Can you actually tell the difference between cheap and expensive silk ties?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by BigRob, May 17, 2013.

  1. BigRob

    BigRob Senior member

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    I went shopping at Brooks Brothers in lower Manhattan and noticed that their ties are $80 each (they do have stacking promotions such that they could come down to ~$50 each). Across the street in Century 21, however, are name-brand, 100% silk ties at $9.99 - $13.99 each (supposedly marked down from $60).

    I bought eight nice-looking ties and brought them back to BB so I could compare them, and for the life of me, I could not tell a difference in quality between any of them. They felt the same to my fingers for the most part, though some had an obviously intentional texture added to them. If I had shuffled them up I wouldn't be able to pick out the expensive ones from the cheap ones.

    So, my question is, is it a good idea to skimp and buy cheap silk ties or are more expensive ties worth it?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2013


  2. dovsr18

    dovsr18 Active Member

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    For me, the difference is between ties whose thickness comes from the folds in the material (6-7 fold etc.) and ties with a filling of cheap material (usually a kind of gauze looking stuff). The reason for the price differential is obvious there - using a lot more silk. Hand-made is the other selling point but with a tie I think it's hard to see a difference.

    You can tell a fold tie however from the edges - generally rounder and smoother. And a fold tie has a lot more body and looks sturdier - as a rule - which may or may not be what you want.

    Some will tell you 7-folds make a better knot. I have not found that to be the case, at least not uniformly. That said, you can get a 7-fold tie for about 65-75 on EBay...so not out of reach for most.

    I think you can find good and awful ties in all price ranges. Witness Kiton...
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2013


  3. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    I'm sure that some people will use this thread as another opportunity to exaggerate how grand they are, but I, for one, can't tell the difference without holding them. For the overwhelming majority of us, even then, it's still hit or miss.

    There are some examples of "premium" items, but a lot of it's marketing and branding. You have to realize that the majority of mark-ups for clothing are based on THE BRAND, not the quality. One store will sell a tie for $15, and BB (or other well-known company) will sell the same tie from the same factory for $80 because they know that someone will say "Oooo! It's BB, so it must be better!" They'll offer a "discount" so that it seems like a steal, but even at $50, you're paying $35 more than you need to.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2013


  4. havingaraveup

    havingaraveup Senior member

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    Nicer silk knots better, it lasts longer, snags less easily. Better lining means the tie doesnt look wrinkled, and can regain its shape more easily. The lining is way more important than you'd think. Cheap silk can look cheap. You may have gotten great deals. C21 is a pretty remarkable store sometimes because while they have a lot of licensed brand name junk, you can on occasion walk out with dunhill ties made and woven in england, altea ties for their own line.
     


  5. HansderHund

    HansderHund Senior member

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    Yes, but that "gauze looking stuff" can actually be wool or silk, linings found in high quality ties. A good tie maker will use the proper lining for the tie they're creating, whether they want a rigid body or a soft body.


    I'm really not sure about the lining thing. I have a number of Hermés and they all curl inward after 1-2 wearings. I definitely see the sheen of cheap silk and the feel is a big part of it, but I still haven't sorted all of it. Furthermore, silk will snag on something regardless of the quality. A finer thread will still catch.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2013


  6. johanm

    johanm Senior member

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    I like the silk on Marinella ties the best. It kind of feels thin and light like a Hermes printed tie, but far more dense and springy, making for a lovely compact but three-dimensional knot. Drakes/Cappelli are decent but not quite as good. The worst tie silk IMO is heavy but limp - always makes chunky, flat triangle shaped knots. Borrelli is pretty bad in this regard.
     


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