Ivy Notes S1 E12 – Chipp Off The Old Block

Alright man, look.  In various professional capacities over the years, I have had to write funny for money.  My brief to my divorce attorney was both hilarious and ultimately economical.   I have punched up scripts (a godawful project I couldn’t finish, it was written by an actor, a REAL actor, who should REALLY act.  He gives me the script and I wrestled with it for about a week, he asks, “Why aren’t you punching it up?”  I go, “Punching it up? I should be putting it down.”  Ba dumb dumb.   And that is the best joke to come out of that project).

Where was I?  Oh yeah, I have gotten paid to write funny.  I ghost wrote a funny novel once, one you may have even read.   I went back to it later in life, and realized that while it was pretty good, Nelson DeMille’s Gold Coast is better.  In fact, I read that book every Easter.  For like forever.  You should read this book.  It is my all time favorite book.


The funniest book ever written. Do not give me Catcher In The Rye. Funny, yes, but not this funny. Do not give me Confederacy Of Dunces. Also funny, but Gold Coast is a BOOK.


Where was I?  Oh yeah, writing funny for money.  Being publicly facing funny isn’t something you should try when you are bored of doing whatever it is that you are good at.   I am touring this summer with this show I wrote about mental health maintenance and its consequences.  Every time I play, people cry.  Not because I am so good, but because this is a universally relatable subject that everyone struggles with (though most don’t admit it).   So the subject carries me a little bit.  Funny is different.  Nothing is universally funny, there are no universally funny subjects, and you, trust me, are not as funny as you think you are.  I get paid in part to be funny, and I am not as funny as I think I am.

I am avidly anti-retirement.  I think it kills you.  Mick Jaggar.  Paul McCartney.  Etc.  Still producing greatness.  But they are guard railed by organizations, bands, and in some case a real passion.  Paul McCartney can make any album he wants (Jaggar has to get it past Richards) but McCartney is still passionate about the music.  It was, and is, his only thing.

I am going to ask you, if you are in the market for a tie, to buy a Chipp tie.  But not for the reason you think.

Chipp ties was created, and is still run, by Mr. Paul Winston. I spent a lot of time on the phone with Mr. Winston, who, at 83, is more interested in peddling stories than peddling ties.  He has one about JFK in his underwear.  I have also emailed Mr. Winston back and forth, and he is more than ready to get on the phone with you my readers (he literally asked me to say that, but I am not posting his number because I am not sure the consequences of that are crystal clear to Mr. Winston) and tell you stories.

Chipp ties is old school Ivy iconic.  If you do not have a tie in your collection, you should have at least one.  I got the Money Bags tie as a gift, and I wear it three times a year easily.   You can shop the ties here.

Why should you?  Because the market needs to correct Chipp ties.  Somewhere along the line Miles Davis started dressing like Michael Jackson, and somewhere along the line, Chipp ties started producing the Fuck You tie (I am quoting, not using, I am sticking to my working clean commitment).  Here it is:

It is actually called Fuck You Look Closely.

Along with that unfortunate tie, came others, jokes that came out of the old file cabinet, the manila folder in the back.  Here:

This tie is quite literally called Pussy On The Brain.


Or this tie, called Baseball Score – I don’t even get the joke of this one:

Look, I am the farthest thing from a prude I can think of. I could tell you stories. But a wardrobe malfunction of this sort on a tie from one of Ivy’s cornerstones is not only awkward, it just makes no sense.

My question to Mr. Winston was this…  why?  Chipp ties had the cred of J. Press.  Or pre-debt Brooks.  Why sully it?   From Mr. Winston’s email, reprinted with permission:

To me the difference in sophisticated humor and bad taste is who and where.
My wife and 2 of my grandchildren like calamari. I don’t like it. That is a function of personal taste.
Being part of the creation of the Chipp novelty ties – some were a joint family effort – was the most fun
I had in the business.
I think the ones on the Chipp Neckwear site are still funny.
To which I responded that I think (1) this isn’t all that sophisticated and (2) this analysis of Who and Where is conveniently missing What.  We agreed to disagree.
Money talks, and it has bothered me for months that the legacy of Chipp ties includes the P-word anywhere and an open toilet bowl alongside a bare breasted woman.  But it doesn’t have to.  There are magnificent, iconic offerings on the site.  Here:
A lot of the ties on the site are out of stock, but here is a classic you can buy. And if enough people buy the classic offerings, perhaps Mr. Winston will be so moved as to direct his talents (which are considerable) back to making us look dignified and not instead out of step.

