Service was not terrible at comparable stores like Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart, but it was not in the same league as the service at J. Press. The employees at the former two were distant and projected that aloof vibe as they watched us look at garments as if to say (with nostrils flared, eyebrows and chin raised), “Are you, a lowly college student, actually wealthy enough to shop in this store? Get your impoverished paws off my clothing.” But J. Press employees were conversational, enthusiastic, and incredibly knowledgeable about their store and the men’s market. You walk into their Madison Avenue store and are greeted by five or more gentlemen standing together—a hefty artillery—who don’t bombard you, but also don’t avoid you because they have nothing to say.
One of the men we spoke with modestly recounted the history of the store’s brief existence in Princeton. The general manager, Jonathan Sadler, spoke at great lengths on how J. Press is different from its peers. He explained that they have a monopoly on the three-button sac (see the image below) and also refuse to pleat most of their pants and shorts (the pleat is not a good look, gentlemen). And while most stores told us to go through corporate to get permission to take photos and put them on the blog, Mr. Sadler just told us to go ahead. “I mean, our clothing will still be the same whether or not you snap a photo.”
We cannot stress enough how much J. Press refuses to do what the big companies are doing. They get their clothing manufactured from mom and pop shops—not a big manufacturer that just about every other brand chooses (many stores have their garments manufactured at Gitman Brothers); of course this means the materials are different, but the real idea here is that their steadfast commitment to little clothing manufacturers is emblematic of the dedication to their core values of offering an intimate shopping experience that doesn’t compromise company ideals for monetary gains. It’s no surprise that when you walk into their store, you practically forget you’re in a successful chain store. You feel like you’re walking into a local shop renowned for quality clothing, a place where the employees are your friends.