Knit ties are a great choice for those that want a casual looking tie. Cotton knits are especially casual. Silk knits are also casual, but they are a notch dressier than cotton. Knit ties are easy enough to source in solid colors and stripes pop up here and there. They also won’t break the bank. I have wanted a striped knit tie for a while now, but have yet to find one that speaks to me.
This is where Old College Ties comes into the picture. Old College Ties got their start back in 2011 making up crew ties for Groton School. Since then Old College Ties has helped to revive the rowing tradition of crew ties among a number of schools. You can read more about their history here (Old College Ties).
One of the coolest features of the site is the tie widget (Thanks for the tip Gamm68!). It allows you to make up ties virtually experimenting with colors and stripes. As you can see from the images above I had no trouble whipping up a few ties that I was ready to purchase.
Old College Tie will make up custom ties for your team, club, or event. The minimum order is 20 at $30 per tie which I found to be quite reasonable. Now what club to join…
Even though we are still experiencing temperatures in the single digits I know that warmer is weather is inevitable. Don’t get me wrong. I am more than ready to hang up my duffle coat, but I also know that the changing weather comes at a price. Part of that price is that our tweed wearing days are numbered. In the top picture I am wearing a sport coat over a Shetland sweater sans tie which I reserve for very cold days. In the picture below I opted for tan cords over chinos, because there is never a shortage of opportunities to wear chinos, but wide-wale cords are a different story.
Tweed is not the only thing that goes when warm weather strikes. We will lose our wool socks, wool ties, and wool overcoats. While I have been strategically working each of my tweed sport coats into the mix, I have also been relying heavily upon corduroys, and even my tie selections have been influenced by the limited cold weather days before spring. In the third picture you can see the two tie options that I set out before I dressed. Pictured below is the tie that I ended up wearing. I knew that I would not have many more chances to wear this cold winter combination.
Again, I have nothing against spring. I invite the warm weather. I am hoping that it will cure my cabin fever. I can’t wait to be able to leave the house in a Shetland with no coat, to break out the boat shoes and camp mocs, and to trade in my Saturday Tartan shirts for my Saturday Madras shirts. As the temperatures begin to rise over the next few weeks remember to wear it while you can.
I have been wearing a tie and jacket to work twice a week for over two years. When I began I was asked all the usual questions about meetings, job interviews, yada yada yada (Inspired by my trad-ish friend George Costanza). Those days are now in the distant past and my tie wearing ways now go unnoticed. During the course of the last two years I have tried quite a few different combinations and I have found that wearing a tie with a shawl collar sweater may be the easiest way to wear a tie in a business casual office.
What do I mean by easy? What I mean is that it will not elicit as many unwanted comments about why you are wearing a tie (at least it did not in my experience). Perhaps this is because a sweater is much more informal than a blazer or sport coat, but also because the tie is mostly covered with a sweater so that it does not garner the same amount of attention that it would when worn with a jacket. Instead only a glimpse of the tie is given which is the perfect opportunity to wear an interesting emblematic ties such these: Ivy League Humor.
Not only does it make wearing a tie easy, but it looks good too. In general, I am not a fan of the sweater and tie look. I don’t like it with a crewneck, because there is rarely any tie exposure and the knot usually makes the neck lay funny. A V-neck Shetland can look okay, but the shawl collar’s strength is that it provides a background for the tie that is similar to the lapel of a jacket.
In preparation for this post I wore this look twice last week. The first time I wore it with cords and a wool-silk emblematic tie with ducks. I was very comfortable in this look. In my second example I went for look that is more city. This time, I wore grey wool pants and an old silk Brooksgate neat tie. Overall I found the sweater to be versatile.
The shawl collar is a good option for when you want to wear a tie in a business-casual setting such as an office or a nicer restaurant, but not a jacket. So, If you were contemplating wearing a shawl collar sweater and a tie I say go for it. If you want to wear a tie to your office, but are put off by the fuss it will receive try sneaking one in under a shawl collar sweater. If you want some cover for your Chipp FU tie it could be for you as well!