The Skinny on Neckwear
We’re very passionate about neckwear. It only seems fitting to write a column devoted to our favorite accessory.
Ties have been a big part of our lives, and wardrobe, for quite some time. We developed a love for ties at a young age. We were “graduating” from our eighth grade class and our parents took us to a department store to pick out what we’d wear for the big event. They told us we had to buy ties. Initially we threw a fit. We’d never seen any of our friends wear ties before, and we’d never worn one either. It took a total of about one minute for us to get excited about the idea, and begin running around the men’s section trying to find the tie that best represented the image we wanted to project. This is was just the beginning of our tie experience, and from that day we’ve continued to stay excited about ties.
We recently launched the ShelbyKnot Collection. A small collection of neckwear for Twin Cities’ men’s stores that crosses demographic lines and combines timeless style with today’s trends.
As a result of this venture, we’ve had to do our research on ties in order to take our love and passion for this accessory to the next level. We’ve gone to New York a couple of times, and attended menswear tradeshows with the purpose of learning more about ties, and being intentional about positioning our business, product, and brand in a place where we can establish longevity. Throughout this process, we’ve noticed a few things.
First, tie widths are very important. They’re one of the most tell-tale signs of a tie being in or out of style. Back in the day, wide ties were stylish. It wasn’t uncommon to see men wearing four-plus inch ties that today we’d call “bibs” or “belly-warmers.” Today, ‘skinny’ or ‘narrow’ ties are in. Any tie thinner than three inches fits into this category for us. Right now, you won’t see a stylish man wearing a tie that’s wider than 3.5 inches.
We’ve talked about the ‘fashion vs. style’ ideology before, and this makes itself evident in our tie ventures as well. Through our research, we believe that 2.75-3.5 inches will continue to be the standard tie width. If you’re purchasing a tie that fits in this range, chances are you’ll be able to wear it even when the “bibs” make a come-back. And they will.
We know this by paying attention to balance. In menswear, balance is key. You can always tell if a man is in or out of balance by comparing his tie to the lapels of his jacket, and/or the collar on his shirt. Wide, peaked lapels call for a wider tie. Narrow notch or shawl lapels in a jacket require a narrower tie. The same goes for a man’s frame. Often times, broader guys should be wearing somewhat wider ties where the opposite is true for the man with a narrower frame.
An example of this can be found in ABC’s ‘The Bachelor.’ There was one night where Sean (the bachelor) was wearing a perfectly matched suit, but something looked off. We studied what he was wearing (we couldn’t resist) and noticed it was his balance that was wrong. He is a broad-shouldered guy and was wearing a 2-inch tie with a jacket that had about 2-inch lapels. The balance of his ensemble was right on, but it didn’t balance his body out. Chris Harrison, the show’s host, is a bit narrower than Sean, and looks great with lapels and ties of this width. This is just one of many examples of this.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning, while on the subject of neckwear, is color and pattern. There’s something to be said for the “statement tie.” You know, the tie that you wore that one time and got a huge response from. Those ties are great and are “in” right now, but they won’t be forever. Plus, that’s the tie that you can’t wear very often because everyone remembers it. You don’t want to be the guy who is wearing “that tie again.” This doesn’t mean you need to buy boring ties, either. Just make sure the majority of your tie purchases can be versatile, while adding that ‘pop’ to your combination…and not necessarily steal the show. Overall, our collection is a good mixture of bold colors and patterns, and looks that are versatile enough for every day wear.
Last, but not least, never under-estimate the power of the knot. There’s nothing that takes more away from a great tie than a poor knot. As you probably know by now, we exclusively wear the Shelby Knot. But other knots can look nice, too. Just make sure you’re tying it right, and it makes you look put together, not like you just rolled out of bed and knotted up in the car on your way to work.
As you use your style to communicate your message, we’ve found it helpful to pay attention to what others are wearing. Do your research. Check out different menswear blogs when you’re putting your combinations together. It always helps to be well-informed, and style is no different.
Browse the ShelbyKnot Collection, at www.shelbyknot.com. Kenny and Danny King are twin brothers, style consultants, and co-founders of King Brothers Clothiers in Minneapolis – St. Paul. Visit http://www.kingbrosclothiers.com for more information.
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