Mai Ties

This is a post about my tie collection.  Yeah, another post about collections.  No one cares – always remember that when talking about your collections.  However, you shouldn’t mistake curiosity for caring.  I can imagine that some people would be curious to see someone’s collection of something, even if they don’t share the same enthusiasm.

Anyway, ties to me were always an afterthought.  I went to a Catholic high school (which was more like a country club with as little learning that happened there), and we were expected to dress up with button-down shirts and ties.  Being teenagers, only about 2% took the dress code seriously.  I was part of the population that didn’t really understand the significance of dressing properly, so I just went through the motions.

Back in those days, ultra-skinny leather ties were in fashion, but they didn’t get worn often because of the dreaded “tie-torqueing” personal attack.  When yanked by an attacker, the leather ties would knot up so tight, they sometimes had to be cut off.  My dad had taught me the full Windsor knot, which proved to be untorqueable, but came with the disadvantage that it was a massive knot.  Once I learned the Four-in-Hand knot, I never looked back.

Knit ties were also in fashion then, and recently I have seen a small resurgence of them, but knit ties really aren’t making a permanent comeback.  They are more like a novelty tie, which is fine with me.  I only have a couple in my collection.

I’ve recently been attracted to ties in non-traditional fabrics, i.e. not silk.  Linen, cotton, polyester, and even velvet have made it into my collection.  I also like non-traditional shapes, like squared-off ends and I have one that I call a “razor” that has a single-angle end.  That one gets compliments when I wear it.  A couple of my ties are event-specific, like a red/white/blue/stars tie for July 4th or maybe Memorial Day.  The velvet tie just screams Christmas time.  My collection is evenly weighted between wide- and narrow-width ties, but most all of my recent purchases have been slim ties.

For me, the why of collecting ties is primarily the recognition.  I always used to have four ties, give or take, that were used only for job interviews and funerals.  But when some people at my workplace suggested “Tie Tuesday” to balance out the everyday casual attire, I joined in.  And that’s when my tie collection started blooming.  I’ve mentioned it before.  People notice when you are dressed above the norm.  But you can’t do it every day, because that then becomes your norm.

As far as cost goes, ties can be a really cheap accessory that adds a lot of style value.  I don’t ever pay more than $15 for a tie, and the ones that are usually $30+ at stores are not even the fashion I like.  They are more business-suit, power-executive ties.  Likewise with tie clips and tacks – you don’t have to spend more than $20 for one.  Of course, once you start getting serious, you will need a tie rack.  I started with a combo tie/belt rack that had maybe eight posts to hang ties.  I’ve since upgraded to a 24-post tie rack for less than $10.  In the same way I limit the clothes I own to the number of hangers I have, I will limit myself to the number of ties my rack will hold.  It won’t be long before I have to start recycling.

So, without further adieu, here are the ties:

dsc_0682_cr-medium “The Razor”
Kenneth Cole

This one gets a lot of attention.  I found it at a discount store and have never seen one like it since.

dsc_0683_cr-medium “Color Flash”
Little Black Tie

This was a nice gift from the GF.  It works well with my black or my aqua shirt.  The tie is black, but the end piece is a contrasting color that “flashes” when you move.

dsc_0684_cr-medium “The 80’s”

This one is heavy 80’s with a really big, loose stitch.  I think the low clearance price is the only reason I got it.

dsc_0685_cr-medium “Red Velvet”
Original Penguin

This is red velvet.  It’s a bit thick and has limited potential, but it will rock when the holidays come around.

dsc_0686_cr-medium “They Said I Had To Wear a Tie”
Dan Smith

This one is a polyester print.  The pattern is cool and could probably be used at a youngster party.  Definitely “phoning it in” as far as style goes.  I use this a lot to practice knots because it’s thin and slick.

dsc_0687_cr-medium “Dark Marble”
Unknown Brand

This 80’s tie has a nice, tight knit and the red and blue color variations in it match up well with rich, dark shirts.

dsc_0688_cr-medium “The Southwestern”
BDG. (maybe?)

This is one of my favorite ties and another gift from the GF.  It’s linen, with a nice pattern and shape.  It comes undone easier than most ties.  Works good with Oxford shirts.

dsc_0689_cr-medium “The Suit”
Calvin Klein

This blue tie is made of suit jacket material and is part of CK’s Steel series.  It’s like wearing a suit jacket when you’re not wearing a jacket.

dsc_0690_cr-medium “The Distinctive”
Original Penguin

This tie is a mix of polyester, silk, and cotton.  The fabric has a unique look and feel that catches your attention.  The color scheme works with a lot of shirts.

dsc_0691_cr-medium “Understated”

This 100% cotton tie is probably going to be 100% rumpled.  But I think that’s its charm.  It’s not pompous or power-tie feeling and the neutral color could go with lots of shirts.

dsc_0692_cr-medium “My Eyes!”
T. Edwards

This is an old-school tie for me, back when the purpose of wearing a tie was to be obnoxious.  It comes out when it needs to.

dsc_0693_cr-medium “New Start”
Jerry Garcia

This was the first tie I bought when I became re-interested in wearing ties. It started a J. Garcia brand mini-obsession.

dsc_0694_cr-medium “From the Past”

Some of the ties from my youth I have no idea where they came from or how I acquired them.  I keep this around because the color and pattern works with so many shirts.

dsc_0695_cr-medium “Jolly Roger”

I found this one at Target on clearance and since I’m into computers and you know, pirates and all…  It’s a moderate conversation starter.

dsc_0696_cr-medium “On Black”
Jerry Garcia

I wanted this tie to wear with a black shirt for the massive contrast.  It did not disappoint.  It also got a direct compliment, so, success!

dsc_0697_cr-medium “The Parent’s Tie”

This is another silk tie from my long past.  Probably a more traditional (meaning, old person) pattern.

dsc_0698_cr-medium “Ocean”
Jerry Garcia

Blue is my first choice in colors, so this tie really called to me.  I don’t wear it often enough.  This is when I stopped buying J. Garcia ties because it was getting too predictable.  I needed more variety.

dsc_0699_cr-medium “Just Silver”
Nicole Miller

I was really attracted to the shine and smoothness of this tie, but I think I’ve only worn it once.  It’s too thick.

dsc_0700_cr-medium “Old Balls”
Ottimo Uomo

Who knows how I got this tie.  It’s old-school silk and has a design I like a lot: abstract modern.  It’s really old, though.

dsc_0701_cr-medium “God Bless Murca”
Jerry Garcia

Even though I’d stopped buying J. Garcia ties, this one was cheap on clearance and it would be good for American holidays.  I have yet to remember to wear it.

dsc_7123_cr-medium “Oxford”
Van Heusen Studio

This tie is a super-thin, light cotton tie.  Like the Suit Jacket tie, this one is like wearing an Oxford shirt when you are not.  It adds a casual feel to a dress shirt, similar to “Understated”.

dsc_7124_cr-medium “Vibrant”
Van Heusen Studio

Another super-thin tie, this one in silk.  It has a bold, deep blue color and modern pattern + accents.  Worn against a white shirt, it demands attention.  Against a dark shirt, the pattern becomes the focus.

dsc_7125_cr-medium “The Suit II”
Calvin Kline

This tie is similar to “The Suit”, although it is not in CK’s Steel series.  It’s a silk blend tie with blue/grey/black colors.  It has a semi-iridescent sheen to it which makes it “pop”. Bought on clearance with an included tie clip, for less than the cost of a tie clip.


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