The weather is starting to heat up, which means it’s time to break out your spring and summer attire. To most, this means vibrant sportcoats, light-colored suits, and perhaps the occasional awning or butcher stripe shirt. In this article, I pose an often forgotten piece for your warm-weather consideration: the bold summer tie.
Back in the day, tailoring was the name of menswear. Sure there were t-shirts and jeans in play, but they weren’t the main way guys dressed in the warm weather. They relied on summer fabrics like Palm Beach, fun colors in fabrics, and fun ties to stay fashionable. Spring/summer allowed designers to have fun with their prints and patterns, especially as we moved into the 1940s and 1950s. There are plenty of examples, both on real people and illustrations. And I think they look sharp, and it’s a look that’s largely missing today.
The sartorial math is pretty easy. Spring/summer typically brings light colors (tans, whites, blues) into the equation; Gone are the dark wools and heavy plaid tweeds. Because warm-weather attire is typically plain or slightly muted, you need a point of interest, and that’s where the bold tie comes in. The contrast plays well into the outfit and signifies a bit of fun with your tailoring. It’s really a no brainer: just keep everything else solid.
To me, a bold summer tie should have a great pattern/print and have great uses of color, but these things are completely subjective. It could be a fun artillery repp stripe tie to liven up your cream trousers and navy blazer, or one of Drake’s abstract designs to wear with a tan cotton suit. It is something a little bit different that plays into the fun and vibrancy of warm weather. It especially helps if the tie colors are grounded in blues and greens since these tend to mesh well with the usual colors of summer tailoring.
I personally love using vintage ties, which should surprise no one. I actually think this is the one time the crazy 40’s designs are wearable! They don’t really feel at home with tweeds and flannels, but light cotton or linen are perfect. I also have a handful of more interesting stripes; either in non-traditional shades or with stripes that aren’t exactly the repp stripes you normally see. One of my favorites boasts a diagonally placed check pattern and is made of a cream seersucker. If that isn’t the definition of a bold, summer tie, then I don’t know what is! In fact, Palm Beach, renowned for their patented summer cloth, also made fun summer ties to go with their suits; they’re currently one of the most sought after pieces in the vintage menswear community.
I hope that this post helps you branch out with your summer style. It’s not for everyone, especially those who have to work in conservative offices, but could be helpful for those who want to spice up their regular sartorial attire. It’s spring/summer, a time to have fun!