How few ties do I really need?

Discussion in 'The Haberdashery' started by Doc4, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Doc4

    Doc4 Moderator Emeritus

    Please don't chime in with "none". :001_rolle This thread is for those guys who actually DO wear ties, and want to discuss a minimalist approach to neckties.

    I propose that every well-dressed gent should own four ties. As follows:

    1. black tie. Not "black tie" as opposed to "white tie" for tuxedo wear ... no, I mean a black "regular" (ie long, not bow) tie. You wear this whenever you have to go to funerals. This also works for dressier events in the evening like taking SWMBO to the symphony and a fancy restaurant for an anniversary or some such thing.
    2. Day-to-day work-dress tie. Yep, I say only have one. Look at photos of Winston Churchill ... he's always wearing the same bow tie: navy blue with white dots. (Or is is black with cream dots? Well, in B&W photos we can't tell but ... nobody ever complained about his consistency with neckwear.) One conservative tie in a darkish colour, with or without a small, repeating pattern. I'd go with Churchill-inspired navy with small white dots, or similar. But something you can wear to the office every day.
    3. "Wedding tie" ... more of a nickname than a specific "only wear it here" rule ... a more vibrant and "fun" tie for the formal-but-fun events you attend, like weddings. A brighter or lighter colour works well here, but I'd suggest sticking with plain or small, repeating pattern.
    4. aaaaaand, a casual tie. Whether you like the square-ended knit tie, or a woolen and/or tweed tie, or something else more informal, this will let you wear a tie in those less serious times when your other three are too dressy.


  2. The Knize

    The Knize Moderator Emeritus

    Well, the folks who are redoing our closet tell me I have 99 ties, and I do not own any black ones. I do not like black ties, unless I an wearing evening clothes, and then only black bow ties. I have my eye out for a grey tie for funerals. I have seen folks wear those and I think it is a good look for a funeral.

    I do not think I have any casual ties anymore, except a couple of madras ties. I used to have some knit ties, including some square end ties, but I gave them all away to a place similar to Goodwill. I do have some "club" ties with repeating motifs, such as a fly fishing fly, and see also below.

    I suppose I have some "wedding" ties. I have some Thomas Pink ties with repeating animal motifs, and today I am wearing a tie with a repeated motif of a dog with a golf club in its mouth.

    I am not nearly tidy enough to wear the very same tie every day. I doubt that Churchill wore the same tie every day. He may have have had a bunch of ties with the same pattern. Inasmuch as I pretty much wear a blazer and gray slacks every day, and most often wear white or blue shirt, to wear the same tie every day would make it look like I was wearing the same clothes every day. I think a gentleman should have more than one set of clothes. I think certain groups of gentlemen back in the day put a huge premium on dressing expensively and with variation. But i am far from a clothes horse.
  3. Doc4

    Doc4 Moderator Emeritus

    Sometimes difficult just to shrug these things off, sir.
  4. 6 .. I work from home, but when I am not, I dress to the need. A suit in the jungles in Papua New Guinea does not work, but formal meetings in Germany offices warrants a nice jacket. So it is rare that I need a suit for more than 4 days in a row, so I have (and take) 6. I think I have a couple more that fell out of favour.
  5. I actually love wearing a tie, and was one of the last two to finally leave them home. My personal opinion is that if you wear one daily, you should have at least one to match any shirt. If you have multiple blue shirts, I would have at least two ties that match, so you are not wearing the same ties two days in a row.

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  6. The Knize

    The Knize Moderator Emeritus

    You got me!
  7. Paisley! Also some kind of good rep stripe tie.
  8. Gotta have a colourful paisley
  9. Not in my closet, but hey, to each their own. Grin.

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  10. I like your list. Here's my thoughts:

    1. I think that probably one could wait to acquire a black tie until they really need it. I mean, I wouldn't advise young men to run out and buy a black tie to wait for someone to die. But I suppose everyone will need one eventually. Death and taxes and all that.

