If you think all ties are created equal, think again. There’s the tie, and then there’s the silk tie, and to quote Kipling, ne’er the twain shall these two meet — unless it’s inside your closet. You see, nothing says “successful” like the silk tie. It gives a suit instant dash and sophistication. On top of that, its color is so much more vibrant and it holds the knot superbly.
Smoothed, Ribbed, Prized
Silk ties – designer or otherwise – may be divided into two major groups: the smooth and the ribbed. Smooth silk, also known as Foulard silk, is very, very lightweight and comes with a smooth finish. In contrast, ribbed silk is much heavier and has more designs. Repp silks are for striped ties and faille silk are for club ties, while the beautiful crepe de Chine silk is for dressier ties. Ribbed silk, also called woven silk, is considered classier and more luxurious than smooth silk. They look heavier and more opulent. Consequently, they are the silk tie of choice for formal and special occasions.
Silk Tie: Handcrafted and Hand-loved
In the world of silks, the handcrafted designer tie is king — and with good reason, too! Excellent in material and craftsmanship, the designer tie is the closest a tie could ever come to being perfect. In a handcrafted designer tie, the stitching is almost without a flaw, and the little details that go into each piece are downright astounding.
How can you tell whether a designer tie is handcrafted or not? There are several ways to do this.
1. Look at the bar tac. The bar tac is the horizontal stitching located at the back of the tie – at the broader end, more specifically. Handcrafted designer bar tacs are impeccably sewn; a genuine handcrafted designer tie should thus not have any material bunching.
2. A handcrafted tie is sewn inside out before it is reversed. Look at the slipstitch. First, this should be found at the top of the narrow end. Second, the tie must gather every time you pull the slipstitch.
3. Open up your tie’s back. If your designer tie is the real deal, you should see a series of gold bar markings.
4. Count the separate pieces of material that comprises your tie. Handcrafted designer ties have three – not the usual two which is present in commercially-produced ties – pieces of fabric that have been stitched together.
Ties Like No Other
Again, not all ties are created equal. In the same way, some tie manufacturers are more renowned than others. Some of the most popular are Robert Stewart, Josh Bach, and Lee Allison. Among the fashion houses, celebrated tie makers include Giorgio Armani, Versace, Gucci, Hermes, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Fendi, and Ungaro.
T Is for Ties and TLC
Silk ties do not come cheap. If you have one, then you know how much you plunked down for one right to the last cent. Make your designer ties last long by keeping them in the best conditions possible. How? Read on.
1. Buy more than one tie. That way, you do not overuse one, thus wearing it out sooner.
2. Hang the tie on a rack or wrap it across a coat’s collar. These two methods help keep ties wrinkle-free.
3. Avoid tie stains at all costs. They are notoriously difficult to remove, more so if they’re on a spot that is highly visible. If, despite your best efforts, your designer tie still gets stained, try to blot out the blemish first. If this doesn’t work, try dabbing on it with a clean cloth that’s slightly wet with seltzer water. If it’s oil stains you’re dealing with, use talcum powder. Entrust your designer ties to the dry cleaners only as a last resort, after you have finally run out of hope.
4. Do not iron your designer tie directly. Steam press it or better yet, simply roll it up – small end up – and keep it thus positioned for a day.
5. Always store your designer tie properly, especially when you travel. You could either roll them up with the small end first, or fold them gently in four parts. The moment you arrive at your destination, unpack your ties and hang them up.
Designer ties are neither just suit accessories nor last-minute purchases. They are so important, in fact, they could make or break outfits, ruin or bolster reputations, or stand between you, a promotion, or social acceptance. Tie up the loose ends of your business formal with a designer tie. After you’ve experienced the beauty of a designer tie first-hand, you will never go commercial again.