Starting a Tie Wardrobe – Styleforum Picks

Starting a tie wardrobe in 2018 can be daunting; with the variety of options that are just one click away, it might be hard to determine whether a tie is going to get some use or will lie in a cedar box untouched for years.

This list was compiled following the directions of some Styleforum members who discussed pretty extensively the merits and versatility of the following ties on this thread.

A starting wardrobe of 12 ties might contain:

  • Two navy solid ties (a grenadine and a repp, for instance)
  • Two other solid ties (i.e. forest green grenadine, a chocolate brown repp)
  • One glen plaid, guncheck, or shepherd’s check tie in black and white or navy and white
  • One houndstooth tie
  • Two pindot ties
  • Two “neat” ties –  small, evenly spaced designs
  • Two repp stripe ties

See below for some great options that will help you complete your tie collection.


Navy solid ties

Yellow Hook $130      •       Kent Wang $75

Solid ties in other colors 

Vanda Fine Clothing $123       •      Yellow Hook $130

Glen plaid / Guncheck / Shepherd’s check ties

Vecchio Anseatico $95      •      Vanda Fine Clothing $123

Houndstooth ties

Drake’s micro houndstooth $195    •      Drake’s puppytooth $185

Pindot ties

Shibumi Firenze $126      •      Vanda Fine Clothing $123

Neat Ties

Spier & MacKay  $35      •      Shibumi Firenze $126

Repp stripe ties

Ralph Lauren  $125     •      Vecchio Anseatico $95

The Best Ties For Summer

Even though most of us dread the unbearable humidity and heat that comes with summer, we still need to dress professionally. While we can likely endure wearing year-round or three-season suiting in air conditioned offices, the clothes that tend to bring us the most joy in summer – as in winter – are those made from fabrics specific to the season. Our garments for summer can be as particular, as interesting and as beautiful as those for winter, in that they have different characteristics in make, color, weave, and the like. However, in order to complete the outfit, you still need the right accessories; only then will you ensure that the ensemble is complete.

Fabrics for summer ties are similar to those for our garments. While there are ties that can work all year long, or for most seasons – grenadine, silk rep, printed silk all come to mind – you might want to add a little seasonal variation by adding an interesting element into an outfit. Just as is the case with an odd sport coat, crunchy or slubby textures, open weaves, or unstructured designs all help make a tie more summer-friendly. Playing with color, as you would with said odd jacket, also helps a tie to be more appropriate for warm weather – pastels or subdued neutrals work well for summer. Personally, I enjoy a six or seven-fold tie for less structure, especially when paired with a more open weave, such as grenadine in a light but muted blue or green. It gives it a sort of nonchalant look that works for most occasions, excepting the most formal or serious business meetings.

Shantung, or tussah silk, offers a slubby texture that helps bring an informal element to the tie. This is a wild silk that is obtained from silkworms that feed on leaves in an uncontrolled environment; because there is less control over the process, the silk worm hatches to break the filament length, creating shorter and more coarse fibers, which provides a more ‘matte’ look.

Ties made of linen or linen blends have the benefit of inherent slubbiness, but they wrinkle easily. They do retain that crisp nature that all linens share, which allows these fabrics to drape well especially when lined. Just keep in mind that they work best for less formal outfits, and work especially well when paired with linen or cotton suits.

Cotton and cotton-blend ties are similar to linen, serving as a more relaxed option. They tend to wrinkle – like linen – but do not have that crisp characteristic; this means that they exhibit less of an elegant drape. I recommend cotton ties for the most relaxed environments, and they would be at home more with an odd jacket or a cotton suit.

Here is a list of some examples for summer appropriate ties that we think are worth considering, and a few tips on how to pair them.


