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Evaluating Tie Quality

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Phildominator, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. Phildominator

    Phildominator Member

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    After taking the knowledge gained from this forum, I went to the department store and looked at the ties they offered - Nautica, Jones New York, City of London, Calvin Klein, etc. All these ties range from $25-35.

    Amongst these ties, how can I tell the difference in quality from one company to another? A possible answer I have thought about is that these ties are too similar in quality and not clearly discernable.

    The "tie guy" said that the Jerry Garcia brand ties were one of the better hand-made ties they carried which surprised me.
     
  2. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    I doubt the J. Garcia ties are hand-woven, they are $6.99 in many discounters. As for the ties you've mentioned, they are prints, and some are attractive. None are going to be particularly high quality compared to, say, a Kiton or Borrelli 7 fold, but they are still useful for many occasions. I have a variety of expensive ties and less expensive ones depending on what I am looking for, my collection ranges from $9.99 Zylos ties (monochromatic colors) to Kiton, Borrelli, Barbera, CF, Talbott, and Charvet 7 folds.
     
  3. T4phage

    T4phage Senior member

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    sage
    Actually, very very few ties, or more accurately the silk fabric, are "handwoven". That would imply that a weaver is moving the shuttle etc manually. Most silk fabrics are woven by machines. Only very very few specialty makers weave silk fabrics for ties by hand, and they are extremely expensive.

    I think you mean "handmade".
     
  4. Bic Pentameter

    Bic Pentameter Senior member

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    I am certainly no a tie expert, but for the ties you mention, my advice would be first to hold it by the tip of the thin blade and let it hang to the ground.  If it twists and doesn't hang straight in the air, then probably won't hang straight around your neck.  

    Then I'd to see how substantive and thick the lining is.  I find that I throw away most of my less expensive ties because they have gotten knocked out of shape because the lining didn't hold up.

    Finally, I'd knot the tie to see if the knot formed was OK.  If the color was to my liking, and it passed the tests above, then I would probably buy it.

    I have very cheap solid ties in blue and burgandy, and very expensive solid ties in blue and burgandy.  I wear the cheap ones on rainy days (and days when we have business lunch over ribs), and the expensive ones when the skys are clear.

    Bic
     
  5. T4phage

    T4phage Senior member

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    Great comment Bic.

    I would add that one inspects and feels the "hand" of the silk itself. It would be good to hold in one hand a tie made by one of the better manufacturers (of course you should feel ties of similar weaves), and in the other the tie that you are considering. Feel the density/thickness of both ties and compare.
     
  6. marc37

    marc37 Senior member

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    How expensive? What types of ties, names? Just curious.
     
  7. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    (T4phage @ 17 Nov. 2004, 12:25) Only very very few specialty makers weave silk fabrics for ties by hand, and they are extremely expensive. I think you mean "handmade".
    How expensive? What types of ties, names? Just curious.
    I don't know what qualifies as handweaving, but from what I've read, back in the days before the invention of the Jacquard process for silk weaving, weavers often produced as little as one inch of fabric per day. If that's the process that T4phage is referring to, he probably should have said that ties made from such silk are EXTREMELY expensive.
     
  8. AlanC

    AlanC Senior member

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    They are not necessarily prints. I've seen woven in at least several of those brands (e.g., Nautica). Almost all of the City of London ties I see are woven. Of course, they are also knock offs of higher end ties such as Ted Baker (which sometimes are knock offs of Richard James). When I bought a couple of Ted Baker ties a few months back (Marshall's, on clearance for $8 each [​IMG] ) there were City of London ties there with the exact same design. Now the weaving is certainly cheaper. A friend of mine bought one, which was a nice looking tie, but after just a couple of wearings it was already fraying badly at the point. I've never had a tie do that. As someone who over the past year has moved up substantially in tie quality, I will say that brands like Nautica make some very attractive ties. However, considering the discounts you can get ties at I don't see any reason to buy a tie that retails below $50 (about Brooks Brothers level) and not much reason to buy below $75 retail (Ted Baker, Faconnable level). I'd rather wear Drake's or RLPL.
     
