As a follow-up to our last post on “Main Street” Ivy brands from the heyday, herein a reader reminisces on one from more recent times.
* * *
I’m hoping readers will enjoy a little bit of nostalgia via the Spring 1995 catalog from Huntington Clothiers, the last one I have. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, this is sadly another great men’s clothing store that has entered into the pages of fashion history. Huntington was like an affordable version of J. Press whose prices were aligned with what Lands’ End charged back in the ’80s and early ’90s. I first recall receiving the catalog in the early ’80s. It was love at first sight, and every season thereafter until the company’s unfortunate demise, my anticipation was always high awaiting its newest catalog. Many of the items from this particular season hung in my closet over the years, and were I still able to fit into them, they would still be there in my regular rotation. Fortunately, I still have several of Huntington’s classic and timeless ties, which are still in perfect wearing condition. Huntington allowed me to purchase quality American-made clothing at affordable prices, which in turn allowed me to have the ability regularly purchase a lot of items without having to remortgage my home. — JIM MCGRATH
I’d never seen so “recent” a Huntington catalog before; the ones I remember had hand-drawn illustrations, not photographs.
The layout looks as if it was influenced by the Robert Kirk Ltd.-Cable Car Clothıers catalogs of the time.
I recently picked up two Huntington v-neck sweaters in Navy and Charcoal from a thrift store in Columbus. They were in fantastic shape and were quickly added to the rotation. They certainly were a cut (or two) above than anything else I’ve come across. American made as well. Glad to know a bit more history.
I hope some deep pocketed Trad out there buys this name out and brings back these designs, exactly as the once were.
@leisureclass That would be incredible, and maybe a miracle like that will happen.
To me, the second best option (and the one that makes the most sense) is for Lands End (or some such company) to purchase the name and introduce it as a special line. “HUNTINGTON by Lands End,” or something like that. They already sell a lot of affordable semi-Trad pieces; why not go the extra mile and create a limited run of clothing based on the classic designs?
I realize that I’m doing a whole lot of armchair quarterbacking right now and somebody a lot smarter than me could probably give 1000 reasons why that idea doesn’t make good business sense. But it seems to me the market is there, and an existing company with name recognition and infrastructure already in place could do well with the idea.
I love the old catalog pics. Thanks for sharing!
I still have two Huntington suits in my closet. Although most of my suits and sport coats are J Press and Brooks, Huntington was a great source to enhance the rotation. When I purchased them I believe the cost was $100. What a value.
I began getting stuff from Huntington about 1987 and continued into the 90s. Even after I moved to the D.C. area and my budget and location allowed me to shop Press, Brooks and Bank, I still got things from Huntington too. I still have six sportcoats from them that fit fine-favorite is a green donegal tweed with a perfect 3/2 roll.I also wear some shirts and ties from them as well. I agree that Huntington allowed one to get the authentic look at an affordable price, and their being mail order made their line easily available. About the only complaint I have was that their jackets tended to be about an inch shorter than Press or Brooks (I take a long), but that’s really more of a quibble than a gripe. Otherwise, their things have held up just as well as those offered by the Ivy big guns. It really broke my heart when they went under.
I was going through some stuff the other night, and came across two catalogues I’d saved, one from 1992 and the other from 2001, just before the end. I really enjoyed looking back through them–I wish I’d saved more of them. I really appreciated the post, too. I agree that it would be really nice if somebody could fill a mid-range Ivy niche–Brooks and Press have gotten too rich for my blood the past couple of years. I’d be willing to sacrifice some quality for an affordable authentic look.
Agree with all of the above. Although I purchased some items from Brooks back in those days, I had many of my everyday work wear suits and sportcoats from Huntington, and in many ways, they out wore my Brooks suits. They had great shirts too, and all things at reasonable prices. I did gripe at them about their ties, when they made them wider, not long before their demise.
Thanks to Christian for sharing my Spring 1995 HC’s catalog with everyone. Glad to see that others also liked and purchased from HC’s.
As a “purist”, I certainly do miss them and wish that HC’s could be recreated by a current retailer with the same affordable/good quality clothing.
One of my fraternity brothers received the Huntington catalogs in 89 or 90 and recommended their shirts. I ordered one and was very impressed, as it was much nicer than anything I had at the time.
Coincidentally, today I am wearing a Huntington tie. I bought many shirts from them, all of high quality, and the last one gave up the ghost ten or so years ago.
They bought “The Custom Shop” chain, with debt as I recall, at exactly the wrong time, the dawn of the casual Friday and then casual-everyday era, and this sank them for good.
