Silk Knit Ties for Summer
Silk knit ties are great for wear year round, but they’re especially nice in the summer. This is partly because they go well with the rumpled linens and cottons we wear when the weather gets hot, and it’s partly because summer clothes often look better when they’re a bit more casual (and the silk knit is the most casual tie of all). If you wear sport coats this season, there are few better ties to reach for than the silk knit.
The good news is that - unlike with regular neckties - the differences in quality here are much smaller. All knit ties are made by machine, which means there’s less variation to be had in handwork. They also don’t have an interlining inside (which regular neckties do), so the construction is much simpler. As a result, which silk knit you buy is largely about design and taste.
You can break up silk knits first by thinking of them in terms of their material. Even though all silk knits are obviously made from silk, each will have a different kind of “crunchiness” to them. Some will feel very crunchy in the hand, while others will be softer and floppier.
Of the crunchy variety, there’s Drake’s, Exquisite Trimmings, Conrad Wu for something with a denser weave, and Land’s End, KJ Beckett, Paul Stuart, Howard Yount, and our advertiser Ledbury for something looser. Notice that the different weaving patterns give the ties different textures. None are better or worse; just different.  
For something softer and floppier, there’s J. Press, Brooks Brothers, Ben Silver, Kent Wang, and The Knottery. Each, again, have theirs made in their own weaving patterns, which give them different textures. Rubinacci and Sozzi also make some in really attractive and unique patterns. You can find Sozzi at No Man Walks Alone, Exquisite Trimmings, and The Armoury (though you’ll have to call or email The Armoury to order).
My favorites? Probably the Drake’s for their width and texture, at least if you’re going for solid colors. Sozzi and Rubinacci are really nice for something a bit more unique. Few ties can beat Land’s End in terms of value, though. At full price, they’re a bit expensive, but if you wait for one of their many sales, it’s not hard to grab one for about $30. If you haven’t already, get one in solid black. It’s arguably the most versatile silk knit you can own.

Silk Knit Ties for Summer

Silk knit ties are great for wear year round, but they’re especially nice in the summer. This is partly because they go well with the rumpled linens and cottons we wear when the weather gets hot, and it’s partly because summer clothes often look better when they’re a bit more casual (and the silk knit is the most casual tie of all). If you wear sport coats this season, there are few better ties to reach for than the silk knit.

The good news is that - unlike with regular neckties - the differences in quality here are much smaller. All knit ties are made by machine, which means there’s less variation to be had in handwork. They also don’t have an interlining inside (which regular neckties do), so the construction is much simpler. As a result, which silk knit you buy is largely about design and taste.

You can break up silk knits first by thinking of them in terms of their material. Even though all silk knits are obviously made from silk, each will have a different kind of “crunchiness” to them. Some will feel very crunchy in the hand, while others will be softer and floppier.

Of the crunchy variety, there’s Drake’sExquisite TrimmingsConrad Wu for something with a denser weave, and Land’s EndKJ Beckett, Paul StuartHoward Yount, and our advertiser Ledbury for something looser. Notice that the different weaving patterns give the ties different textures. None are better or worse; just different.  

For something softer and floppier, there’s J. PressBrooks BrothersBen SilverKent Wang, and The Knottery. Each, again, have theirs made in their own weaving patterns, which give them different textures. Rubinacci and Sozzi also make some in really attractive and unique patterns. You can find Sozzi at No Man Walks AloneExquisite Trimmings, and The Armoury (though you’ll have to call or email The Armoury to order).

My favorites? Probably the Drake’s for their width and texture, at least if you’re going for solid colors. Sozzi and Rubinacci are really nice for something a bit more unique. Few ties can beat Land’s End in terms of value, though. At full price, they’re a bit expensive, but if you wait for one of their many sales, it’s not hard to grab one for about $30. If you haven’t already, get one in solid black. It’s arguably the most versatile silk knit you can own.

