The Ties That Bind Us. Care and Feeding of Our Neckwear

(Spot cleaning will only take you so far. Image: DoctorMacro.)

We’re particular about our ties aren’t we? To most eyes one pinstriped gray suit looks pretty much like another. But a great tie… well, that’s something else. A great tie will garner compliments. A great tie will get a second appraising glance. A great tie will get worn. A lot.

The problem is that ties are a luxury item. Think about it. They serve no real purpose other than purely aesthetic. Cinched too tight, they are tourniquets around the neck, binding non-existent wounds. But they are signifiers of social status aren’t they? We know a good tie when we see one. Subtly patterned, woven, or printed, they are made of silk, wool, linen or cotton. All of which are fragile. Silk, in fact, is delicate. And if you wear silk enough, it wears out.

Don’t you hate it when you look down and see that your favorite tie, this beautiful bit of “damn I look good in that tie”,  is getting a little … fuzzy around the end?

Why would a tie get fuzzy?

We here at Leviner Wood don’t shy away from tackling the tough questions and we’ve been all over the internet and through the sartorial library looking for an answer. Nobody wants to come clean on this one.

Is it that the silk is inferior and makes for a poorer quality tie that is more likely to fuzz up? The way that cheaper, shorter fibers make (your favorite) cashmere sweaters pill?

Dunno. But our educated guess is that the way that certain ties are finished is to blame. Wovens and other textured ties seem particularly prone to the disease. Harder finished ties, not so much.

So what can you do about it?

1) Learn to untie your tie. Just as you tied the tie in the first place, reverse the procedure and untie when you are taking it off. Pulling it off stretches the fabric, the slipstitch, the lining and the stitching. Untying your tie will lengthen its lifespan.

2) Hang it up to release the wrinkles and, if you can, roll it (starting at the thin end) and store it in its own compartment.

3) Give it a rest. Like good dress shoes, a fine tie should not be worn two days in a row; if you can help it.

4) If it’s dirty, spot clean it (test on the thin blade first), don’t have it drycleaned and then pressed. And use a professional service like “Tiecrafters.” Yes, you will pay for shipping both ways. Yes your tie will benefit from the spa treatment.

5) When the end begins to get fuzzy, shave it. Use a safety razor. Or use a match to singe off the fuzz. Do this with extreme care.

6) When you burn the edge or it begins to fray, take it to a reputable alterations tailor and have it shortened by 1/4″ – 1/2″.

7) When it’s had it, turn it into a belt with a pair of stainless steel d-rings. Cut off about 6″ of the damaged end, stitch the ends around the d-rings. Wear with frayed khakis or linen trousers.

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1 Response to The Ties That Bind Us. Care and Feeding of Our Neckwear

  1. Joe Sale says:

    Great blog on how to care for your ties! Check out my invention, Anchor Ties stay in place and will never get in your way. They are all 100% pure silk and securely attach to two buttons on your dress shirt, keeping the tie “anchored” in position.

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