For Joel C.: If you want to sacrifice some quality for an authentic look, you’ve got Lands End.
A page from another Huntington catalogue:
I discovered Huntington in the mid ’80s, when their catalogs had colored illustrations along the lines of Brooks Brothers. One of the hardest working, longest lasting 3 button navy blue blazers (hook and center vent no less) I ever owned came from Huntington. It lasted over 12 years. I believe it cost $79 when I purchased it in 1987. Their oxford cloth shirts were high quality. I still have two – both button down popovers, short sleeved, with patch flap pockets, one blue and the other in white. Thankfully they still fit.
MSegle2, with his comments about the hook vent (typical of Huntington jackets) that their jackets had lapped seams, which I’ve always considered a nice touch. Some of their jackets had patch breast pockets, which I also thought added a bit of sprezzatura.
@Don, you’re right, up to a point. However, as far as I know, LE has never been into 3/2, dartless natural shoulder jackets, at least not since I’ve been buying from them (1987). Their shirts, trousers, ties & shoes have been pretty trad, though, disappointly, not so much in the past couple of years.
I fondly remember the Huntington catalogues. I used to buy its Oxford shirts.
I think that they used to advertise in The New Yorker.
Thanks for the memories.
Was it the New Yorker or the Sunday New York Times Magazine? Either way, my father used to order new shirts every couple years via the ad.
I went to college not far from Columbus and I know we took a trip into the city that included Huntington, but I don’t remember much else about it.
Every couple of years I find a Huntington jacket or suit. They certainly wear well.
And once I stumbled across a mother lode of 10 Huntington shirts, in my size, still in their wrappers. Straight collar white, and a couple of buttondown pinpoints in white and blue. I slowly release them into the shirt rotation, and at the full moon I arrange them on my portable altar and hold a seance.
I was in my college prime when I used to buy all kinds of stuff from Huntington catalogs. Believe it or not, I kept them in great condition. Today, I am disabled and have gained a great deal of weight and can’t wear a lot of it. I started pulling a lot of it from my closet and wondered what happened to the company cause I would have loved to have replaced a lot it. I hate that the company no longer exists. To anyone who is interested, I am about to list a lot of my Huntington sportcoats and vests on ebay. Some of them, I only wore once or twice. One really great vest, I never wore at all. I have tons really great Huntington ties that I will never part with. They were such a great company!! I too have pages from their old catalogs. I kept them to remind me which ties went with which vests and which jackets.
@ Patrick Sullivan
I think it was also the Smithsonian magazine.
Ahh the good old days – I was an avid HC shopper. I miss their catalogs and their clothes…..
Yes , Huntington was the best and as we speek I have on a pair of Khaki’s from Huntington that still look great after many good years.
Thanks HUNTINGTON ,,
You are missed.
I still have a few of the button down dress shirts that I purchased from Huntington years ago. They were well made and stood the test of time. I loved the long button down collars and barreled cuffs.
I wish that someone would restart this business.
I was one of the fortunate ones who was able to shop at their store at Alum Creek. Not the best place to be but was wonderful to be able to stop and shop. Sorry this ole friend is gone. Hello Joe Banks??????
What a great company. I can’t even begin to imagine how many button down 100% cotton oxford shirts I bought. I recently found, in a storage box, three, brand new still in the package, shirts. I’m they were too small for me, since I had gained a lot of weight, hoping some day they would fit. Well, I have lost those excess pounds and they fit.
Over the years I have found other companies but none really replaced Huntingtons.
The history of Huntington Clothiers (it helps some to name your new company after your lender bank, i.e.,Huntington National Bank) begins in the basement of our home in Columbus (Bexley) in 1978. First ad was on Feb. 28 in the national edition of the Wall St. Journal. Our five-year-old son was the security guard, assigned to protecting the first lot of 1,600 oxford cloth 100% cotton button down shirts.
Thank you all for your generous compliments and fond remembrances. Does anyone happen to still have the poem from the khaki twills page?
co-founder Huntington Clothiers Inc.
BKS – I have been working on a piece on Huntington. I would love to get connect with you sometime. I live outside of Columbus. You can reach me firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to hear from you.
@Oxford Cloth Button Down
Looking forward to your Huntington piece.
I still have some Huntington shirts, jackets and slacks, and I’m still wearing them. It helps that I couldn’t get into them for about 10 years, but then I lost 40 lbs, and am happily wearing them again. That just shows that it’s sensible to buy clothes that won’t go out of style, and then not to toss hem just because they’re a little tight!
