Here’s a curtain call for our pre-Christmas posts on rep ties and their affiliations in the UK. Paul Winston, whose family operated the Chipp brand, originally posted this on his blog back in 2010. — CS
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A Yale graduate would not put a Harvard blazer badge on his/her jacket. But we here in the USA we think nothing of wearing English regimental, school or tartan ties to which we have no claim.
In the ’60s, when the Ivy League Look was at its height in both the States and Japan, it was not unusual to have a visiting Japanese customer buy blazer crests for every one of the Ivy league schools. In our retail store and mailer back then, we offered many English regimental and school ties. We selected them based solely on liking the colors.
The more famous patterns, “The Guards Regiment,” for example, would be listed by their proper names. But for many of the more obscure public schools (what the English call prep schools), we would make up names and embellish them with stories about their origins and history. One of the ties offered we called “The Queens Own Confectioners.” My brother made up what we thought was an amusing story to complete the presentation.
We received a letter from a gentleman in London, who asked if we knew that the tie was for the school he had attended in his youth. He related that during the second World War at the weekly Friday Chapel Assembly, the headmaster would read the names of graduates who had died in battle that week. One sad Friday one of the names read by the headmaster was that of his son. My brother and I discussed whether we thought the letter was real or if someone was pulling our legs. We decided to play it straight. We sent a letter and assured him we meant no offense.
So to those who may be traveling to Great Britain we suggest you not wear a Guards Regiment tie if you or a family member has not served in the regiment. — PAUL WINSTON
Top image via Oxford Cloth Button Down.
Indeed, it is very bad form for we English chaps who haven’t attended a posh school/university or served in one of her Majesty’s regiments to sport one of said school’s, university’s or regiment’s ties. Very bad form indeed, Sir.
Now whether that applies to you Americans chaps, who are assumed not to know the rules in such matters, I think a lenient view would be taken. English fair play, safeguarding the Special Relationship, and all that.
It would be wise for visiting Yanks not to wear a British school, university, or regiment’s tie when visiting the UK, but the truth of the matter is that most Brits wouldn’t recognize any of those ties.
But it’s only the entitled few Brits, Anglophile Trad, and today even they wouldn’t be put out. Egalitarianism is the name of the game these troubled days…without putting too fine a point on it.
Not to put too fine a point on it, the entitled few would probably be too old or too drunk–if not both–to notice.
None of these shown are proper Regimentals anyway. The color blocks would need to be Howard from left to right, to the heart. Wrong again. (And the “old chaps” crap is soooo played. Don’t even try, ye Yankzz rubezz.)
Well in all due respect to the English, I wear the look as I appreciate the style. I’m 93% from the British Isles per recent testing and have traced the vast majority of my ancestry, dating back to around 1500, to England. I simply admire the traditional style while remaining ignorant to the specifics.
It’s that 7%, alas, that bars one from the very best society…
Shabby in the extreme to wear a tie you’re not entitled to. True laughing stock territory, filed under Never To Be Taken Seriously.
Shocked by those on here who think otherwise.
For those suggesting no one will know; you do – and surely that’s more than enough.
Paul Winston, my tailor for over 30 years, is a great man.
“It’s that 7%, alas, that bars one from the very best society…”
That would be a social convention with absolutely no basis, according to the Wall Street Journal article on the research discoveries now being found in universities across the globe from the analysis of ancient DNA. Article link below.
” … Joseph Pickrell of Columbia University and David Reich of Harvard University argue that “major upheavals” of human population have been “overwriting” the genetic history of the past 50,000 years. The result, they say, is that “present-day inhabitants of many places in the world are rarely related in a simple manner to the more ancient peoples of the same region.” In short, we are none of us natives or purebred …”
The Wall Street Journal concludes:
“The discoveries made possible by our new access to ancient DNA show that very few people today live anywhere near where their distant ancestors lived. Virtually no one on the planet is a true native—an instructive fact to consider at a time when ethnic and national differences still abound and the world continues to throw human beings together in new and unexpected ways.”