Check out the site, if you are inclined, buy something that is in good taste.  That’ll hopefully cause Corporate To Pivot.


There was this unheralded (and by unheralded I mean I hadn’t heard of it) watch company you all wanted me to review, and for the life of me I cannot find the note with the company name.  I remember they had very nice watches though.   Do you know which one?


I had fun with VEA but next time, I post his picture.

I gotta wear more purist stuff.  On the FB group I posted a picture of me, dying from allergies (still today, too) in pants that are falling off (shout out Dylan Arnold) and a Columbia cap with a Grail Tie, I think it is anyway, I think it is J. Crew 80’s.   You would have thought I never put on Ivy before.

I know I keep plugging them, but Goulet Pens is amazing.  So I bought this Jinhao 159

The Jinhao 159


… from them.  Actually, I bought three.  They were $12.  They are total knockoffs of the Montblanc 149.  Which is an amazing, amazing pen.

The two pens side by side. Of course the in-your-face-named 159 is not the same pen as the classic MB 149 but…


… but the 159 goes for $12 and the MB goes for… and this is on Amazon, around $1,000.  So here’s what I did.  I bought, for another $16, a Goulet #6 nib, put it in, and the pen is right as rain.  For $30, as opposed to $1,000.  I carry a pen in my pocket, so if I lose this on the train, who cares?   For $30, order up from Goulet (just a great American company) and let me know what you think.



26 Comments on "Ivy Notes S1 E12 – Chipp Off The Old Block"

  1. Jim Borkowski | March 23, 2022 at 6:53 pm |

    I think I partially solved the baseball tie.

    Bottom of the fifth (bottle); one out (woman)

    Five to four? (clock)

    Damn! Nice. – JB

  2. roger sack | March 23, 2022 at 6:54 pm |

    I have Chipp ties and everything you say about the engaging
    Paul Winston is true. More importantly, I have Chipp clothing.
    MTM and RTW that I am unwilling to part with even though only
    one jacket still barely fits. All but one have side vents and two
    buttons and are undated. This was a non-sack model Chipp offered
    to those of us who preferred more British lines but with natural

  3. Jagger.

    Right? – JB

  4. @ Jim Borkowski

    The empty toilet is “no one on”.

  5. I love the Chipp grenadine tie I bought only last year. It goes with everything. Any vintage clothing from Chipp or Paul Winston that I’ve encountered from secondhand sellers is often rather expensive for previously worn garments, but you can see it’s all worth every penny and then some just by looking at it. Outstanding stuff.

  6. @JB

    You are correct sir! Gold Coast is Demille’s best and funniest. Until you marry a red head with means. Then it’s autobiographical

    I am available for your stories, at your convenience. – JB

  7. AndrewK247 | March 24, 2022 at 1:45 am |

    4 TO 4

    It has been stated that it refers to Babe Ruth’s called home run in the World Series with the Cubs. One problem with that is that it was at Wrigley Field and as the visiting team, the Yankees batted first. So it was the top of the fifth when Ruth hit the home run. There actually were times in pro baseball history when the home team batted first, but not that year.

    The other three parts do correspond to the “called shot” incident.

  8. I have one Chipp tie. The background is green. The small figures are ballroom dancing pigs all dressed to the nines.
    The pigs are small enough that they are hard to make out so people would sometimes ask me what was being pictured in the tie.

  9. What timing!–I was just looking at the Chipp website this weekend, and I was disappointed to see that so many were out of stock. I suppose that this is good for Mr. Winston, however!

