Crest Dressed: Heraldic Club Ties, Yea or Nay?

Heraldic club ties: So handsome to look at, so foolish to wear — or are they?

Trad clothiers bring out crest-emblazoned ties every fall — including, this season, Lands’ End (above)— but who actually buys them? Do they make you a royal ass, shield you from the commonplace, or leave you a crestfallen subject of ridicule?

So what say ye, gallant or gauche? Here are the pretenders to the style throne:

Ralph Lauren:

Brooks Brothers:

J. Press:


107 Comments on "Crest Dressed: Heraldic Club Ties, Yea or Nay?"

  1. I say thumbs up.

  2. As long as there is no pretense, I say fine.

  3. I love these. I own a couple.

  4. So far the yeas have it.

  5. Desk Jockey | August 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm |

    The one from Press is just the crests of the four historian provinces of Ireland, not a made-up & meaningless number like the others.

  6. I think, if it’s a real crest then it’s okay. But you don’t have to be a member of a club to wear one. Not a fan of the made-up stuff.

  7. English Prep | August 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm |

    I agree, although if you turn up to a gentlemans club with one of these, other members will ask you where the tie is from, a certain no-go in places like the Oxford and Cambridge club in Pall Mall. The response, oh, the tie is not from any specific club, its just a designer Ralph Lauren one, will bemuse those there! As everyone wheres the colleges, rugby club, and so forth ties there….

  8. I actually say nay. Not to be contrarian. Unlike repp ties, I feel that heraldic ties should have your family crest, or the family you are descended from, or a club you belong to, etc. I’m sort of that way about woolen tartans. The only tartan I own is the one my father’s side is associated with. I would proudly wear my mother’s side’s crest, as they tend to be much better about keeping volumes of family genealogy going back to our “founder” in the late 1400s, and I’m in the ridiculously sized book that gets printed every five or ten years and sent out to the entire family. I would also wear my university crest (although it appears only on my ring, I have not yet seen a tie with the crest, just with our extremely well known mascot). I can also see a situation where I might, as I joke where a tie with little Gryffindor or Hogwarts crests on it. I’d be looking to see how long it took someone to notice it was a Harry Potter tie…

  9. Bah. Wear. You’d think as an English teacher, I wouldn’t make such mistakes. The internet is killing my brain faster than my students’ brains…

  10. As long as it’s your club’s crest!

  11. Michael Mattis | August 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm |

    I suppose because of the military heritage, men’s clothing tends to be imbued with meaning. So when you appropriate a symbol into your wardrobe that has meaning outside mere aesthetics it puts you at risk of ridicule.

  12. It’s just another motif, as far as I’m concerned.

  13. A little too reminiscent of those worn by Ernie “Coach” Pantusso. I prefer Malone’s silk knits. Nay.

  14. Richard Meyer | August 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm |

    If a tie is a genuine Club tie, then only a member of that club should wear it. Otherwise, no problem.

  15. Crests plus stripes are just a bit much for me.

  16. I think the crest-and-stripe ones are the most handsome.

  17. Richard Meyer | August 12, 2011 at 6:34 pm |

    I helped design the tie for one of my clubs, and it has both crests and stripes-and looks fine. 🙂

  18. I like them a lot, but have a strict rule about not wearing anyone else’s kit. Same with repp ties. Tartan gets a bit of a bye, but not before knowing who it belongs to.

  19. Being an American undergrad at Oxford, no-go. Ties are a damn minefield. I recently found out that one of my j. crew ties is an Americanized version of the old etonians tie. Can’t really wear that anymore.

    That J. Press Irish one would be fine, but you’d probably have to be prepared to defend irish nationalism; it includes ulster.

  20. I do not care to comment on what other people should or should not wear but I would like to contribute a little bit of clothing history. My rowing club (along with many others) has both a ‘regatta’ and a ‘city’ tie. The former is a brightly coloured pink and green ‘rep(p)’ stripe. The latter has a sombre dark green background decorated with very small pink crossed oars. Other club’s city ties often have tiny crests on a plain background. City ties originate from the time when it would not be acceptable for a man to wear a bright tie to work. The colourful regatta tie could be worn with a blazer at a sporting event but not in the office with a dark suit. Here the conservative version of the club tie would be worn. Things have changed in most workplaces. I feel that ‘Naked Friday’ will be with us soon.

  21. I only wear my green Four Provinces tie on St. Patrick’s Day. Style-wise, it’s helluva lot more defensible than a t-shirt perpetuating negative stereotypes about the Irish and drinking, green-and-white Dr. Seuss hats, and other abominations you see on the streets of Boston that time of year. As an Irish-American of Ulster Protestant descent, I appreciate anything that allows me to celebrate my heritage and to be subversively Unionist. Nobody so far has even gotten the joke.

  22. Bern, Drew,

    I mentioned my woolen tartan, associated with County Cork and my family name. Although my name is quite common in the United States, being told I’m second generation Irish-American on my father’s side makes it extremely easy to trace myself back to Cork. I doubt highly anyone would recognise the tartan here in the United States, but if worn in Ireland or the UK, I would proudly defend my right to wear it (although some might say being born in America erases the claim, I do not). My father’s side is Celtic Irish Catholic, strongly Republican.

    My mother’s side, of course, has been in the United States since at least the mid 1600s, with the first direct ancestor arriving in Maryland sometime i, although I have much less direct ancestors going all the way back to the firs, but I’d have to consult the book. It is my understanding that the genealogy has been kept up-to-date every year since 1760, but I really don’t know if we have family heraldry that I could wear. Given that our original family “founder” on the British (of Scotch-Irish and Teutonic origin) and side was a knight and noble under Richard and Henry VII in the 1400s, I’m sure that part would probably be staunchly Unionist.

