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Style & Substance – Necktie & Pocket Square Coordination

PS Fall 2014Admittedly, the gentlemanly art of dressing well can be deceptively simple. So simple in fact, there are a certain number of gentlemen that mistakenly oversimplify the exercise. For example, coordinating one’s necktie with its accompanying pocket square should be relatively painless, but some men choose to make the task painfully less painless than is warranted. Suspect department stores traffic prepackaged necktie & pocket square sets; both accessories consisting of the same fabric and pattern. The objective is to make the selection process mistake-free and thought-free. And therein lies the problem – the fact that gentlemanly thought in regards to attire will ultimately result in mistake-laden, sartorial disaster. So, thank you T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s for looking out for the brothers. However, your prepackaged box sets are not really necessary.

Gentlemen, you can select your own necktie and pocket square, and furthermore, they certainly do not have to match. Coordinate – yes. Complement – yes. Straight up match, pattern for pattern, color for color – no. Coordinating both can be simple and fun, just keep in mind what your primary and secondary colors are in your tandem. If your necktie is primarily navy, select a pocket square whose secondary color boasts hints of navy. Alternatively, one can choose like colors (like the Paul Stuart example above), but with differing patterns to create some visual separation. And yet another option is to smartly choose a complementing color. Burgundy necktie – try a lavender based pocket square. If colors stump you, perform a Google search of color wheels and allow them to be your guide. It’s not as hard as you might assume, or be allowed to think. The holidays will be upon us and the box sets will be out in force. Resist the temptation brethren, let the world know you can coodinate your own necktie and pocket square – and even knot or fold either as well!

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Review – Psycho Bunny – Necktie

IMG_2484If you have been following my blog for any considerable length of time, you probably recognize that I have an unhealthy love affair with neckties. I readily confess, the quantity of neckties in my collection is dangerously bordering on insanity. Nevertheless, one might observe that I collect neckties just as a stamp collector procures stamps, or a sports card collector amasses his assortment of trading cards. At least that is how I rationalize the insanity with myself. With consideration towards material, pattern, and style; I am always on the hunt for that one necktie that conveys both sophistication, character, and charm. That being said, I was presented the opportunity to scrutinize a most unusual necktie under the Psycho Bunny brand. Now, you may ask: What in the world is a Psycho Bunny? Well, I am happy that you asked. Let’s jump into some background. Continue reading

Standard Recommendations – Forsyth of Canada Neckties

Forsyth 2Contrary to popular belief, a good gentleman’s necktie does not have to be terribly expensive. Nor are they mandated to bear the name of an esteemed luxury brand. Trust, many quality neckties fly silently under the radar, as they are overshadowed by larger companies with better advertising and wider distribution. True, material and construction are key components that should not be ignored, and both components ultimately determine the asking price by the designer. So, it is not unlikely to encounter a necktie that is well above the $200.00 mark.

Nevertheless, there is level of diminishing returns as one pays more and more for a necktie. Sure, an expensive necktie may knot better and drape better than most economy level neckties. And some individuals may even try to shame you for wearing one that costs less than most affluent brands. But that is just silly. For an average gentleman, neckties that clock in at the price of a car payment is not sensible. If you want to treat yourself every now and again – go for it. However, if you plan on paying $200.00 per necktie on the regular, then prepare to have 5 neckties in your closet – maximum.

Now, I am not a devout follower of any particular brand, as I am willing to give any company a legitimate chance. And so on a shopping excursion at the mall, I discovered Forsyth of Canada wool neckties. They were pretty impressive. Beautiful patterns. Great weight and thickness. Soft, yet incredibly resilient. And the price was respectable, retailing at approximately $60.00 – a fair asking price for a quality wool necktie. The department store of choice was Lord and Taylor, so they were pleasantly on sale. Combined with an online coupon for 15 percent off (almost always available on their website), the retail price was effectively reduced to around the $25.00 mark. So, as you can see, a gentleman can score a well-made, stylish necktie at a very affordable price.

If you are in the market for a few new neckties, I humbly suggest you check out Forsyth of Canada, as they are high quality and reasonably priced. Von Maur and Lord & Taylor carry a variety of selections, so I suggest you begin your search there. Lord & Taylor in particular has what seems like a perpetual sale going on, and combined with an online coupon that you can either print or use on the website, the savings can be substantial. Happy shopping gents.

Review – Tieroom – Notch Wool Neckties

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Sawyer

With supreme and impeachable confidence, I can publicly declare that the season of summer has quietly departed, and the arrival of fall has summarily taken its place. Here in Michigan, it commenced with a few heavy rainstorms, which effectively cooled the humid, hot weather to a respectable level of comfort and relief. Valiantly, summer attempted a final stand of sorts, as a couple of 90 degree days made surprise appearances throughout the last couple of weeks. Nonetheless, it was all for naught; fall was here and the temperatures reflected that reality. Steadily, early mornings and late nights have become appropriately nippy. Thus gentlemen, it is officially time to switch up the sartorial gear accordingly. So, let us begin with a favorite accoutrement of mine – the necktie.