    The question of whether the tie or joke or whatever is funny is a different question then whether it’s appropriate or in good taste.

    I think a number of the Chipp ties are funny, some “fit” my sense of humor my friends are familiar with, and I’d wear those ties in some circumstances. For instance, there is a Chipp tie with a mooning Santa; I wore this on a Christmas party with friends because it’s funny and I knew my friends would find it funny, but I wouldn’t wear it to teach.

  10. whiskeydent | March 24, 2022 at 8:48 am |

    Chipp is also famous for their wild-ass jacket lining.

    Also, I’ve never read anything by Nelson DeMille, but it’s hard to imagine something funnier than books by Dan Jenkins and Paul Hiaasen.

  11. whiskeydent | March 24, 2022 at 8:52 am |

    Oh never mind about DeMille. Wikipedia helped me get your joke.

  12. It’s true that comedy is difficult.

    Writing about menswear for a living must be one of the most difficult jobs.

    It’s the best job I have ever had. – JB

  13. Excellent, JB.

    I too remain fervently anti-retirement. I don’t get it. My father, grandfather, and great grandfather were baffled by the crowds of men who, quite obviously bored to death with one another and ANOTHER ROUND OF GOLF (?!?!?) and/or “drink at the club,” languished and spiraled downward and well…then, wrinkled and decrepit, moped to the grave. It happens all the time. And it’s pathetic. Keep an office — and, for God’s sake, dress better. An old man covered in polar fleece is, well, just sad.

    “Nothing is universally funny, there are no universally funny subjects, and you, trust me, are not as funny as you think you are.” Truth. 80s/90s sit-coms were the worst. Consider Seinfeld: Try it without the laugh tracks and see what happens. The same goes for Family Ties and Cheers.

  14. JB, maybe you’re thinking about Orient watches?

    I would love to see a review on the Orient Defender, which the Wall Street Journal selected as a budget-friendly wristwatch that horologists admire.

    Orient and Seiko are owned by parent company Epson (the printer company.)

    Yes, that is it!!!! Thank you! Do you know of their watches? A few people have raved. – JB

  15. S.E.
    The 70s sit-coms weren’t any better, and late night TV is the worst. Johnny Carson’s retirement was to the television age what 1967 was to style.

  16. Jim Bob Jump Back | March 24, 2022 at 12:04 pm |

    Paul Winston is great. Had a 30 minute conversation with him. Walking history book. Became aware of Chipp by their advertisements in New Yorker Magazine in the 70’s. My son & I have bought their motif & grenadine ties.

  17. I always thought of the more raunchy Chipp ties more in the nature of gag gifts than something you would actually wear. But maybe I don’t travel in the right circles.

  18. “80s/90s sit-coms were the worst. Consider Seinfeld: Try it without the laugh tracks and see what happens. The same goes for Family Ties and Cheers.”

    We all seem to be in agreement that comedy is not universal. But you and I are not in agreement about Nicholas Colasanto’s performance over the first three seasons of Cheers. I love comedic bits where two characters talk past one another, and Colasanto played them wonderfully.

    R.I.P., Coach.

  19. I realize this was just a throwaway comment in an otherwise long and somewhat rambling post, but I think it’s worth pointing out that threatening to reveal private information about people is generally considered “abuse” by most people in the mental health profession, John. The fact that you are engaging in this sort of behavior is a lot more troubling to me than someone like VEA being a little annoying or whatever. I also noticed that you impersonated him in the comment section on a previous post, which is another form of harassment. The fact that you admit to this and seem to delight in menacing one of your readers is legitimately troubling to me. I would politely suggest that you either block him or just delete his comments instead of threatening him/her in a public forum. This is all rather unseemly to say the least.

