J. Press, the venerable clothier of generations of New York Wasps and their privileged offspring, moved from East 44th Street — once the epicenter of conservative men’s fashion — earlier this month, after nearly 50 years on the block. (Brooks Brothers, bless them, remains.) Just around the corner on Madison and 47th, a few changes at the new J. Press stand out. The old shop, like a Wasp wedding, was a little too big and a little too quiet. The clothes were immune to the vagaries of new fashion; you could always find a sport coat that went out of style sometime during the Carter administration and dress shirts with little button flaps over the chest pockets.
The new store is uncomfortably like the Men’s Wearhouse next door: white walls, a proliferation of glass, a bunch of Barcelona chairs, and too bright lighting. (One salesman quipped that he didn’t need to drink his morning coffee anymore.) The less-than-best-selling items seem to have been left behind, and the new place is color-coded all to hell. We’re told the move had something to do with “gaining greater exposure” on a more heavily trafficked avenue. Beware the nouveau riche! —Tayt Harlin