The Shmooze

'Think Yiddish, Dress British'

By Anne Cohen

  • Print
  • Share Share

It’s too bad Hanukkah and Christmas don’t coincide this year, because we’ve found the ultimate gift.

Swiss Stays, a company that makes adjustable collar stays for men — yes, those things that come in the inside of your shirt collars — has teamed up with Saks Fifth Avenue to launch a special collection — “Think Yiddish, Dress British.”

The concept? Each stay, or tab, is engraved with a word in Yiddish, with the English translation listed under it. Tuck it into your collar, and voila: You’re Jewish from the inside out.

David Schottenstein

Company head David Schottenstein came up with this homage to the Jewish roots of the garment industry when talking to the national accessories director for Saks about developing an exclusive line.

A stainless steel pair will set you back $30, while brass and titanium cost $40 and $50, respectively.

The idea for Swiss Stays, Schottenstein explained came from a typical ‘guy problem’:

“I became frustrated that every time I went to put on a collared shirt I had to change the collar stay, and I was spending unnecessary time hunting in my drawer for the right size. I got to the point of cutting the collar stays or bending them in order to fit. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if there were a one size fits all collar stay? They say the best inventions come from necessity.”

Schottenstein’s previous schmatta project was Astor & Black, a custom bespoke clothing business that he started when he was 21 years old. According to him, the only thing that gets in the way of young innovation is lack of confidence:

“People have great ideas all the time but find all the reasons not to do it,” he said in an interview with Inc. “You have to be fearless and do not internalize rejection.”

That’s been no problem for Schottenstein, who started his first business at the age 12. After noticing that businessmen visiting his father — Thomas Schottenstein of Arshot Investment Corp. — had a certain affinity for cigars, he started his own cigar business on the low down. It ran for two years, until daddy found out and shut it down.

Now that’s chutzpah — or, “utter nerve; effrontery.”

Take your pick from the following words next time you need a straight collar:

-Bubkes
-Chutzpa
-Mensch
-Meshugnah
-Mish mosh
-Schnorrer
-Shvitzer
-Kibosh
-Kvetch
-Luftmensch
-Zafty
-Shekel
-Schlep
-Shlimazel
-Schloch
-Schmaltzy


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: yiddish, swiss stays, saks fifth avenue, fashion, david schottenstein, collar, astor and black

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?








You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:













We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.