It’s Spencer’s first article!
A century ago, a suit and tie was the everyday attire for men. To differentiate between work and play, men would have fun with accessories. While many of those same accouterments still exits, one item that has been faded from the collective consciousness is this style of novelty tie popular from the turn of the century up until the early 1920s, faithfully reproduced by Damian Monsivais of Monsivais & Co.
Ties like these are distinct, not only when compared to modern ties, but for the time period itself, especially when considering how skinny ties could be in the 1910s. It’s asymmetrical shape differentiates it from even the widest ties of the 1970s. At it’s widest point, the Monsivias tie measures about five inches, around one or two inches more than ties typical ties of the ’70s.
This type of neckwear weas especially popular during the spring and summer months, when a man could forgo a waistcoat and show off the full width of the tie.
We call them novelty ties in this article because there is some debate as to what they were originally called: most often they were known as scarves, though according to Damian, they were also referred to as “batwing” ties (not to be confused with the type of bow tie that shares the name). Some call them a “cutlass” tie due to its shape, but based on research, that was not a moniker actually used during the period. Like we said earlier,most ties during the 1910s were not especially wide.
Constructed using actual 1910s patterns and using turn of the century calico cloth, the Monsivias Tie is the closest (and best thing) to an actual vintage tie! Only a few pieces of true vintage novelty ties still exist.
Wearing The Tie
Instead of a teens look with a high starched collar and pegged trousers, I paired the tie with a more ’30s summer look. It’s something that can work in our contemporary world without looking too vintage. After all, it’s the details that matter!
The jacket is one of my favorites in my collection. Four patch pockets is already a cool detail. But four PLEATED patch pockets? What’s not to love? Tweed may seem like an odd choice for summer, but this jacket is actually pretty lightweight and breathable, making it perfect for mild summer days. You can see with the jacket button, the tie doesn’t look all that unusual. However, when it’s unfastened…
…that’s when you really get to see the tie. At first, I was a little wary of wearing a tie this unusual, but I really liked the subtle workwear vibes it lent to this outfit. The use of my signature 1930’s denim shirt helps add to those vibes.
Side note: wanna know the secret to dressing like me? Wear cream pants with a brown jacket. That’s basically it. I’ve joked with Ethan that if I could, I would have 7 pairs of these specific trousers so I could wear one every day of the week. They’re not actually true vintage- they’re Polo Ralph Lauren reproductions I got second hand. However, cut of the pants are extremely similar to a pair of early ’30s Palm Beach pants I own. I’m a big fan of the flat front and their moderate width. These features make these trousers a timeless piece- they would look as good in 1928 as they do in 2017.
Here you can see how well the textures of each item really compliment each other- linen pants, tweed jacket, and calico tie, all have some sort of rough texture. Most modern buisnesswear tends to be smooth- non iron shirts, fine wool, silk ties. There’s nothing wrong with a smooth outfit, but wearing pieces with a bit of roughness adds character to an outfit. It shows that you dress for fun rather than as a uniform!
Although this tie can be a bit much to wear outside of the context of vintage events, the tie is extremely well constructed and the pattern is versatile and attractive. I expect to get a lot of use of this by masking the unusual shape through use of waistcoats or double breasted suits.
In addition to the Batwing tie, Monsivais & Co. also sells a wide range of 1910s-1930s style caps, as well as 1920s style brocade neckties. You can check our Damian’s Facebook Page and website to peruse his goods!
Until next time,
Street X Sprezza
Photography by Ethan W.