    Getting back on point, according to the book, we have several interrelated crests, and I don’t see the one my branch uses exactly, but this one is a pretty close match to the cover of our genealogy book 8for the most part only the name and the motto are reversed):—Coat-of-Arms-Gift-Store-3bfee0f972f9a11c23b73de10b0e7b9276b5b5a4/POOLE-FAMILY-CREST—-POOLE-COAT-OF-ARMS-jpg-qpps_230225371710551.LG.jpg I’d wear the actual crest part (the center) on a tie, but I’m sure I’d have to have it custom made.

  23. Derp. Comments need edit buttons. First indirect ancestors in the 1630s, direct ancestors in the 1680s.

  24. The only heraldic type ties I wear are my clan tie (Hunting Ross) and my regimental tie (Joint Warfare). it’s like all these university branded clothes. If you didn’t go there, why wear it?

  25. I respectfully differ from those who say you must not wear an emblematic tie unless you belong to the group. Sure you shouldn’t wear it in a way that amounts to being an impostor (e.g. wearing it to an event where you will meet a lot of bona fide members of the group). But in a populist society like ours, I think it is acceptable to dress in an aspirational manner or to show your support for a group by wearing their emblem. For instance, I proudly wear the emblems of my alma mater The University of Wisconsin, but I also enjoy wearing the emblems of The University of Delaware because I was born in DE. On the North Side of Chicago it is common to see persons wearing the Irish flag (or even the emblem of Sinn Fein) regardless of their own actual heritage. I consider that completely awesome. Of course, of you are in Belfast you might want to think about it first.

  26. Just a reminder that half of you are talking about the original topic of the post — crests that have no meaning — while others are taking the argument of don’t wear a crest of a club you don’t belong to. Obviously these are two very different things. Few would condone wearing the tie of an organization you don’t belong to, but my question was whether fictitious crest ties are a handsome neckwear motif or hopelessly gauche.

  27. Well, to crystallize the issue, I don’t think it’s possible to really divorce the form of a club emblem or crest from its cultural meaning–one simply cannot wear a symbol of any sort without expecting some degree of recognition and association.

    Take, for example, the Irish J. Press tie–like the poster above, I enjoy seeing a piece of Irish spirit that doesn’t play off negative ethnic stereotypes. I’m not Irish; I’m just bothered by negative stereotyping in general (imagine combining negative stereotypes about a race or ethnicity more sensitive to our social consciousness to symbolize their cultural holidays). Moreover, I feel that one can wear such an Irish emblem even if you’re not Irish directly–as long as you have some logical reason to affiliate yourself with them.

    But as Christian wrote, real or perceived misappropriation is not really what we’re talking about here. The problem of artificial crests is roughly akin to wearing the emblem of a country that does not exist, even jokingly on an Unencyclopedia page. I feel like the only people with the consistency of mind to legitimately succeed in wearing and explaining to inquirers the meaning behind a “manufactured” crest is the ueber-hip coterie which has at its kernel an unwaning obsession for the newest fads of manufactured irony. It’s almost as if a marketing genius had devised these tie emblems to become the new crests of Williamsburg, Seattle, Austin, etc. Unfortunately, you know that’s not the case as they seem a little wider than a 1.75″ skinny.

    Ultimately, these seem bound to draw in the usual suspects: Customers infatuated with this season’s look-book (or whose girlfriends are), somewhere on the fringe of business-casual, who want a tie that’s “cool,” e.g. fashion-rag approved, to wear when they have an occasion to don one; or so I’d wager, for I don’t see the appeal for the cognoscenti of clothing–why would one knowingly associate oneself with something that has no existence, even satirically? In my opinion, those sporting them will come off looking like the average upper-middle-class American students who sports Che shirts at a human rights rally. Still, while they might have neither a firm grasp of history nor an affinity for Stalinism, at least they’re wearing something real.

  28. Actually, I’ll make one amendment: I think the discourse on how and when to wear (or appropriate) an emblematic design bears on this discussion in one way–the decision to purchase a manufactured crest in the first place. I fall into the camp that’s entrenched itself in the line of reasoning that “one should not wear the symbol(s) of a club to which one does not belong, or to a group with which one cannot reasonably associate oneself.” As an American, that means I’m generally pretty loose state-side with tartans and rep(p) stripes when I’m State-side. But traditionally-styled crests and heraldry are more or less universally symbolic, at least in the West; I wouldn’t personally cross that boundary with extant icons I couldn’t explain comfortably, and I think that in order to buy the kind of ties we’re discussing, I think one would have to either be comfortable with doing so, or be entirely ignorant of or unconcerned with its cultural meanings and the inability to truthfully explain them should your boss, hot date, or the under-employed Groton alum behind the bar casually ask.

  29. I don’t have a problem with people wearing faux emblem ties. But I think a better choice is to wear something the individual can actually identify with. A tie reflecting a person’s college or military unit is great. I personally never owned my college’s or US Army unit tie, never really wanted to. However, I am a recreational golfer. Everyone that knows me, even remotely, knows this. People I don’t really know have come up to me in the bank or elsewhere and made comments about golf to me. Living in a small town, I guess, accounts for this. I own two golf ties, one with crossed clubs, and the other with golf bags. I don’t wear them much, but it always draws attention to the fact I play golf. Wearing a snap brim cap most of the time identifies with golf also.

    The wearing of fake emblems revolves around potential chagrin when someone asks about it. The same would go with wearing a professional tie, without some actual identity with it. Cheers!

