10 July 2013

The Equalizer

It wasn't until recently that I became a fan of solid colored ties, but in the past year or so I have been won over with a vengeance. Recently, I've acquired a linen tie from the Andover Shop in solid navy, and it has become a Summer favorite. The linen has texture and heft, giving the tie visual interest. Plus, it opens the door for all sorts of other brightly colored shennanigans, providing a perfect foil to more go-to-hell items,
A powder blue linen and silk herringbone suit almost seems quiet when pinned down with this tie...
and the orange jacket? Still admittedly crazy but maybe a degree less shocking. I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet, but I bet it dresses up nicely with a lightweight charcoal grey suit, keeping things dressy but soft and comfortable in the spirit of the season.

p.s. new stuff in the Shop, plus many items on sale. Gotta keep things going while we prepare the live shop, don't ya know.


Dutch Uncle said...

Nice to see you and Will (of A Suitable Wardrobe) agreeing.

Anonymous said...

That top combo, dark tie, gray suit, checked pocket square is just classy! I don't know what to think about the orange jacket. It would take a better man than me to pull that off! LOL
St. Louis, MO

Joe said...


I actually agree with our Will on a great many topics. Its his attitude that anything less than what he can afford is "un"suitable that I find disagreeable.


Thanks, but truthfully the suit is periwinkle blue. Some might have difficulty categorizing it as "classy", but I like it.

Joe said...

On the topic of class, it seems our Will actually ordered a suit in anticipation of a friends funeral, then told everyone about it. And I thought he crossed a line when he tried on another mans custom garment only to deride publicly. Apparently, money and class are not mutually exclusive.

Young Fogey said...

I don't see what's wrong with ordering a specific item of clothing (say, a charcoal gray suit) in anticipation of a specific event (say, a funeral). It might seem a bit morbid, but he wanted to be dressed properly for an occasion he knew was coming. He then went on to say how he gets use of this wardrobe basic that he, in his position (self-employed, with no need to wear business clothes to business meetings) doesn't need very often.

Perhaps my reading skills are poor, but I don't get from his site the attitude "that anything less than what he can afford is "un"suitable." Yes, his store is for those who have significant money to spend on clothes, and no, most of us can't afford to shop there. I don't have a problem with that. His site spends a lot of time on bespoke clothing; again, a non-issue: he's blogging to a niche market.

Something I do take away from his site is the same thing I get from yours: it behooves us to dress as well as we can.

Having said that, the post on the African dictator's astrakhan coat was not his best moment.

Joe said...

I find it hard to believe his wardrobe was so lacking in funeral appropriate attire that he needed to buy a suit for someone's impending death. C'mon.

The very title of his blog implies that anything less than what he writes about does not fit the theme of the blog, i.e. is not "suitable".

But enough about that. I don't want to be one of "those" guys.

Brent Kryda said...

I think that we have a tendency, perhaps more so in the eastern United States than in the rest of the country or Canada to think that anything plain is boring. Perhaps subconsciously we suspect that our inner puritans are trying to bring us back to an undesirable simplicity, a little bit of cultural business that just does not get in the way out in the lands past the Appalachians and/or was never a factor up here in Le Nord.

This got me thinking about the late nineties and how white and even light blue shirts became considered "last year" by office workers who suddenly found a burst of color with the onset of the dot com polo shirt-for-office-wear craze. When that particular bubble burst, a degree of formality came back to the cubicle, but by that time everyone was fussing about with purple shirts, "Regis ties", that sort of thing.

I think at this point a simple solid tie has become at worst an object of ridicule ("he must not have a wife to dress him") or something considered nerdy or uniform. I remember back in Catholic elementary school that I had to wear a navy solid tie every day, and when I got to option filled Catholic high school, I vowed never to go back to it again. After high school, I said the same thing about striped/repp ties for the same anti-uniform/establishment reasons.

I have since broken my vow of non-solidness to find joy in it the way you do: by using it as a center of gravity to balance out other catching elements. Think about it, crazy patterns and vivid colors on neckwear used to be the last way Victorian and later men could express themselves in the land of the dark suit. Now we are just doing the opposite!

