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Optimal Tie Wardrobe (Monthly Rotation)

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by J. Cogburn, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    As part of my recent sartorial awakening, I’ve had to toss the bulk of my gaudy Robert Talbott ties (the foundation of my old necktie rotation) and start anew. This is not a light financial or aesthetic undertaking, but it is an interesting intellectual exercise. I thought I would share with you how one man has strategically reconstructed his tie wardrobe from (near) scratch.

    I have decided on a one-month rotation. Since my workplace is afflicted with the infernal “Casual Friday,” that means I need a minimum of 16 ties. But since I am also the kind of guy who wants to wear wool ties in the winter, I needed separate cold weather and warm weather necktie rotations.

    Seven of the more relevant considerations that went into my tie selections follow. First, I have become quite conservative in my form of address, preferring a blended outfit to one that serves to highlight interesting color contrasts. Second, I have opted for a classy, conservative dressing style. Third, I wear conservative grey suits with a couple of dark blues tossed in for good measure. Fourth this is a wardrobe aimed at work. I have enough old Robert Talbott ties (courtesy of Nordstroms) to get me through a garden party or other non work-related activity. Fifth, I wanted some versatility in color and style. Sixth, I am a "summer" (a bit ruddy skinned with salt & pepper hair). Seventh, I wear a mix of solid powder pink, light blue, white, and blue pencil-striped shirts to the office.

    I had hoped to take advantage of Will Boehlke’s excellent work in this area (parts one and two), but alas, I had to tweak his recommended wardrobe somewhat. Here’s what I came up with:

    5 solid colored ties; a grey, a blue, a burgundy, a black, and a dark purple. Well, actually, I have well more than five because I have grenadines, wools, and solid silks in various textures and shades for most of these colors. But in the rotation, it’s one solid colored blue per month, one solid colored grey per month, etc. I’ll choose between wools, grenadines, and silks as my mood demands and my suit fabric requires.

    3 Macclesfield ties; a black and white dogtooth, a red shepherd’s check (an Alan Flusser design that's a somewhat toned-down version of this), and a silver neat.

    2 dot ties; a grey ground with blue dots and a blue ground with white dots. In the summer, I'll replace the navy blue with white dots with this saxe blue number as the mood strikes me.

    2 foulards; one Madder with black ground and a small green and red motif and a Madder with a green ground and a sky and red motif.

    2 repp ties, both in blue. Well, I have a bunch of these, but I’ll be choosing each month primarily between this, this, this (and no, I wasn't in the Royal Navy, a concession I am happy to make to anyone here in America - the one in one million - who eyes that tie suspiciously), and this among a couple of others. In the summer, I’ll include this light blue and navy Brooks Brothers #1 in the rotation.

    2 paisley Madders; one with a blue ground and another with a red ground.

    On a color basis, that leaves me with five blue ties a month, four greys, three reds, two blacks, a purple, and a green.

    There are still others in my closet that demand the occasional trip to the office – like this green & navy Argyle Sutherland bow tie and this gold & navy Jockey Striped bow tie – but I’ll leave those for Fridays and the weekends.

    Ack - how to keep this down to a one-month rotation?! There are so many ties I love but couldn't put in this wardrobe; for instance, solid navy, grey, and black knit ties are nowhere to be found, nor are killer foulards like this navy neat, any glenn checks like this one, etc. But to budget is to choose .....

    Comments and/or suggestions (other than to get treatment for my obsessive-compulsive disorder)?
     
  2. rgoldstein

    rgoldstein Senior member

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    Looks like a very solid and essential rotation you have there. I particularly am a fan of how you seem to have truly varied your selection. I had an unhealthy obessession with repp ties when I started dressing for work, so I was forced to branch out recently. Its worked well, but I have to control myself when I buy new ties.

    And don't be afraid to acquire more along the way. Ties are awesome in that they are easily acquired and they almost always fit! [​IMG]

    Comments and/or suggestions (other than to get treatment for my obsessive-compulsive disorder)?

    In reference to this^^, you would be surprised how normal you are in these circles. [​IMG]
     
  3. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Senior member

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    Comments and/or suggestions (other than to get treatment for my obsessive-compulsive disorder)?

    Your list is meaningless unless you put it into spreadsheet form. I also want to see a scatter plot.

    You could also consider affixing barcodes on each tie, and scanning them in and out of usage. Lots of good data to be had that way.

    Otherwise: those are some nice tie choices.


    - B
     
  4. Montrachet

    Montrachet Senior member

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    I would like to just buy this as a boxed set.
     
  5. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Senior member

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    I would like to just buy this as a boxed set.

    I smell Affiliate Thread.


    - B
     
  6. anon

    anon Senior member

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    I really like the ones you've chosen
     
  7. TRINI

    TRINI Senior member

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    That's a whole lot of Drakes ties...nice.
     
  8. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    Thanks for the kind words re the choices. It feels ridiculous to plan this all out to such an extent, but my experience has been that - if you don't - you end up with an ill-considered collection of ties that fall short in all kinds of ways. And since I want to spend my money efficiently, I want to make sure that the $130 I spend on tie x couldn't have been better spent on tie z ... and that the ties I buy will get their fair share of wear. I'm not an archivist dammit ....

