I've never cared about the brand of a tie. I just want a 3" tie with the right pattern. That last requirement is the hard part. Drakes is the only brand I know of that never sells bad taste designs. So Drakes is the obvious winner, in spite of being slightly overpriced.
I just want to know how we got to the situation we're in now, where 95% of the ties on the market are tacky. Look at the suited men in any film before the 60s and it's the opposite.
I can afford Drake's and Brioni's and etc etc but I cant seem to pay over $50 for a tie! I love some of the knits and grens Drake's and other brands make. I also like some of Kent Wang's but 75+ for a tie? Can't do it.
RL Black Label
RL Purple Label
Robert Talbott (BOC)
Turnbull & Asser
Yves Saint Laurent
personally I have had nothing but good luck with the standards (brooks brothers, jcrew, RL etc.) I would also say to stay clear of Marc jacobs ties, I've only had one but it was quite warped after being worn once (bought it new) and didn't respond to steaming etc.
OP, since you live in a (relatively) major city, you may want to thrift for ties. I routinely find pretty decent ties for $2 at my local goodwill/salvation army. In the past couple months, I've found a Charvet, several BB, a Battistoni, and lots of other nice no names.
im VERY partial to Charvet ties. ive yet to own any Capellas or Marinellas....but I have some borrellis that tie very well, but the fabric on the charvets are very pretty. Seem to be pretty distinguishable too.
Although brands like Brioni, Attolini, Isaia and Tom Ford make up most of my tie wardrobe, my personal favorites are Marinella, Capelli, and Charvet, i only have 1 marinella, and 1 capelli, but i always find myself reaching for them
Thanks for all the responses. The ties at the shop I mentioned in the opening are all between $15-$20. So this list should help me separate the wheat from the chaff. When I get a chance to purchase a few I will post the results here.
Most of my ties are T.K.Maxx (T.J. Maxx if you be tranatlantic) I got a load of Turnbull and Asser and Drakes for Â£12.99 a throw. They haven't repeated that little joy, but they do sometimes still have good ties. I got some faconnable good) and lanvin (fine at the price) for similar in the last month. Look often.
Check out www.thetiebar.com. Great selection of all-silk ties in solids and patterns for $15 each. Also worth checking out are Robert Talbot, JAB on sale (I think, though this may draw some heat), and SF members with ties for sale. All the best in your search!