The Wool Herringbone
I remember having this mid-grey, wool herringbone tie by Thom Browne when I was in my mid-20s. It was lightly lined, untipped, and featured handrolled edges. I wore it with everything back then - brown tweeds, navy sport coats, and a charcoal double windowpane jacket that I inherited from my father. It was one of my favorite ties, until it got ruined in a greasy lunch accident. 
Wool herringbones ties are still some of my favorites, especially for winter. Wool has the advantage of reflecting the season’s mood, just like how cotton and linen do for summer. Solid wool ties with a slight mottling to them, like these from Drake’s, are very versatile, but if you just want a bit more pattern, try herringbones. They’re good for when you’re not sure whether to go for something solid/ semi-solid, or a straight-out pattern, such as a rep stripe. This is helpful if you, like me, enjoy dressing well, but don’t want to spend too much time in the morning trying to figure what can be worn with what. Depending on the scale of the herringbone, these can be successfully paired with almost any kind of shirt and winter sport coat you can think of (barring except maybe a herringbone coat that looks too similar). Just stick with something mid-scale: a slightly noticeable pattern, but not so large that it could compete with other elements in your ensemble. 
The three best places I know of to buy one (at the moment)  are Drake’s, E&G Cappelli, and Marshall Anthony. The first two makers are pretty well known, but the last is a bit of a newcomer to the neckwear industry. I thought they made pretty nice ties when I first reviewed them, but they’ve come even further in their quality over this past year. 
The color selection for Drake’s wool herringbone ties is a bit limited on their website, but you can find more options through A Suitable Wardrobe. Linkson Jack also sells some E&G Cappellis at slightly lower prices if you don’t need something custom. For something more affordable, try Mountain & Sackett. They do pretty good end-of-the-season sales, though not all of their stock is always included.
Pictured above: First tie by E&G Cappelli for Napolisumisura; second and third by E&G Cappelli; last by Marshall Anthony.

The Wool Herringbone

I remember having this mid-grey, wool herringbone tie by Thom Browne when I was in my mid-20s. It was lightly lined, untipped, and featured handrolled edges. I wore it with everything back then - brown tweeds, navy sport coats, and a charcoal double windowpane jacket that I inherited from my father. It was one of my favorite ties, until it got ruined in a greasy lunch accident. 

Wool herringbones ties are still some of my favorites, especially for winter. Wool has the advantage of reflecting the season’s mood, just like how cotton and linen do for summer. Solid wool ties with a slight mottling to them, like these from Drake’s, are very versatile, but if you just want a bit more pattern, try herringbones. They’re good for when you’re not sure whether to go for something solid/ semi-solid, or a straight-out pattern, such as a rep stripe. This is helpful if you, like me, enjoy dressing well, but don’t want to spend too much time in the morning trying to figure what can be worn with what. Depending on the scale of the herringbone, these can be successfully paired with almost any kind of shirt and winter sport coat you can think of (barring except maybe a herringbone coat that looks too similar). Just stick with something mid-scale: a slightly noticeable pattern, but not so large that it could compete with other elements in your ensemble. 

The three best places I know of to buy one (at the moment)  are Drake’s, E&G Cappelli, and Marshall Anthony. The first two makers are pretty well known, but the last is a bit of a newcomer to the neckwear industry. I thought they made pretty nice ties when I first reviewed them, but they’ve come even further in their quality over this past year. 

The color selection for Drake’s wool herringbone ties is a bit limited on their website, but you can find more options through A Suitable Wardrobe. Linkson Jack also sells some E&G Cappellis at slightly lower prices if you don’t need something custom. For something more affordable, try Mountain & Sackett. They do pretty good end-of-the-season sales, though not all of their stock is always included.

Pictured above: First tie by E&G Cappelli for Napolisumisura; second and third by E&G Cappelli; last by Marshall Anthony.

It’s On Sale: E&G Cappelli Ties

A fine selection of E&G Cappelli ties are now on sale. Shipping seems to have been dropped to $33, and it’s also waived if you order five or more ties. 

Quality as Taste
A friend of mine recently asked me for my opinion on what makes a well-made tie, and the conversation got me thinking about quality in general. You often find men on various online forums debating which items are better made than others. Some even go through the trouble of making incredibly detailed hierarchal lists. There are objective and subjective criteria for judging quality, however, and I think one should be careful not to confuse the two. 
For example, you should only buy ties that easily return to their shape after they’ve been knotted and unknotted. If they don’t, terrible creases can form along the neckband, which will eventually make them difficult to wear. Something like this would be an objective dimension to quality. 
Then there is the subjective, by which I mean things that are very open to taste. For me, I like a tie that dimples well, but I’ve seen a few smart dressers who wear ties without one. In addition, I like my ties to arch a little, then drape down, and have some gentle movement to them throughout the day. The fabric, in my opinion, looks best when it shows off its natural characteristics. I also prefer slightly smaller, elongated knots, although this isn’t always easily found. These characteristics – the dimple, drape, and knot – all have to do with the material, lining, and cut.  
Outside of that, there are small, artisanal details. E&G Cappelli ties, for example, have more visible handstitching and Vanda’s have a higher bar tacks so that you can easily peek at the folds. However, there are also makers who don’t exhibit any of these qualities, such as Drake’s or Ralph Lauren, and they’re still excellent ties.  
What some people pass off as objective criteria for quality can often be something very subjective. You can compare it to wine or whiskey (or anything that has some artisanal dimension). There are obviously bad whiskeys, but among the good ones, a lot of this is about preference and taste. Brooks Brothers’ ties, for example, don’t have any the artisanal detailing, but they’re still excellent and cost a fraction of what luxury-end makers charge. If you wait for their sales, you can get them at ~40% off. Likewise, there’s no reason to debate whether Cappelli is better than Vanda, as they each offer a different “taste.” 
Like with almost anything, the only way to really figure out what you prefer is to try things in every tier. If you try enough things, you’ll eventually develop an opinion. If you’re at a store that sells cheap, polyester ties, try one on. If you come across a Drake’s or other similar luxury-end brand, also try one on. It would be impossible know what people mean by “better drape” or “better knot” until you do. Or, more importantly, whether you care about such things enough to pay the premiums. 
Picture above taken from E. Marinella

