Neat Flowers

TieCollection-PatternClose-up

Last week as I was pulling my sweaters out of storage I also started to look through my cool weather ties. While this primarily refers to wool ties I also include neats or foulards ties in this category. Neat ties are not exclusively cool weather gear, but because I almost exclusively pair them with tweed they fall into this category for me. As I was sorting through these ties I was noticed a theme. I had always known that I was attracted to neats with a pop of color, but what I didn’t know is that I have a strong preference for flower patterns.
Blazer and Neat TieNeats and Blazer

What is a neat pattern? A neat (also commonly referred to as a foulard) is a symmetrical pattern that consists of small-scale repeating shapes such as diamonds, dots, medallions, pines, and of course flowers. A foulard is technically a kind of light weight silk, but today the term is used interchangeably with neat.
Neats and TweedTweed and Neats
On to the flowers. A  flower pattern does not look quite like an actual flower, but they do bare a resemblance. Just like real flowers they vary in size, shape, and color. I have included a few variations below to better illustrate what constitutes a flower pattern. All of the ties below also possess the “pop” of color that I was referring to above.
Red and Yellow Foulard TieGreen and Red Flower Neat TieRedGreen Neat TiesNeats or foulard ties make a great addition to anyone’s wardrobe. When choosing a foulard tie I look for vivid colors. What I enjoy most about the neats that I own is the contrast of vivid colors with the overall conservative appearance of the ties.

After you have a acquired a few striped ties and maybe one solid grenadine my next recommendation would be a neat tie. They work very well with suits and even thought they are considered to be a business/formal tie they look great with tweeds, and I have even used them to dress up a pair of grey wool slacks and navy blazer. I encourage you to reach into your closet and see what pattern you prefer.

Sweater Check 1, 2

Salmon Spirit of Shetland Sweater

 

Summer isn’t even over and I have already dipped into my cedar chest for a Shetland. While I was fishing out my Shetland I decided to take inventory before I let the season get ahead of me (as it almost always does). I generally purchase one new sweater each fall and I knew that I needed to get a better sense of where the holes are in my collection before placing an order. Below are pictures of my current lineup.
Salmon Spirit of Shetland
Burgundy Shaggy SweaterGreen Shaggy Shetland
Light Blue Brooks Brother Shetland SweaterLight Grey J.Crew Lambswool sweaterNavy Lambswool SweaterNavy Shawl Collar SweaterOatmeal Shetland Sweater
Light Grey J.Crew Lambswool sweaterCharcoal Cable Knit SweaterMid Grey Lambswool SweaterNavy and Burgundy Birds Eye SweaterIrish Fisherman Aran Sweater

The results are in and this year’s color selection is charcoal. I missed out on purchasing a sweater last year when Brooks Brothers decided to add logos to their Shetlands and I didn’t have quite enough scratch for one from O’Connell’s Clothing, but this year I have a store credit or two to put to good use and I am looking forward to doing so.

Singing the Thrift Store Blues

Bostonian Crown Windsor Tassels

I recently came across a shoe that on the second-hand market that I have been pining over for a long time. This shoe is none other than the cordovan tassel loafer. The only problem was one that all of my thrifters, Ebay scourers, and other experts of the second-hand/vintage clothing markets can relate. Will they fit?
Tassel LoafersCrown WindsorsThis specific pair of tassels are Crown Windsors made by Bostonian. These tassels are not from the current iteration of Bostonian, but rather from an era when their quality was on par with Allen Edmonds and Alden. This specific pair was being advertised as having not been worn outside, but after taking a close look at the sellers pics I believed them to be new old stock (NOS). The quality, condition, and price (when compared with a new a pair) made them very very attractive to me.

My first move was to do some due diligence. I contacted a man of many tassels that I know and sought his counsel. He could not provide me with any fit information in regard to vintage Bostonian tassels, but he did have other pairs of vintage Bostonians and sent me what info he had. I did some more research on the web and in the end I felt the odds were in my favor. I pulled the trigger.
Genuine Shell CordovanBostonian Crown WindsorWhen the shoes arrived they were in spectacular condition. I now fully believe that they have never been worn before at all, inside or outside. I was enamored, but the moment of truth was here. Try on time. They fit a tad big, but I was still hopeful that after a full day of breaking them in that they would work for me. I was wrong. They slipped all day and were even painful. I was and still am crushed.

This sad story is one that I know many of you have experienced. It is also why I am weary of the second-hand/vintage market. While I can certainly get my money back out of them it involves me reselling them which in my opinion is a form of torture. Moving forward I will be purchasing less and less from this market as I can afford it, but for now I will just sing you my thrift store blues.

More Tie Talk: Lands’ End

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I have been critical of Lands’ End in the past primarily because of issues related to consistency (The Land Ends Ahead), but they do some things well and one of those things is ties. Outside of thrift stores Lands’ End is always one of the first places that I suggest to a young trad looking to build a tie collection. They have very fair prices, a 30% off sale is always just around the corner, and their selection consists of regimental stripes, neats, knits, emblematics, as well all other trad staples.

This fall’s lineup is no different. In addition to their standard selection of wide stripes Lands’ End is offering a great Lord Taveners regimental stripe that I passed up at J.Press (3 stripes of Equality), an emblematic pheasant tie in deep olive, and a very attractive flower neat in wool. Whether you are trying to cover the basics or just looking to add a something new to the collection Lands’ End is worth a visit.
Lord Taveners TiesPheasant TieRoyal Marines TieWool Kissing Stripe TieWool Flower Neat tie

The Lowering of the Madras Flag

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As Labor Day has passes many men are partaking in the ritual of putting away their white bucks and seersucker. One man has his own end of summer ceremony. On Memorial Day he (,and now his son) hoist the Madras flag and on Labor Day the flag is lowered. Yesterday the flag lowered.
Madras Flag
Madras Flag Down