  30. If they’re fictitious motifs I think (a) they’re fine to wear and (b) can be handsome. “Ties are a minefield”…”the problem of artificial crests”…good grief, folks, they’re just neckties.

  31. The problem with the fictitious ones is that, especially with Ralph Lauren, they are often based on real club ties, with small changes to make them just slightly different. A few years ago, Ralph was selling a tennis-themed tie that, from a distance of a few feet, was nearly indistinguishable from the tie of a particular club in New York. So the line between “real but I’m not a member” and “fictitious” isn’t always so clear, and the latter can easily bleed into the former.

  32. Coincidentally I have five ties on eBay right now by Flusser, Drakes and RL PL (not my ties, incidentally), and the one with the most watchers and bidding activity since day one is an RL crest tie.

  33. Christian> A link to your eBay store on this site would be good for business.

  34. Ivy Style may be a business, but not my eBay account. I’m not a clothing dealer, just unload things now and then.

  35. Fair enough. To be more responsive to your initial question, my initial reaction was that a handsome-looking “made up” emblem is acceptable–at least in most contexts (going to court, going to the supermarket). But the more I think about it, that does conflict somewhat with Anne Bernays’s warning that anything faux is “drecky” and therefore disfavored. And certainly a “real” emblem is better in any circumstance. My favorite of the images above is easily the Irish province emblem, which at least has real significance. So my vote is now, “If you like a fake emblem, wear it; but be advised that you might like a real one better.”

  36. What’s this Anne Bernay text? Never heard of it.

  37. I’m referring to her 1975 novel Growing Up Rich, which I read on a lark at the direction of Lisa Birnbach. It is a pretty mind-blowing book, and I think it had a huge influence on Birnbach’s writing voice. It’s sort of a Metropolitan-style Establishment-meets-highly educated Liberals story, but much more so. I recommend it highly. It can be gotten for very cheap used:

  38. Thanks for the tip, I’ll check it out.

  39. When my high school was boys-only, its tie was the school crest on a navy ground. Years later the School changed to an equal-width repp tie of its athletic colors. Now coed, my School’s Administration decided to jettison such an archaic item. When I actually attend an event on campus, I wear the crest tie, for which I receive many compliments. I do not kid myself that wearing the tie anything more than an anachronistic solidarity reserved for School events.

    In the States, repp ties of any sort of color and stripe arrangement can and should be worn without concern for any UK or other foreign school, club, or establishment’s own neckwear. The reason for this lack of concern ought to be apparent to any US citizen: we have cast off such archaic nonsense. I would hope that a legitimate graduate or member of a foreign school or club knows when and how to wear the group tie.

    The problem one sometimes encounters is with finals club at certain US East Coast universities. I was at a wedding recently where a guest appeared with a skull-and-bones tie. In an elided way, I asked him, Does that tie mean anything? He replied, It could mean something. To which I replied, Unless one is a poseur.

    The wedding was in California where Stanford and Cal (not to mention USC and UCLA) mean far more than schools on the East Coast. Hence, the problem of wearing ties with symbols/crests/stripes is that they are meaningful only in context and with one’s knowledgeable confreres. Otherwise, I feel they should be left in one’s closet.

  40. Depends on the ocassion but I would certainly sport it at a match on campus. Always a fan of your dressings Christian Chensvold.

  41. “Though you’re disappointed you weren’t born with a family crest, pray for one in your next life and live without one in this.” –NY Times, 1992, and still excellent advice today

  42. CC,

    In case my ramblings were unclear, wear a crest tie only if it is a real crest and only if it is yours to wear by some measure. Fictions crest ties are best left alone.

  43. Button-down Mind | August 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm |


    Maybe the fellow with the skull and bones tie was just showing his appreciation for pirates. Seriously though, could it just have been a novelty tie to this person?

  44. *sigh*

    Unfortunately, I’m not dead yet.

  45. The fact that this is even a question is telling and says a lot about this whole neo-prep/fashion blog mini-movement. Fake crests are just that: fake. So, it’s terribly confusing why anyone would want to wear one. Authentic crests and club designs, on the other hand, are made explicitly with heritage, history, and lineage in mind. Why anyone who does not possess that heritage, history, or lineage would needlessly wear the design is also terribly confusing. People need to stop playing dress up and wear their own clothes, honestly and authentically. In the end, you’re not fooling anyone except yourself….and, perhaps, all the other folks who don’t know any better.

    If you want to aspire to something, save your pennies (stop blowing your money on fake/dishonest do dads) and/or work harder and join a real club or apply to and graduate from a historic school….then buy the tie. Simple, really.

  46. Lively discussion. I’m a fan of crested ties. The only one I have has my alma mater’s crest on it. I’d really like one with my own family’s on it.

    I’m a big fan of the British military tradition wearing ties with your regiment’s stripes or crest on them. If you’ve ever seen the movie Proof Of Life Russell Crowe plays an SAS operator turned kidnap and ransom negotiator for an insurance company. All of his suits are paired with regimental and crested ties.

  47. Popped in RL’s Rhinelander store yesterday, and crest ties were on virtually every mannequin.

  48. Wear whatever the hell you want… if someone takes issue with it, tell them to f-off. Furniture stores, meat distributors, and auto parts shops all have “crests” these days. 99% of people won’t care. If any of you can link the inappropriate wearing of a crest to an actual denial of entry, access, or membership to any club, organization, or event, I’d be shocked. It simply does not happen, so don’t be stupid. I would not likely just trot around in my actual family crest, but I’d happily wear the Land’s End one. They look great, especially when stripes bisect the shields. If it’s not your style, don’t wear it.

