17 February 2010

Handmade Bow Ties

By now, I suspect many of you have heard of Ellie Laveer Stager.Toad and Conor are both big fans. If you haven't, you need to. She runs an online cottage industry making handmade bow ties, scarves, and other men's accessories. Recently, she offered me a pair of bow ties for free to review here at An Affordable Wardrobe. I am overwhelmed by her generosity. Thank you, Ellie.
Being still Winter, I went with two woolen options: the "Woolyman", in a brown and tan houndstooth with bits of orange, and a solid tie in soft grey wool flannel.

But the package also contained two extra, for Summer: one in cotton serrsucker and a second in patch madras.

The quality of these ties is easily as good as any brand name tie I've ever owned. The fabrics are top shelf, and the construction is beautiful. I was wondering before they arrived how she would tackle the problem of adjustability, which is necessary for a bow tie. Each one has a piece in the back fitted with an adjustable strap:
It does take a bit of finagling to get the fit just right, because these ties are not marked with neck size numbers the way conventional bow ties are. But that's only a small inconvenience.
Ellie sells her ties for $23.00, an incredible deal for a handmade piece of quality neckwear. When I think of buying a bow tie, the only places that come to mind that have a wide selection readily available are Brooks Brothers and J.Press, where one is likely to spend at least twice as much, and frequently much more, for a similar product. Sure, I like a good Brooks or Press bow, but there is a lot to be said for receiving a package in the mail with a hand written note from the kind woman who actually stitched these together.

She also offers the service of converting your favorite old, worn neckties into bow ties. I've got plenty of neck ties that are fraying at the point, and I plan on letting Ellie have at them very soon.

An Affordable Wardrobe wholeheartedly endorses Ellie Laveer Stager in all her endeavors. Look for an interview here with Ellie sometime soon.


they look pretty good in action, too.


Young Fogey said...

"the problem of adjustability, which is necessary for a bow tie"

Except that if you're going to wear a black tie with a wing collar, you need a bespoke tie of exact length, as the adjusting buckle(s) will show and look tacky.

Not a problem most of us have, I imagine.

Beautiful ties, and I can't wait to take advantage of her services.

Basseq said...

I just received my first bow tie from Ellie yesterday (and am of course wearing it today). This one started life as a boy's Lily Pulitzer tie that I picked up at a thrift store and has been meticulously transformed into a butterflied piece of neckwear.

The quality is indeed good, and I love having a great story behind my tie (which arrived wrapped in paper, tried with a scrap of madras, and accompanied by a handwritten note).

On adjustability, next time Ellie makes me a tie (and there will be a next time), I think I'll ask if she can't make it fixed-length. I have no need for a tie that can fit a 18" neck just so J. Press et. al can sell them en masse.

YY said...

G, you should also check out Rufflentuck, who makes great handmade bow ties for only $6. http://www.etsy.com/shop/rufflentuck

Anonymous said...

love the serrsucker one. i had one when i was a young kid that my parents put me in for a family photo

Paul said...

I also have the Woolyman bow tie... gets me compliments all the time.

Basseq said...

As I just ordered a Rufflentuck tie as well, I should have mentioned that to the frugally-minded proprietor of this here weblog.

This is like a strange roundup of my shopping activities in the past couple weeks.

Kent said...

"It does take a bit of finagling to get the fit just right, because these ties are not marked with neck size numbers the way conventional bow ties are. But that's only a small inconvenience."

Indeed. Very small. Take one of Ellie's bows, lay it alongside another bow from some other maker who includes neck sizes, size Ellie's bow to the same length...et voila.

Enzo AGC said...

Young fogey - I think you have more to worry about looking tacky by simply wearing a wing collar at all...

Cyclo2000 said...

Those are lovely.
Of course we're lucky here in Scotland to have an outpost of Ede and Ravenscroft (the oldest tailors of them all by some way)so bow ties are always available in abundance. This is where I get me suits run up
Website here

Young Fogey said...


Modern wing collars, yes. Proper wing collars, i.e., detachable ones, no.

See The Black Tie Guide and Giuseppe's nemesis, Will, at A Suitable Wardrobe for details. Some restrictions may apply. Offer void where prohibited by law. One entry per household. No cash value.

Thornproof said...

You have to love TCC's option to turn that old necktie into a new bowtie! May even be worth it to find some quality thifted neckties worthy of the makeover.