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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

Size Matters: Collar Points & Tie Widths

The difference between a full size healthy collar that produces a wonderful roll and a collar that can barely accommodate a tie is minimal. I am talking less than 1 inch. In fact, most of my collars that produce a standard roll have collar points that measure 3.25”, but I do have a few shirts (new-ish LE Hyde Parks) that have 3” collar points, but produce zero roll. While a collar this size does not lend itself to wearing ties. It can be done. It just requires a little more thought.

The key is to match the proportions of your collar to your tie. This is no different from the consideration that you would give to tie width and lapel width. Getting the proportions right between these three elements (Collar length, tie width, and lapel width) will allow you to wear some of the skinnier or wider items in your closet with a little more ease.

3” Collar

Tie Width Range: 2.75″ – 3.25”
Optimal: 3”

A shirt with 3” collar points works best with ties that range from 2.75″-3”. A skinnier tie has a smaller knot which works to keep the proportions in check. You may be able to get away with a 3.25” tie, but I don’t recommend it. There will be no collar roll to speak of.
3 inch collar                                                                         3″ collar with a 2.75″ tie.

3.25” Collar

Tie Width Range: 3″ – 3.50”
Optimal: 3.25″

3.25” is the current standard for collar points. I say this because it is the size of the current Brooks Brothers OCBD which has always defined collar roll.  It is also the size of current J.Press OCBDs as well as the size of my older Land’s End Original Oxfords.
3.25 inch collar                                                                      3.25″ collar points with a 3″ tie.

3.5” Collar

Tie Width Range: 3.25″ – 3.75”
Optimal: 3.5″

Although the 3.5” collar is a rarity it does still exist primarily due to the demand of collar roll enthusiast. These shirts are usually vintage, bespoke or MTM. For example, Mercer and Son’s collars points measure 3.4375 inches. A collar this size will produce a full collar roll, but can still accommodate a 3.25” tie (with a sturdy knot). For those of you that have found that 3.5 – .3.75” ties work best for you (and collar roll fanatics!) may want to seek collar points of this length.
3.5 collar                                                                          3.5″ collar with a 3.25″ tie.

For many of us having a closet full of collar roll producing button-down shirts is the goal, but most if not all closets have a few underachievers. Hopefully this post can help you get some use out of your button-down shirts with shorter collar points as well as a way to wear that skinny tie that you just couldn’t resist.

Three Stripes of Equality

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I have a thing for ties. Actually, I assume that most people that are interested in traditional clothing have a thing for ties, but because my style is fairly conservative the tie is one of the few items that allows me to express my personality in color and patterns for all to see. Lately I have been drawn to one specific type of striped tie (Illustrated by The Popinjay above). This tie features three different colored stripes that repeat and are all of equal proportions, but the stripes’ proportions vary from tie to tie.
J.Press InspirationThe first time that I noticed this tie was on the J.Press website. I didn’t notice this tie in the neckwear section, but instead on a blazer. It was featured on the ever desirable J.Press 3 flap and 2 patch pocket sack blazer and it stole the show (pictured above). I later had the chance to acquire this tie for a price so low that I won’t mention it here, but because this particular tie was only 2.75” I passed. If it isn’t apparent that I regret it this decision. I do.
3 Stripes of Equality                                                   My consolation prize (and it is 2.75″) for missing out on the tie above.

This striped tie might be one of the easiest stripe patterns for me to recognize (Outside of the Brooks Brother stripes ) once I actually noticed the pattern. To the best of my knowledge there is no name for this type of stripe. This isn’t surprising as I don’t know if there are names for the infinite varieties of striped ties that exist minus the already mentioned Brooks Brother stripes and this system is not universal. These ties feature colors of all sorts ranging from the subdued to eye-catching and come in various fabrics indicating that there is no one season for this stripe.
4th DragoonRoyal Scots 2Lord Taverners                                                              A  few examples from Ben Silver.

For fans of the regimental tie (including the Americanized version) I think that this stripe pattern is a must have. It is traditional in appearance, but also distinct. There is something about the repeating pattern of equal width that makes it visually striking, but will probably render the admirer unable to identify why as it did for me when I first saw them.