  49. ^ Thank you YWP. The sententious tone of some of these comments is just killing me.

  50. “If any of you can link the inappropriate wearing of a crest to an actual denial of entry, access, or membership to any club, organization, or event, I’d be shocked. It simply does not happen, so don’t be stupid.”

    I’ve never seen denial of entry, etc., but I have seen people asked about crests they were wearing, as in, “which club is that?” “It isn’t one,” is the answer of a diminished man.

  51. @YWP –

    You have missed the point 100%. For one, any company that uses a “crest” as a corporate logo is certainly free to do so. If you, on the other hand, decided to sport the crested logo of a furniture store on a necktie when you had no personal relationship to the store…well….that would just be odd.

    Authentic crests aren’t simple design elements like colors and generic patterns. As I’m sure you know, true crests and club emblems are designed with specific heritage and membership in mind. If you choose to wear one because you think it looks “cool” – or, more likely, becuase you think it looks “preppy” or somehow lends an “authentic” look to your outfit – as opposed to some actual, earned, or genetic link to the design, than you’re being phony. It’s like graduating from UMass and hanging a Princeton diploma on your wall and claiming it’s ok to do so because you like the colors and the ‘look’ of it.

    Would you be denied entry to a club or family gathering simply because you were ‘borrowing’ a crest for fashion reasons? No, I assume not. Rather, you’d be denied entry because you’re not a member of the club, society, alumni network, clan, or family! There’s nothing excessively moralistic about this at all – it’s simply how the world works.

  52. Pressing Matter | August 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

    “I’ve never seen denial of entry, etc., but I have seen people asked about crests they were wearing, as in, “which club is that?” “It isn’t one,” is the answer of a diminished man.”


    In my eyes, the “diminished man” is the one who actually CARES about such trivial things. That seems to be the mark of a massive insecurity.

  53. Michael Mattis | August 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

    FYI, it’s not a “crest;” it’s a “coat of arms.” The crest is the little thingy on top of the shield.

  54. @Pressing Matter – You’re reading a men’s “ivy style” fashion blog and, even, commenting on one. I hope the irony of you casting stones at people who “care about trivial things” isn’t lost on you….

    And, in my mind, this dialogue is about more than just crests/coats of arms/logos – it’s about dressing naturally and authentically and not trying to be something/someone you’re not through your clothes….and, it’s about having a baseline understanding of what you’re wearing, the heritage and references of/in accessories, etc.

  55. Since you enjoy being rhetorical, AEV, I should point out that this is not an apt comparison:

    “It’s like graduating from UMass and hanging a Princeton diploma on your wall and claiming it’s ok to do so because you like the colors and the ‘look’ of it.”

    The proper analogy would be hanging the diploma of a fictional school.

    Again I think few would defend the practice of wearing the real crest of an organization to which one doesn’t belong. What we’re talking about here is fake crests.

    Oh, and how come you put scare quotes around “ivy style”?

  56. @CC – Fair enough, though it appears from the comments that the debate was about both fake crests/emblems and wearing ones when there’s no affiliation….and, even you posted a J. Press design that was, technically “real”, in the sense that it depicts the actual emblems of Ireland’s provinces…..

    I meant no disrespect via my use of quotes around ‘ivy style’ (lower case)….my point was simply that this forum/genre is a rather specific, and at times, acquired, one….and that retorts from readers who attempt to devalue other comments by tossing claims of “triviality” are hypocritical in every sense….

  57. It’s interesting that my post was based on fake crests (the Ireland one was an oversight), yet the angle those opposed chose to go after was the misrepresentation one.

    Attacking fake crests for the fakeness is a bit more vague, I guess.

  58. YWP is correct that individuals should feel free to wear whatever they wish. Perhaps even more clarification is in order by clearly individualising my ramblings. I don’t own any ties with coats of arms on them. I’m unlikely to do so only because it is not a simple matter to get them placed on ties.

    My grandparents (and according to the stories, great grandparents) have always placed family symbols in very prominent locations in the household. As to Pressing Matter, if I’m descended from families, attended schools, and belonged to clubs with such coats of arms, why should not my ties represent those? Why do I need to purchase ties with fictitious coats of arms when I already “own” perfectly good ones? While I won’t be so gauche to walk up to someone I think is wearing a coat of arms without meaning, I would also probably be quite annoyed if someone demanded of me the relevance of my tie to my person, which is probably why I’ve never gotten the darn things made.

    Michael Mattis is also correct about crest vs. coat of arms, but this is why we pay people to study heraldry… and I imagine most of us, if not all of us, are not said experts. I think we can be forgiven for not knowing the technical names for all of the parts of heraldry.

    tl;dr Wear what you want, I’ll actually just skip the club ties entirely. Except Hogwarts, because Harry Potter is cool. That’s a fictional crest of a fictional school, but one that still has a great deal of meaning to anyone who gets the joke.

  59. AEV,
    No dice, man. If I ran into a guy wearing my family coat-of-arms, I wouldn’t be insulted by it… I’d be flattered. If I saw a guy wearing one of my clubs’ ties, same thing. College? Same. It would break the ice to ask if they had connections to the pattern they were wearing, but that would be it. The Libya flag is solid green, but I wouldn’t expect people to confront me about a solid green tie. Thanks for the lecture on being phony, though.

    “I like your tie… are you a member of xxxxxxx?” I ask the man with the tie from my city club.
    “It was my grandfather’s… I don’t know.” He responds.
    “Nice! Please tell me about him.”


    “I like your tie… where is that from?”
    “It’s just a tie from Lands End… it’s probably not anything ‘real'” He responds.
    “Nice! I hope it’s still on sale.”

