All posts in Ties

Who You Width?

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For the longest time I thought that my perfect tie width was 3.25″. I have jackets with 2.75″ lapels from the boom years and 3.5″ from the 90s. A 3.25″ ties seemed to work pretty well with all of them, but I saw a picture of myself this week and began to rethink it all.

Picking out the the right tie width for yourself is not rocket science. Like almost anything in clothing it is all about scale.There are only a few things that you need to consider which are your body’s dimensions, the size of your lapel, and size of your collar, but its easy to forget that it is not all math. I myself had lost sight of this.

Here are the pics that I referenced above. The picture directly below is of me in a 3.25″ tie. It looks a little too wide. The picture below it is of me in a 3″ tie. In the past I would have said that 3″ is just a little to skinny, but looking at the two pictures I would say that 3″ tie looks a little better. Others will of course disagree. That is fine.

The moral of this story is that style cannot be achieved purely by following equations. There is a little bit of art to it and a lot of personal preference. Another important thing to keep in mind is that your opinion will change. That is okay too. Growth is good. Just remember not to throw out all those ties you didn’t think worked at the moment!
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Red Stripes

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For me it has always been about blue. The blue OCBD worn with a pair khaki chinos is simple perfection. It can be worn anywhere and anytime. If I want to look a little more sophisticated I may sub a blue university striped OCBD for my plain blue OCBD under a blazer. However, when purchasing a new shirt from Michael Spencer I decided to throw a little caution to the wind and opted for a red university stripe or as they call it “Candy Striped.”

I have never owned a red university striped shirt before. I have owned a pink uni stripe which actually inspired this choice. The difference being that the pink shirt was alpha sized and because of that was never paired with a tie. I did however see its potential.

The color and stripes of this shirt can add a little pop to otherwise standard rigs. I have paired my red uni stripe with a winter white Shetland, grey Shetland, and brown Shetland which all worked well. By far the most fun that I have had with this shirt is wearing it with ties. As I have written about before uni stripe shirts are great for wearing regimental ties with (Striped Shirt & Striped Tie). The red color presents both a challenge and an opportunity.

If like me you are a true blue OCBD type of guy I encourage you to give a red university stripe a shot. It will work with everything from grey Shetlands to blue blazers to brown tweeds and more. I will continue to experiment with my red striped shirt as I still need to wear it a few more times before I give the shirt a full review.
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Shawl Collar & Ties

Shawl Collar & Tie

I get quite a few questions from guys that want to wear ties to the office, but are concerned that sporting a sport coat will draw too much attention. My go to recommendation for these scenarios is to suggest wearing a tie with a shawl collar sweater. In the recent weeks I have had several emails asking me this exact question which made me think that re-posting my “Shawl Collar Sweater with a Tie” post is a good idea. Without further ado, here it is (with a few additional images added at the end).

Shawl Collar with a Tie

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). This is probably 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.
Shawl Collar Sweater with a tie and corduroysDuck Tie and CordsNot 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 love ties 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 good, but the shawl collar’s strength is that it provides a background for the tie that is similar to the lapel of a jacket.
Shawl Collar Sweater and Tie with grey wool pantsBrooksgate neat tieIn 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 a more urbane look. 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!

 

Additional Images

Shawl Collar & Tieshawl-foximg_8291img_4697img_2758

 

 

Fall Foulards

Giacoma tie close up

The leaves are turning, the temps are dropping, and you can order a pumpkin flavored anything. Fall is finally here and everyone is excited. For us trads, it is not so much the previous mentioned items as it is the return of layering, Shetland sweaters, and tweeds to mention a few. One item that I am especially excited for are foulard ties.
RedGreen Neat TiesTweed and TieA Foulard (also called a neat) 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.
Red and Yellow Foulard TieBrooksgate neat tie
Foulards are not strictly for fall/winter items. However, I find them to be a better fit for myself with a tweed than in the summer with a blazer and chinos. I do break them out if I am wearing grey wool trousers and blazer. If I had a chance to wear suits this would be another occasion to break out the foulards. Until then I will just enjoy them when the weather turn cool bringing out the tweeds and cords.

 

 

A Few More Foulard Ties 

TieCollection-PatternClose-upYSL Foulard TieGreen and Red Flower Neat TieGrey tweed, yellow tie, and university striped shirt

Red Ties & Navy Blazers

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I wear a navy blazer a lot. I would say that I have been wearing a navy blazer at least once a week for the last 3 years. I have learned a few things in that time. One of those things is that red ties work really well with them.
Red Tie & Navy BlazerRed Ties & Navy Blazers 2In hindsight it seems like this should be a no-brainer. Contrast is one of the most important elements in putting together a rig. However, my knowledge of color theory is non-existent so I learn what colors work by two methods. Learning from others is my most effective. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. The other is trial and error which is why I recommend the first.

in the end, red ties just work with navy blazers. When I say red I also mean burgundy ( I told you that I have  no background in color theory). These are the ties that I reach for most often. If you are new to the navy blazer or have trouble pairing a tie with them give a red or burgundy repp tie a shot. It is usually a hit.