Bolder Ties for a Less Boring Look

Bold ties have a bad reputation, and perhaps for good reason. In the 1940s, shortly after the war, wild tie designs took the US by storm, creating what Esquire would later coin as “the American bold look.” Perhaps it’s because livelier ties helped uplift men’s spirits, or because an embattled Britain could no longer supply the US with its usual materials. Whatever the reason, rayon and Dacron replaced silk, and conservative patterns were forgotten in favor of more flamboyant designs. Rummage through the discount bin in any thrift store today and you can see some of them: ties made with African or Indian iconography, large motifs of pin up girls, or just strange designs inspired by art movements from the early 20th century.

There are times, however, when a bolder tie can look good, and just because many bold ties have been designed poorly (both in the past and today), doesn’t mean that every one should be avoided. Just check out some of the examples above, which I took from Anderson & Sheppard’s vanity book, A Style is Born. Impeccably well-dressed men wearing slightly more interesting designs. There’s a bright fuchsia tie that makes a grey suit look more cheery; a paint splattered grey tie that makes a navy suit look more interesting; and a green tie with an unusual motif that looks not too unlike those 1940s designs I mentioned earlier. For an even bolder look, check out this photo of Barima Nyantekyi, who was shot by Rose Callahan for her book on modern-day dandies. Few men will ever look that good. 

There are a couple of companies I like for bold neckwear. Morigi Milano has some old, deadstock Arnys designs, which were made before the company was sold to the luxury conglomerate LVMH. Their old tie designer, Dominique Lelys, has started his own line called Le Lys, which is available at Cuffs, but the designs aren’t as whimsical (they do have contrasting front and back blades, however, like some of Zegna’s ties). In addition, I really like Drake’s and Battistoni, although many of Battistoni’s better designs are hard to find in the US (they’re carried at Barney’s, but the selection is often not that appealing). Our friend Niyi also has a great line using fabrics from Nigeria, and he’s having a sale at the moment, with a new fall line dropping soon. Lastly, our advertiser Chipp has what they call their “conversational ties,” which have cleverly hidden messages. You can see some of them being worn by Voxsartoria.

Of course, I think most men do best with a drawer full of basic, conservative neckwear. Lots of repp stripes, foulards, and grenadines in dark colors such as navy, dark brown, and forest green. But it also doesn’t hurt to have a few more interesting pieces as well. Things don’t always have to be so boring. 

Barney’s Warehouse Sale
For our readers in or around New York City, Barney’s famous Warehouse Sale starts today. I imagine the deals won’t be as good as they’ve been in the past. Barney’s has been able to clear a lot of their unsold merchandise through their online “Warehouse” shop, and they recently had a crazy fire sale. Still, if you want to check it out, the physical sale is being held today through September 1st at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The address is 110 West 19th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues). You can find more information here.  

Barney’s Warehouse Sale

For our readers in or around New York City, Barney’s famous Warehouse Sale starts today. I imagine the deals won’t be as good as they’ve been in the past. Barney’s has been able to clear a lot of their unsold merchandise through their online “Warehouse” shop, and they recently had a crazy fire sale. Still, if you want to check it out, the physical sale is being held today through September 1st at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The address is 110 West 19th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues). You can find more information here.  

The Very Useful Travel Wallet

I’ve been traveling a bit for the holidays, and every time I get on a plane, I’m reminded of the usefulness of travel wallets. This is especially true for international flights, when you might have multiple plane and train tickets, foreign currencies, important notes to yourself, and various travel documents. Of course, without a wallet, you can stuff all these things into your jacket, but it’s kind of a hassle to fumble through your pockets trying to search for things when you’re in a rush. Plus, I’m always worried that I might have accidentally lost something halfway through my trip. The idea that I could be stuck somewhere without my passport or ticket, possibly in a country where I don’t speak the language, is kind of frightening.

So, it’s nice to have a travel wallet to keep everything in one place, and know that nothing has been lost. Mine is from Chester Mox. It’s made from their “museum calf” leather, which they source from the same tannery that supplies John Lobb. There are two big pockets inside for things such as passports and folded up pieces of paper, and some slots for your ID and credit cards. I really like Chester Mox for their relatively affordable prices on small leather goods, but this one is on the slightly pricey side. However, since everything is made-on-order, you can request the same model in a different material, and they’ll quote you a lower price.

