J. Press to Reopen Store in New Haven
The Ivy League retailer was founded in the Connecticut city in 1902.
JEAN E. PALMIERI
JANUARY 28, 2022, 2:16PM
The preppy retailer, which was founded in New Haven, Conn., in the shadows of Yale University in 1902, is reopening a store in that city this spring.
J. Press operated a store at 262 York Street in New Haven for over a century until 2013 when it was severely damaged by a storm. It has been operating in temporary spaces since then, but the company, which is owned by Onward Kashiyama in Japan, has secured a new permanent location adjacent to the old one at 262 Elm Street. The 1,780-square-foot location is scheduled to open in May.
The two-level store is designed with a classic yet modern aesthetic intended to bridge the gap between a traditional haberdashery and a contemporary clothier. Over the years, J. Press has defined Ivy League style with its Shaggy Dog Shetland sweaters, oxford button-down shirts and blue blazers. The new store will house the Heritage and Pennant collections along with sportswear on the first floor while tailored clothing, the made-to-measure department, custom shirts and a tailor shop will be upstairs. The building will also house the J. Press e-commerce distribution center and administrative offices.
“J. Press has a long history in New Haven and we are thrilled to find a permanent home for our store in the city of our founding,” said Jun Murakami, president of J. Press USA. “We look forward to continuing the rich tradition of classic American style for years to come.”
J. Press was founded by Jacobi Press, a Latvian immigrant, who opened a store on the campus of Yale University, and has been owned by Onward Kashiyama since 1986. It currently operates units on 44th Street in Manhattan as well as on L Street NW in Washington, D.C. There is also a freestanding store in Tokyo and 83 shop-in-shops in Japan.
J. Press is a traditional men's clothier founded in 1902 on Yale University's campus in New Haven, Connecticut by Jacobi Press. The brand also has stores in New York City and Washington, D.C.. In 1974, the Press family sold the rights to license J. Press for the Japanese market, making it the first American brand to be licensed in Japan. In 1986, J. Press was acquired by the Japanese apparel company Onward Kashiyama, who had previously been his licensee for 14 years. Japanese licensed distribution is roughly six times larger than the American-made J. Press. J. Press is currently part of the Onward Group (Onward Holdings, Ltd.).
Founder Jacobi Press in New Haven, CT.
Jacobi Press immigrated to the US from Latvia in 1896 and founded the company six years later.
Since its founding, J. Press' clothing has remained much the same. For example, the company produces the vast majority of its off-the-rack jackets in the traditional "three-button sack" style rarely found today in America, and for the most part, only produces plain-front trousers, for which the company suggests a traditional 13⁄4" cuff. Fabrics are generally subdued, except for traditionally bright-colored items such as casual trousers and sweaters. Its neckties bear traditional repp stripe, foulard, and paisley motifs. They also carry scarves and ties featuring motifs and colors for Ivy League schools, including Yale's Skull and Bones Society. J. Press dress overcoats are of lambswool, cashmere, or camel hair, or of herringbone tweed with a velvet collar in the Chesterfield style.
New Haven Store
Ties from the J. Press spring/summer 1962 catalog
J. Press is said to carry on a traditional Ivy League style of men's clothing.J. Press caters most to an old-fashioned preppy subculture that eschews popular culture trends. The company makes an effort not to outsource the production of its clothing to developing countries or to use synthetic materials in its line.
The New Haven store was originally built in 1863 in the French Second Empire style as a residence for Cornelius Pierpont, a prominent local grocer. It was irreparably damaged by Winter Storm Nemo in February 2013; the company is temporarily renting a store at 260 College St., across from the Shubert Theatre.
In 1912, the company opened a store in New York “appropriately equidistant from the Yale and Harvard Clubs.”
In May 2007, J. Press moved to 380 Madison Avenue in New York City, which closed indefinitely in 2014.
J. Press opened another store in New York on March 1, 2013, located at 304 Bleecker Street, which carries a younger subset of its line initially named “York Street,” called by the New York Times “a faint outline of the original,” and later renamed “J. Press Blue.”
In October 2017, J. Press closed the York Street store and opened a new store in midtown Manhattan, in the same building as the Yale Club. The store was expected to generate 25% of U.S. sales. J Press has been constructing a new larger four story retail storefront at the original 260 York St., New Haven location.
J. Press formerly had branches in Cambridge, Massachusetts (closed in August 2018 after 86 years),San Francisco, California and Princeton, New Jersey.