There’s still much news in Tradsville to catch up on, so here’s a double-shot of your favorite titans of the Old Guard. Earlier this month Troy Patterson, who has linked to Ivy Style several times over the years, attempted to unravel the mysteries of business casual for The New Yorker. The piece ends with J. Press and its surviving patriarch, Richard Press:
Last week, I warily approached J. Press. I had been a bit embarrassed by a response this shop—“a default outfitter of the northeastern elite”—had to the Goldman memo. (“J. Press remains hip to the new order,” a promotional newsletter read. “Our millennials often head over to SoHo House, a three-minute walk from the High Line, where suit and tie is no-no.”) But a visit encouraged a sense of perspective. The shop had just ordered a new print run of “Rebel Without a Suit: The Not-So-Casual Road to Casual Friday,” a brief history of the business-casual tradition, by Richard Press and Joseph Cosgriff. The authors’ account ranges from the pivotal “Aloha Fridays” of nineteen-sixties Hawaii to Dockers’s guileful direct appeals to nineteen-nineties H.R. managers and a sartorial correction that followed the 2000 Nasdaq crash, when more than a few large companies rescinded their casual dress codes, even if only temporarily. “Rebel Without a Suit” warns that “whiffing on Casual Friday gives your company another possible reason to fire you, or at least slow down what you once believed to be your meteoric rise to the top of the corporate ranks.” At first I misread that “meteoric” as “meritocratic.” That ominous note sounds like the ring of opening bell on a rag-trade sales day. There is only one rule of business-casual dressing, and it is the rule of fear.
Note in the photo above that Richard is wearing a pinstriped suit with a striped ribbon belt, a classic combo we posted about last month. He’s also wearing the expression he would shoot back in the day when a customer would ask, “Is this on sale?”
As for G. Bruce Boyer, he recently sat down with Pedro Mendes of The Hogtown Rake to discuss the heyday of the Ivy League Look. It’s a treat you won’t want to miss, and you can find it right here. — CC