J. Press Is for the Ivy League Faithful (or Those Who Like Preppy Drag)


Back in college, I used to walk by J. Press a couple of times a week, but it was invisible to me. You can’t see what you don’t know exists.

At the time, I owned a couple of sport coats but not a suit. I’d seen my father in a suit only on the day of my bar mitzvah and (maybe) my cousin’s wedding. I wore Polo and Hilfiger two sizes too big, jeans that could have sailed a yacht, Timberlands unlaced. I wore headphones the size of Big Macs and talked to no one. I knew every day I didn’t quite belong.

Over those four years, things began to change. I tried to play nice, tighten up, tuck in. Sandpaper off the burrs. It didn’t really work, but I’m not sure how much I wanted it to work. And even though I bought a Calvin Klein suit at Woodbury Common on severe discount, that was as far as I went.

J. Press remained a cipher. Once I began to see the windows, and what was in them, I was reminded largely of wealth I didn’t have, rooms I would never be allowed into. Rooms I had to convince myself weren’t worth craving.

Maybe that’s a small part of why, when I finally accepted tailored clothing into my life, my taste in suits skewed Italian. They had curve and swing and didn’t feel like prisons.

Source: The New York Times