October 2009 | Welcome back to Ask our Butler.
This month we tackle a subject that can put some men, and ladies, in knots (pun intended)…selecting a necktie, and not the clip-on variety!

For the taller gentleman, 6’4” or 193 cm+, one needs a necktie at least 20” or 51cm in length to fall properly when tied. The necktie tip should fall about ½” or 1 cm below your waistline. Too long, you look droopy, too short and well, one appears a bit comical.

Quality… A necktie should be completely lined from the bottom tip to its narrowest point. To help keep its shape, it should have vertical slip stitching that runs the full length and what is called “bar stitching” that runs horizontally along the bottom and top ends. These are sure signs of a good quality necktie.

Fabrics… Most neckties today are made from silk. The new Edward Stripe Collection of pure silk neckties is hand made in Italy. They have a high quality “hand” or touch, hold to form, and present a sophisticated bespoke quality. Wool neckties are gaining popularity and have an advantage over silk – they’re a bit easier to clean when that pesky Bolognese sauce detaches from the pasta and lands splat in the middle of the necktie! Wool neckties are more popular in winter months and are a smart addition to any gentleman’s wardrobe.

The “F” word…Fashion… We all secretly desire to be “fashion conscious” and "hip" with the current trends. However, how many of us will admit to still having those very narrow leather ties in our closets, or neckties so wide that a circus clown would be chuffed to receive them? A necktie of classic width, not too wide, not too narrow, will provide you with many years of wear.

Colours… Some colours and patterns have a life cycle. However, the standard colours - reds, blues, greens, browns, blacks and golds - truly never go out of style. One should have a colour in the necktie that matches the primary colour of the shirt. A solid coloured shirt is decidedly easier to select neckties for with varying patterns and colours. We suggest not more than four colours, as one begins to appear kaleidoscopic and sir is not so well presented - unless of course he is quite secure in his position and couldn’t care two whits what others think!

Patterns… Stripes remain the timeless classic pattern for any necktie. They are versatile and can be worn with varying patterns of shirts. Neckties with dots or other motifs are also popular and are easily matched with a variety of shirt patterns. Some dot neckties actually carry a stripe pattern in them, thus creating a classic look with a contemporary flair. A timeless, elegant style with a bold statement!

Solids or Not… Solid colour neckties work beautifully if sir enjoys wearing bold print style shirts or solid, deep coloured shirts. The shirt and necktie, be they matched twins or far opposites on the colour wheel, can command a certain presence for sir.

Your Complete Wardrobe… Neckties, like other garments, do have seasons. It is most important to have a decent selection of neckties as one should never been worn on consecutive days – it needs to rest and relax to retain its shape.

As a butler, I make many suggestions for sir. But if he doesn’t feel comfortable with my selections or loathes the appearance, then whatever sir may wear I shall bite my tongue until it bleeds before uttering those words of discretion…“You look wonderful sir!”…before rolling my eyes at any horror choices!

There you have it – a crash course in gentleman’s neckties. Have a browse at the new collection of Edward Stripe pure silk, hand made Italian neckties. And yes, as the butler, I did assist with the selection. (There are no laughing / singing / lights flashing Santa Claus neckties… grimace the thought!)

Yours in gracious service,

Mark Johnson
The Butler

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