    Thoughts on my favorite sellers:

    Sam Hober - Probably the best-made ties I own and among the most reasonably priced to boot. Unfortunately, their selection is somewhat limited relative to others.

    Drakes - Second-best ties (as far as hand and drape) that I own but they are pricier than Hober. Probably the best designs available anywhere (as far as my tastes are concerned anyway). You can randomly pick any one of their ties and be very happy with what you get.

    Ben Silver - Ties are of very uneven quality and are among the most expensive of the bunch. Because they get their ties from various sources, it's not surprising that some are outstanding while others are pretty poor. But ... they have a great selection. Fortunately, you can always send your online purchases back if you don't like the quality.

    Alan Flusser - OK, Flusser's ties are as well-made as Sam Hobers. WAY more expensive however. But the money I spent on the red check was money I will never regret spending. Probably the best tie I own. INCREDIBLE hand.

    Brooks Brothers - Solid ties. Not greatly made, but not poorly made either. Reasonably priced and well designed ivy league prep. Great source to fill-out the wardrobe.

    Paul Stewart - Better made than Brooks, but not THAT much better made to justify the huge markup. More sophisticated designs, but they're getting a little too fashion forward for me. A lot of their ties now are about 2 1/2 inches wide - too narrow for my lapels and thus, for me.
     
  9. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    Oh, don't think I haven't! The ties, tailored clothes, casual wear, shoes ... all in various MS Excel worksheets in a single sartorial file. And it is a glorious electronic thing! And one interesting thing about the Royal Navy tie. Last week, I noticed that John Stewart was wearing that very tie on The Daily Show. Had it on DVR so I froze the frame and double-checked the on-screen image with the tie from the closet. Yep, same tie. Think any outraged British naval veterans raised holy hell about that? I'm guessing not. Moral of the story - don't worry about wearing authentic regimentals if you're in the states. My guess is that even in Jolly Old, 999 out of a 1,000 wouldn't know what those ties mean either. Englandoids can of course correct me if I am wrong about that.
     
  10. alliswell

    alliswell Senior member

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    ome thing missing from your rotation:

    IMPORTANT NOTICE: No media files are hosted on these forums. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website. We can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. If the video does not play, wait a minute or try again later. I AGREE

    TIP: to embed Youtube clips, put only the encoded part of the Youtube URL, e.g. eBGIQ7ZuuiU between the tags.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. onix

    onix Senior member

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    Can you post some pics of all the ties together?
     
  12. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    That might well be one bridge too far for the wife. If I get some time alone around the house some day and remember to do that, I'll click and post.
     
  13. deveandepot1

    deveandepot1 Senior member

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    All good choices. But no knit ties?
     
  14. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    At what cost, sir ... AT WHAT COST?!

    What do I pitch to make room for the knits? I could perhaps add them to my bank of solids for the rotation , but I already have about 15 of those.
     
  15. Reevolving

    Reevolving Senior member

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  16. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    Sure - Ben Silver, Drakes, Ben Silver, Drakes, and Brooks Brothers respectively. Of course, you already knew that, didn't you? Four other ties are struggling to find their way into my rotation and I'm having a hard time keeping them out. This orange & blue foulard is surprisingly sharp with either blue or grey suits. And these two repp ties (the Sherwood Foresters regimental - perfect for my midnight blue suit - and the 11th Hussars regimental and the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars- goes fine with everything, the former especially on Fridays at the office before Redskin games) are likewise "must haves." Well, I have them, but can they work their way into the rotation? The three repps didn't make the cut because I didn't want the wardrobe to be unbalanced in that diagonal direction. But damn, they are fine! The Brooks Brothers foulard will probably elbow its way in though.
     
  17. rickblaine

    rickblaine Active Member

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    Solid black? How do you use that? Also, don't you like flimsy Hermes ties, with weird patterns? Could not live without them in my tie rotation
     
  18. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    A powder blue shirt and solid black tie goes with absolutely everything. Everything! You can also wear it with a pink shirt and grey suit. Or a white shirt and copper camel hair jacket. Or white shirt and marine blue, royal blue, or french blue suit.

    Easier to ask, "how can't you use that"? If you're too put-off by the funereal connotations of a solid silk black tie, try grenadine.

    I could wear them. But then I'd have to drink Drain-o.

    Seriously, If somebody walked into my office wearing those ridiculous ties, I would say, "hey, check out the new secretary!" When he turned his head, I'd cold-cock him with the heaviest metal I could find.

    But that's just me.
     
  19. Don Carlos

    Don Carlos Senior member

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    Seriously, If somebody walked into my office wearing those ridiculous ties, I would say, "hey, check out the new secretary!" When he turned his head, I'd cold-cock him with the heaviest metal I could find.

    But that's just me.


    Personally speaking, I prefer to lecture my victims on the merits of Phil Collins before committing my acts of unspeakable violence. But different strokes, I guess.
     
  20. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    A lecture extolling the virtues of Phil Collins is an act of unspeakable violence!
     

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