  60. Re: coat of arms.

    I think “crest” may be the fashion industry term for such a neckwear motif.

  61. This sort of thing is either camp or vanity. Camp I can support – someone who clearly didn’t go to Eton, wasn’t in the regiment, etc wearing a tie that somehow wound up at the charity shop with the intent to send up the obsession with status. But vanity – or “aspiration” as I suppose it’s called now…and a particularly silly kind of vanity, supposing that you actually gain status from attaching an advertisement to your person. If you didn’t go to the school and so on, wearing a tie with a coat of arms is about the same as wearing the logo from a running shoe company or something similar – you’re hoping that the power and importance of the image rubs off on you. And it suggests insecurity – you feel that your school wasn’t good enough, so you hope people will think you went to Harvard or Cambridge.

    And an entirely fake coat of arms! Good for a laugh as a send-up, of course.

  62. @ Nard Dog

    I don’t think that the SAS has a regimental tie. I think that if anyone serving (or who formerly served) in the SAS would wear the tie (and blazer patch or anything else) of the regiment that they were in before they were in the SAS. I don’t think that people who are serving (or who used to serve) in the SAS ever mention their service in the SAS.

  63. Michael Mattis | August 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm |

    You make me wonder is MI6 has a tie. They have a website: Wonder if there is an official Area 51 tie, or a NSA blazer.;-)

  64. Anyone else seeing in the Google ads?

    On my mother’s side, my great-grandparents left Oklahoma for California. They arrived in a covered wagon long after the automobile went into mass production.

    People gave them funny looks.

  65. Pressing Matter | August 15, 2011 at 11:54 pm |

    AEV retorted:

    “@Pressing Matter – You’re reading a men’s “ivy style” fashion blog and, even, commenting on one. I hope the irony of you casting stones at people who “care about trivial things” isn’t lost on you….”

    I think I am somewhat interested in clothing of a certain style, and I enjoy reading about it. I also think that it’s extremely trivial to give a **** about tiny emblems on ties and corresponding
    imaginary codes of hierarchy and/or entitlement assigned to them. I hope that distinction between broad interest in style vs. obsession over irrelevant minutia isn’t lost on you.

  66. @ Pressing Matter – Club emblems, school coats of arms, and authentic crests aren’t tiny, imaginary, irrelevant designs – that’s the whole point that I’m amazed so many folks seem to miss. The ‘codes of hierarchy and/or entitlement assigned to them” also aren’t imaginary – the designs themselves are specifically linked to the private clubs, schools, families and regiments that they represent…..they aren’t random design motifs.

    You may bemoan social hierarchies and not like that you can’t join/walk into any private club you’d like, but that’s just how the world works. You ignoring these realities and wearing the designs anyway – as if they’re nothing more that logos for you to spruce outfits up with – isn’t “fighting the power” and “expressing personal style” as much as it is, at best, a display of total ignorance and at worst an attempt to feign an affiliation where one doesn’t exist. There are an unlimited number of necktie designs for you to choose from – from generic, quirky club designs, to unaffiliated stripes and dots, to actual crests/coats of arms linked to institutions you have a direct/indirect personal affiliation with…..there’s just no good reason to fake it up.

    You wouldn’t display an Oxford diploma on your office wall (unless you went there), hang a Maserati fob on your key chain (unless you drive one), or wear a Harvard Varsity Crew t-shirt to the Head of the Charles regatta (unless you were/are on the team) – so, you shouldn’t walk around town with a random private club emblem tie on either. Again, simple. Wear your own clothes, honestly – stop playing prep dress up.

  67. The crest tie I had on eBay was bought by a guy in Alabama.

    Just reporting the facts.

  68. Unless the crest is somehow meaningful (e.g. I once had a Ben Silver’s City of London crest tie having spent a summer studyint there), thumbs down, esp. for a “crest” that is purely fictional.

  69. In my opinion, the posers in this crowd aren’t the guys running around wearing ties with crests, it’s the self-important ones who are puffed up with righteous grievance that one might commit such an act and thereby rend the social fabric.

    What’s worse is missing the point. No one has advocated “feigning an affiliation where one doesn’t exist.” So why the indignation?

  70. Pressing Matter | August 16, 2011 at 10:21 am |


    I know this stuff is really, really important to you, but please don’t put words in my mouth in your huff to defend your devotion to abstract hierarchy based on pointless tie designs.

    I’m sure you would LOVE to imagine that i am “bemoaning” some imaginary “denied admittance”, or that i am “fighting the power” (WTF?). Those statements in themselves just highlight the entire absurdity of what I’m talking about. The bizarre notion that the rest of the world MUST want into your “secret club”. The imagined hierarchy of self-importance and contrived exclusivity based on a tiny graphic motif on a tie seems such an antiquated concept as to to be sadly laughable. Not “old school”, more like “old thinking”.

    No. To me, and many others, such a concept does not foster resentment or jealousy, but merely bewilderment, amusement, indifference and mocking.

    The designs themselves aren’t imaginary (OBVIOUSLY) but the importance and/or relevance you assign to them is certainly imaginary. You can assign any importance to YOURSELF that you wish, but there’s no guarantee that anyone else will buy into your fantasy.

    Sometimes a tie is just a tie.

  71. Sartre, who has said that “such an act” would “thereby rend the social fabric”? AEV is the most… “intense” in his opposition, but I wouldn’t say he believes the act of wearing a fictional crest is going to lead to the end times. In fact, looking over the entirety of the discussion thus far, I see no one who has espoused such views. I see no “posers” here on either side, merely different takes on the issue- which is precisely what CC asked of us when he made the post! Christian, have I mischaracterised you? Did you not intend such discussion to occur, and thus presume some level of disagreement to occur?