  9. Phildominator

    Phildominator Member

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    I have a couple of ties that hold the knot throughout the day well, and other ties that lose the dimple and knot tightness in a couple of hours. I'm assuming that this has to do with the lining.

    What's the difference between better and worse linings? I don't think thickness automatically translates into better quality, correct?

    Secondly, how can I tell the difference between a machine-made and hand-made tie? If there is a slip stitch, does that equate hand stitching and not machine-made?

    Thanks for the feedback so far. It's been very helpful.
     
  10. Alias

    Alias Senior member

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    I would think the texture of the silk itself would determine whether or not the tie holds its knot tightly. Silks woven in somewhat of a "harder" finish would probably create enough friction to prevent the knot from gradually unraveling, compared to silks finished in a more satiny, buttery-smooth weave.
     
  11. xlhell

    xlhell Member

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    Here is an example of how they used to do it. I guess handlooming is waaaaay too expensive now but back in the day... [​IMG]
     
  12. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Look at that hand-rolled edge. I wonder of that is a seven fold from back in the day??
     
  13. esquire.

    esquire. Senior member

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    What does 'hand-rolled edge' refer to on the picture. I'm having trobule seeing this.
     
  14. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Look at the skinny end, below the label. There is no tipping there, you can see the back of the silk, and the tip is hemmed/stitched by hand.
     
  15. esquire.

    esquire. Senior member

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    I get the part about no tipping, otherwise the back of the tie would be that black lining you see on other ties.

    Still, not sure how you know the tip is 'stiched by hand'. Maybe, its too late, but I cannot see if the stiching is either by hand or by machine. Or, is it the fact that there is no stitching that tells you that it must have been stiched by hand? Thanks.
     
  16. Carlo

    Carlo Senior member

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    We just spent three days in Como working with the weavers and designers and there are several things that can be used to evaluate quality in the silk looming process.

    If you looked at the emails I get from China, the mills there can weave several miles of cheaply and quickly woven jacquards every day... sometimes even in the finest polyester.

    Here are some things to consider about the weaving:
    1. Weight: A FACTOR of quality but not the end all measurement by any means. With many patterns we use 4, 6 or 8-ply thread to give the weight and texture I want for our new 2005 collection (Feb 1). Some of the Mogadors we are working on for the unlined ties are amazingly dense - we're talking 150 picks per cm density that is so dense you can't even nick it with a sharp fingernail. It gives the weight you need for an unlined 7-fold without too much bulk like you might get by using a 6-8 ply that is more loosely woven. For some of the new silks we are working on the output possible is less than 15 meters PER DAY.

    2. Dying - Little known fact. When you hear people tell you that it is a lot cheaper to buy silk somewhere other than Como they have a point. One reason is that the finer mills there use natural dyes that give very vivid colors but don't have the minor drawback of causing cancer. Some chemical dyes are VERY VERY carcinogenic and horrible pollutants. How much you care about that might depend on how many hours per day you spend next to several hundred pounds of silk products (I care.).

    3. Speed - some of the high speed mass production looms are very good at what they are intended for - putting out miles of silk each day. With any natural fibers this is not good because you get stretching and uneven pressure, resulting in a fabric that twists and warps. BAD. It takes us 4-6 weeks to do the weaving for say ...20 patterns on the best looms.

    4. Finishing: Silk fabric is finished by hand in the best mills. If you've noticed how some silks are 'crunchy' while others are very 'liquid' and supple this is due to how the silk is finished and the chemicals used on it. For the new pocket squares we're doing the finish is called 'gum' finishing - yielding a very supple and slippery hand despite being fairly substantial. This takes time to do right, the 'industrial' weavers don't do this by hand.

    Of course no matter how good the silk, the construction is equally important. On many of the cheap ties you see at an average department store ($20-40 retail) the silk is not even cut on the bias (if you think of the silk as woven north to south, east to west, you want to cut from Northeast to Southwest or similar) because otherwise stretching, fraying and twisting can result. Other factors like a good canvas (Fine quality, preshrunk wool or linen) is important because otherwise a hot and humid day will warp the hell out of it.

    Sigh, 300 emails and 100 shipments to do, full Milano, Florence, Como trip report with pics as soon as we dig out...
     

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