Shantung Summer

Shantung Summer

As the weather changes so does our wardrobe and many of us look forward to these transitions, but. “look forward to” may be an understatement when it comes to warm weather wear. Clothes horses everywhere begin salivating over madras, seersucker, and linen as Memorial Day (The official first day for these fabrics) draws near. However, there is one summer fabric that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as the others. This fabric is Shantung Silk.
Shantung tie                                                                   My one and only Shantung Tie.

What is Shantung?
Shantung ties get their name from, yep, you guessed it: The Shantung Province of China. Shantung silk is made from raw silk and was traditionally woven from uneven pieces of yarn. The result is a very textured slubby silk that is perfect for warm weather tie wear. Learn more over at Gentleman’s Gazette.

Who sells them?
Sometimes I think that I drop the same names again and again (J.Press, Brooks Brothers, O”Connell’s, etc) when I am guiding readers to products. This time I tried to switch it up a little bit (, just a little bit.).
PRL Shantung Silk Tie PRL Argyll & Sutherland Shantung TieThe first Shantung ties that caught my eye are over at Ralph Lauren (above and here). While RL is no stranger to those interested in traditional American clothing they are often overlooked by the Trad crowd, because of their use of logos and their image as a bastion of all things preppy. However, I suggest keeping tabs on them. Especially for ties. Uncle Ralph’s Shantungs come in at 3” (A tad slim for some.) and they only offer 3 striped variations, but two of them were so well executed that they are definitely worth a look.
Drakes Shantung Regimental Tie Drakes Shantung Regimental TiesMy Second recommendation for sourcing Shantung ties is Drake’s of London (above and here). Drake’s has an impressive number of attractive Shantung offerings such as regimentals, dots, and solids. These ties are 8cm (or 3.14962 inches) which a touch wider than the PRL ties, but they are also about $70 more expensive than the PRL ties. What I like most about their selection is the number of muted colors (like tie #1) that say summer without yelling it.

The next time you are stocking up on summer staples think about picking up a Shantung silk tie. These slubby ties pick up where your tweeds left off adding texture to your summer rigs. Whether you go with my suggestions above or hit up the usual suspects a Shantung tie is a great way to bring a piece of summer into the office without screaming GTH.

Express Yourself

Manneken Pis Tie

When it comes to getting dressed there are a few considerations that I always make such as “Where I am going?”, “What season is it?”, and “What is the weather like?”. If I am getting dressed for a special occasion or an event then I try to dress in a way that shows respect for the event, but more importantly to the host. Seldom do I find myself dressing in a way the expresses how I am feeling that day, but it does happen. This post is about one of those days.

Lately I have been feeling a little overwhelmed. Work has been crazy, dating is hard, and the winter weather is wearing on me as well (This year is in the top 10 for below zero temps for my area.). The stress was building and I could feel myself getting a little more frustrated day by day until I woke up one day and  knew that I had to snap out of it.

Manneken PisThe Tie Manneken Pis

When I was getting dressed I remembered the tie that I had received from my friend Worried Man (Thanks!). This tie features the Manneken Pis (Which literally translates to Little Pee Man.) a famous landmark in Brussels. The origin of the sculpture is surrounded by multiple legends, but I had given the tie my own Chippesque meaning by renaming it “Pissing in the wind.” I thought that this was perfect occasion to break out the tie.

Looking Grumpy                                                           Me Looking grumpy in a shawl collar.

As soon as I put the tie on I felt a little bit better. I threw a shawl collar cardigan on over top to provide some coverage for the little guy, but because of the historical significance of the tie I was not too worried about being reprimanded at work for it. Throughout the day my spirits were lifted by the tie and I smiled to myself quite a few times as I thought about the subversive meaning that I had attached to it.
Oxford Shop LabelMADE IN U.S. A. LabelLooking back I think that expressing my frustration with my wardrobe was much more constructive than keeping it all inside. Instead of declaring defeat I relied on humor for one of its most beneficial uses which is coping life’s challenges and had fun doing it.