Q: Hey MB. I'm going to a wedding next week; I was planning on wearing a navy Hardy Amies suit with a (Deo Veritas) dark lavender gingham shirt, black shoes and no-show socks. Would you give me some tie recommendations? I have been waiting for your summer tie but was thinking maybe a solid lavender tie might do in its place. Thanks so much for all your advice. Seriously. —Cristian
A: With your Hardy Amies suit and Deo Veritas shirt, we suspect you're already going to be better dressed than the groom, and possibly the bride. That said, you don't want to outshine them too much — it's their day to be in the spotlight.
Thus, we are going to suggest something fairly low-key: A solid knit tie in burgundy. With a dark lavender gingham shirt, you're already making a statement — so you don't need a patterned tie adding yet another loud voice to the conversation happening on your chest. The tie we're envisioning weighs in silently but noticeably, with its rough texture and complementary shade adding visual contrast in a subtle but intriguing way. We predict that bridesmaids will be fondling your neckwear all day.
Now here's the thing about knit ties: The industry standard is to circumcise them and leave a flat edge at the bottom, and starve them to boot. DO NOT GET A SKINNY CIRCUMCISED TIE! (Yes, for the record, that is the first time we've ever used all-caps on this site.) You need a tie with a pointed end, and it must be at least 3 inches wide.
We looked around for a tie with these specs, and stumbled upon an online store called The Knottery. The name gives us pause, and so does the price point of their ties — just $35. These ties are probably not made in the U.S. — you'll need to spend at least $45 for that. But the Knottery's merchandise has gotten positive press from GQ, Esquire, Kempt, and many others. So we encourage you to take a chance on this burgundy knit. It fits our specs — pointed end, 3.25 inches wide, 100 percent silk — and you can apply the money you save on it toward a wedding gift. Give our best to the bride and groom!
Some friends and I were drinking some Magnificent Bastards and talking football and, naturally, Shannon Sharpe's dress attire on CBS's pregame show came up. My buddies think he dresses like a clown. I think he dresses with balls and style. Real sharp, as it were. What does the MB say? —Evan
"Balls and Style." Sounds like a good name for a men's style site and corresponding e-commerce shop. Er, nevermind.
We can see where your buddies are coming from with the clown comments. Unfortunately, sometimes Sharpe wears wide, floppy, too-neatly-tied bow ties that definitely evoke thoughts of men in makeup who accessorize with squirting flower boutonnières. Take Saturday, for example (left).
But we agree with you, Evan. Sharpe is great at bold pattern matching and texture combinations. Everything fits perfectly. His lapels are just the right width and echo that of his ties. His knots are almost always appropriate for the collar shape. He often wears gingham and textured ties, both MB favorites (see Sunday; right).
And while we usually need to turn down the volume when he's making a point, he's a pretty good analyst, too.
Before making the pick, Team Romney should've looked less for skeletons in Ryan's closet and more at the clothes.
Four years ago the RNC spent $150,000 to get Sarah Palin out of polar fleece. You'd think this time around they could've spent a few grand on a style consultation and a tailor. The GOP is clearly getting serious about fiscal restraint.
At any rate, the point of this post isn't to go negative, but to highlight the positive of Ryan's obvious thing for gingham, a pattern we highly endorse. Since the Romney announcement on August 11, Ryan has been on the stump for seven days and appeared in gingham in four of them; a gingham-to-appearance percentage of a whopping 57%, even exceeding our own.
A: In the June 2011 GQ creative director Jim Moore stops just short of endorsing them but recognizes their popularity saying they're "a big trend this summer," and that they're best "anytime you'd wear your flip-flops." [page 58]
Even though they were invented in the 14th century (principle of archaism), and are usually made of canvas and rope (principle of organic materials), for us they fall into the footwear no-mans land between a shoe and a sandal, currently occupied by MB bête noires Sanuks and Crocs.
However, if your preferred pedicurist is booked — June is Pedicure Awareness Month, BTW — we say go for it, as long as they're a. less than 20 bucks, and b. gingham.
Typically, all we ask of a shirt here at MB is that it look good, be relatively maintenance-free, and refrain from making any lengthy remarks about Jesus or the local price of mustache rides. Read Wall, on the other hand, is more ambitious than us. You may have noticed his ad over there in the column to your left, the one pitching shirts that make the world smarter.
Read, it turns out, is a man with a dream, and that dream involves selling these three excellent shirts and using a portion of the proceeds to help fund a school in Tanzania. That sounded noble to us, and wanting to help out, we asked if he'd like to donate a shirt as a prize for one of our contests.
If you're wondering how us getting a free shirt to give to one of our readers qualifies as a noble gesture on our parts, well, what can we say? We're new to this altruism stuff. But Read agreed to our suggestion anyway, so if you want a shot at a shirt of your choosing, follow this link, and play a matching game about the accessorization trademarks of five notorious African dictators.
On Friday, March 4 at midnight CT, we'll put the names of everyone who answered everything correctly in our new Super Bowl XLV hat and name a winner on Monday, March 6. Pick any one you want (we're partial to the awesome jumbo-check navy gingham).
Chicago-area car salesman John Stone was fired yesterday for wearing a Packers tie the day after the Bears lost the NFC Championship game to Green Bay.
As Packer fans too, we understand his urge to celebrate, but ultimately we have to question his judgement. Not because he said "no" five times when his boss, who has some kind of advertising deal with the Bears, asked him to remove the off-message neckwear, but rather because he thinks his "nice, smart tie matched [his] clothes." That diamond-shaped tie with a gingham shirt is geometrically incongruent! However, we do applaud Stone for the nicely dimpled four-in-hand knot, and point collar which appears to be sewn (vs. fused).
Q: So I've got a work boat cruise party coming up in the middle of October (I live in Virginia). I'm at a loss of what to wear. I'm starting with a pair of AG's, a nice pair of not too pointed/not too square black Clarks loafers I'm at a loss of how to be bastardly magnificent at this point. I've got the Carolina Blue Gingham Shirt, but I'm wondering if maybe a solid shirt/tie and a simple blazer might knock it out of the park. It's easy to put in barely any effort to stand out style wise with engineers, but really looking to set myself apart. Thanks!!! --Wade
A: We're on record advocating for gingham as a year-round pattern, so definitely wear that shirt.
If you really want to hit it out of the park -- essentially becoming your office's Mr. October -- pair it with a brown corduroy blazer, like this one from Banana ($198), or this one from J. Crew ($138), or if you're flush this one by Etro ($990). It's the cocktailing equivalent of mixing ginger into bourbon lemonade; you're hitting the appropriate fall notes while your shirt and leisure activity read summer (and you can wear that blazer for the next 5 months).
Suddenly we're very thirsty.
UPDATE: The J. Crew version is now on sale for $99, $109 for Tall.
2 shots cognac (or high-quality brandy)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
hot water to taste
Put this all in a warmed glass and stir until the honey dissolves. Garnish with a twist of lemon.