While this may have put the necktie into perspective historically, it does not help you much when selecting the next silk noose for the man in your life.  The current trend calls for analagous and monocromatic rather than complementary color in both ties and dress shirts.  This look has been boosted by the dapper dress of Regis Philbin - while you may not be able to make your man a millionaire, but you can ay least help him look like one.  Which brings me to the subject of  "the cutesy tie."  Frankly, if a man is too old to wear a cartoon characters on his "jammies," then chances are he should not be sporting one from his collar either.   

Standard neckties come in lengths anywhere from 52 to 58 inches long (although a very tall or stout man may require extra length) and when properly tied, should end just at or a fraction below the bottom of his trouser's waistband. The proper width of a tie, and one that will never be out of style is 3 1/4 inches (2 3/4 to 3 1/2 inches are also acceptable). All fine ties are cut on the bias, which means they have been cut across the fabric. This allows them to fall straight after the knot has been tied, without curling. A simple test consists of holding a tie across you hand. If it begins to twirl in the air, it was probably not cut on the bias and it should not be purchased. Ties now derive their body and fullness by means of an additional inner lining. Besides giving body to the tie, the lining helps the tie hold its shape. The finest-quality ties today are lined with 100 percent wool and are generally produced in Europe. Other quality ties may use a wool mixture. The finer the tie, the higher the wool content.  If you perform an autopsy on an old tie, you will discover that fine linings are marked with a series of gold bars (which are visible if you open up the back of the tie.) The more bars, the heavier the lining. Many people assume that a quality tie must be thick, as this would suggest that the silk is heavy and therefore expensive. In fact, in most cases it is merely a heavier lining that gives the tie this bulk. Finally, take a look at the tie just above the spot where the two sides come together to form an inverted V. In most quality ties, you will find a stitch joining the back flaps. This is called the bar tack, and it helps maintain the shape of the tie.

In 1753, Robespierre decreed  "From now on it's just coat, pants, and shirt, - nothing too flashy, though we will give you a little leeway with your neckwear."   The world it seems, is
still listening.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
I would love to hear from you!
harlan@todoahora.com

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