This tan shantung silk tie from Calabrese 1924 via No Man Walks Alone provides a classic stripe, but the subdued, neutral tan and the slubby fabric help to make it more of a summer affair. This self-tipped tie provides a structured neckpiece that could work in most occasions.


liverano summer tie

This Liverano&Liverano seven-fold silk tie is the epitome of a tie for the more conservative striped style. The colors scream Ivy League (if you ignore that the direction of the stripes are European instead of American), and it begs to be worn under the staple hopsack blazer in everyone’s closet. The orange almost evokes that quintessential go-to-hell attitude that you might not dare pull off with colored trousers.


drake's tie linen summer

This tie from Drakes features tussah silk in a natural color. Paired with an odd linen sport coat, the tie would wear well, seeing as it has hand rolled blades and less structure than a normal tie.


seersucker tie vanda fine clothing summer

How many times in your life have you seen a seersucker tie? This gorgeous muted green tie from Vanda Fine Clothing is extremely neutral, and would pair lovingly under blue, tan and brown jackets. The handrolled edges and light lining complete the nonchalant air.


vanda oatmeal tie summer

This tie made by hand from Vanda Fine Clothing out of Solbiati linen is a great warm weather accessory. The texture and wrinkles with the classic Glenplaid pattern and subdued neutral colors makes this an exceptional tie under a wool-fresco or linen jacket.

Gifts for the CM Wife or Girlfriend

5 gifts for the woman in your life gifts for the CM wife

If you’re a Classic Menswear dude with a female partner, chances are she’s a classy, educated woman who treats her clothes just like you do: a vehicle to express her impeccable taste in a manner that is neither extravagant nor – heaven forbid – fashionable.

(The exception to this is if you are my husband, who is the archetypical CM guy, but somehow ended up marrying a fashion blogger who collects Victorian mourning jewelry).

If you recognize your wife in the picture I just introduced, and Zara and H&M are cringe-inducing words to her, keep reading and find some ideas for your better half.

 


An Eileen Fisher top

Eileen Fisher is my husband’s obsession when it comes to womenswear. Every time we go shopping together, he secretly hopes that I will drop the eye-catching lace dresses and opt for an understated, elegant poncho made of a soft alpaca and cashmere blend.  In his wildest dreams, I’m wrapped in an Eileen Fisher hand-woven cardigan in a melange color with tailored pants featuring perfectly ironed pleats.

The thing is, I like Eileen Fisher a lot. Despite my preference for lace and more “statement” clothing, I even own the above-mentioned poncho (which I hardly ever wear here in SoCal). Almost any Eileen Fisher piece is an evergreen garment that will work with most women’s wardrobes – even those in which white lace is predominant. Eileen Fisher is the anti-Zara, and any woman who has an appreciation for quality over “trendy” will gladly welcome such gift.


Carmina boots

I personally discovered Carmina’s women shoe line at The Proper Kit this past November, and it took all of my strength and willpower not to break the bank over their boots. If you’re just a little familiar with women’s fashion, you know how hard it is to find pieces that equal menswear’s in terms of quality – at least through mainstream outlets. When I think of quality footwear for women, the first names that pop in my mind are Louboutin and Ferragamo, and even then, the construction is not on pair with a comparable menswear collection.  Carmina offers mind-blowing construction and materials as well as classic designs that will likely last for over a decade. Again, if you wish to give a gift that lasts, and if your partner has the sensibility to appreciate the great work and care that’s behind this type of product, you can’t go wrong with Carmina.


A bracelet stack by Astley Clarke

Jewelry is, obviously, a great classic when it comes to gifts. Some couples even have a tradition where they give at least one piece of jewelry a year, in order to slowly build up a collection that can be passed on to the next generations, or to simply remind them of the years that pass while they’re together.

The first and most important thing to remember when you shop for jewelry is to avoid Tiffany’s at any cost. It’s mainstream, banal, and overpriced, and you don’t really want to see a condescending smirk appearing of your wife’s face when you hand her that sickening “blue box.”

Once you bid farewell to overrated jewelry houses, you will find a world of glimmering collections. One of my favorite brands – and I have to thank my husband for introducing it to me – is the English maison Astley Clarke. The founder was even appointed by the Queen with one of those crazy titles the English appreciate. Dame of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or something like that.

