Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reader's Question: Tie Widths Abound & Other Questions

Mr. BigShot writes (and no I am not making up that name)....
“I came across your blog the other day and enjoy reading it. I saw a post where you explained the best tie width is 3 inches. Do you know where I can find 3 inch ties? Most stores carry ties in 3.5-4 inch width, so it's a bit hard to find them.

I also have a couple more questions on items I need to locate. I'm looking for a pair of flat-front mid-grey (think grey heather or charcoal heather colors) for under $150, preferably under $100. Do you know where I can find these? I'm also looking for oxford collar button down shirts with shoulder pleats instead of the box pleat, which I find unnecessary. I have an athletic, lean body type, so a box pleat only adds extra fabric and puffiness to the back, which I don't need. Know where I can find one for under $75? Thanks.”

Thankfully, more and more retailers are adding the “slimmer” ties to there selection, at some stores they are not even categorized as slim ties and are just the only tie width sold.  Like with jeans, stay away from the skinny and gravitate toward the slim.  I certainly have my favorite places to sell ties around 3” they are in two different categories:

The High End -

Thomas Pink makes great dress shirts and ties.  Some of the best color combinations made, this also applies for their slim ties.  They sell slim ties for around $100 a tie and come in a wide range of colors and patterns.  This is certainly suggested for those that perfer bold colors.  Shown here is a more classic blue tie with white & red stripe, quite an elegant tie.

Brooks Brothers is known for classic, conservative style.  One of the original makers of the sack cut suit, they rarely make any deviations from the classic and most conservative style.  The fact that they are selling slim ties, is not an inditement on them, but instead an approval of the rebirth that 3" ties are having, thankfully.  Brooks Brothers sells their slim ties for $75 to $90 a tie and they come in a variety of classic looks and patterns.

Mid to Low Range Cost -

Starting at the top and working our way down.  J. Crew only sells ties in the 3" range.  They have a wide range of silk, wool and cotton ties in a variety of modern and classic patterns and colors.  It is a great way to experiment with patterns and colors without completely jumping the shark with an odd pattern.  J. Crew also is great for the traditional, classic, collegiate look, my personal favorite.  A look that J. Crew does as well as anyone, except for maybe Brooks Brothers.  J. Crew ties sell from $60 to $40 at full price and have quite good deals in store when ties go on sale.  I have picked up more than one tie at J. Crew for under $20, just need to keep your eyes open.

Most men's retailers now sell slim ties, Nordstroms, Bloomingdales and even Macy's.  The latter have a variety of ties from different manufacturers: Ben Sherman, Alfani & Tallia.  The quality of the designs varies store to store and region to region depending on the buyer, but they usually have a good deal on the ties ranging from: $50 to $25.  I perfer the Ben Sherman or Tallia designs, but Alfani can have some good ties for evening events.  Stick to other brands like Pink, Brooks and J. Crew if you are buying the ties for work.

Grey Slacks -

As for the mid-grey slacks if you live near NYC, I suggest you try Uniqlo.  They have great prices and the cut is slim and slender, perfect for a slender fellow, like yourself.  The Uniqlo wool slacks are typically under a $100.

Another option is Banana Republic.  They have well made slacks in a wide range of classic colors.  I have a pair of flannel mid-grey heathered slacks that I picked up at Banana Republic for about $100.  Make sure you stick to the "Tailored" fit pants, as they are slimmer and will look better on you.  The "Modern" fit are slightly bigger throughout the leg.  Banana Republic sells their wool pants from: $180 to $40, depending on sales.  Good news, BR usually have the best sales on pants of any retailer.

The last recommendation is J. Crew.  They have the "Ludlow" cut pants, a slim, modern cut, which would look great with your frame.  The Ludlow pants are from $150 to $120 and rarely come down much in price.  They also do not typically come in a heathered look, but they will fit you well.  It is at least worth taking a look.

Oxford Shirts -

For the Oxford shirt, I recommend finding a bespoke tailor near you and having them make 3 to 6 shirts to your body type and with the pleats and buttons and collars to your preference.  Once you go bespoke with shirts it is hard to go back.  They are made especially for you to you liking and will make you look the best you can possibly look.  The slight increase in cost is completely worth the statisfaction you will have with the shirts.  This is an investment that will change your opinion on the way ready made shirts are sold.

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