If you’re not deterred by the price on the museum calf wallet, you can also find really nice models from Valextra and Smythson, both of which can be found at Barney’s. Those are cut a bit more like coat wallets, which is useful if you don’t want to fold your travel tickets, but the length also restricts the wallet to the inside of your coat pocket (whereas the Chester Mox one can be slipped into the back pocket of your jeans if necessary). Brooks Brothers also has something with a long interior pocket, and Ettinger has various models made from their signature English bridle leather (a thicker, stiffer material that’s as hardy as it is handsome).

For something more affordable, there’s Tanner Goods and Duluth Pack. Saddleback Leather also has a really interesting design with an RFID shield. It’s sold out at the moment, but given that it’s a staple piece in their line up, it’ll probably be restocked at some point again.

When shopping for one, I encourage you to avoid the ones that are designed to just hold a passport and nothing else. At any international checkpoint, you’ll be asked to take your passport out of your fancy case, which makes having a case kind of pointless. A wallet that holds your passport, documents, tickets, credit cards, and ID, however? Very, very useful.

Six Sales I Like

As many readers may know, I put together the sales roundups for our Inside Track. Lately, each week’s post has contained 25-50 sales announcements, and the whole thing takes me hours to put together. On the upside, it means that I get to shop at sales a lot. Not a bad benefit for a guy who enjoys clothing. Here are six sales going on right now that I particularly like, along with a selection of items I’ve been eyeing.  

Roden Gray: These guys just did another price drop yesterday. I really like this Aspesi M65 jacket, which I think would look great with a pair of jeans or chinos. Union in Los Angeles has the same jacket on sale, and there are more colors and sizes available, but the discount is less tempting (they do have nicer pictures though). Also, if you don’t mind the price, this Nanamica jacket is pretty awesome. I picked it up two months ago from Barney’s (who has it on even deeper discount). The quality and fit are hard to tell from online photos, but it’s a wonderfully made piece with a great silhouette. Take another 10% off at checkout with the discount code getgray

UshowU: Both Jesse and I really like Nigel Cabourn, but his stuff is very expensive. The only way I find myself owning his designs is to wait until they go on deep discount, like right now at UshowU. Of the more affordable pieces available, I really like the “granddad henleys.” I own a few and wear them on occasion with leather jackets and jeans. They come in white, green, and British tan

Exquisite Trimmings: Exquisite Trimmings has a bunch of men’s accessories on sale, including some Drake’s ties and pocket squares.  With the right brown sport coat, I think this textured green boucle tie could make for an excellent look this fall. I also like some of the batik pocket squares still kicking around. You can expect another 20% discount at checkout if you don’t have to pay European taxes, and the discount code SF10 will knock another 10% off as well. 

Emmett Shirts: Emmett specializes in shirts, but they also make some pretty nice ties. Some of them are on sale right now at half off, with another 20% taken at checkout if you’re outside of the EU. I like some of the basic blue designs, like this simple pin dot. You’d be hard pressed to find a sport coat or suit that won’t go with this tie. 

Trunk Clothiers: Sizes are limited, but there are some Boglioli suits and sport coatsCommon Projects low tops, and a Nanamica jacket on discount. Boglioli, for those who aren’t familiar, makes a pretty good version of the softly tailored, unstructured sport coat that’s been so popular. As with many of the aforementioned stores, non-EU customers can take another 20% off at checkout.  

Carson Street Clothiers: Carson Street Clothiers just put much of their stock at 50% off. I’ve always liked chukkas for casual wear, and of all the chukkas in the world, I think Loake makes one of the best looking, affordable options. It’s on sale right now at Carson for $200, which is slightly less than what they go for at Pediwear.

It’s on Sale: Barney’s

Barney’s has added more items to its sale and dropped prices on stuff already on sale, discounting some things to 60% off. Although items like this Perfecto by Schott leather jacket or these Viberg boots are still far from inexpensive, they’re exceedingly well-made and handsome pieces in normal colors that don’t often last at deep discount. Also worth a look: Ovadia & Sons shirts, Zimmerli underwear, Drake’s accessories, Crockett and Jones shoes, and a surprisingly large selection of Engineered Garments.

