Switching it up

I have often been described as consistent, dependable, and reliable. I am proud of these traits as they are a big part of who I am, but…yes, there is a but. Often these characteristics translate as predictable. While I  myself am a big fan of predictable I also aim to please. Cue the tie.
Fox Tie 2I purchased the tie above over a year ago and it has hung on my tie rack ever since waiting for the day it gets to see some action. When I first saw the tie I was enamored with the playful pattern presented in a deep rich red made of wool challis. I knew that it was a little outside of my comfort zone, but I was drawn to it and it cost me around $10 on the second hand market if I remember correctly.

Last month I woke up with the intent of wearing it. I just wasn’t sure how. I tried a solid blue OCBD first. Something didn’t look quite right. I thought that a white OCBD would work, but I have an aversion to white shirts outside of formal settings where they are required. My trusty blue university striped OCBD was just right. It provided the right mix of pattern and color to serve as a backdrop for this bold tie.

I learned a few things about this tie during its first outing. The first is that it is a beautiful tie. I admired it all day long. I also learned that it would look best with my navy blazer and grey flannels. There is something about it that is a little too something for chinos. I also thought that if I had that camel hair sport coat (or any tan colored sport coat) that I have been lusting after that they would look terrific together.

The moral of this story is to not be afraid to wear something that you would not normally wear. You could surprise yourself and find a new look to add to your repertoire. At the same time, remember that you are creating your look so look the way that you want to look. I am often known for wearing the same thing day in and day out. I am more than okay with that. I know that it is one of my strengths.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

11 Comments on "Switching it up"

  1. Joseph Murray says:

    We have been brainwashed by casual-minded America into believing that white shirts are only for formal occasions. Might I humbly suggest that you try a white OCBD from time-to-time? You will see that it adds an aristocratic touch, brightens up your face, and provides a perfect canvas against which to experiment (when one is so inclined) with neckties of different colors and designs. Also the contrast between a navy blazer and a white shirt is a visual masterpiece. I wear open-necked blue OCBDs (the descendant of the workshirt) on weekends, but on Monday mornings, a crisp white shirt adds a certain je ne sais quoi to anyone’s appearance.

    • Hollywood Argyle says:

      While white shirts are a wonderful contrast with navy blazers, white is not a flattering color for most Caucasians. This is why blue is the other color in the trad canon for shirts: one shade of blue or another will flatter you.

      White shirts are considered dressier, therefore they are. A white straight collar shirt is for weddings, funerals, job interviews, court appearances, and the like. Notice also the color palate for evening formal and semi-formal wear: black and white. White also plays a role in daytime formal and semi-formal wear (which are, for all intents and purposes, extinct in modern America).

      Having said that, I do wear a white OCBD on occasion, with a navy blue blazer and gray trousers, but I usually go for another color. Today, for instance, I wore a blue & white striped shirt with my blazer to church (with a tie, of course). Pink and yellow are both excellent shirt colors with navy blue. Where white will wash out the color from your face, pink will light it up—provided you found the right shade.

  2. Great tie! Who’s the ocbd by?

  3. oxford cloth button down says:

    Michael – Thanks! It Bert Pulitzer for Ira Trivers.

    Joseph – Thank you for taking the time to comment. My aversion to white shirts probably stems from the perfect canvas that they provide for spills rather than thinking them too formal. I might have to take your advice to work one in on a more regular basis. Your comment about them being a great canvas for ties and contrasting well with a navy blazer is spot on!

  4. fred johnson says:

    While the tie works and you are quite correct in your assessment of it with kakis, grey flannel and camel jacket I fine the large scale pattern just a bit much. This is, of course my personal opinion; as I get older I favor smaller, more discrete motifs.

  5. Charlottesville says:

    Jerrod — Good for you to change it up a bit. While the tie is quite bold, the fox-and-horn pattern and the challis fabric keep it grounded in tradition. I hope you find that camel hair sport coat soon. It will look great with the tie and gray flannels. For what it’s worth, I agree with those who recommend taking your white shirts out of the strictly “dressy” category. I think that the contrast of a white OCBD looks great with a camel coat and patterned tie. And a crisp white shirt is perfect with a navy blazer and striped repp tie.

  6. Francophone says:

    Allow me to agree with the gentlemen who have spoken out in favor of white shirts. I find the claim that
    white is not a flattering color for most Caucasians patently untrue. White was the one and only color worn by those who could afford to have their shirts washed on a daily basis. Shirts in other colors were marketed either because they did not show grime as easily or as a merchandising gimmick to sell shirts to customers who thought they already had enough shirts in their wardrobe. Am I off track here?

    • Hollywood Argyle says:

      This is not just my opinion; it comes from color analysis, which is about what groups of colors flatter what types of people (type being understood as a combination of skin tone, eye color, and hair color). The most prominent popularizer of this was Carole Jackson, who had quite a bit of success with her book Color Me Beautiful (for women) and later, Color for Men. In the scheme she used (not unique to her), there are four basic types, which are called “seasons”: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Each “season” has a range of complementary colors, and only Winter has true white. As I recall, Winters are only about 10% of all Caucasians (but I could be wrong on the exact figure).

      For my part, I am a Summer, and white shirts wash out my already pale complexion, and make my freckles, blemishes, and wrinkles more prominent. When I do wear a white shirt, I make sure that the jacket & tie are in colors that flatter me, to offset the negative effect of the white shirt.

  7. Roger C. Russell II says:

    I love the colors and the fox and horn design. However, I would really have to be in the mood for this tie. I could wear it easier if the fox and horn were smaller. It looks like the design would work great for a scarf.
    I love white shirts. They are always the first shirt I consider for the day. By the way, I just got a look of the new Brooks Brothers shirt. I love the look from a distance. However, I was really surprised by how thin the Oxford Cloth appeared. Like everything I will have to look at it a few times before I make the purchase or not.

  8. The tie is great. Bold when done carefully and sparingly works well. Hurra for having the cajones to pull it off. Youngsters right now might say something like, “You’re really rockin’ that fox and horn tie!”

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich von B.

  9. TTCraig says:

    @Roger C. Russell II

    The thin Oxford cloth that BB is now offering is just right for those of us who have always preferred the lightness of broadcloth/poplin to the thickness of Oxford cloth.

I would like to hear from you