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31. January 2021

On Neckties

by

Bob The wardrobe builder

We love neckties. Absolutely adore them. Anybody who has seen Max’s Instagram feed knows you don’t often see him without a tie. Anybody who knows the history of our Shirts of the Week series knows that a key consideration for any shirt we like is how a tie would fit into the outfit. Ties matter. A lot. 

Now, bear in mind, what you are about to read are simply my musings on the subject of neckwear. You might disagree. But, for me, my love affair with neckties has been going on for over 30 years. I’ve seen various styles come and go in that time, so my observations are based on those experiences. 

First, let me start with what I don’t like. I really am not a fan of skinny ties. The Beatles wore them in the early days and, although I adore their music from that era, I really don’t like their thin ties. Sean Connery is my favourite James Bond by far, but those thin ties he wore in films like Dr No and From Russia With Love just don’t do it for me. Even though the films are ace.

No, give me something a bit wider, with a bit more heft and body to it, to wear with my multi-striped or pastel-coloured shirts. Although my ties aren’t as capacious and bold as my style icon, Prince Michael of Kent, I do like a tie of thick woven silk that measures somewhere between 8.5cm-9.5cm at the blade. Not a kipper tie from Mr Fish in the late 1960s, but also not something resembling a piece of string from earlier in the decade. 

I have to say, I’m also very partial to Hermès ties of printed silk. They have discreet patterns, brilliant colours and, even though they are only 8cm at the blade, I make an exception for these. Much narrower than this, though, and this is not a style I like. If you’re somewhere between 8cm-10cm, your neckwear will look great with a Mogg suit, where we tend to favour slightly wider lapels. Everything will be in balance.  

When it comes to designs, there are so many to choose from. Spotted ties, or other small geometric patterns? Yes! Regimental or club stripes? Yes! Dark colours, like navy blue? Yes! Bright colours, like pink or green? Yes! Printed ties with small animals or other whimsical figures? Yes! 

I am fortunate enough to have collected dozens of these various types of ties, acquired over the past few decades, and most of what I have accumulated is timeless. I love the ones from the 1990s as much as I do the ones from the 21st century. If you buy good quality and treat them well, you can have these ties for decades. As long as you are not a slave to the vagaries of fashion, instead selecting stylish patterns in a classic width, ties will form an essential part of your wardrobe. BTWB/MM