Ties that adorn.
March 1, 2011 9:39 PM   Subscribe

Ties. Around the neck. For men. Help!

I want to buy a few cool ties to wear. I don't need them for work or anything, just for leisure-wear. Sadly, all ties that I see in shops around here (Los Angeles, San Francisco), even in "hip" stores, are dull, dull, dull.

The trouble is that I am not sure myself what I want, other than something cool. I do know what I don't want: stunt ties, as in "shaped like a hamburger", or disney patterns, etc. Basically, when I see it, I'll know it. How I would wear them: not necessarily with a dress shirt, but with anything and everything even free-hanging, like on a mao-collar. I'm looking for stylish, interesting, an accent.

So. Since I've given up on B&M stores (of course, if you have something in mind for the LA, SF area, go ahead and shoot), where can I see interesting ties online?

Sorry for the vagueness!
posted by VikingSword to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (38 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you can go wrong with an M.C. Escher tie.
posted by Marky at 9:43 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hermès. Hey, you didn't mention a price range.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:48 PM on March 1, 2011

There's a guy on Etsy who sews ties from vintage clothing, I think the long ties are beautiful, although possibly not your idea of cool. Also, hugely popular on Etsy is Toybreaker - ties silkscreened with all kinds of images.
posted by iconomy at 9:49 PM on March 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Love M.C. Escher, but not sure about the ties: some are too obvious, some too busy, some just not aesthetically pleasing. Can't say it hits the spot.

I'll try to respond to individual suggestions, because otherwise it's hard to explain what I'm after - it's not meant as a criticism of any particular suggestion.

F.ex. Wild Ties doesn't have anything that's even within a galaxy of approximation of what I'm looking for.
posted by VikingSword at 9:49 PM on March 1, 2011

I agree with Monsieur Caution, Hermes has excellent quality ties with some unique patterns. But without at least a few examples of what you *are* looking for, it's hard to recommend further...
posted by sharding at 9:53 PM on March 1, 2011

Nthing Toybreaker, also known as the CyberOptix Tie Lab. I can vouch for the quality of the silk and the silk screening. Cheap, too.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:53 PM on March 1, 2011

Response by poster: Re: price. I was hoping to get away with less than $100 for a tie.

Hermès - I classify that as "dull". Again - no reflection on the objective value of these, just an illustration of my particular taste.

guy on Etsy - it looks like mostly bow-ties, and I'm not looking for those.
posted by VikingSword at 9:54 PM on March 1, 2011

Response by poster: OK, toybreaker (CyberOptix Tie Lab) is getting warmer.
posted by VikingSword at 9:56 PM on March 1, 2011

Scatterbrain and Projector are similar to Toybreaker.
posted by iconomy at 10:00 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

How about the ties for sale at the Corcoran Gallery of art store?

Or are you interested in "ties silk screened with a cool image on them" ?

I mean, what are you looking for? Bright colors with interesting patterns? Ties that are "novelty ties" but not "suburban dad novelty ties" ? You're not giving us much to go on.
posted by deanc at 10:00 PM on March 1, 2011

Response by poster: In particular Heart Attack
posted by VikingSword at 10:00 PM on March 1, 2011

About 10 years ago I was in Marshall's with my brother helping him look for ties. There were a whole bunch of Carlos Santana-branded ties with colorful Santana album art (or something very close to it) all over them. I thought they were really cool. Unfortunately, my brother just wanted to fit in and ended up getting something boring.

Also unfortunately, I can't seem to find anything online showing that these things even exited. All I get are ladies shoes. Even when I search for Santana menswear and neckties. Ugh.

If someone else has better luck searching, those things were really neat.
posted by phunniemee at 10:03 PM on March 1, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah, sorry, I know I'm not giving much here :(, je suis désolé.

While I think the toybreaker stuff comes closer, I was looking for something a bit more daring, maybe even some play with shape, something a bit more striking. And I do like the Andy Warhol tie from the Corcoran gallery art store linked by deanc.
posted by VikingSword at 10:06 PM on March 1, 2011

The only ties I've ever found that I actually liked are Jerry Garcia ties.
posted by madmethods at 10:09 PM on March 1, 2011

Response by poster: Jerry Garcia - a bit tame; and "patterns you see too frequently".
posted by VikingSword at 10:14 PM on March 1, 2011

I have many ties. I'm a bit of a clothes horse outside the shop.