-Pete

The Second Best Color for Flannel Trousers
I recently picked up a new pair of flannel trousers, despite having promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any more dress pants for the rest of the year. I have too many pairs as is, and I’ve come to realize that one only needs five or six odd trousers per season, each in that season’s appropriate fabrics (e.g. heavy flannels and cavalry twill for fall/ winter; tropical wools and linen for spring/ summer). Maybe a few year-rounders such as chinos and jeans to boot, but any more than that, and things just collect dust.
However, I couldn’t resist these these tan flannel trousers from Howard Yount. I’ve been looking for this fabric for months, and being that Howard Yount makes pants that fit me better than most, I figured I could break my promise just this once.
Turns out I’ve been wearing these just as often as my grey flannels, which I’ve always considered to be the most versatile and useful trousers in my closet. The pale, tan color here goes very well with dark blue or brown odd jackets, as well as antique tan or dark brown shoes. They’re easy to wear once you realize they’re about the same color as khaki chinos, but with the added texture of worsted flannel. 
Tan flannel used to be more common before men only wore grey. Today, one can hardly find them. I know Barney’s has a version, though I’m unsure of how they fit. Ralph Lauren and Orvis used to as well last season, but not anymore. That leaves Howard Yount, which I can say is now stocking the second best color for flannel trousers: tan.

The Second Best Color for Flannel Trousers

I recently picked up a new pair of flannel trousers, despite having promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any more dress pants for the rest of the year. I have too many pairs as is, and I’ve come to realize that one only needs five or six odd trousers per season, each in that season’s appropriate fabrics (e.g. heavy flannels and cavalry twill for fall/ winter; tropical wools and linen for spring/ summer). Maybe a few year-rounders such as chinos and jeans to boot, but any more than that, and things just collect dust.

However, I couldn’t resist these these tan flannel trousers from Howard Yount. I’ve been looking for this fabric for months, and being that Howard Yount makes pants that fit me better than most, I figured I could break my promise just this once.

Turns out I’ve been wearing these just as often as my grey flannels, which I’ve always considered to be the most versatile and useful trousers in my closet. The pale, tan color here goes very well with dark blue or brown odd jackets, as well as antique tan or dark brown shoes. They’re easy to wear once you realize they’re about the same color as khaki chinos, but with the added texture of worsted flannel. 

Tan flannel used to be more common before men only wore grey. Today, one can hardly find them. I know Barney’s has a version, though I’m unsure of how they fit. Ralph Lauren and Orvis used to as well last season, but not anymore. That leaves Howard Yount, which I can say is now stocking the second best color for flannel trousers: tan.

Cool-Wearing Shirt Fabrics for Summer
Warmer temperatures call for open weave shirtings - those lightweight, airy fabrics that allow your skin to breathe and body heat escape. My favorite summer shirting is linen. It’s so gauzy and open that it allows you to feel every gentle breeze passing through, but it’s also quite prone to wrinkling. Personally, I find a lot of charm in that, but it’s not to everyone’s taste. Additionally, depending on the quality of the linen, you may find that new linen can feel a bit rough. You can trust, however, that it will soften considerably over time.
In addition to pure linen, there are all of its variations. Linen-cotton blends, for example, will give you some of the benefits of linen but look less messy. I also recently came across a pure cotton that’s woven to feel and look just like linen. You can find any of these - pure linen, linen-cotton blends, and pure cotton woven to feel like linen - from a variety of makers. Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, and Howard Yount are good starts. Brooks’ shirts are better in their slim to extra-slim fit cuts, depending on your size. For more affordable options, you can check Uniqlo (which you can shop at through Suddenlee) and TM Lewin. For higher-end models, browse the stock at Ledbury, Mr. Porter, and Barney’s. The latter two are holding sales right now, which means you can get particularly nice ones at a more affordable price. 
I’m also a fan of pure-cotton oxford cloth (the stuff used to make OCBDs), but not everyone thinks they’re well suited for summer. For example, Michael Anton, author of The Suit, has written that he thinks they’re too warm for high temperatures. On the other hand, Alex Kabbaz, arguably the best custom shirtmaker in America, has recommended them. Personally, I find that my OCDBs wear cooler than many of my other dress shirts, but you should try wearing some for yourself and seeing how you fare.   
For those who have shirts custom-made, I also recommend cotton-batiste, cotton voile, and chambray. The first two are rather popular in Southern Italy, where the weather can get quite warm, but they have the problem of often being too translucent. Fortunately, A Suitable Wardrobe has some cotton voile shirting that’s very wearable, as well as a very nice, fine chambray. I would heartily recommend either of those if you can afford them. If you’d like to find other sources, check with your shirtmaker. He or she should have some from a variety of makers such as Thomas Mason.
And last, but not least, there’s madras, which we’ve already talked about here.
Of course, being that the world of shirting is wide and varied, it’s best for you to always check for yourself whether a particular fabric is good for hot weather. One trick you can employ is holding the cloth up to the light. If the fabric is lightweight and you see a lot of light passing through, it’s more than likely perfect for summer. 
(Pictured above: Bolts of fine chambray shirting at A Suitable Wardrobe. Photo taken from StyleForum.)

