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  1. #1
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    Bored with my neckties, let's talk about options

    I wear neckties regularly to work, and have done so for many years. I'm the Regional Engineer for the South Region of a commercial construction company. As the manager of our engineering department I don't have to wear a tie, and in fact I'm the only person in the office who does. I just like to, since it maintains an almost extinct sense of decorum and professionalism; it's my small way of rebelling against the trend of casual dress at work. Simply put, I just enjoy the sense of personal style that comes with wearing a tie and shirtsleeves during the workday. A suit, or even a waistcoat/jacket, would be overkill in this evironment.

    I also, of course, wear a tie with my kilt when appropriate. Not all my neckties are of a style suitable for kilting, but I do like to have as many options as I can that will do double-duty.

    A few days ago I decided to reorganise my ties neatly on hangers, as they tend to become a jumbled mess over time. It's been a while since I inventoried my ties, but apparently I have 55 neckties and 4 bowties. I have skinny ties, fat ties, striped ties, paisley ties, tartan ties, plain solid-colour ties, silk ties, wool ties, knit ties, vintage art deco ties, you name it. I probably only wear about 35 of them on a regular basis, and could get rid of about 20 of them that I just don't care for that much. The ones I need to get rid of just aren't my style or don't go well with my build (I'm on the small side, and super-fat ties don't suit my physique).

    What I want to do is rotate out my seldom-worn ties and replace them with something I'll wear more often. But I'm not about to go out and buy 20 brand-new ties. Have you priced neckties lately? My goodness, they're expensive. I need to do this in a budget-friendly manner.

    So, with that said, do you have any online sources of inexpensive neckties that are still decent quality? I have some sources I shop regularly, but let's see what you have to share.

    Are there others here with neckties in their closets that aren't worn? Is there any interest in an XMTS necktie swap? Maybe we could do some trading, or you have some you'd be willing to sell off. If so, we would need to do it in the swap forum (yes, we have one, which rarely gets used). I just want to see if there's interest here before taking the time to sort them out, photograph them, and post them.

    And a question: I have a handful of ties that I otherwise like, but they are just too wide. Has anybody successfully modified a tie to make it narrower? It would appear that many ties could just have a few stitches removed, then be re-pressed at a narrower width (more overlap in the back), but I'm not sure if it's really that simple. I've decided that anything wider than 2.75" just isn't suitable for me. Some of my 3.5" wide ties need to skinny up. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Obviously (or not) as a priest, I don't wear ties nearly so often as I did when I was a headmaster, but in my later years in that role, I discovered something important for this discussion of ties:

    Simply put, most people who grumble about the "constriction" of wearing a tie are wearing a shirt with too small a collar and tightening the tie to the shirt. In my later years in the office, I upped my shirt size by 1/2 to a full size, tightened the tie NOT to my neck, but to the shirt collar, and both felt, and looked good.

    Similar to that, and to buttress the idea, when I was about to be ordained, I asked a friend, a female priest, about clerical collar choice. Now, her husband, also a priest, is probably the most laid back fellow I've ever met - contented, pleasant, quiet, and almost constantly smiling gently. He's also really, really skinny, especially his neck, so shirts that fit his torso are loose around the neck.

    Her comment was this: "Collar your normal size or 1/2 size smaller makes an unhappy priest. Preaches hell and damnation. 1/2 to one size larger, makes a happy priest. Preaches love and salvation." Then pointing to her husband lounging in the doorway she added, "Rob wears a collar two sizes too big."

    And he does! His neck is absolutely loose inside his collar. He nodded and grinned wordlessly at her comment, but you know, Rob always preaches love and salvation, and he's one of the happiest priests I've ever met.

    It works. Whatever your tie, don't get a shirt with too tight a collar!
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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  4. #3
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    8th September 16
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    Yeah, but to you have a Yellow Submarine Tie....my prize tie



    Yes a good tailor can cut a wide tie down, but worth the price of the labor? I had it done once, and it cost me more than the tie was worth.
    Last edited by CollinMacD; 31st July 18 at 07:51 AM.
    Allan Collin MacDonald III
    Grandfather - Clan Donald, MacDonald (Clanranald) /MacBride, Antigonish, NS, 1791
    Grandmother - Clan Chisholm of Strathglass, West River, Antigonish, 1803
    Scottish Roots: Knoidart, Inverness, Scotland, then to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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  6. #4
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    Valid point on collar sizing, Father Bill. But there's a lot more to comfort than that, as long as we're on the subject!

    Shirt makers, like most other clothing manufacturers I suppose, tend to make their shirts in "standard" sizing. And of course, virtually nobody is a standard size. When you buy a shirt off-the-rack, you can choose to either have a correct neck size, chest/shoulder size, or sleeve length, but probably not all three. To get that, you have to buy a more expensive made-to-order shirt. I've gone both routes, and obviously prefer made-to-order. But that gets expensive. To get a comfortable neck size in off-the-rack shirts, I usually end up with sleeves that are too long, or shoulder seams that are just past the points of my shoulders. It feels sloppy and ill-fitting.

    The other part of the comfort equation, which I've mentioned before, is collar height. This one aggravates me. Everybody focuses on collar type (spread collar, point collar, etc.), but it's pretty rare to find a maker that offers any variability on the standing height of the collar. I am not a long-necked individual, and most standard collars will ride above the hairline in the back, making them uncomfortable by the end of the day. Yes, a looser collar fit will help here, but still, the top of the collar will rub my hair. Finding shorter collared shirts is tough!