"Elegance in an Age of Crisis" Exhibit

I swear, New York City seems to get all the awesome menswear-related events. Sample sales, tradeshows, and really, really fantastic exhibits like this one. 

The Museum at FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology) is holding a special exhibitions gallery from February 7th until April 19th on the fashions of the 1930s. That’s the decade that’s most often considered the “Golden Age” for classic men’s style, and the single most influential time for how we think of classic men’s dress today. 

The exhibit will feature both men’s and women’s clothing, and have a number of outstanding examples of bespoke tailoring from that period. Seen above? The first is a cream jacket from Rubinacci, a tailoring house in Naples, Italy. It’s made from tussah silk, which is a textured material somewhat like the nubby stuff we see advertised today as “raw silk.” This was considered to be a very aristocratic cloth at the time in Naples. The man who made the jacket was Vincenzo Attolini, a Neapolitan tailor who’s most often credited with having invented the soft shouldered, “deconstructed” Neapolitan cut. It is a style that today has defined Neapolitan tailoring. 

The smoking jacket you see in the middle was made by Gardner and Wooley. It was tailored from green velvet and satin. Gentlemen used to wear these at home when they were smoking tobacco (usually in the form of pipes or cigars), or just when they were lounging about, entertaining guests or hosting semi-formal occasions. The jacket’s purpose was to prevent smoke or ashes from getting onto the wearer’s business clothes or formalwear. 

Finally, the three-piece suit you see at the end was made by Anderson & Sheppard in London. It’s difficult to tell from the small photo, but if you look closely, you can see the chest is cut a bit full. Notice how there’s extra cloth that “drapes” vertically near the armholes? This is what’s known as the “drape cut,” a style that was invented by the Dutch-English tailor Frederick Scholte and then popularized by Edward VIII (better known to some as the Duke of Windsor). Scholte later passed his technique on to an apprentice named Per Anderson, who of course is the “Anderson” in Anderson & Sheppard. It may interest some readers to know that the drape cut was also the precursor to the zoot suit, which was a style deeply embedded in both jazz music and racial politics in 1940’s America. Many may be familiar with the history of the Zoot Suit Riots

Anyway, as I was saying, the exhibit opens next week. It was co-curated by Bruce Boyer, a remarkable menswear writer (having penned some of my favorite books, such as Elegance and Eminently Suitable) and a previous guest in our video series. I’m deeply sad I’m not in NYC and thus won’t be able to go. On the upside, there’s a book being released that will give a more in-depth study of the clothes featured. I’ve already put in a pre-order. 

The Advantage of Unusual Designs in Pocket Squares

Like with ties, I find it’s easy to acquire more pocket square than you need. This is true for almost any accessory, really. As I mentioned before, accessories tend to be easier to size right, are relatively more affordable, and can satisfy that urge to buy something new. Before you know it, you have dozens of ties and pocket squares, and not nearly enough sport coats or suits to justify your collection.

In my time wearing pocket squares, I’ve come to realize that I mostly rely on just three types. The first is clean white linen, which I like to wear with everything except tweeds. Then there are madder silks, which I find to be useful in the fall and winter months. For some reason, those are a bit hard to find (especially in soft, muted colors), but Ralph Lauren sometimes stocks them.

Then there’s the third category, which I think is the most useful – squares with large, intricate designs of the kind that you’d never see in ties. The advantage of these is that you never run the risk of looking like you bought your tie and pocket square as part of a matching set (which you should never do, by the way). With a big, bold pattern – as opposed to something like pin dots – you can always be sure that your square will stand on its own, but still harmonize with whatever else you’re wearing through some complementary color. Plus, if you find something with the right square, you can get a bit more versatility by simply turning the square a bit here or there to show off the colors you want. That’s much hard to do if every inch of your square is essentially the same repeating pattern.