In any case, you can find something delightful on Astley Clarke’s website, and the best thing is that prices go from $50 to $50,000, so you really have a wide choice at every price range. I would personally choose one of their bracelet stacks, which follow the trend of layering jewelry with no risk of incurring in the Jersey Shore/Christmas tree effect.


A leather cardholder

Long are gone the days when a woman used to carry huge wallets and stuff them with anything ranging from pictures of her parents as toddlers to Target’s loyalty card. If there’s one good thing that smartphones did, it was ridding us from such superfluous paraphernalia.

Normally I dread patterns, but since a cardholder is such a small item, I feel that this could be a good time to be a little adventurous and choose a piece that would turn heads when making its appearance out of the purse. This beautiful Dolce&Gabbana cardholder features a typical Sicilian tile motif, and since it folds over, it actually has some space to carry some cash, which always comes in handy.

If you’d rather play safe and stick to a more traditional look, this Smythson card holder in powdery blue will do the trick.


A Silk Scarf

There is something incredibly sensual in a woman covering her neck with a scarf (and a man too, actually.)

Perhaps deep down I am a vampire, but I consider it quite intriguing when one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body is hidden under layers of precious cashmere or impalpable silk, perhaps sprayed with a sophisticated fragrance.

On this account, I believe that the gift of a scarf comes out as thoughtful and delicate, even protective. It’s a way of saying: “I’m here and I’m taking care of you.” There is more love in a man kissing goodbye to his wife on her way to work while wrapping a scarf around her neck than there is in any epic poem.

Styleforum endorses: Grenadine ties

If there is anything that Styleforum community – an opinionated and sometimes grumpy group – agrees on, it is that grenadine ties are excellent.  If you look in the Styleforum WAYWT or WAYWN (“What are you wearing today/now”), you’ll see ties made of grenadine, a open, nearly gauzy woven fabric that used to be worn as (black) lace in France,   in many of our members’ outfits, often in muted colors.

Grenadine ties certainly work with traditional business suits, they also work really well with more “fashion” oriented suits.  In any grenadine tie, whether it’s a “large” or “small” weave,  there are lustrous yarns and a three dimensional, textured, surface.  This combination ensures that all but the cheapest grenadines will look rich.

In the Classic menswear section of the forum, subdued ties with small, repeating patterns, are considered integral to the wardrobe.  This is in part because many of the discussions are geared not just towards classic menswear, but more specifically, towards business attire.  In the Streetwear&Denim section, suits are seen as a starting point for a fashionable outfit.  In the relatively few outfits posted that include ties, feature minimalist, solid colored ones.

Vanda Styleforum burgundy bourette grenadine ties

Vanda x Styleforum burgundy bourette grenadine tie to benefit The Ronald McDonald House of Spokane

Grenadine ties, because of their highly textured weave, do not require a pattern for them to be suitable for business ready outfits which makes the grenadine time one of those rare moments when the classic agrees with the modern.   Sean Connery’s James Bond regularly wore grenadine ties as well.  In our “Menswear Advice” forum for all of those pesky questions you are not sure where to ask, the answer “wear a burgundy or navy grenadine tie” is nearly always going to be an adequate answer.

This is one of the reasons that when we decided to the first Styleforum tie in the good part of a decade, earlier this year, we went with a burgundy with navy grenadine tie with Vanda (the majority of the profits of this tie went to support the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane.)

Here are a few of the forum’s other favorites:

Vanda Silk and Cashmere Grenadine tie: because you don’t get much more luxurious for fall.

Vanda navy silk and cashmere grenadine ties

Vanda navy silk and cashmere grenadine tie

 

Drake’s “Petrol” grenadine tie: Drake’s has been a perennial favorite with menswear enthusiasts both on Styleforum and beyond, for years, now.  $155 via MrPorter

 Drakes Kingsman Petrol Silk Grenadine tie

Drakes Kingsman Petrol Silk Grenadine tie

Chipp neckwear Wine grenadine tie – because a grenadine tie can also be had on a budget.  $55

Chipp wine grenadine tie

Chipp wine grenadine tie