In the previous post, the discussion broached the subject of knit ties. Fittingly, I had a post ready for that.
Above is a new tie at Brooks Brothers which I spied in the store about a week ago. I plan to be wearing it incessantly throughout the season. Black flecked with blue (there are other color options), It’s the perfect kind of mixture of Ivy (the blue) and chic (the black) that I’ve been playing with the past year or so. Simple but stylish, blending restraint with flair, this is the kind of item I’ve loved wearing since my twenties, though I keep getting distracted by and acquiring handsome items that alas don’t speak to my soul.
If that sounds pretentiously philsophical, it’s probably because I feel glad to be alive today. Last night I was hit by a car (again), this time while on my bike. I’m only here because I leapt from the bike at the last millisecond in a defiant gesture that asserted, “I will live to dress again!”
A few years ago, menswear omnivores no doubt noticed that knit ties became popular among Pitti Uomo types and their sycophantic followers. Soon polka-dotted knit ties began to proliferate, but I had a strong aversion to them. The one above is more like a birds-eye pattern.
Since someone in the comments section recently opined that knit ties are ugly, it’s probably time for a vote. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Just noticed the page at Brooks lists them at 2 1/4. I don’t recall it being that slim and wonder if that’s an error. I’ll head over to verify as I need to pick one up anyway.
Depending on the outfit, a knit tie can lend just the right amount of texture. I keep them around.
I did notice several knit ties when I was at the store being fitted. Interesting option for casual attire.
I always feel like I am channeling my inner Alex P. Keaton whenever I don the knit tie.
Pain in the ass to tie, hard to find an occasion casual enough for while still welcoming a tie, short seasonality, very sharp.
Knit ties are true Ivy – I love ’em, particularly the one above – but never ever less than 2 23/64″ wide, mind. Wearing one of only 2 1/4″ would be totally unforgivable.
“If you insist!”
Great tie. Would be perfect with a white shirt and black & white Glen plaid suit with a light blue overplaid (which is what I’m wearing now). I sometimes wear knit ties, particularly solid black or navy, and think they are great with seersucker in summer, or gray tweed sport coats in winter. They look especially good with a pinned collar, but can be bulky in the knot if they are too thick or too wide. J. Press has some good ones, or did a few years ago when I bought mine.
The guy who wears only black knits:
(yep, similar headline pun…)
love the knit ties, praise be to whomever we all worship that you’re OK!!!
I personally like knit ties and wear them fairly regularly. I haven’t been asked, “Hey, is that a sock that you’re wearing around your neck?” for close to 30 years, so they’re probably considered OK by the proles these days.
I understand the knit tie thing, I’ve owned them when they weren’t 2 1/4 inches wide. For my money and taste I prefer wool challis ties for the season.
The Knottery is showing them with a point. I believe they are 3.25. Inexpensive. Less than $40.
I am glad you are okay Christian, I had a similar accident a year ago. Take good care!
Glad to hear that you’ve survived once again, Christian.
A solid knit tie is my only choice for wearing with a tweed jacket.
This discussion led me to count my knit ties when I got home (fairly late) tonight. It looked like though about 40 out of 200, or roughly 20 percent of my ties are knit.
Tonight I was at one of those Silicon Valley tech gatherings. This one was attended by about 100 people. Dressing in what would probably be called “Gay Ivy,” no doubt because of its proven ability to attract hot women (in the words of the prophet Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”), after the usual complements from the women I was surprised to hear several men say that they’d like to dress better (these were pretty much all engineers), but they didn’t know how to start and they thought that there might be an opportunity for the right person to start a successful business – if someone could find a non-threatening way to help geeks look more presentable.
Maybe the guy that hit you hates knit ties and was trying to take you out!
The knit ties that I got in the mid-sixties (and still wear) are all around 2 1/4″ wide with straight ends. In the mid-sixties, almost everyone had knit ties.
James Bond had some knit ties…..
……. but there are still some people who don’t have any knit ties.
Glad to hear you’re OK, Christian.
While I like knit ties and have at least a dozen, they don’t make it in to the rotation very often. Solid navy blue silk is my go-to knit tie, but I also have them in blue, yellow, burgundy, gray, and green, in cotton, wool, cashmere, and even a wool/mohair mix. Most are solid, but I have one that’s striped.
I don’t care for the dotted/spotted knit tie, because I find the clash between the dot’s formality and the knit tie’s casualness to be too great.
2 1/4″ wide, with a straight end? Sounds perfect.
The clash between formality and casualness is too great?
You mean like Weejuns and buttondown with a suit? Or pink oxford with black tie?
Not saying you have to wear either of those formulas; my point is merely that dressed-up casual and dressed-down formal is one of the defining characteristics of this style of dressing.
Love knit ties. Very effective way to dress up an oxford and sport coat, or dress down a suit and straight collar. Plus, they offer texture in a way you don’t get from a woven tie.
I saw this in person today and the blue is a good bit bluer than either this picture or the one on the BB website.
I recall seeing a few pictures of an older F. Scott Fitzgerald. A striped knit tie paired with tweeds and the Brooks button downed oxford. Nicely done. Which is to say, they can be done well.
“Dressed up casual.” “Dressed down formal.” yes.
I just received a copy of the annual list of attorneys in the New York Metro area. (I couldn’t not receive it; it accompanied the Saturday Times). Flipping through the pages (lots of pictures) moments ago, I wondered if any equally appropriate title might be, “Annual List of the World’s Worsted Dressed Professionals.”