    2. The "interview" tie. Sure, everyone should have one. I guess one could also make it a "uniform" tie for daily office wear. Incidentally, my "#2" tie is the same as my "#1" tie being in the Army and all. But I do still have to wear a suit on occasion and need a requisite tie for it.

    3. and 4. I think the minimalist could combine those categories. Coming from Scottish stock, as I do, I would happily employ my clan tartan tie for either "fun" or "casual" wear. But it is kind of boring to only have one. Maybe we could go seasonal here, like a madras or knit tie for summer and a wool or tweed tie for winter. Or in my case, Ancient Mackay in the warm months and Modern Mackay in the cold months.

    If you really want to go minimal, I suspect something like a navy or burgundy grenadine could cover 2, 3, and 4. An Argyll and Sutherland Highlander regimental stripe could probably pull it off too, albeit in a super preppy way - traditional enough for #2 and colorful enough for #3 or 4.
  11. I have one black tie and one black/ gray
    no wedding or novelty ties at all
    no casual ties
    The rest in my closet are mostly Brooks brothers, solid colors or rep mostly. Plus some patterns and dots. 2 paisley i wear with a blazer.
    not sure exactly how many total
  12. When I retired took most of my ties to the thrift shop. Might have a dozen left, but that is overkill. In the last 2.5 years I've worn a tie three times.
  13. Doc4

    Doc4 Moderator Emeritus

    Coming from similar stock, I can see your point. And yes, the Ancient tartans generally have a much lighter colour tone so work much better in summer. But the look of a thick woolen tie seems more a "winter" vibe than a "summer" one to me.
  14. The Knize

    The Knize Moderator Emeritus

    I agree that it is hard to pull off any woolen tie I have seen in the summer. Tartan pattern cotton neckties do exist.

    I used to like Madras ties, but I do not seem to wear them anymore. I guess I am not wearing any Seersucker these days either.

    Are we talking exclusively long ties here? I have not liked bow ties in the past, but am getting kind of a hankering to wear some.
  15. Doc4

    Doc4 Moderator Emeritus

    Good question.

    I think this discussion could apply equally well to either. "The only 4 bowties you ever need" sort of thing.

    Even though I'm a dedicated bow-tie-wearer at this point, I would still feel a bit odd wearing a bow tie to a funeral. I guess the "tuxedo" connotations are just too strong with the black bow tie, for me. So my personal solution would be to have the one black "long" tie and the other three as bow ties.
  16. That's a good point. I agree with you that tartan ties are not ordinarily the best choice for summer wear, particularly absent an affiliation with the tartan. However, I believe it is a very personal choice that has a lot of meaning for me. The significance of the tartan countermands the normal rules about what to wear and when. Furthermore, the ancient tartan tie in my closet is of sufficiently lightweight wool and tight weave that it doesn't look thick and chunky or out of place with warm weather fabrics. So, yes, I would wear (and have worn) that tie to weddings and other family celebrations in the warm weather months. And if I were somehow restricted to only one "fun" tie, that would most definitely be it.
  17. Doc4

    Doc4 Moderator Emeritus

    I agree.

    Now, there are a lot of tartans out there, other than clan tartans, that are not of similar emotional significance. Every Canadian province has a tartan, and there are lots of others out there too but ... I won't give them the same weight as clan tartans.

    So for a Scot, his clan tartan would be an acceptable "only one tie ever" solution. Likewise, I would afford the same exception to a current or retired member of a British Regiment wearing the regimental tie. I suppose there could be other examples of where a similar exception could be appreciated by the larger populace. And since I'm not The Necktie Police, I don't have the definitive list.

  18. The Knize

    The Knize Moderator Emeritus

    The foregoing tartan analysis sounds good to me.

    I know you are a big bow tie fan, Doc4. I agree that bow tie would be awkward at a funeral.

    I am still not convinced re a black long tie for anything. I am sure that at the age we are getting to, there are going to be more and more funerals until we are each the honored guess. I suppose I should start paying attention to what folks are wearing.

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