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Spotlight On: J.Press For Urban Outfitters

An iconic brand if there ever was one, J.Press was founded in New Haven, Connecticut, near the Yale University campus in 1902, and has remained a bastion of preppy style ever since. 




In his 1979 essay, "Preppies: The Last Upper Class?," written for the Atlantic Monthly, Nelson W. Aldrich Jr. writes "A list of articles in the Preppie wardrobe would be tedious, but the following are some of the more familiar items: LL Bean boots, Top-Sider moccasins, tasseled loafers; pure wool socks, black silk socks, no socks; baggy chinos, baggy brick-red or lime or yellow or pink or Pulitzer trousers, baggy Brooks Brothers trousers, baggy boxer underpants; shirts of blue, pink, yellow, or striped Oxford, sometimes buttoned down, some made for a collar pin, usually from Brooks or J. Press or The [name of town or college] Shop; jackets of tweed, corduroy, poplin, seersucker with padless shoulders, a loose fit around the waist, and (if tweed) a muddy pattern; a shapeless muddy-patterned tweed overcoat, its collar lopsidedly rolled up under one ear, a shapeless beige raincoat bleached by years of use and irresistant to rain; no hat, a cross country ski cap, a very old snap-brimmed felt hat, a very old tennis hat. Thus the male preppie wardrobe."


As of late, preppy style has seen a resurgence in popularity, thanks in part to menswear bloggers like A Continuous Lean and The Trad, renewed interest in heritage brands, and the fact that it never really went away to begin with. And more than a century after its inception, J.Press is still a mainstay preppy brand. 


The new J.Press for Urban Outfitters collaboration draws on the label's heritage and craftsmanship, and focuses particularly on 1960s and 1970s-era J.Press, looking to Animal House and Happy Days for inspiration. "We wanted to recreate the height of traditional Ivy League style in the early '60s," says design director Mikito Takeshima.


The exclusive, 20-piece line includes solid and striped oxfords, slim-fit pants, a Black Watch tartan golf jacket, and a wool vest, alongside several collegiate accessories such as a Dartmouth scarf, Princeton tie, and Cornell belt. So if you didn't actually get into an Ivy League school, you can still look like it.