Talbots vs. The Episcopal Church

Living in Hingham, the home to Talbots, has made me consider a few of the similarities between the Episcopal Church and the venerable clothing store. Here goes:

1. Talbots is known colloquially as “The Red Door” since all their stores have them. The vast majority of Episcopal churches have red front doors — though not, interestingly, St. John’s in Hingham. I guess this town’s only big enough for one red door.










2. Talbots Catalog. Almy Catalog. talbots catalogalmy catModels striking unnatural poses.







 3. The classic Talbots look was intended for the customer whom Women’s Wear Dailyonce called “the country club woman.” In another era the Episcopal Church was half-jokingly referred to as “the Republican party at prayer.”

4. Famous people, like Michelle Obama and her mother, wear Talbots clothing for magazine shoots. Sometimes famous Episcopalians end up on magazine covers.

michelleobamaessencerobin williams 









5. Snazzy seasonal colors: reds, purples, greens, and whites. chasubles







5. Bloody Marys are often sipped by Episcopalians wearing Talbots. In a fit of irony, Queen Mary Tudor (aka “Bloody Mary”) often persecuted Anglicans. bloodymary

6. Founders Rudolph and Nancy Talbot were Episcopalians and attended St. John’s in Hingham.

Well, that’s a start. And probably also the end of this nonsense. Come visit us in Hinhgam and Bryna will be sure to give you a tour of the original Talbots. Or at least take you to the outlet store (one of only two in the whole country I understand). I’d love to join you but I’ll be, um, busy.


8 Comments on “Talbots vs. The Episcopal Church”

  1. Jean Halajian says:

    This is hysterical. I sent it to my friend who lives in Duxbury. She’s also a writer, so maybe your paths will cross.

  2. Wow! *I* got the red door thing right before reading your post. Truth IS stranger than fiction.

  3. David says:

    Tim, really. Almy’s? Aren’t the more in line with JCPenny or such… seems the Talbot article would have used Whipple’s or D’Ambly or such..

    Nothing wrong with Episcopal Churches having understated brown, wood-tone doors…

  4. Bloody Mary cocktails are OK for brunch or for the hair of the dog the next morning. The proper afternoon cocktails are Gibsons in the summer and Perfect Manhattans after Labor Day.

  5. Gwen says:

    So, Tim. I get no credit for maybe inspiring your piece with my Facebook comments? I haven’t hung around Mass. Episcopalian drinkers much in recent years (i.e. my North Shore relatives), so sorry for getting the Bloody Mary part wrong. Are they still wearing Topsiders and whale pants up there?

  6. Gwen says:

    Funny piece by the way.
    And glad they have a nice brown, wooden door at your church. The red doors don’t work with a lot of the church architecture in my not- so -humble opinion.

  7. jeanne says:

    very funny! Thanks for the laugh!

    (but your blog layout…not so good. just sayin’)

    i’ll def be back to read more

  8. Father Tim says:


    Father Cobb: You’re right. I, of course, would never consider wearing any clergy haberdashery made outside the UK. I was well-trained (brainwashed?) as a young curate by a certain former rector of mine.

    Gwen: You indeed get the credit for adding Bloody Marys to the mix (I suggest adding Old Bay for the perfect Bloody, by the way). Though I have yet to see any whale belts, pants, etc. I may be looking in the wrong places.

    Jeanne: You’re right about the layout. Waiting for my kids to get old enough to offer at-home-tech support.

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