There are members only jackets, what about members only neckties?
August 27, 2012 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Can I wear these ties if I'm not a member of the Legion?

My grandfather died recently and I ended up with a few of his ties. I've learned that a couple of them are the neckties worn as part of the uniform of the Royal Canadian Legion (he was a member).

I am not a member of the Legion and probably never will be. I would like to wear these ties as regular, everyday neckties but I'm not sure if that is acceptable. I didn't think to ask any of the Legion folks when I was down for the funeral and I can't seem to find anything online other than that the tie is an official part of the uniform.

Is there any reason why it would be considered improper or bad form to wear these ties as anything other than a part of the Legion uniform?
posted by asnider to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Let me answer a question with a question---why wear a tie that has a special significance to members of an organization to which you do not belong? If it's to honor your grandfather, maybe potentially irritating his fellow Legionnaires isn't the best way to honor him. If it's just because you think the ties are cool, I would be braced for pushback from Legionnaires you might encounter.

There are a bunch of Legion posts all over the city listed in your profile. I would drop an email to one or more of them.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:26 PM on August 27, 2012

I would be hesitant. Although it's unlikely that you'll be mistaken for a member of the Legion (ties are a part of the uniform, not the other way around), you are still wearing part of a uniform that you don't have a claim to. They're not specifically "your grandfather's ties", which would be a nice thing to wear as a way of honouring him, they're "your grandfather's ties from the Legion".

Call up / drop in / email to a Legion nearby and ask them - but unless you have a really strong need to wear them, you should refrain, out of respect for the Legion and his membership in it.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:30 PM on August 27, 2012

If someone sees you in the tie and asks you about your service, what will you say? Do you think that person will A) applaud you for honoring your grandfather's memory, or B) think less of you for co-opting the symbols of the Legion? Now think about all the people who won't ask. Odds are that the vast majority will fall into category B.

Why offend someone if you don't have to?
posted by Etrigan at 12:37 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are they distinctive at all? A plain black tie, for example, is a plain black tie, but if they're distinctly a part of a uniform, I wouldn't.
posted by tyllwin at 12:38 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

If it's a necktie like this that's pretty non descript and probably easily found out in the world elsewhere.
posted by ZaneJ. at 12:43 PM on August 27, 2012

If this is a regimental (striped) tie there should be no problem. Many color patterns have been adopted into the mainstream and are sold by various manufacturers. You don't have to be an Argyle Sutherland Highlander to wear an Argyle Sutherland tie.
posted by cazoo at 12:51 PM on August 27, 2012

I was about to suggest the opposite: that if it were a regimental tie, that would be distinctive that I wouldn't be comfortable wearing it.
posted by tyllwin at 12:55 PM on August 27, 2012

The legion also has a catalogue of items to purchase, where a legionnaire might buy a hoodie for a family member. Given that your granddad was a member, I'm willing to bet that you might be able to get a tie for your own use that would be Legion "approved". Call your local legion, explain your situation, and see if they'll deal with you.

Ties are on page 67.
posted by LN at 12:55 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know what the ties referred to look like, but I've seen ties with all kinds of patterns, stripes, colors, etc., on them, and have never thought to ask whether the person is, in fact, a member of the group formerly (or formally) associated with such colors/patterns/etc.

Ties are fairly generic items in today's age, and that one would associate a particular tie solely with membership in a particular group says more about that person and less about the person wearing the tie.

Do what you feel is appropriate.
posted by dfriedman at 12:59 PM on August 27, 2012

You don't want to be mistaken for a walt. Ties and medals are not really things for people who are not part of the organisation.

If you want to honour him, frame the tie and put it on your wall.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:15 PM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

ask someone at legion
posted by Frasermoo at 1:18 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

This depends on context. I think that The Royal Artillery regimental tie is pretty fantastic. I might get one. But I would never wear it in the UK. Never, never, never.

If you're in a context where you wouldn't be around members of the Royal Canadian Legion, and you're not wearing it as part of a uniform for an organization you're not actually a member of, I would probably wear it. I'd certainly be careful about it.

But I used to wear my father's air force jacket and didn't think anything of it, but it's fairly common in the US to wear military surplus gear even if you're not in the military.
posted by deanc at 1:28 PM on August 27, 2012

It sounds like the best option is probably to not wear it (though I'll get in touch with a local branch and see what they say).

Since a couple of people have asked what it looks like, it is the tie in the image that ZaneJ. linked to.
posted by asnider at 1:53 PM on August 27, 2012

Just my two cents, but I think there is a huge difference between a tie that looks similar to an every day tie available in a department store and wearing a military medal. If, for any reason, someone asks about it, I think somebody who would recognize it would also be touched that it is a way to honor your grandpa.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 1:59 PM on August 27, 2012

I am not a member of the Legion and probably never will be.

Just in case you meant that you wouldn't be a member because you won't serve in the military, you could still be a member. They have associate and affiliate membership categories.
posted by Jahaza at 2:35 PM on August 27, 2012

You don't have to be an Argyle Sutherland Highlander to wear an Argyle Sutherland tie.

The reason that Brooks Brothers uses reversed stripes (a traditional English regimental or club tie comes down from the left to the right, American style ties that use the same colours but are intended for general wear go the other way) is precisely to prevent this confusion.
posted by atrazine at 2:39 PM on August 27, 2012

I think this really depends on where you are.

The impression I get is that in the UK, ordinary people may still genuinely care about this stuff — will recognize tie colors for organizations they're connected to, will assume that your tie colors MEAN SOMETHING even if they aren't personally familiar with WHAT they mean, will get annoyed or confused if you wear an arbitrary regimental tie just because it looks cool, etc.

In the US, the only people I know who feel that way about ties specifically are (overgeneralizing slightly) sort of obsessively nerdy anglophiles. There are other symbols of affiliation that folks in the US do care about that deeply — including regimental patches from the military, and also e.g. frat gear, Masonic insignia, religious insignia — but my experience is that tie colors aren't on the list.

Still, asking the Legion seems like a nice and tasteful thing to do in any case, and for all you know maybe they'll end up saying "No this is an entirely appropriate thing to do" and then you can wear it guilt-free.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:21 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wow, everyone here seems way more worked up about a tie than I would have imagined! It looks like a super generic tie, and wearing it seems like a nice way to honor and remember your grandpa. If anyone asks (why would they??) you can just say it was your late grandfather's and you like to wear it to feel close to him. I don't see what that's anyone else's business.
posted by rainbowbrite at 3:23 PM on August 27, 2012

Just in passing, I'd suggest you get it framed. I think that'd be really sharp.
posted by samofidelis at 4:17 PM on August 27, 2012

Well, wearing his colors DO mean something, it means he's honoring his grandfather. I think it would be fine to wear them, with the family connection you have. You should wear it proudly, in my opinion. If ever questioned, the simple and honest answer of "My grandfather was very proud of his service, this was his and I wear it in his honor." would be acceptable for any organization I can think of. Although, maybe not medals.
posted by raisingsand at 5:07 PM on August 27, 2012

If ever questioned, the simple and honest answer of "My grandfather was very proud of his service, this was his and I wear it in his honor." would be acceptable for any organization I can think of. Although, maybe not medals.

Oh, yeah, wearing someone else's medals is a big no-no and I would never do it. It's actually illegal to do so in Canada.
posted by asnider at 9:14 AM on August 28, 2012

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