He’ll Do Anything For Custom (But He Won’t Do That)

“But I don’t like to make a seersucker jacket or suit for anybody,” he said. “I’ll do it, but I really shouldn’t. Because of what I have to charge them for the tailoring” — his prices start at $1,400 for a jacket made-to-measure in standard patterns and sizes and up to $2,400 if it is custom-made — “it’s not worth it for something that’s just made of cotton.”
He continued: “It’s like this … even the richest guy in the country wouldn’t pay $20 for a banana. He could afford it, but he wouldn’t do it.”
One of Mr. Winston’s favorites is a bolt of cloth printed with Zodiac-themed variations on the Kama Sutra. “A customer had me make a jacket out of this for his sister’s wedding on Fishers Island some years ago,” he said. “I bought a lot of it and use it as tuxedo linings now. Some of the women in my workrooms refused to do it, so I had to have one guy bring it home to work on.”

— Paul Winston of Chipp2 on how he’ll make you a tuxedo with a Kama Sutra lining, but he’d be reluctant to make you a suit out of cotton. 
(Pictured above: Paul holding up a jacket made out of tussah silk, a very slubby, textured fabric made by allowing silk worms to live on a wild diet rather than exclusively on mulberry leaves)

He’ll Do Anything For Custom (But He Won’t Do That)

“But I don’t like to make a seersucker jacket or suit for anybody,” he said. “I’ll do it, but I really shouldn’t. Because of what I have to charge them for the tailoring” — his prices start at $1,400 for a jacket made-to-measure in standard patterns and sizes and up to $2,400 if it is custom-made — “it’s not worth it for something that’s just made of cotton.”

He continued: “It’s like this … even the richest guy in the country wouldn’t pay $20 for a banana. He could afford it, but he wouldn’t do it.”

One of Mr. Winston’s favorites is a bolt of cloth printed with Zodiac-themed variations on the Kama Sutra. “A customer had me make a jacket out of this for his sister’s wedding on Fishers Island some years ago,” he said. “I bought a lot of it and use it as tuxedo linings now. Some of the women in my workrooms refused to do it, so I had to have one guy bring it home to work on.”

Paul Winston of Chipp2 on how he’ll make you a tuxedo with a Kama Sutra lining, but he’d be reluctant to make you a suit out of cotton. 

(Pictured above: Paul holding up a jacket made out of tussah silk, a very slubby, textured fabric made by allowing silk worms to live on a wild diet rather than exclusively on mulberry leaves)

$35 Lambswool Ties

I’d like to meet Paul Winston someday. As regular readers know, Paul runs the traditional clothiers business Chipp2/ Winston Tailors out of midtown Manhattan, and his father – Sidney Winston – was one of President Kennedy’s tailors. I’ve talked with Paul a few times over the phone and he always comes off as an incredibly charming man with lots of great stories (which he tells in his slight New Yorker accent). Last time we spoke, I asked him why doesn’t he charge more for his grenadines. They’re handmade in the US and use the same fabric as everyone else, but are currently cheaper than grenadines machine stitched in East Asia. Paul told me that it’s because he’s old enough to remember what prices used to be like back in the day, and can’t bring himself to charge more, even if people will pay. I’d normally think that was some slick marketing line, but when you talk to Paul, you easily get the sense that he’s a real deal, sincere guy, and I believe him.

In any case, Paul recently got a bunch of lambswool ties in. Since he runs a custom clothier business, he has some lambswool left over from jackets he’s made, so he decided to turn them into ties and sell them at a cheap price. There are seventeen colors, all solid, which make them a good complement to patterned shirts and jackets. Each tie measures 58.25” long and 3.25” in width, and costs $35 (shipping for up to three ties is $7.50 within the US, and $13.50 for international). Unlike his grenadines, these are machine stitched, but still made in New York. The interlinings are a wool/ poly blend, and a bit thicker than what seems to be the trend in high-end neckwear these days, but I knotted a few of them up and they still seemed great. With a little bit of tugging on each side of the loop, as demonstrate here by Bernhard Roetzel, you can get the knot pretty small. For $35, I think they’re a pretty good buy. Good enough that I purchased one for myself before sending the lot back.

I snapped a few photos, but for some reason, the colors didn’t come out terribly well the group shots. In the top most photo, moving from top to bottom we have: tan, gold, toast, sky blue, light blue, navy, and black. The “black” should really be the same color as my navy sport coat, which the ties are laying on top of. It’s really more of a midnight navy, not true black, in my opinion. The tie labeled navy (second from the bottom) is perhaps one shade lighter than a midnight navy. The colors are better represented in the close-up pictures, though navy and black are still lighter in the photos than they are in real life.

In the second group shot, again moving from top to bottom, we have: grey, light grey, pumpkin, mauve, coral, purple, light plum, and lilac. Again, the colors are better represented in the close up photos.

Tan and sky blue are already sold out, and two colors not pictured here are chocolate brown and royal blue. Customers can request swatches if they’d like to get a better sense of the fabrics’ textures and colors. And if you purchase something and don’t like it, Paul is happy to take returns. 

To order, you can just go to Chipp2’s website and buy one of their dog ties, then in the comment section, say something like “I don’t want a dog tie, I want a ….” Or you can call Paul directly at (212) 687-0850. Unlike his grenadines, which will always be available, this is a limited run only. The quantities are quite uneven, and some colors only have six or less in stock. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. 

The More Affordable Grenadine

This past Monday, I received a gold grenadine from Paul Winston. Mr. Winston, as you may know, is heir to one of the greatest names in America’s clothing history, Chipp. His father, Sidney Winston, started the company in 1947 and before long, Chipp became one of most important traditional men’s clothiers in America. It stands alongside names such as Brooks Brothers, J Press, and FR Tripler. Paul now continues that tradition through Winston Tailors and Chipp2

Chipp2’s grenadines are handmade in New York using grenadine fina silks from Seteria Bianchi, a mill in Italy. They feel slightly less meaty than the grenadines I own from J Press (at least the contemporary ones) and are bit closer to those that were made fifteen or twenty years ago. Sometimes you can still find those on eBay, but they’re rare. Which you prefer is really a matter of taste, but both kinds are unquestionably nice. 

Impressively, Paul is able to sell his grenadines for $47.50, which is about half the price of what most other makers charge. They’re not cheap, to be sure, but given that you can almost get away with owning just a navy grenadine tie and nothing else, these are a great value. 

In addition to the tie, Paul sent me a few fabric swatches. You can get a grenadine from him in any of these colors. Pictured here, going from left to right, are black, chocolate brown, rust, wine, red, navy, blue, forest green, gold, and yellow. There was also a purple swatch, kind of like eggplant, but I accidentally forgot to include it. If you want your own swatches, you can also request them from Paul. 

To order a grenadine, call Paul at (212) 687-0850 or visit his shop at 28 West 44th Street in New York City (it’s between 5th and 6th Avenue). You can also order them online through a slightly circuitous route. First go to his website and order one of his dog ties. Then in the comment section, tell him which color grenadine you want and the correct charge will be made on your credit card. He also accepts Paypal.