In any event, thanks for the orange jacket concept, I might have to steal it.

Ian said...

"I remember back in Catholic elementary school that I had to wear a navy solid tie every day"

It's funny, most of my ties are solid because in the UK the classic school tie has a diagonal stripe - any time I wear such a tie to work (especially with a white shirt) the inevitable (not nasty, just office waggery) comment would be "have you got your old school tie on then"

In fact, getting dressed one morning I found myself in charcoal trousers, white shirt, burgundy tie with a gold stripe and blue jumper. To my horror I realised I had on a pretty good approximation of my secondary school uniform.

Young Fogey said...

I'm not trying to flog a dead horse here, honestly! It's just that you said something interesting that I'd like to respond to.

The very title of his blog implies that anything less than what he writes about does not fit the theme of the blog, i.e. is not "suitable".

I have always seen the title of his blog as a play on words: suitable meaning "appropriate" and suitable meaning "for suits" (true, not a standard meaning, but that's the play on words part). I think it's clear from context that he is writing to, and for, men who wear suits and ties and the like, so the blog is about what is appropriate to wear as part of such outfits.

Also, I seem to recall reading somewhere these sage words: "Besides dressing like grown ups, let's behave like them as well." Will, like you, has sartorial standards for himself and his blog, and behavioral standards for the comments. You're not two peas in a pod, but you do share some common ground.

While he does not thrift shop himself, he has referred to it as an appropriate way to build a wardrobe. He has posted comments from those who have thrifted clothes. There have also been comments about purchases made at Target, and comments on brands like Tommy Hilfiger (hate the logo all over everything!). He doesn't shop at Target himself, nor does he wear Tommy Hilfiger, but he's not excluding them from the discussion.

I don't want to put words in your mouth, so please forgive me if I'm wrong, but it looks to me like you might be reacting to what you perceive as his elitism. I don't see that elitism, but then again, I could be missing it.

Young Fogey said...

Back to the important topic.

I, too, have never been a fan of solid ties, but recently, I have come to appreciate my solid navy silk knit tie. It really does go with everything, and can anchor the most exuberant outfit. I guess that's why people say that a navy grenadine is the only tie you need.

Having said that, I don't care for navy ties with navy blazers or suits, but other than that, a solid navy tie is extremely versatile. Texture makes it even better.

Roger v.d. Velde said...

The navy, solid colour tie is sold and worn more than any other tie in Italy. It's a tie that works in may situations and it looks good.

Like Ian I went to a school with a uniform and I'm wary of stripes. Checks and solids sit better with me.

I'd like to say something about he Astrakhan coat on ASW. It's looking now that everyone thins is WAS a dictator's coat, yet it was just referred to as one ordered by an African leader. Not every African country is a dictatorship. Will clearly thought it had to be seen to be believed, though donning it for photos was bound to look bad. The real origins of Astrakhan is a murky business, a whole coat of it is monstrous.

Dutch Uncle said...

Latest from Will. I'm sure you’ll agree:

Luciano Barbera wears them, and that should be enough for any man. Tied in a four in hand knot they add sprezzatura to a suit or dress up a casual jacket. And they are a favorite in a suitcase because they do not crease. I am referring of course to the silk knit necktie.

Knitted ties are the woven ones with texture and a slightly springy feel. Squeeze a good one and it gives off the cri de la soie, the crunchy sound that the best silk versions make when they are squeezed in the hand.

Knit ties add texture to otherwise flat surfaced jackets of flannel and worsted. They are just matte enough to complement a silk pocket square, something conventional silks do not do well, livening up a blazer or odd jacket as well as gray flannel. Worn with a safety pin or with the ends flapping in the breeze, a knit ever so slightly decreases the formality of an ensemble (the latter course is not as messy as it might sound, for the knit's texture tends to hold the blades together).

Every man should own a black silk knit. Most men should have a navy. Men who love clothes as much as Mr. Barbera know that they can never have too many colors and patterns.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think that the tie,whether stripes,pattern or solid, should be
be a lighter colour than the jacket?

I'd feel like a 'charlie' wearing a navy tie and a light grey coat!