Posts Tagged ‘ties


This Week’s Object of Lust: Richard James Ties

I prefer dark ties.  They’re far more versatile and I find that they tend to be more handsome and streamlined in appearance.  That said, sometimes in the summer and spring I just want to let some bright colours fly in the tie department.  When this type of feelings strikes (and it very well may strike you more often than I), than the ties I always find myself reaching for are from Richard James.   (Click the images in this post to zoom in and have a bit better look – some zoom more than others).

Richard James operates a shop on Saville Row in London, which I’m going to step out on a line and suggest is why his collection is called “Richard James, Saville Row”.  More than just a brand name, James is a man who set up shop on Saville Row in 1992 and is widely recognized as the first of the “New Generation” of Saville Row tailors.  He paved the way for others, including Ozwald Boateng and Timothy Everest with his new twist on the English cut of suits that has helped to drag Saville Row into the 21st Century.  Richard James offers a full bespoke suiting experience, while also selling shirts, ties, socks, accessories and off-the-rack suits.  While his suits first brought him into prominence, I think that his ties are where he truly excels.  Made of very thick, smooth silk, they come very close to being the perfect width.  Not skinny but not wide.  Most famously, Richard James ties are available in bright colours and patterns (although you can still track down more traditional, darker ties from him as well) and I really can’t think of anyone that does this look better, with the possible exception of his countryman, Paul Smith.  There’s something about the old-school British, handmade quality that grounds the bright colours so as to make them very wearable, even in a conservative office environment.

So, if you’re going to go for some serious colour in your tie choice, I’d highly recommend doing it under the careful supervision and guidance of Mr. Richard James.  Check out more of his ties at  In Canada, Richard James, Saville Row is available at Holt Renfrew and I’ve regularly found ties at Holt’s Last Call for well under $100.  For New Yorkers, I’ve seen Richard James ties at Century 21 recently as well.  If you do go for one of James’ louder ties, stick to a plain white or pale blue shirt and a dark suit.

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One Guy Recommends: Silk Knit Tie

When it comes to dressing for business or for a formal occassion, I would say that my general philosphy is to dress conservatively, but with one small area where I express my personality.  There are many ways to do this, from wearing a cutaway collar (which is a bit unusual in North America, but probably more formal and completely acceptable), to wearing Scottish flag or bright red fabric knot cuff links, or  coloured socks, or having side tabs instead of a belt on one’s pants.  Adding personality to one’s clothing can be done through colour, texture, pattern or proportion (although I would caution against doing these all at the same time).   Which brings me to the silk knit tie, which plays with texture in an interesting, but very understated way.

Most of those reading this blog have seen the James Bond movie “Goldfinger” at some point in their lives and many of have seen it multiple times.  It’s without doubt my favourite Bond film, from the golf scene to the fantastic names (Pussy Galore, anyone?) to the three piece, glen-plaid suit (pictured above along with a mint julep, “sour mash but not too sweet”) that James sports throughout the flick.  Plus, it features Sean Connery in the title role, a must to be considered the top Bond film of all time.  One other thing you will notice about Connery’s suit if you go back and watch the movie again is his tie.  It’s a dark  silk knit tie that I doubt most people even spotted the first time around.  The silk knit tie was more popular in the 1960’s, but there has recently been a recent renaissance of sorts.

I purchased a silk knit tie about a year ago (and then another a few weeks ago) and, while I don’t wear them very often, I always receive compliments when I do.   You wouldn’t think that a solid navy and a solid black tie would draw much attention and, for the most part, they don’t.  But when you’re talking to someone face to face, particularly an observant member of the opposite sex, inevitably their eyes will dip to your tie and the feedback has always been positive.

Most silk knit ties have a flat bottom, unlike the pointed  bottom on your average tie; while I don’t mind this detail, I managed to find one from Battistoni that has the traditional pointed bottom.  The flat bottom gives the silk knit tie a more casual air and so I would caution against wearing it to the office.  That said, I often wear mine on fridays, which are considered to be more casual at my office.

My tip for pulling off the knit tie is to make it a simple, solid navy.  Once you’ve decided how you feel about it, then you can begin to explore striped and more colourful silks.   Again, even though it is likely perfectly acceptable, I also might not wear a silk knit tie to the office, outside of a casual friday, but rather save it for events in the evening or in the summer, especially a more casual outdoor wedding or other party.

Another great reason to buy a silk knit tie, other than to infuse a bit of personality into your dress, is that they’re all of a sudden widely available and generally inexpensive.  You can track them down at Lands End, J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, Thomas Pink or, my personal favourite (although definitely the bank-breaker of the bunch), Battistoni.  The prices are generally around $50, which is more than reasonable for a stylish tie.  So, for those out there who are understandably a bit concerned about showing personality through their clothes because they are unsure of how to do so, or are concerned about dressing conservatively, here’s the perfect antidote.  Enjoy fellows.


Corporate Style: Part 4 – Ties

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