Drape Yourself in Sulka
Back in the 1920s, Nancy Kahn’s grandfather was welcoming patients into his home office on the east side of Manhattan, wearing shirts and ties exclusively from A. Sulka & Co.—“much to my grandmother’s chagrin,” says Nancy. Sulka was in the midst of its rise to prominence as a haberdasher to American royalty, like Kennedys, Rockefellers, and Hollywood leading men, as well as actual royalty, like the Duke of Windsor. While Nancy’s grandmother may not have appreciated the expense of a Sulka wardrobe, she recognized the quality of the silk and workmanship, and saved her husbands neckwear—from subtle to loud; richly colored, printed silks in stripes and abstract patterns. Sometime in the late 1920s, according to family lore, she deconstructed the ties, ironed the silks flat, cut them into triangles, sewed them by hand into squares, and sewed the squares into a 60-inch square quilt with black satin backing.
The quilt was handed down to Nancy, who has put it up for sale in her Etsy shop. Although the opportunity to drape yourself in silks from one of the world’s great lost men’s clothiers is rare and tempting, Nancy recommends this as a decorative, rather than functional, item. Which is true to the spirit of neckties as well.
- Pete

Drape Yourself in Sulka

Back in the 1920s, Nancy Kahn’s grandfather was welcoming patients into his home office on the east side of Manhattan, wearing shirts and ties exclusively from A. Sulka & Co.—“much to my grandmother’s chagrin,” says Nancy. Sulka was in the midst of its rise to prominence as a haberdasher to American royalty, like Kennedys, Rockefellers, and Hollywood leading men, as well as actual royalty, like the Duke of Windsor. While Nancy’s grandmother may not have appreciated the expense of a Sulka wardrobe, she recognized the quality of the silk and workmanship, and saved her husbands neckwear—from subtle to loud; richly colored, printed silks in stripes and abstract patterns. Sometime in the late 1920s, according to family lore, she deconstructed the ties, ironed the silks flat, cut them into triangles, sewed them by hand into squares, and sewed the squares into a 60-inch square quilt with black satin backing.

The quilt was handed down to Nancy, who has put it up for sale in her Etsy shop. Although the opportunity to drape yourself in silks from one of the world’s great lost men’s clothiers is rare and tempting, Nancy recommends this as a decorative, rather than functional, item. Which is true to the spirit of neckties as well.