Quality as Taste

A friend of mine recently asked me for my opinion on what makes a well-made tie, and the conversation got me thinking about quality in general. You often find men on various online forums debating which items are better made than others. Some even go through the trouble of making incredibly detailed hierarchal lists. There are objective and subjective criteria for judging quality, however, and I think one should be careful not to confuse the two. 

For example, you should only buy ties that easily return to their shape after they’ve been knotted and unknotted. If they don’t, terrible creases can form along the neckband, which will eventually make them difficult to wear. Something like this would be an objective dimension to quality. 

Then there is the subjective, by which I mean things that are very open to taste. For me, I like a tie that dimples well, but I’ve seen a few smart dressers who wear ties without one. In addition, I like my ties to arch a little, then drape down, and have some gentle movement to them throughout the day. The fabric, in my opinion, looks best when it shows off its natural characteristics. I also prefer slightly smaller, elongated knots, although this isn’t always easily found. These characteristics – the dimple, drape, and knot – all have to do with the material, lining, and cut.  

Outside of that, there are small, artisanal details. E&G Cappelli ties, for example, have more visible handstitching and Vanda’s have a higher bar tacks so that you can easily peek at the folds. However, there are also makers who don’t exhibit any of these qualities, such as Drake’s or Ralph Lauren, and they’re still excellent ties.  

What some people pass off as objective criteria for quality can often be something very subjective. You can compare it to wine or whiskey (or anything that has some artisanal dimension). There are obviously bad whiskeys, but among the good ones, a lot of this is about preference and taste. Brooks Brothers’ ties, for example, don’t have any the artisanal detailing, but they’re still excellent and cost a fraction of what luxury-end makers charge. If you wait for their sales, you can get them at ~40% off. Likewise, there’s no reason to debate whether Cappelli is better than Vanda, as they each offer a different “taste.” 

Like with almost anything, the only way to really figure out what you prefer is to try things in every tier. If you try enough things, you’ll eventually develop an opinion. If you’re at a store that sells cheap, polyester ties, try one on. If you come across a Drake’s or other similar luxury-end brand, also try one on. It would be impossible know what people mean by “better drape” or “better knot” until you do. Or, more importantly, whether you care about such things enough to pay the premiums. 

Picture above taken from E. Marinella

E&G Cappelli’s store is now online. Prices are about 80 euros (~$105) per tie, which is a bit cheaper than I thought they would be. Shipping is unfortunately a hefty 50 euros (~$66), but that seems to stay the same even if you buy multiple ties. 

To read more about Cappelli, you can check my earlier post here

(Thanks to Aurèle for the tip!)

E&G Cappelli’s Coming Webstore

I know of maybe four or five neckwear operations in Naples, but only two are particularly special. The first is, of course, E. Marinella, a house as well known for their ties as the people who wear them. The second is E&G Cappelli, who is less internationally famous, but no less exceptional. On my first day in Naples, I had a chance to visit E&G Cappelli and meet its proprietor, Patrizio Cappelli.

Cappelli’s “shop” is more of an atelier than a boutique. It’s located within a courtyard that has a somewhat hidden entrance off of Via Mille and a main entrance off of a small street called Via Cavallerizza. It’s not easy to find and not meant to attract off-the-street foot traffic. The building itself reminds me of the research center I work at, and the space inside is sparsely decorated. Despite its unassuming nature, however, businessmen and style enthusiasts alike have passed the word of how exceptional these ties are. 

Most ties, including those made by luxury-end makers, feel pressed and somewhat crisp when they’re worn. Cappelli’s, on the other hand, have a enjoyable human quality to them. The ties are made with a softer interlining, the edges aren’t pressed, and handsewn stitches at the back are more readily visible (particularly around the neck area, where it’s looser in order allow more give). All in all, Cappelli feel a bit more distinctive. They wear a bit softer and gentler, and have an appreciable artisanal quality to them. I picked up two wool herringbones while I was there and they’ve since become some of my favorites. 

In the past, you could only get E&G Cappellis in one of two ways (at least that I know of). The first was to visit E&G Cappelli’s atelier in Naples and the other was to order from A Suitable Wardrobe. In more recent times, you could also go to Exquisite Trimmings. Patrizio tells me, however, that he’s planning to launch an online shop sometime at the end of February. Prices will be about $115 for ready-made and $145 for bespoke. I didn’t get a chance to ask if a 20% VAT discount will be given for non-EU customers or how much shipping to the States will be, so those prices may fluctuate. There were also some bow ties and scarves available in the shop, but I don’t know if those will be offered online. 

These prices are, of course, on the luxury-end of the market, but for those who are already paying for Drake’s and E. Marinellas, E&G Cappellis are definitely worth adding to the collection. Without overstating it, these are some of the best ties I’ve ever seen.