The Old Man and the …


Canali silk tie $145 via Mr Porter.

Not too long ago, a woman walked into the studio, glanced at the pew full of ties and proclaimed that we (Leviner Wood and I) had “old men’s ties.”


Today, I figure, ties are so rarely worn that almost any tie qualifies as old-fashioned; so perhaps I missed the point.

What would constitute an “old man tie?” As Alan Flusser wrote, “One man’s good taste is another man’s ‘pizza tie.’ ” (The term was coined by Tom Wolfe.)

Is it to do with width? A tie’s width is directly … errr … tied … to the width of his lapel. Wider lapel, wider tie. The width of the tie, in turn, is reliant on the breadth of his shoulders.

Perhaps it has to do with pattern? Pattern must vary for the more sophisticated dresser who relies on different scale to achieve a harmonious balance among patterns in his shirts, pocket squares, suits and spots coats.

Fabric? texture? There are many cottons, woolens, silks and linens from which to choose. Of course, texture and fabric should relate somehow to the overall aesthetic and fabrics selected for suit, shirt and handkerchief.

Ah! It must be colour then! Ideally, the color beneath your chin should echo and enhance the face/head above it. Ruddy cheeks, blue eyes, salt and pepper hair. You get the idea.

You begin, oh astute reader, to see my point. So tell me, do you feel that some ties are “old” by nature? If so, which are they?

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