In recent years, the number of places where you can buy such squares has exploded. There are the standards, of course, in the form of Drake’s and Rubinacci, both of which produce beautiful pieces. You can purchase those directly through each brand’s shops, or through various online retailers such as No Man Walks Alone, A Suitable Wardrobe, Exquisite Trimmings, Malford of London, Mr. Porter, and our advertiser The Hanger Project. There are also a number of other operations worth considering:

Put This On: The first is of course our pocket square shop. Jesse finds vintage and deadstock fabrics from online sellers and thrift shops, and then has them handmade into pocket squares through a tailor in Los Angeles. That means having the edges handrolled with a nice plump edge, rather than something machined and flat.
Vanda Fine Clothing: Run by the newlywed couple Diana and Gerald, these two produce excellent high-end ties and pocket squares – all hand sewn by them in their workshop in Singapore. Recently, they came out with a series of Chinese zodiac squares, which add a bit of personalization for the wearer.
Ikire Jones: Ikire Jones is a relatively new company run by a finalist in one of Esquire’s “Best Dressed Real Man” competitions. The designer, Wale Oyejide, is a bold dresser with a strong sense of color. Whether you’re a conservative dresser such as myself, or more daring, I think his pocket squares are quite useful. I reviewed them here.
Christian Kimber: Christian has some refreshingly modern designs with abstracted shapes made to look like famous landmarks. At the moment, there are squares representing London, Melbourne, and Florence, but more cities will be released sometime this year.
P. Johnson Tailors: Like Christian Kimber, P. Johnson also produces designs with a slightly more modern sensibility. Their squares tend to have large swaths of color, so you might want to think about how you normally fold your square, lest you look like you’re wearing something that’s one solid color.
Kent Wang: Always a good source for more affordable options, Kent has printed more unique looking pocket squares in the last year. The only thing to watch out for is the size. I find that squares smaller than 15” x 15” feel a bit too insubstantial, although your taste may differ.

(Photos above by The SartorialistChristian KimberRubinacciMalford of LondonVanda Fine Clothing, and us)

Rubinacci Outlet

This is either news or I haven’t been paying close enough attention, but Rubinacci seems to have added an "outlet" section to their website. The selection is pretty small, the sizes limited, and the prices still very, very high. On the upside, these are exceptionally fine garments, and many of them beautifully styled. I particularly like the two coats you see above, though even on sale, they’re $630. Considerably more “affordable” are some knitwear pieces that start at $167. 

abitofcolor:

Luca Rubinacci

No one toes the line between “bold style” and “insane person” like Luca Rubinacci.

abitofcolor:

Luca Rubinacci

No one toes the line between “bold style” and “insane person” like Luca Rubinacci.

(Source: theitaliancut)

I recently wrote an article at StyleForum about Rubinacci (which you should check out), but I thought I’d post some photos here of the their ties in Rome. I’ve recently become quite a fan. As you can see, they’re different from the regular repp stripes and conservative flower/ geometric patterns you see everywhere. Those are of course wonderful, but I like that Mariano Rubinacci has gone out of his way to select fabrics there are a bit more unique, and yet still conservative and elegant.

Construction wise, all the ties I handled were lightly lined. The silks also felt softer than the heavier twills that many makers like to use. All in all, a really excellently crafted and beautiful set of ties. 

Matthew Fan of Tweed in the City has an excellent "behind the scenes" article about Rubinacci, a bespoke tailoring house in Naples, Italy. The house is famous for making Neapolitan jackets with a slight roundness, or fullness, to the chest. The amount of handwork that goes into one of these suits is mind-blowing. It’s a kind of production that allows you to appreciate the final products not only for their style, but also artisanal value. 

Matthew Fan of Tweed in the City has an excellent "behind the scenes" article about Rubinacci, a bespoke tailoring house in Naples, Italy. The house is famous for making Neapolitan jackets with a slight roundness, or fullness, to the chest. The amount of handwork that goes into one of these suits is mind-blowing. It’s a kind of production that allows you to appreciate the final products not only for their style, but also artisanal value. 

An interview with Mariano Rubinacci at Permanent Style.

An interview with Mariano Rubinacci at Permanent Style.