EXCLUSIVE: The Andover Shop Pops Up in Newport

November 21, 2011 at 9:29 am 1 comment

When I heard The Andover Shop was expanding to Newport recently, I did a double-take. “THE Andover Shop?!” I exclaimed. It’s true. Legendary menswear maestro Charlie Davidson opened the original shop (in Andover, Mass.) in 1948, then one in Cambridge, and there have been locations in Palm Beach and other spots in Boston. Now, Newport (through the end of the year, that is).  

Davidson has had a summer home here in Newport since the 70s, and daughter Casey moved here with her husband Larry Farley in September. “We were talking to Charlie about his business and he mentioned he had some inventory he’d like to sell at discount,” says Casey. “He wanted to move out the old to make way for newer things.” So, she and Larry conceptualized a pop-up shop and moved quickly to secure the correct permits and location at 99 Spring Street. “It is The Andover Shops first pop up although the store has a long history of doing trunk shows around the country,” adds Casey.

Before reading any further, you should know everything in the store is 50% off original prices. That means, classic tweed sport coats made in the USA exclusively for The Andover Shop of fabric from Scotland and Ireland, suits (mostly summer weight wool), trousers made from whip cord, thin and wide whale corduroy, gabardine wool, seersucker, madras and cavalry twill, a few overcoats, scarves, belts and bathing suits. “We have wildly colored cotton shorts, hosiery, silk and wool neck ties and bow ties, a range of sweaters, although most are cotton as we’ve sold out of the wool ones,” says Casey. “And we have beautiful shirts. Our dress shirts are like those you might see at Brooks Brothers but we also have more casual plaid and striped shirts in fun, non traditional colors and some cotton golf shirts. Though limited on sizes, Casey says the shop will try and accommodate all shoppers. The outlet also gets new things in from the two Andover Shops on a regular basis. “We encourage men who appreciate fine clothes to set aside some time and come in to try on as much as possible. I can pretty much guarantee they’ll find something to love.”

Of course, there’s one longtime colorful character loved in Newport who has long touted the talented tailor…click MORE below to find out. In the meantime, The Andover Shop Outlet at 99 Spring Street in Newport is open daily, 10:30am to 6pm.

The first time I met world-famous tennis analyst Bud Collins, I was star struck…by his pants. The man wears the most funky, eye-catching, original trousers and proudly credits The Andover Shop’s Charlie Davidson for each distinct look. Collins sources fabrics from around the world, brings the lot to Charlie, and the result is one-of-a-kind looks. Daughter Casey tells the story of their fashionable friendship here:

Yes, Charlie and Bud still collaborate on trousers and are always on the look out for something wild… Bud’s been a great champion of Charlie’s work which is kind of funny because the trousers Bud wears aren’t at all classic or traditional. They’re fun. Charlie understands and promotes great personal style. He’s all about having men feel comfortable in what they wear through fine tailoring, high quality fabrics and the tiny details, like having real button holes on the sleeves of sport coats or a wild purple silk lining on a staid pin striped suit. Men can be bold and sophisticated and make a sartorial statement.  The real connection Charlie has to Newport began with the Jazz Festivals. He has known festival founder George Wein and his PR man, Charlie Bourgeois since they all started out together in Boston. George had a nightclub (Storyville) and when the musicians came to play in Boston, they’d hit the Andover Shop for clothes. Miles Davis, Chet Baker and many others were customers. Charlie is a major jazz fan. I don’t think he’s ever missed a Jazz Festival here in Newport. He and George Wein are the same age, 85 and they both still have such passion for what they do. Neither one would think of their careers as work because they enjoy it so much. And they have still have this need to teach us about why clothes and jazz are so important to a culture. 

Both images here are of Bud in Newport participating in the annual Angela Moore Fashion Show at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Above left image by John Corbett; above right image by yours truly…

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