- Pete

We Got It For Free: The Knottery Grenadine and Silk Knit Ties
The Knottery, a relatively new entrant in men’s neckwear, recently sent me two of their ties to review. The package came last week and in it was a solid navy grenadine, which is part of a new collection of grenadines they’ve just introduced, as a well as a solid burgundy silk knit.
The silk knit is straightforward enough. Whereas regular neckties have more complicated constructions, silk knits are simply woven on machines either in tubular constructions or attached through a seam at the back. The ones at The Knottery are three inches wide and made in the first method (tubular). Some men prefer this because without the seam, you don’t have the small bump going down the back, which in turn won’t bulk up the knot. I personally have never had a preference either way. What I do think men should consider, however, is the material and weave that the knit is formed in. Silk, cotton and wool will obviously create different looks, and each can be woven in a different weave. One only needs to compare the silk knits at Drake’s, J. Press, and Land’s End to see what I mean. None are better than the others, but they do serve different tastes. If you like the material and weave at The Knottery, these seem like a decent value at $25.
The grenadines are perhaps a bit more exciting. With the exception of Chipp2, I don’t know of any other retailers selling grenadines for under $60. The Knottery’s are $55, three inches wide, and made from the same silk grenadine fabrics that all the other high-end makers use (with the exception of “mock” grenadines, I believe there are only two sources for “true” grenadine fabrics, and both of them are very good). They are also constructed in New York by a very well respected American manufacturer (I can’t reveal who, but they’re well respected).
Perhaps their only faults are that they’re made with a 50/50 polyester-wool interlining, which means that the tie won’t relax as easily after a long day’s wear, and that they’re machine made. Normally, with high-quality wool interlinings, you can hang your tie up for a night and the wrinkles will naturally fall out. This is a bit more difficult with blends. The machined seam at the back also seems a bit tight, which I admit makes me wonder about the tie’s longevity. On the one hand, numerous high-end makers have told me that a slightly looser slip stitch is essential to ensuring that the tie has enough give when it’s being wrapped tightly around a neck, and can return to its original shape when it’s unknotted. On the other hand, before wearing handmade neckties, I wore mid-tier, machine-made ties from department stores for years, many of which had these tighter stitches, and none of them snapped. Their only problem was that they looked a bit lifeless and failed to give a good dimple when knotted, but none of these are issues that The Knottery’s grenadines suffer from.
Outside of those concerns, the rest are just preferences. My favorite grenadines are from Drake’s, Sulka (now defunct), and E.G. Cappelli, all of which are lightly lined. The Knottery’s are a bit heavier, but not as heavy as my grenadines from J. Press. They also have a slightly peculiar feel when you rub the fabric between two fingers – a feel that’s not too unlike rubbing the fabric of a silk knit together, which doesn’t happen with any of my other four-in-hands. Not better or worse for it, mind you, just different.
Of course, some may wonder how these compare to Chipp2’s grenadines, which are the other affordable option on the market. I admit I like Chipp2’s lighter feel, pure wool interlining, and hand construction, but I dislike that their outer fabric (the silk) is somewhat loosely attached to the interlining itself. The Knottery’s are built like all of my other grenadines, with the brushed interlining staying close to the silk, and I think it gives a more handsome dimple. They’re also easier to order from, though some might find charm in Chipp2’s slightly roundabout process. Perhaps most importantly, Chipp2’s are made from garza fina, which have a fine weave, whereas The Knottery’s are garza grossa, which have a slight honeycomb like appearance. Again, purely a matter of taste, but I generally prefer garza fina with suits made from smoother, worsted wools, and garza grossa with more informal jackets.  
Either way, for those on a budget, you now have two sources to get an affordable grenadine – Chipp2 and The Knottery – both of which offer decent options. 

We Got It For Free: The Knottery Grenadine and Silk Knit Ties

The Knottery, a relatively new entrant in men’s neckwear, recently sent me two of their ties to review. The package came last week and in it was a solid navy grenadine, which is part of a new collection of grenadines they’ve just introduced, as a well as a solid burgundy silk knit.

The silk knit is straightforward enough. Whereas regular neckties have more complicated constructions, silk knits are simply woven on machines either in tubular constructions or attached through a seam at the back. The ones at The Knottery are three inches wide and made in the first method (tubular). Some men prefer this because without the seam, you don’t have the small bump going down the back, which in turn won’t bulk up the knot. I personally have never had a preference either way. What I do think men should consider, however, is the material and weave that the knit is formed in. Silk, cotton and wool will obviously create different looks, and each can be woven in a different weave. One only needs to compare the silk knits at Drake’s, J. Press, and Land’s End to see what I mean. None are better than the others, but they do serve different tastes. If you like the material and weave at The Knottery, these seem like a decent value at $25.

The grenadines are perhaps a bit more exciting. With the exception of Chipp2, I don’t know of any other retailers selling grenadines for under $60. The Knottery’s are $55, three inches wide, and made from the same silk grenadine fabrics that all the other high-end makers use (with the exception of “mock” grenadines, I believe there are only two sources for “true” grenadine fabrics, and both of them are very good). They are also constructed in New York by a very well respected American manufacturer (I can’t reveal who, but they’re well respected).

