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Ties with Personality

Jack Bettridge
From the Print Edition:
Adrien Brody, September/October 2010

You may think you're such a nonconformist when you go without a tie. You're not. Neckwear, with its myriad variations, lets you be the individualist in any number of ways. Here are a just few of the tie personalities you can don, courtesy of Robert Talbott.

The basic Striped Tie is a go-with-anything look, especially when in wide swatches that overpower most shirt and suit patterns (that's a good thing; pairings with nondominant patterns clash). Many striped ties represent English regiments or schools. Lest you be mistaken for a dragoon or an Etonian, wear them in the American style (stripes running counter-right shoulder to left hip-to the British originals).

The Yellow Power Tie was born of a go-to-hell attitude that overtook Wall Street in the go-go years of the '80s. Those with enough juice decided they could flout the tradition of red and blue ties by flaunting yellow ribbons. The style caught on even amongst underlings.

The rediscovery of the ultra-smooth style of the early '60s (thank you, "Mad Men") invites back the subtle gray tones of the Captain of Industry Tie. Its sheen whispers power so forcefully everyone can hear. It can also double as a tuxedo accompaniment in place of black tie.

Paisley is at once the boldest of tie patterns and one of the most accepted. You can broadcast the implicit sexuality of this sinuous pattern without anyone batting an eye or citing fashion infraction. The look goes well with both patterned and solid shirts.

The Conversational Tie is so named because it invites discourse on whatever topic the pattern advertises. Be you a dog lover (as shown), a golfer, a yachtsman, etc., you'll find like minds just wearing one. Be sure to bone up on your subject first.
The Knit Tie is among the most casual with loose weave and squared-off end. We like the solid-colored numbers because they can be so easily matched with busy sport shirts.

Plaid Ties are another sporty option, perfect for playing off tweeds and rustic colors. And you needn't be Scotch to tie them. If you have a family tartan by all means fly the colors, but don't be too strict. The plaid of your favorite whisky will do.
For reasons we don't quite fathom, Polka Dot (not shown) is the perfect partner for striped suits. Maybe it's because the patterns steadfastly refuse to relate on any plane. Choose smaller spots with bold chalk stripes and larger ones for a pinstripe suit.

Of course, the tie choice is just the tip of the options iceberg with neckwear. Shirt patterns and collar types add to the ways you can strut your stuff. Mel Gambert custom shirts (which supplied the collar in the photograph) offers hundreds of patterns and 20 collar shapes.

Visit roberttalbott.com and gambertshirts.com.

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