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Profile – Gianni Cerutti – Passaggio Cravatte

My necktie collection is quite extensive – seriously, I probably don’t need to add any more to my tie drawer. It includes a vast array of patterns and fabrics. Colors and widths. Weights and brands. Nonetheless, none of my neckties are bespoke. Meaning all of my neckties are mass-produced and shipped to the public for purchasing consumption. With a bespoke offering, everything is custom to a gentleman’s specifications. Today, we sit down with Gianni Cerutti, co-founder of Passaggio Cravatte. A small operation located on the outskirts of Milan, Passaggio Cravatte only makes bespoke neckties. Mr. Cerutti was kind enough to share a few words on the bespoke process and what makes a custom-made necktie so damn exquisite. Enjoy the read. Continue reading

Standard Recommendations – The Tie Bar – Cotton Madras Necktie

The Tie Bar Madras TieThe Tie Bar has become my ultimate go-to source for quality and inexpensive neckties. Seriously. And here is some serious truth: Whenever a necktie garners my attention in a magazine or on the Internet, I immediately visit The Tie Bar online to scour the myriad of patterns, colors, and materials in an attempt to duplicate the necktie of interest. Yes, I really do that. Because, for the low price of $15.00, their neckties are ridiculously good. Given that fact, my present tie collection is heavily stocked with their merchandise; much to the chagrin of my darling wife, as she thinks I own too many neckties. But can a gentleman possess too many? Well…probably. Nevertheless, that being said, I have added another Tie Bar beauty on my must-have list. Comprised of 100% cotton and rocking an impossibly audacious of color and pattern, this offering was constructed with spring on the mind. And spring is coming – I’m just going to ignore those snowflakes fluttering outside my window right now. So, my order is being placed tonight. Those colors are just too awesome to pass up. Sorry Stephanie – I love you.

Style & Substance – The Wool Necktie

Stylishly inconspicuous. Fashionably unobtrusive. Quietly entering the room, its presence is announced by its reserved elegance. Sometimes in a gentleman’s life, he is required to exude a sober & restrained presentation. The solid wool necktie is there for his assistance. Set against the background of an immaculate white dress shirt, the gentleman displays great grace and aplomb in his excellent execution of elegance. And given the eventual transition into autumn and winter, neckties arriving in wool are an intelligent choice. Wool provides some serious visual depth to the usual dress shirt & necktie combination. Don’t worry about any difficulty knotting your necktie either. Given wool has exceptional resilience, knotting a perfect four-in-hand is quite easy. And the fabric returns to its original shape just fine. Opt for dark hues such as navy, brown, or gray. Pair with a fine merino sweater or tweed sport coat for a discreetly handsome ensemble. Every gentleman’s closet should maintain a few in circulation. You won’t be sorry.

Gent Hints – The Necktie Dimple

Phineas Cole

I completely understand that all gentlemen may not favor a sharply creased dimple residing in the middle of their necktie. Every gentleman has his own unique signature style. And of course a beautiful necktie will remain a beautiful necktie-regardless of whether or not a gentleman decides to embrace the finishing touch of a dimple. Nevertheless, I remain a staunch proponent of utilizing this perfectly placed cleft because I believe in the nuanced details that make a man well-dressed. Now, I know I have probably tackled this subject before, but at the behest of my father-in-law, I have decided to cover the topic once again. So, just how does a gent execute a distinctive dimple cascading down from a taut knot? Well, there are a few key factors that a gentleman should take into careful consideration.

First, your necktie’s fabric must be resilient and robust-nothing lightweight or flimsy. I am not suggesting that your necktie be excessively heavy. What I am suggesting is the material be sturdy enough to hold a crease. If your necktie cannot hold a secure knot; chances are it won’t hold a deep dimple. Second, you simply cannot expedite the knotting process. You just cannot hurry style. Allow yourself enough time to properly knot your necktie. Third, your technique has to be excellent. After you have formed your knot and you are beginning to pull the long end through the loop…stop there! Most men just pull the tie through haphazardly and tighten the knot. This is what you should be doing: As you pull down on the necktie to tighten; do so with your pointer fingers and thumbs. As you are pulling, you want to secure the sides of your necktie (with both pointers & thumbs) and fold the fabric slightly forward, thus making a small crevice in the material.

Wait, you are not done. Your necktie should be relatively loose around your collar. The key is to form your knot and dimple before you fully tighten your necktie around your neck. Carefully begin to shape your knot and dimple. The best way to achieve this is through the process of tightening & loosening your necktie until it is formed to your satisfaction. Give your knot a slight pinch to accentuate the dimple and you are good to go. The whole process sounds a bit meticulous, but it really does not take long once you have done it a few times. And once you have done it, it is like learning to ride a bicycle-you will never forget. Maybe in the future, I can take it to another level and actually shoot a demonstration video. Until then, I am available for house calls if you require further instructions. Just kidding.

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