    For myself, I merely said that if I wore a tie with a symbol on it, it would be one of the many symbols I have associations with already. I have my geeky fandoms, among them is Potter, and thus a Potter tie would be the whimsical exception that would prove the rule (so clearly fictional as to fool no one). it is downright rude to question the association of a tie to the person, and I don’t think any of us should go around making a habit of asking, “Your tie is suchandsuch, did you earn that tie?”

  72. I think that if your tie contains heraldry then you should be aware of what it means, where it comes from and what is expected of someone wearing it. If it’s from a mainstream brand and means little to anything I think that it is almost as bad as wearing a shirt from a non existent college.

  73. @ Pressing Matter, Sartre, and others – I am not the one who assigns relevance and importance to heraldic crests, club emblems, school logos, or family coats of arms. The institutions themselves are what lend meaning and importance to them. In fact, ironically, marketers have convinced you that the designs are appealing because of the very history and importance attached to authentic ones….

    It’s almost as if folks are debating this issue for the sake of argument – or, because it’s easy and populist to paint me as some sort of old fashioned, out of touch, blue blood who’s fighting progress. I’m none of those things. I’m simply someone who doesn’t feel comfortable covering myself in logos, crests, shields, and designs that represent unique and specific institutions unless I, myself, have some sort of direct or indirect relationship to them.

    Again, if you feel comfortable wearing a Dartmouth crested necktie when you didn’t go there, or strolling around Boston in a Boston Tennis Club tennis t-shirt when you’re not a member, you go right ahead.

    In your fantasy, no one will attach any specific meaning to the words and designs on your clothes, no one will assume you attended Dartmouth or play tennis at the Boston Tennis Club, no one will care if it turns out you’ve done neither – they’ll just assume, indifferently, that you like the design and colors and will pat you on the back for having such a cool style sense. Sure they will. I hope, for your sake, you’re not called out by a gorgeous alum at a bar or by a potential, club member boss in an interview – if you are, I’m sure they’ll appreciate the casual, modern, and democratic nature by which you approach your clothing choices….if not, you can lecture them on the irrelevance of their institutions and their “old fashioned” thinking…..

  74. I’m probably alone in this, but I think t-shirts and athletic wear from non-existent colleges would be brilliant! “Charlottesville College” or “Cape Cod University”.

    Hanging a diploma of a fictitious college is also hilarious in the right way: “Kitty Hawk College” or “Deer Isle A&M”.

    Loosen up, folks.

    AEV: If ANYONE wears a Boston Tennis Club shirt or tie, they are a phony. Such a club does not exist.

  75. Pressing Matter | August 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm |


    Yes, it DOES seem “as if folks are debating this issue for the sake of argument”. Folks like you.

    It’s odd that in order to defend yourself you seem to need to assign words, or imagined belief structures, to other posters.
    Nowhere did I say that i even own, much less wear, any sort of crest, emblem, coat-of-arms, etc.

    It’s more than extreme cop-out to say that YOU “don’t assigns relevance and importance to heraldic crests, club emblems, school logos, or family coats of arms.” OF COURSE YOU DO! Every single person makes their own decisions about relevance or importance of symbols. That is almost the definition of a symbol, logo, or emblem. An individual has to make a conscious choice to assign some meaning, relevance or importance to it or it means nothing whatsoever.

    I can assure you that i would never deliberately associate myself with anyone who gave a rat’s ass about any of your precious imaginary power symbols. They do serve one purpose for me…they are a quick and easy indicator of someone I would like to avoid. Sort of the equivalent of a facial tattoo.

  76. @YWP – Apologies, I meant the Boston Tennis and Raquet Club. You got me. “Loosen up” – you surely understood my point….

  77. @YWP I have items from literature. I have items associated with Devon Academy (not to be confused with the massage technical school) and Saganami Island. Both are fictional naval academies. My much beloved United Nations Naval Service cap has double meaning. First, because it is based on the same fictional universe as Devon Academy, and second because the coalition armada actually now exists to combat pirates (although the fictional service predates the real one, and so does the hat!). I find nothing wrong with individuals with “Starfleet Academy Class of 2367” and the like. I find it humorous.

  78. @Pressing Matter – Oh, I see…you’re actually quite indifferent on the matter….apologies for dragging you into this. You don’t care about logos, emblems, or crests – just important stuff like duffle coat makers. Ha ha….you’re something else pal.

  79. @AEV:
    I’ll be at said club this evening. Stop by… we’ll put a few drinks on my chit and end the debate on a friendly tone. What say?

  80. Pressing Matter | August 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm |


    Is that how you concede defeat?

    I am completely indifferent to these symbols. So much so that I couldn’t identify which emblem was which. Can you say the same? Of course not, because they actually mean something important to you.

    However, I’m NOT indifferent to people like you. You are also a symbol of something. Something I can identify immediately.

    Telling someone where to buy a duffle coat is akin to getting uptight over whether someone has the “right” to wear some silly emblem on their tie? I can see that logic doesn’t penetrate your thoughts.

    You’re desperate attempts at troll-dom have completely run out of gas here buddy.

  81. Pressing Matter | August 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm |

    I meant “your” of course.

  82. @YWP – I no longer live in the great city of Boston….if I did, I would take you up on your generous offer. Thank you.

