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THE Ivy Tailors! Chipp and Winston Tailoring.

August 27, 2018

 

 

 

Chipp, Inc. was founded in 1945, by Sidney Winston who made all of John F. Kennedy's suits and jackets and many suits for Robert F. Kennedy. The heavy chalk-stripe suit that JFK was frequently photographed in--it was his favorite, and so got a lot of wear!--was a Chipp suit.

 

But Chipp weren't content to follow tradition and make beautiful, classic, high-quality suits--they also *invented* many of the items that are now traditionally part of the preppy/Ivy clothing canon. Patch madras items? Chipp. Four-panel trousers? Chipp. Embroidered corduroys, now a favorite at places like J. Crew, where they are known as "critter pants"? Chipp. And, of course, there are the iconic Chipp ties.... regular emblematics until you look closely and catch the hidden meaning! (And then receive a polite yet stern request from your HR department to have a little chat with them, as mu

ch of the humor in them was from a more permissive age! ;) ) And, of course, Chipp were also happy to import from England some sartorial eccentricities that had previously only bloomed in Savile Row--such as the use of exceptionally wild fabrics for the linings of suits and jackets!

 

 

Naturally, a tailoring firm that made world-class clothing and was a leading innovator had a clientele appropriate to its stature. Wilt Chamberlain, the great basketball player was a Chipp client--fitted by Mr. Winston using a stepladder. Thomas Watson, the Chairman of IBM, was a customer almost to his death. When asked why he kept having clothing made, he replied that there was a Chinese superstition that a man would not die if he still had clothing to pick up from his tailor. (He died at a time when he had nothing under commission at Chipp.) And when a client was upset that his suit would not be ready before he had to leave for Paris, the next customer in line offered to deliver it to his hotel, as he would be leaving for Paris after the suit would be done. The first man gratefully agreed, the suit was delivered as promised--and Winston's then received a note of thanks, praising them for the quality of their delivery boys. The second client--who delivered the suit--was the American ambassador to France.

 

 

Chipp closed in the early 1980's when the building it was housed in closed, but the tailoring tradition continued with Winston Tailors, run by Paul Winston, Sidney's son. The Chipp name lives on, however, in a range of ties--"Chipp 2"--that include dog emblematics and stunningly beautiful grenadines.

 

 

So, if you'd like a lovely piece of American sartorial history, grab a tie from Chipp.... or wait and see what's going to appear here tomorrow morning! ;)

 

 

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