Perhaps their only faults are that they’re made with a 50/50 polyester-wool interlining, which means that the tie won’t relax as easily after a long day’s wear, and that they’re machine made. Normally, with high-quality wool interlinings, you can hang your tie up for a night and the wrinkles will naturally fall out. This is a bit more difficult with blends. The machined seam at the back also seems a bit tight, which I admit makes me wonder about the tie’s longevity. On the one hand, numerous high-end makers have told me that a slightly looser slip stitch is essential to ensuring that the tie has enough give when it’s being wrapped tightly around a neck, and can return to its original shape when it’s unknotted. On the other hand, before wearing handmade neckties, I wore mid-tier, machine-made ties from department stores for years, many of which had these tighter stitches, and none of them snapped. Their only problem was that they looked a bit lifeless and failed to give a good dimple when knotted, but none of these are issues that The Knottery’s grenadines suffer from.

Outside of those concerns, the rest are just preferences. My favorite grenadines are from Drake’s, Sulka (now defunct), and E.G. Cappelli, all of which are lightly lined. The Knottery’s are a bit heavier, but not as heavy as my grenadines from J. Press. They also have a slightly peculiar feel when you rub the fabric between two fingers – a feel that’s not too unlike rubbing the fabric of a silk knit together, which doesn’t happen with any of my other four-in-hands. Not better or worse for it, mind you, just different.

Of course, some may wonder how these compare to Chipp2’s grenadines, which are the other affordable option on the market. I admit I like Chipp2’s lighter feel, pure wool interlining, and hand construction, but I dislike that their outer fabric (the silk) is somewhat loosely attached to the interlining itself. The Knottery’s are built like all of my other grenadines, with the brushed interlining staying close to the silk, and I think it gives a more handsome dimple. They’re also easier to order from, though some might find charm in Chipp2’s slightly roundabout process. Perhaps most importantly, Chipp2’s are made from garza fina, which have a fine weave, whereas The Knottery’s are garza grossa, which have a slight honeycomb like appearance. Again, purely a matter of taste, but I generally prefer garza fina with suits made from smoother, worsted wools, and garza grossa with more informal jackets.  

Either way, for those on a budget, you now have two sources to get an affordable grenadine – Chipp2 and The Knottery – both of which offer decent options. 

Above is a photo of my greatest second-hand score ever. One that will likely remain my greatest score ever for the rest of my life, unless I find a cache of Savile Row suits that fit me perfectly or something. I’m still vibrating from the excitement.
So I responded to a Craigslist ad that I found through a saved search  for some brand or other… Brioni, maybe. It’s a moving sale, but no  address, just a phone number. Talked to the woman, and she gave me her  address, told her I’d head up there after my dog’s obedience class. I live in Silver Lake, on the East side of Los Angeles, and she lived in  the Hollywood Hills, on the west side, so it took me a solid 30 minutes  to drive there. I was kind of tired, and thought, “Why am I doing  this?” It was almost two miles up the hill from Sunset Boulevard. I get there, and it’s a small but very beautiful a-frame. You can  literally see all of Los Angeles from this spot. It was absolutely  amazing. I knock on the door, and she opens it, and it’s a pretty woman maybe in her  40s, dressed like an LA new-agey type straight from Central Casting. Right away, though, I can tell she’s 100% for real and a nice lady. Moments later, she tells me she’s a yoga practicioner. She is very sincere, very kind, and not at all flaky for someone who off-handedly mentions she’s psychic. Twice. Her house was laid out like a sort of yard sale, with all kinds of women’s clothes and household stuff all around.  She shows me back to the bedroom where the men’s stuff is, and there’s a  table of Ed Hardy-ish rock star clothes (frankly a little nicer than  that sounds, but still very, very not to my taste) right by the door,  and I think maybe it’s not the place for me. Then I see this box of neckties. I bend down to check it out, and the  first tie is an amazing striped grenadine Sulka. Then the next one is a  Brioni. And so on and so on. Above them is a pile of handkerchiefs from Facconable and Turnbull & Asser. To the right is another box full of neckties. A little negotiating (she was psychic, so I was at a disadvantage) and  one trip down and up the mountain later, I handed her $750 in cash.  Here’s what I ended up with: - A silver-handled purple label umbrella. - A Sulka trench coat. - About half a dozen Turnbull & Asser pocket handkerchiefs in their wrapping, and  about fifteen more squares, mostly by Facconable, mostly unused, some  with tags, including four in a gauzy blend of cashmere and silk that is  almost unimaginably soft and beautiful. - 45 ties. Of these, about three or four are clunkers and a few are Versaces.  The rest are Borrelli, Brioni, and Sulka with a few Oxxfords thrown in  for good measure. Almost all are basics, almost none are dated (though  most are wide-ish). Most seem to be unworn, including about ten  Borrellis which are still in their packaging. The woman was incredibly nice, and was very happy the things were going  to a good home. She told me that I can  expect a lot of money coming in. Also that the neighborhood I’m thinking  of moving to is a very blessed place.  I can only imagine who her ex was. Bryan Ferry or something.  Unreal.