    Dear Kent, Hi. As in, are you? Here. (1). The Ivy Notes posts are meant to cover a number of subjects. Not every post is an article. You’ve been online before, right? (2). I promise you that you have not polled the mental health profession about any of this. So while your assertion is both ludicrous and made up, here is something real: fabricating an industry trend because you don’t have enough confidence in your own opinion is considered intelligent by nobody. Go ahead. Poll everybody. (3). That wasn’t an impersonation. People who focus on manufacturing false criticism in order to have something to write rather than put the work of having a meaningful original thought tend to lack a sense of humor. Since you don’t get jokes, I will spell it out for you. It wasn’t him. I tend to pull his nonsense because the readers don’t want to be bothered with anything disingenuous. Nor do I, for that matter. But if there is something funny there, that can make this a better read or a better experience, then I will tee off on it. AS AN ASIDE, KENT, WHEN SOMEONE LEAVES A FAKE EMAIL IT IS THEY WHO ARE IMPERSONATING THEM, NOT ME. Follow?

  20. I have to agree with Kent here. Not to excuse trolling if this Vea character was doing that, but threatening to reveal private info about a reader because you don’t like him is a form of doxxing:

    “Doxing, or dropping docs, is the public posting of private information, and it’s more than just online nastiness—it’s outright abuse.”


  21. Threatening someone in the manner you’ve done here is often referred to as a form of “coercive control.” which is widely recognized as psychological abuse. The same can be said for devaluation, which you often engage in within your comments section when someone dares to challenge you, as well as psychological projection.

    It’s fine if you want to continue arguing with and insulting people with whom you disagree in your comment section but it’s not exactly gentlemanly behavior, to say the least. I urge you to take a long look at this behavior because it’s rather unbecoming from someone who deigns himself a thought leader or influencer in this category. Here’s more info on the subject since you seem to be unwilling to accept that the psychological community has already addressed this:


    So let’s not pretend you haven’t crossed a line here. This is a genuinely unacceptable way to treat people, even trolls. I know you fancy yourself a “humorist” but there is nothing “funny” about what you’re doing.

  22. Kent, Dennis – well said. Lost in the comments and equally unhinged responses/ threats is the fact that posting anything related to VEA likely ends poorly. Castleberry tried this a while back. Backfired as VEA had/ has better style sense.

    I am pretty sure I can/have handled VEA – JB

    And I dunno about unhinged either. – JB

  23. Trolls gonna troll. It’s indefensible behavior. Incidentally, JB’s threat to post VEA’s photo isn’t yet doxxing as I understand the term. Doxxing would be posting info like his real name and profession, which someone has already done in comments on this site from a few years back.

  24. Yeah, I mean trolling definintely sucks for sure and you are correct that no one has been doxxed, as of yet. But I think threatening to reveal someone’s identity in the form of a photo is still threatening to doxx someone. I think it’s fair to say that it’s not quite as bad as revealing their name, profession or where they live, but it’s still an invasion of their privacy. At the very least, threatening people is just not cool at all. Just delete the comments or, better yet, block the commenter entirely. Telling someone that you’re going to publicly reveal their identity to get back at them still crosses a line, even if the threat has yet to be carried out. There’s a reason why blackmail/extortion is considered a crime even if the threat has not been acted upon. Same principle.

    Outside of this specific doxxing issue, I think yelling at people and insulting them in the comments in BOLD LETTERS when they disagree with you about this or that is just uncool. You already have a large (okay, maybe only medium-sized) platform here, John. You come across as overly sensitive and domineering when you lash out at people who are sometimes only “guilty” of having a different opinion.

    You have the convenience of not seeing the stuff we have removed. I agree though, and will not post any picture, of course. That was a joke. One that didn’t land. – JB

  25. elder prep | April 25, 2022 at 9:19 pm |

    JB: I took your suggestion last month and purchased a copy of The Gold Coast. At 707 pages it took a while to finish it and It was as you said full of humor, inside knowledge of the criminal underworld, and human folly. Mr. DeMille is a first-class storyteller. I grew up on the south shore of Long Island and knew quite well the North Shore was for the vastly wealthy Long Islanders. Thanks for the recommendation. Now I’m hooked on his style and will start Plum Island next.

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