Today’s must-reads from around the Internet.
Bow ties. The hotly disputed, professorial older brothers to the standard necktie, they are currently making an unprecedented return to the forefront of dapperness.
And you want in.
But understandably, you’re worried that you might end up coming off more Colonel Sanders than Fred Astaire. While this is a valid concern, it’s also easily avoidable; all you need is a little direction. And that’s where we come in, with a few carved-in-stone guidelines for making the jump from four-in-hand minor deity to neckwear god.
Formalwear, by design, is usually pretty stuffy.
But with the warmer, more carefree summer party circuit on the horizon—weddings, society croquet galas, et cetera—you’ve got permission to lighten things up a bit. That means cotton instead of silk, linen instead of cotton and, for the love of all things holy above 90 degrees, not a stitch of velvet in sight. So we’ve rounded up a few lightweight substitutions for your tuxedo routine that will keep you just as dapper through the hotter months to come. No sweat.
Because friends don’t let friends look disheveled in black tie. (This snap comes from last night’s Time 100 Gala, when the magazine honored their picks for most influential people of the year.) The approving gaze of Justin Timberlake says it all.
A handful of glamorous black-and-whites were unleashed on the Internet with yesterday’s announcement of Mad Men’s season six return—and while the majority of chatter has centered on Pete Campbell’s burgeoning muttonchops, we noticed something else worth noting: a depiction of the full spectrum of bow tie shapes in one single snap.
Now, no matter what Big Bow Tie would like to have you believe, there are really only three shapes of bow tie: the batwing, butterfly and diamond-point (or, as our friends at Forage Haberdashery like to call them: arrowheads). And the photo above has the perfect example of the subtle differences among all three. Most obvious is Roger Sterling’s diamond-point, but here’s where the nuance comes into play: Don is wearing a batwing—signified by its straight, slim blades that don’t get too much wider than the knot—while Pete is wearing a butterfly, or “thistle,” that creates a much more pronounced and rounder appearance akin to its namesake’s wings. It’s a lesson worth learning for the cravat-inclined, but as you can see, there’s really no wrong choice.
One of our favorite sartorial holiday traditions is the New Year’s Eve tuxedo.
And the most important part of the look is your bow tie—sitting there, dead center, staring back at everyone, inviting them to drink in your tuxedoed-ness in full splendor. Done right, a well-chosen bow tie can make up for some overzealous peak lapels or lightly scuffed tux loafers, but the wrong one could ruin an otherwise splendid black-tie affair. The trick is to choose wisely and make it a notch different than anyone else who dare rival your penguin suit. (And by different, we mean better.)
In this new weekly series, we peer into your summer weekend agenda and offer a few essential sundries to help you make the most of your upcoming escapade. This weekend, you’re throwing an alfresco soiree.
Let’s face it: that repurposed keg tub has served as the centerpiece of every outdoor party you’ve thrown since graduation. It’s time for it to leak weird liquid somewhere else. And since you’re already headed to the dump, you might as well toss out the wobbly coffee table, the not-supposed-to-be-blinking Christmas lights and, well, just about everything else that’s been outside for over a year. We know, you kind of like that stuff.
Now that we’re living in a post-cravat-stigma America, bow ties are no longer relegated to a lifetime spent around the collars of fastidious professors and gala regulars.
They’re a welcome bit of sartorial flash, and these days it’s the flashier, the better. Which is why we were pleased to see this eye-catching new crop arrive at Commune de Paris, designed by Monsieur Jean Yves in Paris—also where they’re handmade. There’s a lot to like: candy stripes, raw silk and a particularly festive multicolored marled entry that’s reminiscent of Funfetti cake. They’re pre-tied (to save you the trouble of lining up the stripes every time), but don’t let that fool you into thinking this isn’t still an advanced move.
This one comes by way of Ron Galella, who managed to capture John Lennon and Mick Jagger in the midst of an accessory-off. Personally, we’d take Mick’s buttonhole rose over John’s ’70s-sized bow tie—but Tom Ford might disagree.