I had wondered what happened to them. I am wearing a Huntington traditional Navy blazer today (my everyday one – I have a Brooks one for fancier occasions) and thought I’d troll the web to see whatever happened to them. I always thought their quality better than Bank. I have only owned one thing from J. Press, a shirt I bought when I was at Harvard in the late ’50s. Seems to me Saks U. Shop had good if very pricey ones too. Now I’m stuck with Brooks, although thankfully their quality seems to have improved lately after a period of problems.
Might I suggest that you use “trawl the net” rather than “troll the net” in order to avoid ambiguity?
Today I wore a deep tan silk shirt from Huntington that I dug out of my closet. I searched for the company on the internet, and was sad to find that my memory was correct about them going of out business in the 21st century. I’m glad to see these memories and details about their fine and affordable products.
Those were the days:
I was fortunate enough to have worked as a shipping/receiving clerk for Huntington, while attending college in the early 90’s. I still consider Huntington, the best place I ever worked. BKS, treated every employee like family. And if you guys didn’t know about the special Saturday sales in the warehouse you truly missed out. We were the sharpest dressed college kids on campus! I still have my college interview suit hanging in the closet at my folks house. Thanks for bring back some great memories.
Glad to see my contribution on HC’s from 2012, is still being read. I too wish this company would be re-opened by BKS. Maybe just a mail order, if nothing else.
Being stationed overseas, HC was my go-to source for great American styles at 2d-Lieutenant-budget prices. HC served me well throughout the interview process when I left the military and even held up to a field ops role with a well-known fried chicken division of PepsiCo (then). I have found that Jos A Bank has lost their 3-button soul and am at least glad that Brooks Brothers seems to have regained their quality footing, but at a price. Their outlet stores at least keep them within a sane price range but only just. It would be GREAT to have someone re-start an organization like Huntington Clothiers. There is a huge market space ready and waiting for classic-cut clothing that does not have the high costs of BB.
I surely miss the quality,cut,and drape of the Huntington clothes. The shirts, and ties are classics, never out-dated and always in style. I still have two suits,three sport coats and blazers, that I have worn sparingly and well maintained for years. They are in great shape to this day!! You won’t find a better testimonial than that!
There is a American made clothing movement going on in Nasville Tenn,right now.Someone should contact one the manufactures about buying the company name and clothing patterns and starting the company again.
Great quality and great prices. Never had a bad experience. I miss them.
It seems clothes today have none of the feel and quality we had then and cost so much more. More than inflation. A Huntington online store would be perfect. I am here because I was looking for it again. I miss them as well. An affordable J Press is the perfect description of them. I am sorry my teenage sons don’t have that, as I did at their age.
I still have two pair of trousers w/reverse pleats in almost new condition, plan on wearing them on a cruise to SA in another week. Both have the button watch pocket. I always wondered what happened to the nice men’s store. I guess these were bought in 1989 or 1990.
Went to Ohio Wesleyan in the late 80s/early 90s. My roommate – a Columbus kid and Hotchkiss grad – turned all of us mid-Atlantic and East Coasters on to Huntington. Solid merchandise. Remember fondly going to a few of their warehouse sales. Still have a suit (that I can no longer fit in to) and several ties that are still in rotation. Thanks for posting this article.
Dick Winter, October 17, 2016
My oxford grey Huntington suit (bought either in 2000 or 1994) and I went to my tailor today and found age has certainly reduced my height and butt volume requiring substantial alterations. I’m not sure which of my purchases in ’94 or ’00 was the suit or a camel sport coat and slacks… Quicken shows the amounts paid were $399 and $107.45 including shipping. The tailor commented on the fine quality of the suit and his comments and those of all on this web page really make for good feelings. Haven’t felt “Huntington good” for a long time and am looking forward to getting back in the suit!
THIS DAY ,….I DISCOVERED THAT ” I AM NOT ALONE ! “.
LIVING. IN NEW. YORK ,….CAN. BE. A. LONESOME. SARTORIAL. EXISTENCE !
EVEN. THE. NATURAL. SHOULDER. ICON. ( BROOKS ) ,…. HAS. ABANDONED. THE. 3 1/2 “. TIE !!!
FACT: ONLY. NARROW. WIDTH. TIES. CAN. BE. FOUND. IN. PLACES. LIKE:
NORDSTROM , LORD & TAYLOR , ETC. , ETC. !!!
NONETHELESS , I WILL. MAINTAIN. MY. IMAGE ,… WHICH. I HAVE. DESCRIBED. AS: ” NORMAL. CLOTHING ! ” UNTIL. MY. EVENTUAL. ” EXPIRATION DATE ” !!
THANK. YOU. FOR. UNITING. US !!!
