A trip to J.Press – Cambridge

jpresslogo1J.Press – Little known outside of devotees to traditional style, J.Press has been a foundation of “Ivy Style” since before the inception of the term. While Brooks Brothers, while deemed venerable and influential has hundreds of stores across the counry, J.Press only operates 4 locations nationwide, in addition to online sales. Despite their relatively small physical footprint, the influence of J.Press style runs quite deep, and this particular store in Cambridge, Massachusetts remains a important part of the culture of the city.
One of my favorite anecdotes regarding the brand is about former president George H.W. Bush giving a speech at his alma mater, Yale University, during his presidential campaign.

Politics aside, the man has always been a sharp dresser, even into his 90’s. As the story goes, some students in the crowd began to heckle, calling out that he was just another “Brooks Brothers Republican”. To answer this, he simply opened his suit jacket, revealing the iconic J.Press label inside. Before you get the idea that J.Press is entierly for old, white conservitaves, I’ll also share that former owner of the brand, Paul Press, once gifted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr a J.Press tie after a visit to his New Haven store, which King wore on many occasions.

To me, walking through this door is almost a religious experience. To adherents of the trad style, this isn’t just a store, it’s a national monument; a place where a certain look is preserved and kept alive. While clothing retail has made major changes over the past 100+ years, here we see an example of a store that is true to it’s name. While Macy’s and JC Penny hawk piles of inexpensively produced garbage in identical stores in identical malls across the country, here before us we have something very unique, and true to the traditions and heritage that predates our modern era.

If you like J.Crew, Vineyard Vines, or Ralph Lauren, you ought to pay attention to Press as well, because this is where these modern brands took their influence from.
In a past article, I have shown you the J.Press York Street shop in NYC, but here are some photos from J.Press Cambridge.
Fun fact: This store features a Harvard-friendly crimson color scheme, while the New Haven location is decked out in blue.
Two long “islands” in the center of the store feature hundreds and hundreds of ties, ranging from emblematics to repps, foulards, raw silk, knits, and everything in between.

 

A wall of shirts, featuring the iconic J.Press oxford with a button-flap pocket.

 

Repp ties galore.

 

…and let’s not forget about bow ties either!

Plenty of summer offerings, including gingham, seersucker, madras, and raw-silk ties. Shorts can be seen below.

 

An iconic 3/2 roll blazer with elbow patches, a signature casual jacket of the trad-elite. To me, the store projects an aura of authenticity not found in any Brooks Brothers or similar retailers. It’s not about glitzy and glamourous merchandise displays, it’s about the product.

 

Rowing ties are among the many emblematics offered. J.Press neckwear (Made in England) is actually offered at lower prices than Brooks Brother (or many other preppy retailers) at around $69 a tie, or $55 on sale.
Here we see the (in)famous “Harvard Sports” tie. Don’t worry, Yale has one too, but you won’t find it here in Cambridge.

 

Simple cuff-links, and sets of blazer buttons behind.

 

The store features hundreds of suits, sport coats, tweed jackets, and of course, navy blazers.

 

Belts of leather ($100) and ribbon ($50) in many patterns and colors.

 

Some books on display- no doubt featuring apparel by the brand from its 113 year history.
Aaron Doucett
Aaron is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and works as a cartographer in Cambridge, MA. Outside of work, he enjoys rowing, cycling, and hunting for vintage ties at thrift stores.

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