Once upon a time, half the eye-popping menswear on the internet was only sold in Japan. Now Milan seems to have taken up the crown.
This shawl-collar/bowtie combination comes from Coast + Weber + Ahaus, a Milanese line that’s been getting some much deserved love lately. Despite the address, they’re more interested in knits and khakis than sprezzed out suits, which makes for a remarkably sober spin on typically excellent continental tailoring.
The only bad news is, nobody’s managed to talk them into an e-commerce shop. Or at least not yet.
Our rules for bowties are fairly simple: keep it small, quiet colors and as interesting a fabric as possible. So we were pleased to run across Steve & Co., an Italian accessories line that just rolled out a new crop of knit wool ties. They’re pre-tied (purists, fire away), but that’s the price of an unconventional fabric. And for around $50 a pop, you can afford to break a few rules.
It’s the pants.
This week’s MOTH comes from the preppiest place on earth, the Madison Avenue Brooks Brothers shop, during the release party for True Prep. It’s also quite possibly the only place in the world you could fearlessly sport a pair of moleskin pants embroidered with miniature pictures of dogs.
The red-headed gentleman without fear is K. Cooper Ray, proprietor of Social Primer, and give or take a pair of Gucci loafers, he’s dressed in head to toe Brooks—including that two-tone bowtie, which he had a hand in designing. It’s a lot to take in…but we’re pretty sure it’s the only way to pull off the eye-popping trousers. If it weren’t for Thom Browne lurking in the background in a shrunken gray suit, he’d easily be the best-dressed gentleman in the place.
Bow ties are getting pretty daring these days. Case in point: this refreshing counterpart for your club collar.
These Forage bow ties are handmade in Philadelphia by the Etsy celebrities who brought you the famed Mustache on a Stick. They’ve deviated from conventional tartans and stripes in order to bring you a whimsical collection of sixteen designs. We like to think of them as the perfect accessory for the daring sentimentalist—the gentleman who takes his trad in moderation.
And unlike the Band of Outsiders version, these don’t come with clip-ons or any other shortcuts. You’ll have to knot these all by yourself. We like to think of it as the opportune moment to show off your manual dexterity. This should be of assistance if you need to brush up on your skills.
Today’s NYT brings to light a new red-carpet trend that’s been simmering since the Oscars, and for once we agree with them: The bowtie tuxedo is making its triumphant return.
Welcome back. We’ve missed you.
The bowtie is already a pretty advanced item, so adding a little extra flash isn’t going to change anything too much. This version comes from Brooks Brothers, with a little inspiration by way of Social Primer founder K. Cooper Ray, and we’re pretty pleased—particularly with the madras-seersucker combination. It may be tiptoeing into J.Press territory, but nab the right tweed jacket and you should be all set.
With the Trad’s clout at an all-time high, we thought we’d check in with one of Manhattan’s most scrupulous dandies, Mordechai Rubenstein a.k.a. Mister Mort. His latest project is a line of velvet bowties in conjunction with fellow trad Baron Von Fancy, popping up soon for a cool $80. They’re pre-tied to spare you the near-impossible task of knotting velvet, but otherwise they’re as impeccable a throwback as you could want for a holiday party, especially if you’ve got an undersized suit handy.
Madras has been picking up steam as a look for some time, but it’s still best kept to the fringes of your outfit to keep from overdoing things. Maybe a bowtie or two?
Luckily, the ur-preppy outfitters at J. Press (via ACL) happen to be in the midst of a spring sale, meaning you can walk away with this particular bowtie for less than $40, and plenty of statelier neckties for only a little bit more. And if you have a seersucker jacket handy…it might be time to get it out of storage.
This Band of Outsiders bowtie just made an early appearance at Seattle’s Blackbird, and we’re immensely pleased. Of course, after last season we already have a bowtie or two in our closet…but there’s always room for one more.
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