    @ Pressing Matter. This isn’t about winning or defeat. This is about something far more simple: not wearing clothes that you’re ignorant about and not wearing emblems that represent institutions that one doesn’t have a personal affilaition with. How you can possibly argue otherwise is beyond me. “Emblems”, as a broad category, are not at all “important” to me. Moreover, as I’ve said more than once, this isn’t about me clinging to antique notions of hierarchy or personal “rights” (as you put it) of individuals to wear clothes. This is about what I (and numerous other commenters in this thread) find appropriate and what I and others find inappropriate and/or forced and contrived – nothing more, nothing less.

    I don’t think it’s appropriate for a non-Dartmouth grad to hang a Dartmouth dimploma on their wall, I would find it contrived for someone who drives a Mazda to have a Jaguar key chain, and I would find it inappropriate, forced, and contrived (not to mention odd and unnecessary) for a non-member of a tennis/golf club to wear that club’s crest/emblem on a neck tie.

    My point about your duffle coat expertise is related to your continued suggestions that caring about emblem/crest affiliation is trite and, even, offensive. I, for one, think knowing the back story of a particular shop’s duffle jacket is trite and banal, and I find the look and style of a duffle coat to be hideous – best for those under 8 yrs old and cartoon bears. How you could care so much about duffle coats and so little about what the crest on your tie represents says so, so much about the neo-prep world that this blog and others like it have come to represent. In short, this subculture craves clothes that suggest tradition, history, and upper middle class social standing, while frequently – and ironically – displaying an utter ignorance (not to mention indifference…even disdain) for the lifestyle and institutions that have shaped the clothes themselves. Thankfully, this reality is glaringly transparent in almost every instance.

  83. Pressing Matter | August 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm |


    Your trolling is really sub-par, I must say.

    Gloverall is hardly an obscure fact needing research. For someone on a clothes-blog one would think you would have the basics down before starting your obsessions over arcane symbols of contrived entitlement.

    I did not offer any opinion about duffles, merely where to find one. But once again it seems you feel your lackluster “arguments” need contrived strawman tangents to distract.

    You set up false narratives and then argue against yourself. While I’m sure this self-delusion leaves you feeling smug(ger), it’s rather pointless..and another glaring indication of your obvious insecurity.

    Continue on tilting at windmills, Don Quixote.
    I’m sure a hollow imaginary victory will ensue shortly.

  84. @Pressing Matter – disagreeing with you is not ‘trolling’. I’m very familiar with Gloverall, having spent years living in the UK. That doesn’t make the style appealing, nor does is it make your knowledge that J. Press had their duffles made by them any more serious or relevant.

    Again, you weren’t making a general comment about Gloverall (a well known brand to some, but one that has only recently become an obsession of the neo-prep blog set since they relaunched direct US sales in 2010..) – you were surmising who made coats for another label. Do you also know who makes L.L. Bean’s duffle coats? RL’s? Lands’ End? Suggesting to someone that J. Press’s sold out coats are made by a high priced UK producer seems far less helpful than simply pointing out that the same style is sold by dozens of other readily available labels/shops (including ones as ubiquitous as J. Crew who sold a co-branded Gloverall Monty range last year…)….but, you weren’t interested in helping the commenter out, you were inclined to impress us all with your ‘inside’ info. on J. Press’s manufacturer. And name drop Gloverall. Bravo.

    If you honestly feel knowing who makes coats for J. Press is more ‘basic” than understanding that you shouldn’t walk around town with a Yale tie on unless you have a personal affiliation with Yale, etc., than I’m at a loss. Authentic, still in use crests and symbols of well respected institutions are “arcane”, stock room knowledge of J. Press producers is ‘basic’ – I see.

  85. @CC: “Again I think few would defend the practice of wearing the real crest of an organization to which one doesn’t belong”

    – Add repp ties to this list and speak to Unabashedly Prep guy.

  86. I love these, and I have quite a few of them.
    -ATH (

  87. Pressing Matter | August 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm |


    Again with the strawman tactics and outright fiction.

    I have no idea WHAT Gloverall has to do with this particular article about ties. Nor do i understand why you imagine this well-known old brand to be some current hipster reference.
    Perhaps YOU just jumped on some duffle bandwagon that I’m not aware of. You seem to be pretty knowledgeable about whatever J Crew is up to these days.

    You are the definition of trolling.

    I have no idea what you are even babbling about at this point. You continue to argue with yourself over imaginary points.

    Get a life, you sad little man.

  88. Gentlemen, we’re in Christian’s house. Perhaps we should pay him more respect by limiting the discussion to answering his question. I’m not blameless, but I’ll attempt to set the example and roll the clock back a bit by answering the question directly:

    No, Christian, I personally do not wear them.

  89. I’m curious: why do the necktie posts bring out so many comments?

  90. @PM. Allow me to explain – it’s simple: from your very first contrarian comment about the ties, your posture was clear: caring about what the crest you’re wearing means or whether you have an affiliation or not is trivial and, even, offensive, old fashioned, and snooty.

    At the same time you were arguing against the relevance and importance of having an affiliation/understanding of the crests and emblems one might be wearing, you were commenting about who produces sold out jackets for J. Press and referring another commenter to Gloverall.

    This isn’t a strawman – it’s being blantantly hypocritical. I’m not sad, or little. You seem to hate tradition and institutions and love the minute details of them at the same time….that, for sure, must be a tough every day existance.

  91. For the literarily inclined, the great moment of tie meaningfulness confusion in English literature is the opening chapter of Evelyn Waugh’s satirical “Decline and Fall”, where the protagonist is attacked in a college quad by a drunken member of a club because he mistakes his tie for being one of their own club ties, and does not recognize him as a fellow member:

    “Now it so happened that the tie of Paul’s old school bore a marked resemblance to the pale blue and white of the Bollinger Club. The difference of a quarter of an inch in the width of the stripes was not one that Lumsden of Strathdrummond was likely to appreciate.”

