It’s On Sale: J Press Grenadines

J Press has been having a 25%-off sale for a while now, but they just put up a new four-day “flash sale” code. Get an extra 10% off by punching in EXTRA10 at checkout. The code works on a number of items, including the grenadine neckties you see here

The shipping charge is about $15, which negates some of the savings. For comparison, know that Drake’s and EG Cappelli grenadines run between $125 to $150 at full retail, but sometimes can be had for about $90 on sale. More affordably, Sam Hober’s are $80, Kent Wang’s are $75, Knottery’s are $55, and Chipp2’s are $49.50. The last four almost never go on sale, so you should expect the full price to be standard. 

The Advantage of Textured Ties
This photo of Oscar de la Renta perfectly demonstrates one of the things I love most about textured ties. In an ensemble with a solid colored jacket and shirt, a textured tie can help break up the plainness. Without it, the ensemble can look a bit flat and uninteresting. That’s why I like to have at least two patterns in whatever I wear. 
At the same time, with two patterns like you see here – worn through de la Renta’s shirt and pocket square – opting for texture allows you to combine things a bit more easily and with less thought. If the tie were patterned, one would have to consider how well the numerous colors play together and whether the types and scales of patterns clashed. Not with a textured tie, however. It looks just as comfortable against a solid color as it does a pattern, and when you don’t want to bother with thinking about what goes with what in the morning, reaching for a grenadine or silk knit can often be a very safe choice. 
(Photo via voxsart)

The Advantage of Textured Ties

This photo of Oscar de la Renta perfectly demonstrates one of the things I love most about textured ties. In an ensemble with a solid colored jacket and shirt, a textured tie can help break up the plainness. Without it, the ensemble can look a bit flat and uninteresting. That’s why I like to have at least two patterns in whatever I wear. 

At the same time, with two patterns like you see here – worn through de la Renta’s shirt and pocket square – opting for texture allows you to combine things a bit more easily and with less thought. If the tie were patterned, one would have to consider how well the numerous colors play together and whether the types and scales of patterns clashed. Not with a textured tie, however. It looks just as comfortable against a solid color as it does a pattern, and when you don’t want to bother with thinking about what goes with what in the morning, reaching for a grenadine or silk knit can often be a very safe choice. 

(Photo via voxsart)

We Got it for Free: The Tie Bar’s Grenafaux
The Tie Bar recently released a line of solid-colored, textures silk neckties that vaguely resemble grenadines. These aren’t true grenadines; they just somewhat look like them from a few feet away. Curious about the quality, I contacted Greg Shugar, one of the co-founders of the company, to see if he would be interested in sending me one for review. It arrived last month and I’ve worn it a few times since.
The tie is better than what one might expect. It compares well to the mass-manufactured neckties you might find in a department store – the Perry Ellises, Tommy Hilfigers, Calvin Kleins, and the like. To be sure, I don’t think any of these brands make particularly nice ties, but I appreciate that The Tie Bar has a bit more honest pricing - $15 for such a tie, rather than $50 in a department store, regularly discounted to $35, then $25, then $20, in hopes that customers think they’re getting a steal.
Obviously, a $15 tie will have its limitations. The grenafaux they sent me lacks the body on a truly, well-made tie, and the fabric has a slight sheen to it. It’s a bit light and flimsy, and not particularly enjoyable to knot. On the upside, the interlining is a wool-poly blend, which isn’t as ideal as a pure wool interlining, but at least it dimples better than a tie lined with polyester, and the wrinkles fall out a bit more easily at the end of the day.
It’s become a bit of a cliché, but I strongly believe in the “buy less, buy better” philosophy. Better one tie from EG Cappelli than three from Brooks Brothers, and better one from Brooks Brothers than three from Alfani. Men don’t need as much clothing as they think do, and if they traded many of their purchases for nicer things, I think they’d be left more satisfied. The most affordable grenadines I know of are from Chipp2 ($47.50) and The Knottery ($55). After that, there’s Kent Wang ($75), Sam Hober ($80), J Press ($90), Henry Carter ($100), Drake’s, Vanda, and EG Cappelli (~$120). I would feel more comfortable recommending any of these - or even a non-grenadine from a mid-tier maker - over The Tie Bar.
At the same time, I remember there was once a point in my life when I couldn’t afford a $50 necktie. It wasn’t that I was being stingy; it’s just that all my money went to rent, food, and my education. For people who on a truly tight budget, but still wish to dress well, I think The Tie Bar’s grenafux ties are an option. They’re not the best ties in the world, but I couldn’t say someone would look terrible for wearing one. As you can see above, it does indeed kind of look like a grenadine, and The Thrifty Gent wore one a few weeks ago and still looked pretty sharp. Plus, if you needed to skimp on your wardrobe, it would better to cut out $50 from your necktie wardrobe than, say, footwear. There, $50 could mean the difference between full-grain leather shoes and corrected grain, the latter of which you should never buy.
My standard recommendation for affordable neckties remains the same: Land’s End and Brooks Brothers once they hit their sales. They usually discount stuff to under $40 a few times a season. If you can’t afford those, try thrift stores or eBay. If you don’t have the time, however, then consider The Tie Bar’s grenafaux. I still believe people should buy the best they can afford – as they’ll be happier in the long run – but the same can be said about buying what you can afford, and not spending outside of your means. 
(Pictured above, from left to right: The Tie Bar’s grenafaux, Drake’s navy grenadine, E.G. Cappelli blue grenadine)

We Got it for Free: The Tie Bar’s Grenafaux

The Tie Bar recently released a line of solid-colored, textures silk neckties that vaguely resemble grenadines. These aren’t true grenadines; they just somewhat look like them from a few feet away. Curious about the quality, I contacted Greg Shugar, one of the co-founders of the company, to see if he would be interested in sending me one for review. It arrived last month and I’ve worn it a few times since.