All of my favorite wear-anywhere ties are from Band of Outsiders.

They make amazing ties. They work in many different settings. They're super cool.
A tad more than you want to spend, but trust me on the look/quality (and sometimes they're on sale!)

Check this out:

Here's me wearing one (working the full mix-and-match look)
posted by asavage at 10:18 PM on March 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Well, I kinda do like the "flasher" gold tie.

Of course, it's hard to justify individual taste, but I have an irrational dislike of the paisley motif - just a quirk of mine.
posted by VikingSword at 10:23 PM on March 1, 2011

What about vintage?

1 2 3 4 5
posted by jjray at 10:27 PM on March 1, 2011

Response by poster: Not opposed to vintage, but these don't strike a cord. I'm looking for something a bit more outre.
posted by VikingSword at 10:30 PM on March 1, 2011

The correct answer to this question is Tie Bar. It's hard to discern the texture and quality when buying on line, but at $15 a pop, I took chance and now I will never buy a tie anywhere else.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:34 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Slarty, the navigation on that site doesn't load for me (only the first page) at the moment. I'm heading out, so I'll check this and other suggestions tomorrow.
posted by VikingSword at 10:39 PM on March 1, 2011

ShopStyle - you can see a whole bunch at once.
Thomas Pink
posted by barnone at 10:42 PM on March 1, 2011

ERTE art deco ties
posted by adamvasco at 2:30 AM on March 2, 2011

What about Kenzo? I hate patterns too, and have a beautiful tie that I can't find online, but you may like this, or this.
posted by cogat at 3:15 AM on March 2, 2011

Beau Ties has nice stuff in a pretty wide range of styles/patterns (available as bow ties and four-in-hand) and will also make you a custom tie if you find some fabric you really like elsewhere.
posted by usonian at 3:53 AM on March 2, 2011

I 3rd Cyberoptix, they're really nice ties. (And the owner is really nice, we've corresponded.) My lawyer husband has a few of the more subtle ones that he wears with suits. He wears the "poppies" one, gold-on-black, for black tie and gets TONS of compliments, even from 80-year-old retired judges, on how sharp and fresh it looks. I think it speaks well of the ties that they go from punk rock bands in clubs to lawyers in black tie!

Tie Bar, incidentally, was unable to assure me that their ties are not made with child or slave labor in China. I had read an article questioning their labor practices that produce ties for $15 with high-quality materials and accusing them of using some of the worst factories in China. I wrote to the owners, asking flat-out, "Do your factories use child or slave labor? Do you visit or audit them?" and their (personally-written, non-canned) response was along the lines of, "Our priority is providing high-quality ties." They did not address my question at all except to say that they were looking for ways to lower the cost even further. As a result, I have not done business with them.

That was a few years ago, they may have changed, or you may not care about the provenance of the ties, but I found it really troubling, and I found it doubly troubling that they evaded a direct question -- makes me uncomfortable with the level of customer service they might provide.

Tie Rack, a UK store, has ties that are pretty traditional, but more unusual for U.S. ties in colors, brightness, size-of-pattern, etc. It's probably not outre enough for you (and shipping to the U.S. is unconscionable), but if you happen to fly through a U.K. airport, it's worth a look-see.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:01 AM on March 2, 2011

I came in to suggest cyberoptix as well. I have this one and it is my favorite tie.

Topatoco sells a few ties as does Diesel Sweeties.

If you don't like common patterns but still want patterns you might check out ties with Frank Lloyd Wright designs.

If you're a museum-goer, check the gift shop next time you go to one. I have a Les Demoiselles d'Avignon tie that is pretty great that I'm pretty sure came from one of those.
posted by NoraReed at 6:30 AM on March 2, 2011

Best answer: Sam Hober does bespoke ties, but those will break $100. That said, you may be interested in his Thai silk stripe ties. I think this one would look particularly fetching as part of a casual ensemble, though the colors are a bit muted for what would appear to be your taste.