    The altercation leads to the protagonist having his clothes torn off in the assault, whereupon he is expelled from college for indecent behavior. The event is actually what sets in motion the entire plot of the novel! The book is a great and very funny read.

    Also, @ Pressing Matter, I just need to say this: even on an anonymous comment section of a blog, an ad hominem attack generally says way worse things about the the man who says it than the man to whom it is addressed.

  92. If this were a Wild West saloon and not the Internet, Pressing Matter would be one of those guys who shoots you for looking at him wrong.

  93. @ Button-Down Mind

    You’re right: the man’s possible interest in pirates did cross my mind. Still I suppose I anticipated a forthright answer since as as invitees to this particular we clearly had some element of social connection. It’s all rather silly even in in consideration of the hallowed discretion on the part of members of that Yale organization. And that’s the whole point of these types of ties: if some piece of cloth you hang ’round your neck creates happiness, then wear it.

  94. @Chris gets the smart prize.

  95. Pressing Matter | August 18, 2011 at 11:42 am |



    Allow ME to explain…

    We are talking about TIES here, not Gloverall duffle coats. You went to a completely different blog post, and extracted a completely unrelated comment I made in response to someone else’s query about duffle coats. Then you removed that one-sentence Gloverall comment from it’s original context, assigned all sorts of your own bizarre assumptions to it, an introduced it into this conversation as some strange irrelevant strawman distraction.

    (Go look up “strawman” by the way)

    But I’ll play your game for a second… The man in the other topic was asking what happened to the J.Press duffle coats. I merely said that I believed they were made by Gloverall, so if he wanted that coat they are relatively easy to find. End of comment.

    I might even be wrong about who makes them. But I thought I recalled reading in some J.Press promo that they were made by Gloverall. The guy didn’t want an LL Bean, or Lands End duffle. I’m not the duffle expert. I merely offered him the info he requested……where to get the coat.

    WHY you are so upset about my one sentence (in a completely unrelated article) helping some fellow find a duffle is a baffling mystery to me.

    One can only surmise that you were so outraged by my humiliating smackdown of your silly tie hierarchy obsession, that you had to go wildly searching for any unrelated desperate strawman argument to cling to. God knows it has nothing to do with this article.

    I guess your new obsession is duffle coats.
    I’m personally not offering any opinion on them, actually.

    Maybe that would be a good new article for Christian?

  96. Pressing Matter | August 18, 2011 at 11:44 am |


    You have reading comprehension problems.

  97. What is the deal with this AEV chap?
    Seems to be hyperventilating and hallucinating simultaneously.

  98. Gents, let’s call it quits on this one. The party is over, and our host is ready to go to sleep. I’ll help you to your coats and call you a cab. We have stayed too late and are too drunk… we will likely regret most of this “certainty” in the morning as good gentlemen often do.

    Christian, thanks for having us over… I met lots of interesting people at your party.


  99. There’ll be another one.

  100. Andrew S. Eastman | August 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm |

    Jumping in lately, but to an earlier point: the club tie stirs people up so much because it sums up The Great Divide: do you need the credentials to wear the clothes?

    Are skull and crossed bones ties the province of any stylish guy, or reserved for members of that society only? (Maybe not the best example, because that motif has been so over-used that it’s lost any meaning, and because membership standards there have been so relaxed that they’ve also lost any meaning.)

    Which misses the real point: where’s the fun in pretending to belong to a club you’re either not a member or, of that doesn’t exist? Wouldn’t it be more fun to join a real one and wear their tie? Try the Hanover Country Club – they’ll take anybody, it’s cheap, and you could probably get away with wearing Dartmouth ties… at home, anyway.

  101. Andrew S. Eastman | August 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm |

    P.S., to AEV: I wouldn’t worry about being “called out by a gorgeous alum at a bar” for “wearing a Dartmouth crested necktie”… we tend to be stunted and Neolithic-looking, men and women both.

    I’m an obvious exception.

  102. Tripp Potts | August 21, 2011 at 10:35 pm |

    i own tons of these. a lot of them from older family members that find them now “childish” i LOVE them. i think that they make you look smart, but also a little bit of fun. and when it really comes down to it, its just a tie. people are not going to judge you and your background over a tie, unless they are already jealous or something

  103. As a Yale alumnus, I have to say that crest ties are fine . . . if the crest is for real and you have some claim to wear it. It’s like wearing a regiment tie when you haven’t served in the regiment. The idea of a fake Ralph Lauren crest is laughable.

  104. I must admit, loving crest ties. I hardly wear anything else nowadays. I do though find it weird when people dislikes them in the comments on this site.
    When I go to the lodge I of course wear our crest on the tie, but I have got absolutely no problem with wearing Ralph Lauren crest ties. My ties have only been given compliments – also in the country club where many of my fellow members wear different crest ties from big designers.

    Of course I do not mean that it is okay to wear fx. a Harvard tie if you haven’t been to Harvard – but that is a way different discussion.

  105. Richard T. McGovern | December 27, 2013 at 7:04 pm |

    Would like to get a quote for 6 ties with the family crest, (McGovern) please provide quote. Thanks

  106. Richard T. McGovern | December 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm |

    How do I get quote on 6 ties with a family crest. Thanks

  107. Unless your recognize the symbol, and you wouldn’t if it were fake, you should have no reason to inquire as to its meaning, unless your intent is to call out a fake, which would be ungentlmanly and agaist the rules of etiquette. It is rather like correcting someone’s grammer. It just makes you look ill bred, not the person you are attempting to shame

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