Cool-Wearing Shirt Fabrics for Summer

Warmer temperatures call for open weave shirtings - those lightweight, airy fabrics that allow your skin to breathe and body heat escape. My favorite summer shirting is linen. It’s so gauzy and open that it allows you to feel every gentle breeze passing through, but it’s also quite prone to wrinkling. Personally, I find a lot of charm in that, but it’s not to everyone’s taste. Additionally, depending on the quality of the linen, you may find that new linen can feel a bit rough. You can trust, however, that it will soften considerably over time.

In addition to pure linen, there are all of its variations. Linen-cotton blends, for example, will give you some of the benefits of linen but look less messy. I also recently came across a pure cotton that’s woven to feel and look just like linen. You can find any of these - pure linen, linen-cotton blends, and pure cotton woven to feel like linen - from a variety of makers. Brooks BrothersJ. Crew, and Howard Yount are good starts. Brooks’ shirts are better in their slim to extra-slim fit cuts, depending on your size. For more affordable options, you can check Uniqlo (which you can shop at through Suddenlee) and TM Lewin. For higher-end models, browse the stock at Ledbury, Mr. Porter, and Barney’s. The latter two are holding sales right now, which means you can get particularly nice ones at a more affordable price. 

I’m also a fan of pure-cotton oxford cloth (the stuff used to make OCBDs), but not everyone thinks they’re well suited for summer. For example, Michael Anton, author of The Suithas written that he thinks they’re too warm for high temperatures. On the other hand, Alex Kabbaz, arguably the best custom shirtmaker in America, has recommended them. Personally, I find that my OCDBs wear cooler than many of my other dress shirts, but you should try wearing some for yourself and seeing how you fare.   

For those who have shirts custom-made, I also recommend cotton-batiste, cotton voile, and chambray. The first two are rather popular in Southern Italy, where the weather can get quite warm, but they have the problem of often being too translucent. Fortunately, A Suitable Wardrobe has some cotton voile shirting that’s very wearable, as well as a very nice, fine chambray. I would heartily recommend either of those if you can afford them. If you’d like to find other sources, check with your shirtmaker. He or she should have some from a variety of makers such as Thomas Mason.

And last, but not least, there’s madras, which we’ve already talked about here.

Of course, being that the world of shirting is wide and varied, it’s best for you to always check for yourself whether a particular fabric is good for hot weather. One trick you can employ is holding the cloth up to the light. If the fabric is lightweight and you see a lot of light passing through, it’s more than likely perfect for summer. 

(Pictured above: Bolts of fine chambray shirting at A Suitable Wardrobe. Photo taken from StyleForum.)

If I’m not mistaken, I believe this is a Drake’s tie from this season. It’s always easier and safer to go with a dark, conservative pattern, but sometimes a brasher, bolder choice can be much more enjoyable to wear. I think this photo shows how it can be done well and without sacrificing any elegance. 
Barney’s is carrying something similar right now. It’s on already on sale, but if you wait a few weeks, it will be discounted another 30%. Mr. Porter also has some brightly-colored Real Ancient Madders. They just had a 50% off sale for founding members, but I imagine that will be made public soon. 
(photo from ethandesu)

If I’m not mistaken, I believe this is a Drake’s tie from this season. It’s always easier and safer to go with a dark, conservative pattern, but sometimes a brasher, bolder choice can be much more enjoyable to wear. I think this photo shows how it can be done well and without sacrificing any elegance. 

Barney’s is carrying something similar right now. It’s on already on sale, but if you wait a few weeks, it will be discounted another 30%. Mr. Porter also has some brightly-colored Real Ancient Madders. They just had a 50% off sale for founding members, but I imagine that will be made public soon. 

(photo from ethandesu)

(Source: ethandesu)

It’s On Sale!
Trovata Highway Pant cords
$79 from $195 at Barneys.com

It’s On Sale!

Trovata Highway Pant cords

$79 from $195 at Barneys.com