Try a Bold Tie for Spring/Summer

People say that warm weather is the best time for bold sportcoats.  But what about our neckties?

I never liked bold sportcoats.  Sure I might have some plaids in my wardrobe, but those are mainly for fall/winter.  I’m talking about madras, whatever this is, and those oversized/colorful checks I see whenever someone links a pitti uomo picture. While others may be able to pull it off, it’s definitely not for me.  When I tell this to people, they often say that springs/summer is the chance to be bold and fun; what else are we supposed to do if bold summer jackets are out of the question?     I say go for the bold tie.

Bold neckties might give people some bad memories as most think of gangsters.  And while that may be true for style in the late 1940s and early 1950s (known as the bold era), there are really different variations of it.  In fact, bold neckwear has been advocated since the 1930’s and makes for an extremely classic yet interesting look. There isn’t really an exact term for the bold ties I included here, but I think it can include checks, certain foulards, and abstract prints; the idea is that they aren’t “normal” designs.  I’m not really talking about these ties.

I’ve included some images from the 1930s-1940s for your viewing pleasure.  Bright, colorful ties are worn with rather plain suits and shirts  in order to keep things from going too crazy.  In most cases, white or tan is the grounding agent, while others play with darker colors to “surround” the bold te.   In general, some utilize high contrast, which is something I love for warm weather outfits.  Obviously some of these outfits and silhouettes can be a little bit dated for most, but I think they still offer some great inspiration for summer attire.

Let’s fast forward to today.  The bold necktie hasn’t really seen a comeback compared to other “older trends” (pleats, high rise, wide lapels), as it seems that  most of contemporary menswear is obsessed with tight, foulard/geometric patterns.  There’s nothing wrong with that, as a striped shirt and almost any print is enough to make me happy, but I find it a little too boring.  Not only does the bold tie include that vintage vibe that I enjoy (which isn’t for everyone), I think that it just makes an outfit more interesting and different than what people normally do.

Luckily, there are a few dressers out there that keep the spirit of the bold tie alive! You can always count on Yatsuo-san of Camoshita and the Drake’s gang to kill it in the necktie department.  You’ll notice that while these outfits are a little dandy for most, it’s actually not too vintage at all.  They might all have sack suits, wide lapels, and bold ties, but they don’t look like a costume.  I think they provide great examples on how to do 1930s-1940s style in a contemporary way, even if they might not say that vintage is what they were going for.

“Striped” feather-esque print tie with a seersucker suit.

A “bolder than most” yellow foulard, surrounded by dark blues and browns.

I love this.

Doesn’t this tie look like one of the vintage ones from earlier?

Even plaid ties are cool.

I want to talk a little bit about Niyi Okuboyejo, the man behind Post-Imperial. I first saw him on Articles of Style and fell in love instantly; you can see him rocking the fisted pockets back in 2013!   Not only was he a great dresser, but he designs some great clothing, starting with his Nigerian print neckwear.  They aren’t as crazy as some 1940s ties, but I was enamored by the prints.  Repeated asymmetrical shapes fill his ties, with some pieces already featuring a bright base.  It was the right amount of bold, which is why I included him in this post.

You’ll note that he still wears his bold print ties with striped shirts which again gives me that vintage vibe.  It’s also just a great way to wear a patterned tie in general, since 90% of regular guys on the street (not menswear guys) can’t bring themselves to wear more than one pattern.   Honestly, I just dislike wearing too much “plain” pieces all at once.  Two things just gotta have a pattern!

My Outfits

So the main difference between myself and the contemporary guys is that I like to use vintage ties (though I think Arnold Wong does as well).   Not only are these more affordable for where I am right now, but they have unique designs that you really can’t find anywhere else! As a result, they probably are a little bit bolder than the others, but I think I keep things fairly wearable.

Summer is about fun, right?

Full Suits

IMG_7276

One of the best ways to pull off a bold tie (or even a funky shirt) is to wear a suit.  Having two pieces of clothing in the same color to ground the tie in is essential, if you’re not feeling confident in your choices.  Here, I wear a fun abstract print blue tie with a blue stripe spearpoint, and the wide legged cotton DB suit.  The fact that the suit is a DB helps even more since they are certainly more “closed up” than a single breasted suit. This hides the tie and makes it more wearable.

