22 December 2009

Festive Neckwear

To start, a little background:

I used to profess a disdain for the holiday season. This was, I think, the result of a combination of relative poverty and a lifetime of retail work...then I had children, and I began to see the fun in Christmas again. Sure, it's still an extravaganza of consumerism and capitalism, and sure, the religion of it has been lost a long time ago. But, it is fun to make your loved ones happy with special gifts, especially if some of your loved ones happen to be small children.

Then last year, I bought the infamous red cords, in the end of season sale from Lands End...and so began my love affair with festive attire (or 'gay apparel', as the song says). Now, I realize that excessive plaid and bright red sweaters may not be for everyone (or possibly even for me), but there are ways to be subtle(ish) in your display of holiday cheer. Enter the tasteful festive necktie:

Maybe you work in an office, or a bank, or some such place. A navy tie with green, red, and white repp stripes is a good way to add a dash of the season to a grey suit in a conservative way. If you're feeling especially bold, try a navy square with red pin dots, or a white one in silk with green at the edges.
Or maybe your workplace is more laid back, or even downright casual. A tartan necktie, with a hefty dose of red in the plaid, works well with tweed jackets, navy blazers, or even jeans.

Stick to rougher fabrics, such as wool or viyella for these.

Or maybe, like me, your job requires no dress code, and you stopped caring long ago what others might say about you, sure in your own bad-ass-ery. In which case you could try an irreverent dark green silk tie, embroidered with lobsters in bright red,
from some long gone place like "The Country Store of Concord".

Whatever you do, avoid candy canes, reindeer, Christmas tree or Santa motifs, as if they were the plague...

...and if you even own a musical necktie, don't talk to me.


Old School said...

Re: "The Country Store of Concord":

A little Googling came up with this:

HISTORY: Retail store in Concord, Mass., specializing primarily in casual clothing, particularly in women’s sportswear and coordinates. Merchandise also included penny candy, jams, and gifts. Opened on Monument Street in 1941 by F.H. Trumbull, who had begun business in retail clothing in 1938. The store’s Monument Street building was erected in 1780 on Main Street by Elnathan Jones, later moved to what eventually became the location of the Town House (where it was used as a store by Thoreau’s father John, among others), and moved again to its present site. Branches of the Country Store were opened in various locations, including Edgartown (1941), Nantucket (1949), and Sarasota, Florida. Store conducted extensive mail order business, its first catalog prepared for the 1942-1943 Christmas season. In 1946, the store was incorporated and Trumbull’s daughter Mary P. Locke and her husband William became involved. The Lockes eventually took over the business. In 1982, the store was acquired by C.M.L. of Acton, (owner of a number of retail stores) and in 1987 was converted to an outlet of the Nature Company.

lisagh said...

But... but... the VV candy canes were kinda cute :)

Young Fogey said...

Gotta disagree on the prohibition on candy cane ties. I have a very nice one by Robert Talbot; it's navy with wee candy canes adorned with sprigs of holly. From more than a few feet away, it just looks like a club tie. Plus, it cost me a mere single greenback (plus tax, of course).

Garish prints like the Overstock.com monstrosities you linked are for clowns, however.

Hmm... I guess the principle is that a woven Christmas-themed tie works in a way a printed one does not. Of course, that works in general (but not invariably).

I think the Viyella tie you featured is better for warmer months, but agree that in principle, plaid is great for the holidays.

Finally, how much religion you experience during Christmas is up to you, though sadly, most of it has been driven from the public square.

Anonymous said...

G - another great blog. Vineyard Vines is for poseurs (circa - X-Ray Spex) and frankly, it is only for the likes of John Kerry - ask yourself, do you really want to dress like him?

Love the tartan ties. I am running out of the door to find me one!

David M. said...

Hey! I've been wearing a plaid tie this month that has that same 'Made in Scotland, 100% wool' tag on it. I forget what it says under that, but I got it at a thrift store a few months ago in the Boston area.

tintin said...

How do you get that Penthouse vaseline effect on your pictures?

Giuseppe said...

Tin Tin,

Cheap camera+bad flash+bad lighting+late nigth photography+my lack of general photographic skill= Penthouse vaseline effect.

I take much better pictures in the daylight, but the wee ones are always getting in my way.

Thanks for noticing.

Anonymous said...

how's this for "gay apparel" today at work:
green and red mini-tartan LL Bean shirt
Tan wool tie
Tan RL wool trousers
Burgundy cordovan penny loafers

Paul said...

The lobster tie looks astonishingly Chrismassy! (Few few sips of a Manhattan)


NCJack said...

The battery died in my "Jingle Bells" tie...can I talk to you now?

David M. said...


C.Sharp said...

Enjoy your heavyweight Viyella, they do not make them any more.
Just as an FYI the Country Store got a mention in the OPH. It was considered preppie in its day.
If you like the Lobster tie you should see the embroidered cords they used to sell. I kind of have a soft spot for the Chipp Holiday ties. Nothing says the holidays like Santa peeing down the chimney.
All my best.

Church said...

Beware the lobster print! I have yet to see any man wearing a piece of clothing, other than a bib, with a lobster motif who wasn't an irredeemable preppy snot with date rape written in his eyes. I have no doubt your Yuletide intentions are good, but crustacean emptor!

Young Fogey said...

Additions & corrections:

1. It's Robert Talbott with two Ts at the end (duh!).

2. Upon closer inspection, my wee candy canes are adorned with green ribbons, not holly.

3. Another great Christmas tie is the ever-classic Argyll & Sutherland Highlander, as it features both green and red. (I wonder why HTJ took down the post on the A&SH pattern at his blog?).

4. I agree with Church on the inappropriateness of the lobster motif, but think that it's possible to wear it and yet not have date rape in your eyes.