WHEN. THE. BOY. WITH. “PURPLE. HAIR” , DISCOVERED THAT THERE. WERE.
OTHERS. OUT THERE , HE. NO LONGER. FELT. ALlONE. !!!
PERHAPS TOMORROW I’LL. WEAR. MY. FIRST. ” HARRIS. TWEED “. OF THE
NEW. SEASON. !!!!!
I. AM A MANUFACTURER. OF. STUFFED. ANIMALS. FOR. MORE. THAN.
EVEN. MY. TEDDY. BEARS. PREFER ” NATURAL SHOULDER ! ”
BEST, STEVEN. SMITH
STEVEN SMITH / STUFFED ANIMALS INC.
( 718 ) 272 – 2500
E MAIL: email@example.com
Ditto, my closet still houses some of the fine shirts I bought from Huntington. I do not see anyone coming close to the quality or the price ever again. Needless to say, “Made in America” is mostly arcane now. Too bad for all of us.
Sitting here wearing a pair of jeans shorts I bought from the catalog, along with purchasing dress shirts and slacks I bought over the last yrs I worked in mid 90’s. Still have all the clothes I bought and are in like new condition. all still fit and wish they were still around.
I just ran across this post. I’ve got a Huntington suit that unfortunately I’ve gotten a little big for, but I can’t bear to toss. It was $10 at a thrift, and I just know one of these days I’ll slim down enough to wear it. I just bought a great ancient madder tie of theirs for $2. Wish they were still around–Lands End is OK, but their suits are pretty dreary.
Today is the 40th anniversary of Huntington Clothiers, the day the first ad ran in the national edition of the Wall Street Journal in 1978. Back then, you could get any shirt you wanted, as long as it was an all cotton, oxford cloth, button down in blue or white!
I loved Huntington. My first purchase, I think, were a few rugby shirts in the early ’80s. Soon afterwards a loden green sportcoat.. Numerous ties. Tartan shirts, both cotton and merino blends. Sweaters from Pringle (?). My favorite sweater of all time– a Huntington Shetland wool, which I still have despite its being worn-out. (I can’t find a replacement.) Nine + more sportcoats, including two Irish tweeds and a Harris tweed. Several jackets. Dress wool gabardines. Much more, but you get the picture. 85%+ of these items I still have, in good shape and eminently wearable.
I guess I stopped doing much shopping there by the end of the ’90s because I no longer had to dress up on a daily basis.
But I miss them. The staff were terrific! The prices great, especially at sales and clearance days (which were crowded. Yes, I lived here for most of these years).
Thanks, Huntington Shirt Shop/Clothiers.
I wore Huntington’s white button down shirts exclusively every day at work. I still wear some of these 25 years later. Having used the same shirt cleaners for the same period the owner continually expresses amazement at how well built the shirts are.
Now the white is a bit dim, but I wear them anyway as they are the last of the great American made shirts.
My tailor in Hong Kong was incredulous at the price/quality ratio. Like the owner of the cleaners he was saddened when Huntington closed.
So very pleased to find this site! Thank you all for the memories. BKS: The Legend lives on…
Such an interesting clothing business model. How did Huntington source various products? Did Huntington find the manufacturer(s) or did the makers find HC?
Food for thought. Thanks again! Cheers!
I still wear my button down monogrammed shirts I bought in the 90s. I wish I could find shirts like them again. Truly great workmanship for the price. I still have about 6 shirts I use on occasion. Just loved them and miss them.
They had the best and most beautiful ties ever. I still wear a few of them, even though the style is slightly outdated. I wish I could find a men’s clothing store with the kind of stock Huntington carried, and within 50 miles of Mount Vernon, OH.
I was another lucky employee that worked there from the mid to late 90’s. Wonderful people and a great company to work for. It was truest and extended family. I wasn’t there at the end, but miss it like you all do. The shirts and ties were made in the company owned factory across the street from the Columbus HQ and retail store.
They sourced the other products from US manufacturers that recreated traditional classic men’s wear. Many of them have closed or moved their manufacturing overseas.
I still have probably 150+ shirts from Huntington. They were truly made to last a lifetime.
The last I checked online, some shirtmaker in Tx. bought the Huntington name and some labels. They’re not the same design or models as far as I know.
I still have 4 white pima cotton shirts with the monogram on the left sleeve … wear them around the house 30-35 years later … and a couple cotton sweaters, which don’t get a lot of use here in Texas. Loved that place.
BKS saved me from a horrible job at a local drug store; and brought me into the family in the late 80’s.
Over several years, I worked in almost every facet of the business. BKS and MS were a joy to work for – and with. The entire operation was indeed a family.