Is it also poor form to wear socks that emulate the colors of British regiments? Or, are socks different than ties for the Brits? I ask this seriously because I note that Corgi has “The Regimental Collection” of socks. It’s described as:
“A collection commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales in the colours of the Regiments of which he is Colonel or Colonel-in-Chief. For every pair sold, a donation will be made to the charity Combat Stress, which specialises in the care of veterans’ mental health.”
Sounds like a great cause. It also sounds like anyone may purchase a regimental sock–even encouraged–as I don’t see any requirement that you must prove yourself a member of the regiment before being allowed to buy the socks. Also, they have children sizes. Are there kids in the Royal Dragoons these days?
Link to Corgi’s The Regimental Collection: http://www.corgihosiery.co.uk/shop/regimental-men/
There are legions of guys out there who wear James Bond’s watch strap, despite never having served in MI6.
About twenty years ago, I attended a wedding for a navy chief who happened to be on the admiral’s staff of a former navy top gun pilot. The admiral was my friend’s best man. After the ceremony, the admiral asked if I attended the naval academy at Annapolis. I was wearing my standard olive drab 3/2 roll natural shoulder sack suit, highly shined shell cordovan long wings, starched white oxford shirt and a crew cut. Around my neck was a Brooks Brothers naval academy rep tie of navy blue and gold. I had not attended the college. The admiral quickly looked me up and down and simply said I looked very sharp.
I believe that one can get away with a great deal by looking squared away and professional. It probably did not hurt that my date, a six foot tall patrician beauty was standing beside me holding my hand.
Please do explain “Howard”.
@ Mr. Brown – So the legions of American men, including presidents, scholars and statesmen, who have worn repp ties over the last 60 years should be considered laughing stocks?
i’ll wear my Chipp “baseball” tie instead
@ rmpmcdermott If the chaps you’re referring to have worn ties that imply they’re members of clubs, institutions, schools or other without being so – of course. They may have undoubted talent elsewhere but on this front are crass or grossly ill informed.
@ Ward Wickers … Interesting point. IM(humble)O Corgi socks are not sport socks so don’t ape a team sock. More importantly they’re not part of what is a generally accepted/understood coded system.
Either way though, they’re not the best at staying up.
I have at least one hundred rep ties collected over the last thirty five or so years. I have never claimed to be a member of a club or graduate of a school by wearing such ties. If anybody has ever been offended, they never said anything. The one example I gave in a previous post was my only experience and the admiral simply complemented me on my appearance. Truth be told, I did not realize it was a naval college tie at the time.
I did however, make the mistake of wearing a running shell with Boston Marathon logos subtly positioned on the left chest and top of the back. It was a great jacket from Adidas and quite comfortably (Horribly un-trad I might add) I was questioned about my Boston experience twice the first morning I wore it to train at our local distance series to get ready for our local marathon. I realized that I must either alter the shell or stop wearing it. I am an avid marathoner but you practically have to be from Kenya to qualify for Boston and I am just a fairly quick pasty white boy. I did have a T shirt made with the legend “Kenya Pace Runner” for the marathon. Obvious that I wasn’t since I finished 3 hours 45 minutes. Not bad for a forty eight year old white boy.
Two weeks ago, I purchased a gold and burgundy tie in the English style – upper left down to the right. Brooks would reverse the pattern to the upper right down to the left. I looked it up and found that these are the colours (it’s an English tie) of the Cheshire regiment, and the King’s Royal Hussars.
The only striped ties I wear are the bi-color pattern. Blue/yellow is the Princess of Wales Regiment. Blue/green is the Rifle Brigade. Blue/red is the Household Division Guards. Blue/burgundy is the Royal Fusiliers London. And the red/yellow is the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
I meant no offense to any British tie wearers.