I didn’t see any knit ties. Maybe a couple of repp ties, but huge knots. I think there were maybe two button downs, but I’ll venture they weren’t oxfords. No round/club collars, Christian. The suits–both men’s and women’s–were shouldered high and wide. Lots of bright white spread collared shirts and ugly ties.
Can you imagine a soft, sloped shouldered medium gray lightweight flannel suit paired with a blue or ecru OCBD, 3″ repp tie (modest dimple), old patina’d brown belt, and plain-toed brown Boucher lace-ups? Revolutionary.
Here’s Fitzgerald with his striped knit tie and OCBD shirt:
Do you mean “blucher”? This is Boucher:
Lawyers today are no better dressed than any other group of men (or women) in business. I received a similar magazine last Saturday with my Wall Street Journal regarding Los Angeles lawyers. It was appalling. I’d add this to what you’ve pointed out: It isn’t just that men don’t wear “Ivy style” clothing; it’s that even if they wear something a bit more updated the fit is appalling. If the general counsel of a reputable firm stopped off at Hanover Square while doing a deal in London, he could have L.G. Wilkinson make some beautiful suits for him in the drape. And, at a reasonable price. Really, most of the lawyers in this town look as if they walked into a Men’s Warehouse, lifted the first thing in their size, and had it tailored by a sight-impaired tailor. What’s more, one usually develops an eye for subtlety by observing fathers, uncles, grandfathers; so, it’s dying out and eventually will be, as you say, “revolutionary” when you do see it.
Uh, yes. Err, uh…not “Boucher.” Blucher, rather.
Spot on, Mr. Mason.
But revolutionary only in particular cultures.
Context is everything. A safe hunch is that if the Times was accompanied by a supplement that read, “Members of Episcopal Vestry’s and Presbyerian Sessions of Charleston, SC,” one might delight in picture after picture of very tastefully dressed ladies and gentlemen. I might wager the same is true of the boards (not faculty) of the better Southern private schools.
The last time I wore a knit tie was in Sunday School when I was in 8th grade. Couldn’t stand the way knit ties looked, the knot that resulted, and how they hung more like a sock than a tie. Although, I must say, that photo of F. Scott in his knit tie (and button-down) may cause me to reconsider. (As long as I don’t have to go back to Sunday School.)
And, sadly, even the standards of the finance industry seem to have slipped. When I worked in the industry (I left it in 2004), suits were ubiquitous. And these were fairly nice suits. Except for the IT guys, who always seemed to proud of the great deals that they got at JAB.
Having worked in finance is why I have suits from Brioni and Kiton still hanging in my closet, although I still wear them now and then when I have the rare (these days) need to intimidate people.
But things seem to have changed a lot. Maybe it’s to avoid looking like you’re one of those one-percenters that are reviled by those pathetic (IMO) “occupiers.” But suits in general as well as nice suits in particular definitely don’t seem as common in the finance industry as they were a decade ago.
Watching Ole Miss vs. Alabama: a shot of the Ole Miss student section showed a young man wearing a blue seersucker jacket, white shirt, and bow tie. Others were wearing blue blazers and striped ties.
Well, I’m glad to hear that. I’ve often wondered whether certain areas of the Southeast might not be a redoubt of gentility almost entirely absent now from our big cities.
Yes. That, too, is a shame about the financial industry. We, well I, used to think of bankers as always well-dressed. (And, um, I call them “Occupigs.”)
In response to Christian:
I don’t have a problem with the mix of casual and formal per se (after all, I am a Fred Astaire fan); I just don’t care for the particular instantiation of it found in the spotted/dotted knit tie.
Having said that, I think that about the only suit a pair of Weejuns should be worn with is seersucker, and no, I don’t care for buttondowns with most suits. Also, I don’t get the fascination with black ties. I have one for funerals, and another with blue bar stripes (kind of like Brooks Brother #3, but with texture, too) from Sulka to wear with suits and my stroller, but other than that….
In any case, I’m not a Ivy devotee; more of a fair-weather fan at best.
The Tie Bar has something very similar for $25.
“dressed down formal.”
Reflecting on this, I do think the perseverance (and maybe expansion?) of J. Press is essential to the survival of the classic Ivy look, here (and elsewhere) defined in large part (but not entirely, of course) by the 3 button sack. At least one retailier I know is met with frequent requests for “Squeeze”esque kit. Would anyone ascent to the notion that the style is essentially synonymous with the brand?
As the one who opined that knit ties are ugly, I should clarify that I don’t really mind them with stripe or polka dot patterns. I could hardly feel otherwise, given that I am pictured wearing a rather too-long version in your 11-7-2012 post about the Ivy Style symposium. Warm regards. S.
I picked this up today. As suspected, the 2.25 measurement is misleading. OK it’s that at the sock-like bottom. But the width all the way down is a tad over 2.5, making it a tad wider than some of my other knits.
Remember regular ties that are 3 inches at the widest, for example, taper to that measurement, while knits are square all the way down. That’s why a 3-inch knit looks clearly too wide for a person who likes 3-inch ties, but probably looks right to someone who prefers 3.5.
I’d agree with you about Press. Frankly, today I think O’Connell’s has a better selection. But I think geography will prevent O’Connell’s from attaining American icon status, if that’s what Press has achieved.
By the way, how and where would Press expand? Into the Southeast perhaps? I love the idea, but everything Press stands for is contra the way of today. We live in the age of exaggeration. Is there a way to make subtlety appealing or, God forgive me, hip? Could a place offering soft American style hype itself like RL?