Tuesday, February 28, 2012
I recall that when I was an undergraduate striped neckties were more common than any other style, a state apparently still true today. Like many men's clothing customs, we can blame that on the British, whose ties often tell something of the organizations to which they belong. For the striped tie was introduced after the British army changed from colored uniforms that identified a man's regiment to plainer, more (ahem) uniform cloth that was a somewhat less obvious target for the enemy. Striped neckties in those regimental colors came shortly thereafter as a male bonding thing, followed fairly closely in time by school and club ties until it got to be that neckties said a great deal about the life of an entire class of British men (this predilection meant that those same men had a relatively small number of neckties and compensated with wardrobes of patterned shirts for variety).
Viewed by men for whom ties are mere decoration, stripes are probably a little too casual for suits most of the time. Solids, semi-solids and small prints tend to be more formal in that context, to my eye anyway. Where stripes shine is with blazers and odd jackets, particularly solids and semi-solids that benefit from the visual interest added by a strong stripe.
Twill weaves with their ridges lend themselves to stripes. Silk repp is the most common of course but another is mogador (pronounced Moe Gah Door). A mix of silk yarn in the warp and cotton in the weft, Mogador ties have more vibrant color than do the repps, as the cotton takes dye better, and a little less sheen. That gives them just enough contrast to be worn next to silk squares, and of course silk is best worn with those same odd jackets so we come full circle.
In the photo, a lambswool and angora jacket, chambray shirt, paisley square and, of course, Mogador necktie.