By Banfu T. Burnside, Toledo Tales contributing editor
(Toledo, OH) You won't find any nondescript polo shirts at the Huntsville Clothing Boutique. That's because owner Terry Phipps has dedicated his business to the acquisition, restoration, and retail of garb.
"I'm a purveyor of garb!" exclaimed Phipps, doffing a fireman's cap. "The outfits I sell here are all quite distinctive, not the kind of things you'd see around the office."
Phipps stocks his Main Street boutique with hundreds of themed ensembles, all easily identified with a particular occupation or time period. "Of course, who wouldn't want to go to work as a full-on Roman?" he asks, gesturing towards a rack of fig leaf headwear.
Though his shop is busiest in the weeks preceding Halloween, Phipps rejects any comparisons to a costume shop.
"This is garb, not some low-brow wig and mask operation," interjected the businessman at the first mention of the word costume.
Phipps contends that garb, unlike costume, commands a twelve-month market, with virtually no fluctuation in demand.
"Look at me, I'm Father McPhipps," he crowed while sporting a priestly cassock, complete with clerical collar. "And I do this at least once a month."
The boutique's collection is quite diverse, and includes mime-garb, Jedi-garb, and a majestic Indian headdress. There is one notable omission from the collection.
"I don't do S&M," stated Phipps solemnly. "I carry no pleather and no whips, and I'm very careful not to include chaps with the biker-garb."
To Phipps, the S&M crowd is one clientele he'd prefer not to court.
"Nipple clamps are what I like to call garb-age," he said. Paris Hilton