Photo by Salt Water New England

Sunday, February 7, 2021

What Are Preferred (and Less Preferred) Tie Designs?

My Father, March, 1967 - Photo from My Archives

 

50 comments:

  1. I prefer bow ties, but I do have to wear a traditional tie for work. I tend to go for a small repeat design or a tartan/plaid/check design. If I want something a bit more flamboyant I wear one of my artist ties; Keith Haring, Mondrian etc.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What I prefer is very much dependent on the season, the things I am going to wear with the tie, and the occasion, although having chosen the right clothing for the occasion, it is unlikely the tie will be inappropriate. During the cooler months I love paisley and neat patterns on challis, both four in hand and bowtie. They really are my favorites, but they only work with tweeds and camel hair in my opinion. Similar in some ways but covering more seasons and occasions are ancient madder in paisley and neat patterns. When I worked they were my "go to" ties for striped shirts and solid suits. I love repp stripes with solid color OCBDs and a navy blazer. I have my school colors in both bowties and four in hand. For dressy occasions, I do not think you can beat a Churchill polka dot bowtie with a white broadcloth shirt and a chalk striped navy suit. I am generally not successful in finding places to wear my tartan tie, but Madras ties look great with summery poplin suits. I have a square bottomed knit navy blue tie that helps tame a Madras jacket. I have a couple of club ties but don't find them the first choice most of the time, the exception being a dark green one with harps that feels exactly right on March 17th. I love ties. If your shirt fits, they are really not uncomfortable. As our society moves away from ties, I often slip a bowtie into the pocket of an odd jacket, just in case there is an opportunity to pull it out and tie it before getting out of the car.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love how Tim has covered so many different thoughts about ties. Amazing! I just wanted to add that I think ties are one way a man can have a splash of color and express creativity, so I would encourage men to have a large variety of ties instead of wearing the same kind of tie day in and day out.

      Delete
  3. Easy, the classics: repp stripes, foulards, certain crested 'club' ties, solid or horizontal striped knits as well as a few understated (?) 'critter' ties. The occasional paisely is nice too. For the colder months with tweed and corduroy wool tartans (understated), houndstooth, and ancient madder. Ties I stray away from include any of those weird 1990s versions, which you can usually spot a mile off -- Think Jerry Seinfeld's ties during the stand-up segment at the start of the old TV show -- or vintage 1940s art deco designs, which just don't appeal to me. I enjoy wearing neckties, don them at home along with other so called professional attire for online interactions, and have never understood why so many men balk at them. It's a mindset I simply cannot grasp.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

    ReplyDelete
  4. You can't go wrong with repp stripe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My friend only wears repp stripe ties - school, university college and clubs, regimental and his clubs in St James's and Mayfair. If they wear out or get badly stained, he just replaces them. Prince Charles seems to have a similar approach to choosing ties.

      Smart Turnout was a great source for such ties and other regimental/club merchandise, e.g. braces and cricket sweaters. Sadly, the shop on Piccadilly, near Budd Shirts, and online business closed down a couple of years ago.

      Delete
  5. I think Tim and Heinz-Ulrich have done a thorough and able job with "most-preferred." I would add to "least-preferred" what I call the Anderson Cooper look -- plain black or navy suit with white shirt and plain black or navy skinny necktie. Barack Obama, too, went in for this big-time and somehow emerged annually on various best-dressed lists. I cannot understand that; I have never thought of undertakers as sartorial exemplars.

    Another thing to avoid is the big floppy bowtie. Too Burt Reynolds for words. Likewise, bows should not be wider than one's neck; a serial violator here is the baseball writer Ken Rosenthal -- he is 5'5", has a head the size of a grapefruit, yet wears these aggressive bows that look like they are going to start flapping their wings and carry him up to the sun, like Icarus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rosenthal's bow ties are so big & so perfectly even that they must be pre-tied or clip-ons.

      Delete
    2. Forgot to mention previously. . . Avoid so called novelty ties like the plague. They're not funny after, oh, middle school. If ever. I've actually seen people at professional job interviews and wedding receptions who have turn up sporting cartoon character neckties. With and without jacket.

