"Maybe the sheep caught the clap or something. Don’t worry, it won’t rub off on you."
C. Davidson, to a customer complaining about pilling on his Shetland sweater.
"I’d cuff my boxer shorts if I could."
Charlie Davidson, when asked if he prefers cuffs.
George also spent a great deal of time back in Boston through these years—mostly at his father’s house in West Roxbury….but now and again at Charlie Davidson’s home in Belmont. Davidson was proprietor of the Andover Shop, a men’s clothing store in Harvard Square. He was a close friend of Charlie Bourgeois and George Wein, and frist met Frazier at Storyville about the time of the Lee Wiley Adventure. The two men became fast friends. They discovered that their tastes in clothes, jazz, books, and good times were very nearly identical. Through the last fifteen years of Frazier’s life, Charlie Davidson was his closest friend and only confidant.
It is not unfair to suggest that Charlie taught George Frazier everything he knew about clothes. Though George had always been a natty dresser, he never tried to pass himself off as an expert in the field until he got to know Davidson and started picking his brain. Davidson would take Frazier with him on buying trips to New York. In the Andover Shop, George would stand at Davidson’s side as he watched his tailors cut the cloath for a coat or suit. Davidson was a big help in the preparation of George’s “The Art of Wearing Clothes,” a 10,000-word piece of men’s fashion that ran in Esquire in September 1960."
an excerpt from Chas. Fountain’s Another Man’s Poison: The Life and Writing of Columnist George Frazier
"I must apologize to Davidson, who is not the man I’ve hated since 2003. It’s the other guy at the Andover Shop, with more hair."
"Is this the same “Andover Shop” that’s on Holyoke St? That place is awesome. A few years ago my baggage got “lost” by United on a flight up for an interview, and I was wearing a t-shirt, breakaway pants, and sandals from the flight. I needed cheap clothing for the interview so I asked some people on the street where a few clothing stores were. Hah. I went in there, took one look, and immediately turned around. This extraordinarily old guy stopped me and asked me why I was in such a hurry; I explained my situation, and after a few awkward minutes, he started chuckling and gave me directions to the mall. He seemed pretty friendly to me. And I’m far from a WASP being, well, Korean."
I was surprised how small the place is - my hotel room is actually bigger. I started to look around and immediately started to pick up a weird vibe from the staff. I don’t know the names so I will give descriptions. First guy, looked like a shorter version of Fred Gwynn of Munsters fame. Second guy, harried looking weasel faced gent. Last guy, short, old, has artificial voicebox (owner I believe). Turns out, asking questions at the Andover Shop gets you thrown out.
I am not kidding.
Now, I am not talking about questions about their wives’ favorite sexual postions or if they screw goats. I mean questions like “Do you have the Thurston braces in boxcloth?”, “Is this suit made by Samuelsohn?” and “Do you have a measuring tape I can use?” [I wanted to get some pocket squares but I wanted to make sure they were big enough and Fred Gwynn didn’t know their dimensions] That last question got me tossed from the store. Weasel face guy started yelling at me and cancer throat guy told me to leave. I kept my composure and asked if I had somehow offended them. What exactly had I done wrong? Cancer throat just kept muttering and shaking his head in disgust."
StyleForum member NukeMeSlowly, on how he got tossed out of The Andover Shop after asking too many questions, the last being, you should note, whether he can have a measuring tape so he could measure pocket squares.
"The Holyoke center, a huge building by famous architect Josep Lluis Sert, was once under construction. The Andover Shop was also under construction on a small lot on Holyoke Street, just across from it. Often, Charlie would come by to check progress on his new building, only to find Sert himself with members of his design team using a scaffold on the Andover Shop’s site as a viewing stand for the huge construction across the street.
“That guy Sert was a real asshole,” Charlie said. “He’d be over here all the time just standing around looking at his construction site. One day he asked me what I thought of his building. I said ‘I like my buiding better. Now get the fuck off of my property!"
as told to me by Giuseppe at An Affordable Wardrobe
"Forward pleats were always the thing. Forgive me, I know you’re Italian, but reverse pleats are just too damn Italian. They make you look like a pimp."
Charlie Davidson (via An Affordable Wardrobe)
"According to Davidson, Harvard plays down enthusiasm for football as smacking of the Big Ten. Big Ten is the Harvard way of saying corny. “I used to have a clerk here,” said Davidson, “who was from Exeter, a Harvard undergraduate. And whenever he saw a Midwesterner coming into the shop, he’d mutter, ‘Oh, here comes another one of those Four-H Club bastards.’” At Harvard, Davidson concluded, “It’s all right to hold a rally for SANE or H. Stuart Hughes, but not for football."
"But to stimulate Charlie’s enthusiasm — to get him to bust out the really rare stuff — one must demonstrate genuine interest in clothes and a certain esprit. With his well known aloofness, some shy customers feel like commissioning a suit from Charlie Davidson is like going to an audition. “He’s a brilliant designer and an excellent merchandiser, but a very private individual,” says Richard Press, grandson of the founder of rival Ivy League haberdasher J. Press. “I always felt that The Andover Shop was a very private commercial enterprise. It served a fairly narrow range of people who met Charlie’s very difficult credentials of acceptability. He didn’t seem to welcome customers he didn’t feel belonged at The Andover Shop. He’s a vastly entertaining individual, but does not suffer fools lightly. "
From a wonderful profile on Charlie Davidson, written by Christian Chensvold for The Rake