October is the illustrious month of my birthday – consequently I have taken it upon myself to anoint this month the month of gifting myself handmade ties. Since I have taken to bespoke menswear which, be they shirts, suits or shoes, take time to acquire, all that remains for instant gratification is a nice hand-made tie or two, three, more… Ties have not been easy for me. There are so many choices of color and pattern and then when I researched ties further, I found that there is also a large variety of textures as well as lined and untipped. It is only of late that I had ever heard of Grenadine and Shantung ties. I probably still can’t even give you a sophisticated explanation of what they are other than textured. Nicely so, I might add. Since this is my first Tie-ctober, it is also the time that I am revamping my tie collection. I have a drawer full of ties that no longer cut it due to quality of fabric, stiffness or weight. Some of them hung around my neck like a piece of heavy cardboard. 19 out 27 will no longer be with us.
I watched a Kirby Allen video on ties at the Hanger Project, but as per usual got most of my information from Simon Crompton’s Permanent Style Blog and Hugo Jacomet’s Distinguished Gentlemen books. Simon is a huge Drake’s tie fan which have a great history and retail for $175 per tie. In Hugo Jacomet’s book “The Parisian Gentleman” he has a nice article on the French made Charvet ties which retail for $245 per tie. I find it interesting to read the history of how various brands began and why they are worth the cost. Before this October, I did all my tie shopping at Neiman Marcus. Neiman’s has a large selection of ties of various brands, especially online, that make the $150. – $300. price range seem standard for a quality tie.
Ties are an item that I prefer to purchase in person where I can hold them, feel their quality and lightness and see how they go with a shirt and jacket before my wife chooses LOL. But what is really important to me is how well the tie knots for me. There seem to be three standard ways to tie a tie. I learned the Four In Hand from my father way back when and have stuck with that method. It happens to be the easiest and I love the knot it creates as long as the tie is wide enough to give it a nice dimple. There is also the Half Windsor and the Full Windsor, which for me, create too thick of a knot. There are some companies who offer bespoke ties, but according to Kirby Allison, unless you are really tall or really short, a bespoke tie really doesn’t make much sense. Here is Kirby’s Project Hanger video on Neckties:
There is also the option of a bow tie which requires PhD to master tying. Thank goodness I was watching this funny video to learn so that I could laugh as I foiled the fold over and over:
I got rid of several Missoni ties which felt too stiff. I got ride of three large Tom Ford ties because they felt like heavy weights around my neck. But when I started replacing them with my new quality handmade ties I realized, for the first time myself, how wonderful ties can look and feel. I share with you my Tie-ctober ties for 2018 in the following five posts. All the ties are wonderful, from various parts of the world and of various price points.