      Heinz-Ulrich

      Delete
    3. Novelty ties are a curious thing. Some like Hermes, Ferragamo, Gucci, and even Vineyard Vines, are, novelty notwithstanding, attractive enough to hold their own as attractive ties. They seem to fare better in summer. It all comes down to good colors and patterns. That said, I prefer an Atkinson neat.The mention of Hermes brings back bad memories of $75 bowls of pasta circa 1984, if you know what I mean!

      Delete
  6. Now deep into my retirement years, wearing a tie has become less frequent. However, in my corporate days a knit tie in maroon and navy and a rep tie in navy and burgundy as well as my two school ties green/yellow for GMU and orange/navy for UVA.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A bow tie gets noticed. It says you're a confident guy who doesn't worry much about what other people think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there are some other things they say but....

      Delete
    2. Yet still wishes to be noticed.

      Delete
    3. Urban legend has it that wearing a bowtie will almost certainly prevent you from being seated on a jury....

      Delete
  8. Regarding ties I have often maintained: Show me a man’s ties (and shoes), and I’ll tell you everything about him. I still stand by this.

    Ties are important (perhaps more so than ever) – not just as socio/economic indicators – but also to reveal insights into the wearer’s mind. For example, what sort of business/professional man in a suit wears garish ties with cartoon characters on them? Or the type of man who thinks all ties are created equal, and so will wear anything with zero discrimination?

    Today, after much weeding out, my tie collection consists of Brooks Brothers/Social Primer bow ties from the last decade, Ralph Lauren Purple Label Italian striped examples, Cordings’ country ties (wild boars, flocks of birds, etc.), and an in-your-face solid electric pink silk tie which I wear at Easter to both praise and wide-eyed shock. I also have a few solid color wool ties to go with my tweed and tattersall shirt outfits.

    I’ve always found summer ties to be more difficult than the other seasons. But a while back I found several white with thinly spaced striped silk ties that go well with my rowing-style navy with white stripes blazer from Brooks Brothers (circa 1999 and very 1920s looking). The ties are from Cambridge (Corpus Christi College Summer, and King’s College Summer). And, no, I’m not a graduate of either (or pretend to be), but I feel safe wearing them since only one person in a billion would recognize what they are or where they came from.

    https://www.ryderamies.co.uk/shop/kings-college-summer-tie/
    https://www.ryderamies.co.uk/shop/corpus-christi-college-summer-tie/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their prices are very reasonable. I also recommend Dege & Skinner of Savile Row for reppe ties, only £55 and made in England - https://dege-skinner.co.uk/shop/category/club-and-regimental/. Benson & Clegg is another but more expensive option.

      Delete
  9. I find that geometric pattern neckties are the most versatile, but i like variety - some diagonal stripe rep ties, some geometrics, a few florals and paisleys. One of my favorite casual ties has hockey player logos, another has different kinds of sushi.

    All things equal, i prefer bow ties. Repp stripes don’t work quite as well on the smaller footprint.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tim's comment above pretty much covers it, but I found myself thinking that the old rule should be remembered: between shirt, tie, and suit or jacket/slacks combo, no more than two patterns. Some can pull off 3 patterns, but most can't, I can't, and when it doesn't work the only thing that will save it is one of those big red crimp-on noses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ... the old saying that one should know the difference between Brooks Brothers and Ringling Brothers.

      Delete
    2. Would that be Barnum or Bailey ?

      Delete
  11. I go for textured ties. I like knit ties and in the winter, a nice solid colored plainweave wool tie.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wore reps all the way through prep school and college. Haven't worn them since. Now it's white shirts with neats only - in every color you can imagine.

    ReplyDelete
  13. As I mentioned on Instagram, it was the Cross pen that resonated with me. Grew up in RI (where they were once manufactured) and they were a staple when I was growing up (‘70’s-‘80’s)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And well into to the ‘90’s, no? It wasn’t a well turned out New Englander without the Cross pen in the pocket.

      Delete
  14. My dad and husband never wore anything but rep stripes or foulards, always in some shade or red or blue. Dear brother wears bow ties in rep stripes; as he wears seersucker in the summer, his color palette lightens with the seasons.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Concur with Messrs. Irvine & Reichardt. Ties are instinctive, you know whether they work or not. Same as being shod with proper shoes. Of course being an eccentric relic , I have branched out to solid grenadines owing to Connery & Grant. Bought them from Paul Winston of Chipp. It was a treat to talk to him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice plug for Chipp. His ties are superb and his prices are bargains. His personal service is wonderful. He is a treasure.