The tie is better than what one might expect. It compares well to the mass-manufactured neckties you might find in a department store – the Perry Ellises, Tommy Hilfigers, Calvin Kleins, and the like. To be sure, I don’t think any of these brands make particularly nice ties, but I appreciate that The Tie Bar has a bit more honest pricing - $15 for such a tie, rather than $50 in a department store, regularly discounted to $35, then $25, then $20, in hopes that customers think they’re getting a steal.

Obviously, a $15 tie will have its limitations. The grenafaux they sent me lacks the body on a truly, well-made tie, and the fabric has a slight sheen to it. It’s a bit light and flimsy, and not particularly enjoyable to knot. On the upside, the interlining is a wool-poly blend, which isn’t as ideal as a pure wool interlining, but at least it dimples better than a tie lined with polyester, and the wrinkles fall out a bit more easily at the end of the day.

It’s become a bit of a cliché, but I strongly believe in the “buy less, buy better” philosophy. Better one tie from EG Cappelli than three from Brooks Brothers, and better one from Brooks Brothers than three from Alfani. Men don’t need as much clothing as they think do, and if they traded many of their purchases for nicer things, I think they’d be left more satisfied. The most affordable grenadines I know of are from Chipp2 ($47.50) and The Knottery ($55). After that, there’s Kent Wang ($75), Sam Hober ($80), J Press ($90), Henry Carter ($100), Drake’s, Vanda, and EG Cappelli (~$120). I would feel more comfortable recommending any of these - or even a non-grenadine from a mid-tier maker - over The Tie Bar.

At the same time, I remember there was once a point in my life when I couldn’t afford a $50 necktie. It wasn’t that I was being stingy; it’s just that all my money went to rent, food, and my education. For people who on a truly tight budget, but still wish to dress well, I think The Tie Bar’s grenafux ties are an option. They’re not the best ties in the world, but I couldn’t say someone would look terrible for wearing one. As you can see above, it does indeed kind of look like a grenadine, and The Thrifty Gent wore one a few weeks ago and still looked pretty sharp. Plus, if you needed to skimp on your wardrobe, it would better to cut out $50 from your necktie wardrobe than, say, footwear. There, $50 could mean the difference between full-grain leather shoes and corrected grain, the latter of which you should never buy.

My standard recommendation for affordable neckties remains the same: Land’s End and Brooks Brothers once they hit their sales. They usually discount stuff to under $40 a few times a season. If you can’t afford those, try thrift stores or eBay. If you don’t have the time, however, then consider The Tie Bar’s grenafaux. I still believe people should buy the best they can afford – as they’ll be happier in the long run – but the same can be said about buying what you can afford, and not spending outside of your means. 

(Pictured above, from left to right: The Tie Bar’s grenafaux, Drake’s navy grenadine, E.G. Cappelli blue grenadine)

In Praise of Green Ties

Like my buddy Doc Hu, I’m a big fan of green ties. Pair them with a gray suit and dark brown shoes, and you’ll be one of the most uniquely and elegantly dressed men around. You can also wear a green tie with any number of country tweeds, especially those with big checks and windowpanes, or shirts with a similar country sensibility, such as brushed twill tattersalls. Ideally, if you wear something with checks, it would be good to have one of the minor colors in those checks also be green, so that you can play off the color in your tie. 

Unfortunately, most men don’t have any green ties. If you’re just getting your first, start with the basics - grenadines and knits. On the high end, there is Drakes of London’s kelly green grenadines and tartan green knits. Those will be some of the best on the market, but at $150, not everyone can spare the money. Much more affordable are Sam Hober’s green grenadines, which he has in four different shades, and come in garza grossa and garza fina. The difference between the two varieties is in how evident the weaving is; garza grossa is bigger and garza fina is finer. I have a strong preference for garza grossa, but it’s a matter of preference. Hober’s ties are custom made and cost $80. The quality is remarkable and gives up nothing to other high-end labels. In fact, as you can see from this picture, Hober’s ties are often better than some of luxury-end ties. While both are handmade, Hober’s looks more cleanly made while the Borrelli has a bit of crinkling at the tip. 

For an affordable green knit, check out Mountain and Sackett. It’s made from a nice crunchy silk and is respectable width of 2.5 inches - nothing too wide or too narrow. I have the tie myself and the quality is excellent. 

I think green ties can be worn year-round, as long as it’s paired with the right items, but it’s especially nice for the Fall season. Since that’s approaching, if you already have items such as a grey suit, consider getting a green tie for yourself before September arrives. 

(Photo credits: top photo by Ethan Desu for The Armoury; bottom left photo by Kenneth Lim for The Armoury, bottom right photo by an unknown photographer)