You may like the Autism Speaks collection from Mountain and Sackett.

While they are traditionally patterned, Vineyard Vines ties are sufficiently loud to warrant a recommendation.

I'll poke back in if I can think of anything else. My taste in ties is rather different than yours, so I'm having some difficulty coming up with places that I've seen stuff that's kind of cool but I'd never wear.
posted by bfranklin at 7:14 AM on March 2, 2011

As an aside, I think you're approaching this the wrong way-- you're basically looking for "novelty ties." Novelty ties are something you where when you're in a situation where you have to wear a tie, but you kind of what to give an "up yours" to the entire convention of ties by adhering to the letter of the dress code but not the "spirit" of conservative dress codes.

If you're wearing a "casual tie" because you want it to be stylish, the silkscreened ties come across as "try-hard." I understand the "you like what you like" -- we all have our own tastes -- but the aesthetic you're going for says less, "I am a stylish, hip guy" and more "LOOK AT MY TIE WHICH DEFIES TIE CONVENTIONS WHILE STILL BEING A TIE!"

A "conservative tie" has a medium width to kind of wide, and usually stripes in subdued colors. More stylish ties, the kind that will cause people to say, "hey, cool tie!" are going to have brighter colors with stronger contrasts, more interesting/unusual patterns, and be a little thinner. Alternately, a hipper tie will be one that goes against dress "rules", like a lighter-colored tie on a darker-colored shirt, or a black-tie-on-black-shirt combination (or other color-on-same-color combination).

Alternately, thinkgeek has a couple interesting ties.
posted by deanc at 7:48 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Many thrift stores have a wide variety of ties for very cheap. I spend one or two dollars per tie and end up with some very nice ties that I could not really afford to buy retail -- Boss, Perry Ellis, Lauren, etc. My tastes run toward classic patterns, but I pass over quite a few that are more "interesting" and "hip" than I care to dress.

The thing about thrift store shopping is that it is a very low percentage activity. In a rack of fifty ties I might find one that catches my eye, and not n oevery visit. The key is to find one or two stores in your area that have a good selection and do enough volume to have regular turnover. Then make a practice to stop in once every week or two to see what they have. Then you can afford to be picky. Although, at a buck per tie, I don't have to be too picky.
posted by cross_impact at 8:26 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I hahve one of these ties, and it appears to be a cheerful, red tie with a nautical theme...until you lean in close to read the "Official Beer of the Clam" motto:
Narragansett Beer tie on EBay

They were free with a 12-pack last Father's Day -- the beer's pretty bad but the tie is awesome.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:48 AM on March 2, 2011

My faves are solid color skinny ties.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:36 AM on March 2, 2011

Best answer: "Plays with shape?" Check.
"Less than $100?" Check.
Super-geeky? Check.

I present to you the 8-bit tie.
posted by AngerBoy at 10:15 AM on March 2, 2011

Best answer: Look to your local colleges for "fashon" programs.
You can get great deals from students, custom made, if you are willing to take a chance.
They usually have year end shows and you could look for work that you like. Just ask the students and Instructors about ties and see where it leads.

At the very least you'll meet some interesting people.
posted by Ignorance at 10:38 AM on March 2, 2011

Response by poster: Wow, thank you everyone. That's a lot to process - I'll be doing that over the next few days as time allows - so keep 'em coming. I'm a bit slammed at the moment, so I can't give individual feedback, I'll just mark a few that caught my eye as I skimmed, though again, I have not had time to look carefully as yet.
posted by VikingSword at 11:21 AM on March 2, 2011

The Tie Bar contacted me after seeing my post above here on metafilter, apologized for not answering my question of some years ago, and assured me that they do not use sweatshop labor. (And further that sweatshops in China are a "rare" exception.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:57 PM on March 2, 2011

Thanks for posting that update, Eyebrows.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:55 AM on March 7, 2011

« Older What does resiny want to do with his life?   |   Lost about post-graduation work Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.