      Delete
  16. Repp stripes, knits and the navy Churchill dotted.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My most frequently worn neckties are regimentals stripes, ancient madders, knits and tartans (mostly J. Press). I have grenadine ties that I wear with certain suits and for funerals. And, there are 4 or 5 themed ties (discreet equestrian and nautical designs) that I only wear to the track, derby parties, coastal events, etc... I don't wear bowties often, but I do enjoy them. My bowties are a little more interesting, but don't get enough wear.

    ReplyDelete
  18. My ties are Henry Poole, Hermès, Charvet and the like; country shooting/fishing/dogs, old Stewart tartan; retired for 20 yrs. but enjoy wearing in SF, NYC and London.

    Randy Ventgen
    Vancouver WA

    ReplyDelete
  19. Any of my vintage J.Press always serve me well. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  20. When composing an outfit, I always started with the tie and worked my way back : shirt suit, socks, shoes. So not so much a pattern, color cloth thing, but more of a "this tie spoke to me" thing.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I just like it when people still wear ties! The look now, at least before Covid made sweatpants de rigeur, seems to be dark suits, white shirts, and no tie. How boring! I also agree with the above comments about the unfortunate prominence of solid, dark colored ties on politicians and newscasters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Newscasters need to take any tie selection cues from Brian Williams! His bold stripes and great colors are well suited to television. Anderson Cooper's are better suited to radio.

      Delete
    2. Well, my son rolls with Tucker Carlson via J.Press.

      Delete
    3. I miss Tucker’s bow ties!

      Delete
    4. Carlson gets his shirts from Mercer.

      Delete
    5. And Carlson looks sharp in his Mercers!

      Delete
    6. @Sartesky I like Mercer, don't say things like that.

      Delete
  22. I prefer classic regimental stripe or university-themed ties. For more color, classic paisley themes can fit into warmer days.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Black silk knit more than anything else. Low-key bows occasionally. Small geometric figures. Stripes, if it's for something I actually belong to.

    ReplyDelete
  24. The last time I needed to wear a tie regularly (not counting weddings and funerals) was prep school. And my choice back then was Rooster's square-bottom knit ties, and I had two of them: burgundy and navy. Still have 'em.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved Rooster ties. Remember the one with the Sex Life of the Bumblebee? They were the Vineyard Vines of that era.

      Delete
    2. Rummaging in the closet, I found one more in a sort of olive green, but a bit brighter. It was my dad's, not mine, and I can't imagine where or what he wore it for. Maybe it was bought as a joke of some kind. But he wore ties (ordinary silk ones) pretty much every workday, being a project managing engineer with a big construction company.

      Delete
  25. A silk and cashmere tie fends off the chilly air. It’s a good combination for a winter. I used to wear such a tie when, alas, I spent my January’s in Paris. Paris me manque.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have more of the Hermes silk twill than anything else. I resisted them initially but eventually they took over.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Parenthetically, is that a Cross pen in your father's pocket? My late father always carried a Cross sterling silver pen and matching mechanical pencil in his inside suit coat pockets. I have my own and use them all the time. Far nicer than pulling out the usual chewed disposable Bic pen and actually handing it to someone. Pre-Covid of course!

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My father used a Cross Century (that's the model name) gold pen and pencil set for years and years. I have several Centuries that I bought, all with the matte finish instead of slippery metal. But I have to say that being a left-handed "over-writer" with a sweaty death-grip on any pen or pencil, for me the Century models are just too damn thin for comfortable writing at length. (Parker Jotters are a different story and work much better for me as they are somewhat fatter.)

      At some point in the 1980s, Cross introduced the Townsend models (still in production), which have wider barrels. That suggests to me that the company saw a substantial number of people also found the Century models too thin.

      But the Cross Centuries are definitely iconic for a particular era. And still being in production, they often turn up as gift items at weddings or graduations.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I received my set from ol' Mom for graduation from high school 35+ years ago. Still use 'em once or twice a week.

      H-U

      Delete