As a clothing label that predates the Model T, World War I and women’s suffrage, J. Press has existed long enough to seed a rich supply of its second-hand wares—or so you’d think.
“There’s really not that much of it out there compared to other brands, where you might get tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of [online] listings,” says Brian Davis, founder of online vintage store Wooden Sleepers. “J. Press is really scarce in the secondhand market, and I do believe that’s because people buy it for life.”
Fortunately, Davis has joined forces with J. Press to make his secret stash available for purchase on the Ivy League outfitter’s website. And in addition to those J. Press pieces of yesteryear that Davis has collected—which include mint-condition flap pocket OCBDs, English-made ties and Nixon-era tweeds—he’s also thrown in vintage varsity sweaters and letterman jackets that could have graced the pages of Take Ivy.
A selection of the collectible finds on offer; Wooden Sleepers’ Brian Davis. J. Press
“You can mix and match vintage pieces, whether it’s an old collegiate sweater or a varsity jacket, and I feel like those things all play really nicely together,” Davis says. “I was really trying to look at the collection in terms of that collegiate style J. Press is rooted in.”
Though vintage, the collection is anything but stale. Davis points out that, although J. Press has been “more or less unwavering in its style” throughout its 119 years, the brand has occasionally dipped a toe into pop culture. “It’s fun to find pieces from different eras, especially what I’d call the ‘San Francisco label era,’ when they had a store from 1967 to the early ‘80s—some of that stuff is pretty wild.”
It’s safe to bet that these one-of-a-kind pieces will go fast, but Davis hints that there could be an encore in the future. In the meantime, we’ve asked the experienced picker to select a few of his favorites from the current crop below.
Vintage J. Press Oxford Cloth Shirt
“I think that probably the most special pieces from the collection are the shirts. They were new-old-stock shirts that all belonged to one person who happened to be an employee of J. Press from the ‘50s through the ‘80s…They were still pinned with the original tags, in the original packaging and some of them are just incredible.”
Vintage Varsity Sweater
“The two Ps that are interlocked actually stand for Poly Prep in Brooklyn, which is still around. Being from New York, it’s incredibly hard to find New York City-centric vintage.”
Vintage J. Press Tweed Sport Coat
“It’s got a really nice feel to it, which is hard to communicate through the internet, but it’s super soft and has almost a cashmere-type feel to it, and it’s got that classic center hook vent. I love that vintage Donegal tweed label that they put in as well.”
Vintage Varsity Jacket
“There’s this really great varsity jacket that’s forest green with gold satin detail going down the arm and a chenille shamrock patch on it from the 1950s—peak Ivy style. It’s actually reversible too, which is pretty cool. If you’re feeling bold you could wear it fully gold satin.”
Vintage J. Press Tie
“I’m really into the burgundy with a micro-floral repeating pattern. That’s just a really neat looking tie that’s easy to wear and feels completely contemporary to me, even though it’s probably fifty-plus years old.”