    CollinMacD, that's an ...interesting tie. Personally, I don't wear themed ties. I used to when I was younger, and had quite an array of them (Harley Davidson ties, ones with tools on them, and similar). I think my tastes have changed to the point where I have more appreciation for the subtleties (personal flair?) of traditional ties. Even paisley is getting to the reach of my personal taste, when it comes to patterns. That's not to say I don't like patterns - I do love a tartan tie - but I think I like smaller repeating patterns rather than large loud flowery-type patterns or ones with pictures on them.

    That said, I do like simple ties that have a small item on the front. An example would be the tie I'm wearing below, which is a rather plain green skinny tie with a small embroidered bird on it. And I have several art deco skinny ties from the 1950s with simple geometric patterns near the bottom. It's kind of hard to describe my tastes in ties, but I know when I like one and when I don't!

    The other thing I'm appreciating more and more these days is texture. I'm almost to the point where I'm more interested in texture than colour. Knit ties, wool ties, and the like. I'm bored with silk and other texturally-devoid materials. Weird, right?


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  8. #5
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    I have three dozen plus ties in my closet. Here are a few of the examples.

    The far right tie is now my widest and favorite without a vest or jacket. 90% are silk with a lining. The far left tie was a 1960's linen monster that I cut down myself. I removed the lining, pulled each side inward to the back, and trimmed the lapped material away. I inserted half the thickness (to the new width) of the original lining and pressed a new seam along the edges.
    I wouldn't try this with my silk ties. I like the idea of a tie swap among members.

  9. #6
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    The Yellow Submarine tie is one of two theme ties, most of mine are very conservative, due to working non-uniformed at US Customs, I usually wear very conservative and subdue ties. I love the Scottish wool ties both solid and tartan. Agree about shirts, learned a long time ago the collar is what makes thing comfortable. Cheers for now...
    Allan Collin MacDonald III
    Grandfather - Clan Donald, MacDonald (Clanranald) /MacBride, Antigonish, NS, 1791
    Grandmother - Clan Chisholm of Strathglass, West River, Antigonish, 1803
    Scottish Roots: Knoidart, Inverness, Scotland, then to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    The far left tie was a 1960's linen monster that I cut down myself. I removed the lining, pulled each side inward to the back, and trimmed the lapped material away. I inserted half the thickness (to the new width) of the original lining and pressed a new seam along the edges.
    I wouldn't try this with my silk ties.
    So it can be done by mere mortals!

    I have three Robert Talbott ties that I bought from Nordstrom Rack back in 2011. I just happened to stumble upon them and the tags caught my eye. They are fashion stripes that are pretty close to regimental ties (though they slant the wrong direction). Pictured below, from left to right, the tags say Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders, Old Brightonians, and Old Highlanders 42nd. The thing is, these are 3.5" wide ties that look sort of ridiculous on me. As short as I am, and especially when I tie them shorter to wear with a kilt, I look like something from a Laurel & Hardy skit. I've tinkered with the idea of narrowing one of them down to 2.5" or so.

    When you did this on yours, you mentioned that you reinstalled the original lining after trimming down. Did you have to stitch it back in? If so, how did you do it? It seems that most ties, due to the way they're built, would have to be turned inside-out like a sock so that they could be re-stitched at their edges before turning back, folding, and pressing. I've wondered if an iron-in interfacing of some sort would be easier, or if it would work. I can see how it would easily turn into hours and hours of work, plus a lot of painstaking measuring and pressing to get it to look decent at the end. How long did it take you on that one you did?


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  13. #8
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    Tobus, I removed the stitches connecting the length of the tie. The lining was sewn to the outer material in the middle third of the tie at the closure edges. The lining was stitched at the folds of the tips as well. I didn't think of turning the thing inside out (and now wonder if that would work). I hand stitched the seam back together using a cross-stitch, first from the short tip to the widest and then making the return cross-stitch from widest to thin tip. I took about two or three hours to complete the job.

    I expect an iron-on basting would save time but I like the stiffness of the old canvas lining that was original in my tie. I used to have a lot more time on my hands when I was more poor, young and trying to have good stuff.

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  15. #9
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    If I may... I'm out of the wearing a tie to work now since I'm back in a uniform position. I did wear one virtually every day for a little over eleven years while working as an Investigator. I have numerous ties that I'd be interested in trading out. Also, when I was wearing a tie virtually every day, I discovered tie bars and tie tacks. That grows into a collection faster than the ties themselves! But, switching tie tacks or bars is a good way to give a different look to a tie. Plus, it's an excuse to go shopping in antique booths.
    "My beloved America, thank you for your children. If your children want to become soldiers I will train them. When they are hungry I will feed them. When they are thirsty I will give them water. When they fight for freedom I will lead them. When they are unsteady on the battlefield I will motivate them. If they die on the battlefield I will bury them. So help me God."

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  17. #10
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    27th October 09
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    Quote Originally Posted by CelticSire View Post
    If I may... I'm out of the wearing a tie to work now since I'm back in a uniform position. I did wear one virtually every day for a little over eleven years while working as an Investigator. I have numerous ties that I'd be interested in trading out. Also, when I was wearing a tie virtually every day, I discovered tie bars and tie tacks. That grows into a collection faster than the ties themselves! But, switching tie tacks or bars is a good way to give a different look to a tie. Plus, it's an excuse to go shopping in antique booths.
    Well, I'm married to an antiques dealer, so I have a well-stocked jewelry box full of tie tacks, cufflinks, shirt studs, tie bars, collar bar clips, collar stays, and similar hardware. Plus the ones I inherited from my father and grandfather when they died. I won't say I collect them on purpose, but I've managed to amass a lot! And these things go cheap since nobody wears them any more like they used to. I only wish pocket watch chains would be as easy and cheap to find, but those fall under "collectible" items, where tie accessories seem not to.

    I'll get some photos of the ties I want to trade off and start a thread in the swap forum, hopefully tomorrow. If you have ties you'd like to offload, I'd love to see them.

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