Photo by Muffy Aldrich
The Modern Guide to The Thing Before Preppy

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Chipp in New York City

Many of the great preppy stores are no longer around in their original form, and the number of people who knew them are shrinking.  If you did shop at the Chipp Clothing Company, do you have any memories of what made it great?

12 comments:

  1. I knew and loved all but the Concord store. Barrie was a true favorite, a source for terrific shoes at great prices without the sizing quirks of Alden. I liked A & F for casual clothing and odd items for fly fishing. Their toys for adults were enticing. Brooks was my standard spot for the seventies and a small slice of the eighties. As much as I liked their apparel, the woman who took care of me in the Houston store was incomparable. Rest in peace, Carol Dohra. I loved Chipp and still have a penchant for special garish linings and other items. The qualities all of those stores shared were great personal service, wonderful selections, and a very comfortable feel to them. Made in the USA or the UK was not a question you even thought to ask. The use of natural fibers and other materials was assumed. Even Abercrombie had bamboo rods, wood framed nets, and waxed cotton wet weather gear. All of these things can still be found, but the personal factor may require searching, and hard questions about provenance and materials now need to be asked.

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  2. Vecchio is correct. The great personal service. The distinctive linings. They had a feel for their customers they lost when they all went “mall”..

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  3. ...the only person that answers the question

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  4. The son of Chipp's founder (the son worked in the NYC retail store in the 60's) still has a a website that sells ties, suspenders, and watch straps. I purchased some ties and suspenders last year and he actually called minutes after I placed my order on the website (https://www.chippneckwear.com) -- he wanted to know if I wanted brass or silver fittings on the suspenders. I was really impressed because I've never received a phone call from an online vendor before. I can only imagine what the in-person service must have been like.

    You can still find a few Chipp ties on eBay every now and again, I've purchased a few and they are very colorful and fun. I'm 52 and don't remember the salad days of Chipp, they probably still had a retail location when I lived in NYC, but I didn't know about it then. I wish I had known becuase it sounds like it was really something special.

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  5. When I graduated from college in 1972, my parents asked what I wanted for a graduation present. I wasn’t sure but when I found that I’d need more than just my standard navy blazer and slacks for a professional look, I called my father and asked for a Brooks Brothers suit. He said “sure, good choice,” so I went to 346 Madison Ave., and picked out a grey pinstripe. I was then shown to the head tailor who looked to me like he had been a general in the Italian army. He called me “sir,” and had me stand up straight and fitted the suit perfectly. The salesman asked if I wanted to put the suit on account. I said “yes,” and just gave him my name and address. He didn’t ask for ID or a credit card. I got the bill a week or so later, gave it to my father, who paid it, and I had my first store account. For the next 20 or so years, I bought most of my clothes from Brooks Brothers, until they started to get trendy (pleated pants and fanny flaps), when I moved to J. Press. I still have a Brooks account, but now it’s a Citibank Master Card, but the only things I buy from them is underwear.

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    1. Mistake. That should have been attached to Brooks Brothers.

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  6. My go to for watch straps, and suspenders!

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  7. Two memories stick out, both from the online shop:

    1) I purchased two grenadine ties -- my first, in wine red and navy blue -- with some Christmas money a few years back. Only a few days later, my grandfather passed away. I emailed to see if I could expedite the order to make sure they arrived in time. Paul Winston (son of the original owner of the old shop) called almost immediately to express his condolences and then overnighted me the ties, free of charge. Grandpa was a Harvard man and I think he'd be proud to know I wore "proper clothes" (including the navy grenadine) to his funeral. I wore it to my other grandfather's funeral a couple years later, and lent to wine-colored one to my younger brother. When my day comes, I think I'll want to be buried wearing the navy one, too.

    2) Speaking of that younger brother, he's an Alabama alum. When Paul put a few vintage ties that he found while cleaning out the shop up for sale, I nabbed the Alabama one right away for a birthday gift. Paul's little "Roll Tide!" note in the packaging was the perfect finishing touch.

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    1. Speaking of Paul Winston, he has opened a new web shop, chippboxers.com, which continues the Chipp legacy of humor.

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  8. One of Chipp's specialties was the club collar shirt. I owned a couple. One was a red bengal stripe with a contrasting white collar -- beautiful but just a bit "too too" so I rarely wore it.

    Not to be forgotten, F. R. Tripler was just up the street. I think a bought a topcoat there (but might be confusing it with B. Altman).

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