IMG_7292

Obviously I’m wearing a striped shirt whenever I do these looks, but that’s because a striped tie is a bit more intentional than a plain shirt. To me a plain shirt means that you’re resigning yourself to the power of the bold tie, while a striped one shows that you know what you’re doing. In most cases, any striped shirt will do, though pay attention to the scaling.

I wouldn’t do a checked shirt with a bold tie though.

IMG_7620

Unstructured 1960’s suit with pink stripe spearpoint and square motif tie.

IMG_8339

IMG_7813

A case where the tie is bold simply because it injects color; this brown foulard isn’t necessarily wild.

IMG_7538

Brown cotton suit, green stripe spearpoint, and a “striped” tie.

IMG_4287

Rakish, with a contrast collar striped shirt and diagonal check tie.

IMG_0240

Based on Arnold’s pinstripe outfit: linen DB, with a denim spearpoint and summer wool tie with a circle motif.

DSC01467

Pain mint shirt with ship motif tie, sadly lost now.  Worn to LACMA x Dapper Day 2016.

IMG_1504

IMG_8271

IMG_0049

Separates

IMG_7569

Doing a bold tie with separates is definitely a tougher feat since you now have to coordinate the trousers into the rest of the outfit.  Luckily, spring/summer means that you are allowed to bring out brighter colors and mix them with dark ones in order to create some high contrast looks.  In general, white or cream trousers are the best choices as an odd trouser, since they literally go with anything.

I’m not sure if I honed my tastes or if it was always inherent, but I always like to pick bold ties that contain a white in some capacity.   That way the piece be echoed effectively in the pocket square and trouser, so it doesn’t appear to come out of nowhere (which is usually the case with bold ties).  The use of a striped shirt also helps, since they usually contain white as well.

IMG_7589

IMG_7902

IMG_8610

From the Drake’s Trunk Show at the Bloke.

IMG_2681

IMG_1460

Teal and white.

IMG_8284

Blue foulard, echoed by the jacket.

IMG_8610

IMG_8228

Brown, white, and florals.

IMG_2453

Pink checked tie with interesting weave

IMG_3887

This sideways checked seersucker tie works well with a dark shirt.

Untitled

A fun tropical tie bizzarily worn with tweed.  2015 Ethan didn’t know much.

Conclusion

While I do like my classic foulards and stripes, I usually opt for the bold tie when it comes to spring/summer.  It adds just a bit of personality and fun that I think is largely missing in menswear, since most guys opt for crazy checked linen-blends that I don’t like.  Most of my attire is rather plain ( I seldom have patterned jackets other than a few checked tweeds), which is why I opt for the bold tie instead.

Drake’s makes some great ties (as does Sevenfold/Tie Your Tie), but I will always prefer vintage ones. There’s just something unique about vintage ties that have a little more interest; plus it helps that you’re probably the only one with that particular tie.   Now I’m not recommending that you simply wear any vintage tie to achieve the look. If you can’t tell, I prefer designs that a pretty geometric in nature, and have a some spacing in order to contrast well with my striped shirts.  Even some of the wilder ones have white in them, which makes it easy to pair with neutrals.

Hopefully you’ve gained some inspiration from this post and get a chance to do it yourself.  It’s a different way to have some sartorial fun in the warmer months!  Of course, I may be biased toward bringing vintage style to the modern day.

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W.

@ethamwong 

Street x Sprezza 

Advertisements

10 comments

  1. Johann · April 30, 2018

    Might wanna fix your “Plain mint shirt” caption. 😉
    Thanks for the summer advice. Enjoying your posts as usual!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Dressing like Kamoshita-San at Pitti Uomo 92 | STREET x SPREZZA
  3. Alick Howard · April 30, 2018

    How do you loose a tie ?

    Like

    • Ethan W. · April 30, 2018

      Not sure, haha. All I know is that I can’t find that ship-motif tie!

      Like

      • Alick Howard · May 2, 2018

        Well, I hope you find another one it is bloody gorgeous

        Like

  4. Pingback: Try a Bold Tie For Spring/Summer « Fashion
  5. Pingback: The Menswear in New York II | STREET x SPREZZA
  6. Pingback: My Drake’s MTO Tie | STREET x SPREZZA
  7. Pingback: The Drake’s SS19 Trunk Show at The Bloke | STREET x SPREZZA

Comment Away!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s