"Hey does this go with this?" I probably say this 4 times a week to my long-suffering spouse. I've never been an especially snappy dresser, but I have always tried to be put together. I've also never had to work in an office setting with a strictly professional dress code––I taught college for years. Guys in my field routinely dress in polo shirts or something short-sleeved that matches a pair of khaki pants. I'm the kind of guy who tried to make it work with a dark jean/button down/casual blazer––a sloppy and corpulent imitation of Josh Radnor or other random "nice" guy on TV...
Then I started working a venue where I was surrounded by
What clothing item has something in common with freelance warriors, the Rat Pack, and a famous scientist from a beloved 1990's kid's show? Yep, you're staring at it: the bow tie.
Let's take a few minutes to dive into the fascinating world of this one-of-a-kind accessory.
I know how to tie a tie in three different ways...though I really only use the one (Half Windsor). I figured there were, oh, seven or eight other ways to do it, and perhaps I'd learn them at some point Turns out, I was way off on that number. By about, oh, a hundred and seventy seven thousand one hundred and thirty five. Ish.
Of all the potential man crafts, the handmade neck tie is one of my favorites. It combines everything that ManMade stands for: it's made by hand, it's something you can use everyday, it's decidely cheaper than buying one at the store, and it's uniquely masculine.
The neck tie can have a big effect on whatever you're wearing. It can dress up a pair of jeans, add punch to a blazer, and generally up whatever shirt you're wearing...provided it has a collar.
But sometimes, you wanna control the "up." There are lots occassions where your finest silk is a little overkill, or that perfectly balanced double-windsor can actually make you overdressed. In those occassions, when you need just a bit of extra style, give the just-casual-enough knit tie a shot...and while you're at it, make it yourself.
I've gone on record multiples times, in which I've shared that publishing ManMade has giving me a whole new appreciation for the necktie. As a full-time writer/crafter/artist/blogger/guy-who-technically-doesn't-have-to-get-dressed-most-days, its fun to have an excuse to get a little snazzed up and throw on a tie. (To you who have to wear one everyday, keep fighting the good fight).
And, whether you wear one daily or just a few times a year, it has to match the rest of your gear.
When I got my first guitar at age of 13, I was all over that mid-90s loudness that I thought went with rock and roll: alien faces on my guitar picks, vending machine stickers all over my case, and a loud, bold guitar strap.
As I matured, and realized there were other options than those offered at my local mall-based music shop, I went the completely opposite direction: black or neutral straps, plain picks, etc, etc.
And now, fifteen years later (wow...), I think I'd like something in the middle. Perhaps a handmade, subtle, yet colorful, option?
Take this one to the bank: never give a guy a tie for Christmas. Ever.
Unless, of course, it's a handmade tie, that you not only sewed, but did so from a handmade pattern on fabric that you designed and printed yourself, that is.
Says author Michele Beschen, "When I was asked to share a project that was geared towards geeks and dudes, I immediately started contemplating the many interesting ways I could incorporate code into something. I don’t even know what much of that tech jargon means, but I sure like how it looks — the text, the symbols and the layout. I played around with different ideas and just kept seeing it on a tie: not a stuffy, business-like tie, but a tie that looks great worn loose and casual with a vintage short-sleeve button down. Keep your dude in stylish duds this holiday season, and add a little personality with this "power of code" tie that you can create in an afternoon."
We recently spied these metal neckties on Recyclart, and I've had them open in a browser tab for a week, cause I just can't decide how I feel about them. I know I'd never buy one, but are they interesting and unique, or simply the heirs of the gag gift novelty tie?
Please post your thoughts in the comments below.
Gabrielle's son Ralph was turning thirteen, and asked for some au currant skinny ties, presumably because Ralph knows, as all ManMade readers know, that if you gotta dress up, you might as well do a good job.
Having a hard time finding appropriately priced and sized ties for Ralph, Gabrielle got creative and hit the thrift store. She came home with a pile of $1.00 traditional neckties, and got to work.
She says, "Of course, I forgot about the idea till 3 days before his birthday. At which point, I tried to rush and make it happen. I found 5 great ties at Goodwill and sped them to the tailor. There, I was told it would take 10 days and
If you're asking, "what would I do with a handmade wooden neck- or bowtie?" we have thirty-five simple words for you. "Oh my gosh, what wouldn't you do with handmade wooden neck- or bowtie?! What are you? Do you also hate Christmas and world peace? Take your terrible attitude back to your crummy totalitarianism, you drivelspot."
Okay, we'll grant it's a legitimate concern. So, I guess a better answer is: you design it, cut and shape it from soft wood, put a string through it, then post it on Instructables.
It's my hope that, one day, I'll be able to make every necktie I own, from scratch. Until then, I'm digging on this idea I tripped over at the always awesome Doe-C-Doe: adding a little custom embroidery to a store-bought tie, creating lots of handmade flair and plenty of personality.
Don't tell my mom, but I don't actually mind wearing a tie...Granted, with my job and social circles, it's a rare occassion when it's appropriate, so when I find my self needing to rock the half-windsor, it's kinda fun.
Every North American man has plenty of connections to the necktie: As kids, we learn to knot them. As teenagers, we learn to hate them. But as grown-ups...as grown-ups, my friends...
Well, we can learn to sew our own.