That was THE SECRET; and is highly unlikely to be duplicated in today’s corporate, disposable-product world.
One of the best jobs I have ever had. BKS is a goddess in my personal pantheon – and I haven’t even seen/spoken to her in over 25 years.
Many years too late… Thank you S family!
Where can we find details on this company? Who put it together? Why did it go under?
Been looking for a resurrection ever since.
I wish I had known about Huntington in the 80s and 90s. I picked up one of their ties on eBay, but that is all I have from them. I really wish I could get that green and blue madras sport coat pictured above. Most current madras seems to be quite brightly colored (e.g., red/blue/yellow) and a more restrained palate would suit me better. Looks like I am 26 years too late.
I still have 3 OCBD Huntington shirts in my rotation. I told my wife to make sure I’m buried in one.
Charlottesville- I join you in wishing for the madras sport coat pictured. I received numerous catalogues from Huntington back in the day but I don’t think I ever purchased anything. Not sure why and looking at the above, I wish I had.
I recall Huntington being around; I think they advertised in the New Yorker back when I read that now mouthpiece for the Democrat party. Everything I wore was from Brooks back when they were the real Brooks. There was no reason to even think about any store but Brooks. I was loyal and never cheated.
Vern Trotter- I too was loyal Brooks Brothers. Thought they were the ultimate trad store. Maybe that’s why I didn’t shop at Huntington. Wish it was still so with Brooks.
With my compliments:
Like Mr. Trotter and John Carlos, I was a Brooks loyalist as well from the time I was able to move beyond a student budget until they went through the unfortunate change around 1990 or thereabouts, at which point I became a solid Press-man, although I do admit to buying an occasional item elsewhere. Nevertheless, the BB and J. Press items are the ones I find myself wearing day in and day out, some of them, like today’s gray chalk-stripe suit and bow tie, 30 years old or more and still going strong.
Thanks for re-posting my piece here on Huntington Clothiers from back in 2012. Still think about them from time to time and wish an ex-employee or someone else would resurrect the company.
I still have several ties in mint condition that I’m glad to still have. Everything else I either outgrew or wore out. I do search online periodically to see if I can find items on Ebay, but no real luck as of yet.
Jim M. (McGrath)
Thanks so much for this post. It was the early 2000s in Ottawa, Canada. I was just entering the workforce and needed “office” clothes. Pre-Google, I was able to find Huntington Clothiers and was so glad they’d ship to Canada! I still remember the blue dress shirt with french cuffs — had that thing for years. Solid clothing, elegant, and a super value. Hope that returns someday.
Just found this thread; thanks for the memories. While a student at Denison in the mid-eighties, I discovered the Huntington factory store, and quickly shared my good fortune with a few fraternity brothers. Was a loyal customer for years, as was my father and grandfather. I still wear my favorite tartan plaid shirt (now incredibly soft) which is a testament to the quality of its construction. I, too, wish that Huntington still existed.
Just found a Huntington red University Stripe Oxford shirt in my size off ebay for $7. I needed a red uni stripe ocbd, and didn’t want to pay an astronomical fee for one. It literally looks like the one in the magazine you posted. I had never heard of Huntington Oxfords until I googled it, and this feed popped up. Thanks !!!
A timely article, I’m at this very moment looking at a couple Huntington swatches (excess material from hemming) from two suits, one chalk stripe dark gray and a glenn overplaid in charnavy,both beautiful suits. To bad, I donated both suits to the local VA home but kept several OCBD with my initials on the cuffs;all their clothing was first rate for the value, I miss their catalogs each season. I now deal with O’Connell and my local Goodwill. PS,I found an alligator belt on Ebay, when received, on the lining, to my surprise, it had the Huntington stamp, another reminder of what we had and lost.
Loved Huntington. Just handed down my Huntington Terry cloth robe to my daughter. Still in great condition after over 30 some years.
I have khaki pants from Huntington purchaesed in the 70s and worn at least once a week and they still look good.
I was a faithful Huntington customer; suits, shirts, ties. Reasonably priced and the styles that I liked. Brooks Brothers styling at a fraction of the price.)
I bought two three button suits in the spring of 1993, one dark gray and one dark blue.
I bought the gray suit to attend a wedding of a very close friend.
This Wednesday, August 24, 2022, 29 years later, I wore the gray suit again to my friend’s funeral. It still looked great and pleased to say still fit. Wish Huntington was still in business.
I just today put on one of my until-now unopened Huntington shirts from my stash. And yes, I still wear the ties, and at least one pair of pants, although I long-ago wore out the jackets and suits, alas. Thanks for the memories.