All posts in Ties

Striped Shirt & Striped Tie

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I often hear (or read) that you should not wear striped ties with striped shirts. I don’t know the origin of this “rule.” It may not even be a rule at all, but a tip to keep sartorial novices such as myself to stay away from pattern matching. What I do know is that wearing striped ties with striped shirts is one of my favorite things.
TodayPulling off a striped tie with a striped shirt relies on the same principle as any pattern on pattern matching. It is all about scale. It is also not complicated, at least in theory. The two patterns simply have to have enough difference in their scale to work. In general, it tends to work best when the shirt pattern is smaller than the tie’s pattern, but I am sure that there are exceptions to this.

Stripe tie & shirtClose up
Traditionally I wear a blue university striped OCBD with a striped tie. Like I said, it is one of my favorite looks. However, using different kinds of striped shirts opens up endless possibilities. I am slowly working on adding a new stripe type or color to my closet (Common types of shirt stripes). I recently purchased a pinpoint shirt with red stripes from Brooks Brothers primarily to wear with one tie in particular (see the combo here!), but I know that I will find many more to wear with it through experimentation.
Stripes on Stripess
Green Rep tie & Uni StripeI like rules. They provide structure and guidance. Rules can help you to avoid things that should be avoided without you having to fully understand why. On the flip side, once you better understand the reason for the rule you may be able to apply it as necessary instead of blindly following it. For those of you who don’t do stripes on stripes I hope this post encourages you to give it a go.

The Last Days of Tweed and More: Wear it While You Can

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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. Tweed Sport Coat and Shetland SweaterCords for the cold 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. Today's Ties OptionsTweed and Foulard TieIn 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.

The Bow Tie Find: Vintage Patterns & Labels

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While out running errands a few weeks ago I decided to pop into one of my favorite thrift stores. It is a little shop and while I have seen a lot of nice suits and sport coats there I have never found anything for myself. I went in the zero expectations, but I left with 12 bow ties for $3. Needless to say, it was a good trip.

Finding ties at thrift stores is easy. Finding ties that I like at thrift stores is a little more challenging. Finding bow ties at thrift stores has proved itself extremely difficult.  So when I found the first bow tie I was surprised. When I found 12 more that I Liked (and about 6 that I loved) I was ecstatic. I have included a few pictures of the bow ties below.

The Patterns

Green Wool Bow tieFerrell Reed Pheasant Bow TieYellow Paisley Huntington Bow TiePaul Stuart Bow TieVintage Madras Bow tieGreen Vintage Bow TieBatik Bow tieThe patterns are great, but there are some very cool labels as well. I found the Magnolia Cottage label first and loved its simplicity. I noticed the Welch, Margetson label in the store and immediately remembered that Richard Press mentioned the brand in a post (Here is that post: The Black Sheep). I didn’t discover the Made in England Rike-Kumler Co. in Dayton until I got home, but because it is local it is my favorite.

The Labels

MAGNOLIA COTTAGE Bow Tie LabelThe RIKE-KUNLER CO. Dayton Bow TieWelch, Margetson 8 Bow TiePaul Stuart Label on Bow Tie

An interesting fact that is relevant to this post is that I don’t actually wear bow ties. Well, I have worn a bow tie 3 times in my life, but I am still not comfortable in one, at least not in an office setting. However, I have learned that I do not know what the future holds. I may decide to wear bow ties in the future and that time I will appreciate the $3 investment.

Shawl Collar Sweater with a Tie

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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.
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 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.
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 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!

The Patchwork Repp Tie

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We are all familiar with patchwork ties, sport coats, trousers, and shirts that are made up of Madras and even though it is not as common we have all seen patchwork items made from tweed and tartans as well. There is another patchwork item that I have only seen a handful of times.

The first time that I saw a patchwork Repp tie (pictured below) it took me a few moments to figure out what it was that I was looking at. It was difficult to recognize the striped Repp ties when the stripes were arranged in random patchwork fashion. Once I was able to make out what I was looking at I was intrigued.
Patchwork Repp Tie YRR

Fast forward to last week when I spotted a patchwork Repp tie over at Polo Ralph Lauren (see here). Uncle Ralph’s patchwork Repp tie is not strictly made of striped ties. It also includes a few pieces of an emblematic tie. The tie is a bit slim, but it is still wearable at 3” (I find 3.25” perfect for myself). It is also a bit expensive. This patchwork tie sports a price tag of $165.
PRL Patchwork Repp Tie  2014

I know that patchwork items are not for everyone. They fall into the category of clothing coined by Tom Wolfe in his 1976 article for Esquire entitled “Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine,” as “go to hell” or simply GTH. GTH clothing can be polarizing and this tie is no different, but when I saw a version being offered up by Polo Ralph Lauren this season I thought that it was well worth discussing. Now comes the question, would you wear it?