Above is a photo of my greatest second-hand score ever. One that will likely remain my greatest score ever for the rest of my life, unless I find a cache of Savile Row suits that fit me perfectly or something. I’m still vibrating from the excitement.

So I responded to a Craigslist ad that I found through a saved search for some brand or other… Brioni, maybe. It’s a moving sale, but no address, just a phone number. Talked to the woman, and she gave me her address, told her I’d head up there after my dog’s obedience class.

I live in Silver Lake, on the East side of Los Angeles, and she lived in the Hollywood Hills, on the west side, so it took me a solid 30 minutes to drive there. I was kind of tired, and thought, “Why am I doing this?” It was almost two miles up the hill from Sunset Boulevard.

I get there, and it’s a small but very beautiful a-frame. You can literally see all of Los Angeles from this spot. It was absolutely amazing.

I knock on the door, and she opens it, and it’s a pretty woman maybe in her 40s, dressed like an LA new-agey type straight from Central Casting. Right away, though, I can tell she’s 100% for real and a nice lady. Moments later, she tells me she’s a yoga practicioner. She is very sincere, very kind, and not at all flaky for someone who off-handedly mentions she’s psychic. Twice.

Her house was laid out like a sort of yard sale, with all kinds of women’s clothes and household stuff all around.

She shows me back to the bedroom where the men’s stuff is, and there’s a table of Ed Hardy-ish rock star clothes (frankly a little nicer than that sounds, but still very, very not to my taste) right by the door, and I think maybe it’s not the place for me.

Then I see this box of neckties. I bend down to check it out, and the first tie is an amazing striped grenadine Sulka. Then the next one is a Brioni. And so on and so on.

Above them is a pile of handkerchiefs from Facconable and Turnbull & Asser. To the right is another box full of neckties.

A little negotiating (she was psychic, so I was at a disadvantage) and one trip down and up the mountain later, I handed her $750 in cash.

Here’s what I ended up with:

- A silver-handled purple label umbrella.
- A Sulka trench coat.
- About half a dozen Turnbull & Asser pocket handkerchiefs in their wrapping, and about fifteen more squares, mostly by Facconable, mostly unused, some with tags, including four in a gauzy blend of cashmere and silk that is almost unimaginably soft and beautiful.
- 45 ties. Of these, about three or four are clunkers and a few are Versaces. The rest are Borrelli, Brioni, and Sulka with a few Oxxfords thrown in for good measure. Almost all are basics, almost none are dated (though most are wide-ish). Most seem to be unworn, including about ten Borrellis which are still in their packaging.

The woman was incredibly nice, and was very happy the things were going to a good home. She told me that I can expect a lot of money coming in. Also that the neighborhood I’m thinking of moving to is a very blessed place.

I can only imagine who her ex was. Bryan Ferry or something.

Unreal.

It’s On eBay
Sulka Wool-Cashmere Overcoat
Along with tuxedos, overcoats are one of the things that you should always buy second-hand.  Their weight means they last forever, and their styles are largely timeless.  
Starts at $1.39, ends Sunday

It’s On eBay

Sulka Wool-Cashmere Overcoat

Along with tuxedos, overcoats are one of the things that you should always buy second-hand.  Their weight means they last forever, and their styles are largely timeless. 

Starts at $1.39, ends Sunday