies? I’m certain I bought a Notre Dame patch and blazer buttons in the eighties from j press. There are a lot of domers looking for a classic sweatshirt or t shirt.

  22. When’s that Bruce Boyer pizza coming out of the oven, John?

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