I don’t have much opportunity to wear ties these days. Call me crazy but sometimes I do miss my old-school consulting days. There’s something about steppin’ out in a tailored suit, hand-stitched shirt, and an amazing tie that can make you feel like a million bucks. As I get a bit older I can’t rock the casual attire reserved for the young bucks like I used to and I long to put on a tie sometimes. Perhaps it was my time spent living amongst the Dutch. I gotta’ say, as a matter of course, the Dutch, Danish, and Belgians are some of the most impeccably dressed men if we’re considering just every day attire. Of course, it goes without saying that the Italians, French, and British set the standard when it comes to dashing, gentlemanly fashion. So perhaps a bit of that rubbed off on me; or rather, the desire to dress well might have.
If you aren’t familiar with tie brands, there is a vast array of designers out there. They also range considerably in price. I have absolutely nothing against fine tie offerings from the likes of Dior, Brioni, Stefano Ricci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Zegna. I have quite a few of these myself. But when you have the means and must absolutely dress to impress, there is no compromising on the following tie-makers on my list below. Amongst the tie-wearing elite, a knowledgeable gentleman can easily spot another with impeccable taste.
In a crowd of outstanding tie-makers, there comes a point where I cannot just choose one brand to be loyal to. It really depends on my mood and a bit of inspiration. Attolini makes stunning ties in solid colors, simple patterns, and commanding power ties. Only the elusive, iconic, unlined, pink, cashmere tie could come from the House of Attolini. Coming from an unquestionable pedigree in Casalnuovo, the Attolini family know their clothes. Who else would have a dedicated tailor for each step of making a suit with precise specifications on ironing and resting time according to fabric? Cesare honors his father Vincenzo’s craft. But seriously…anyone know where I can get an Attolini pink cashmere tie?
Light pastels to dark, rich, earth tones. Simple, elegant patterns. Borelli are my go-to ties for conservative, classic looks. Deceptively understated, Borelli ties rank among the very best. Want to treat yourself? Pair your Borelli with one of their beautifully hand-stitched shirts from the Royal Collection.
Gorgeous, luxurious fabrics and prints make Bvlgari ties instantly recognizable. You should expect no less from the designer that makes stunning jewelry pieces. Founded by Sotirio Voulgaris and now owned by venerated LVHM, this proud tradition is alive and well. Decadent and lavish, a Bvlgari tie is a must-have in your collection.
Founded by Christophe Charvet in the mid-19th Century, Charvet stands along Hermes as the definitive French fashion house for men’s ties. Notable is the vast selection of fabrics and weaves available in Charvet, from grenadines, to silk twills, to crepes.
Charvet ties are a bit more delicate (though this is not to be taken to mean that these are not sturdy ties; their weave and construction are impeccable). The slimmer profile means an ideal tie for full knots and the fabric knots beautifully. I have not encountered a 7-fold Charvet, but perhaps they are out there. Another piece of interesting trivia, I believe Charvet to be the first shirt shop in the world.
Bold, masculine patterns accompanied by aggressive print offerings, Dries van Noten is a great designer from Belgium. The Danish, Dutch, and Belgians are some of the most impeccably dressed men I know as a course of everyday attire. If you want to stand out and make a statement from a brand not yet very well known in the States–unless you’re a refined man of taste then you already know–then have a look at Dries van Noten. He also has some beautifully cut coats and jackets for men.
I’m proud to say Franco Uomo is a good friend and has a refined eye for men’s fashion. His outstanding customer service and uncompromising insistence on quality fabrics and construction have won him many loyal customers worldwide. Bold yet classic colors and prints will make you glad you have a Franco Uomo tie in your closet. I’m still working up the nerve to incorporate Franco’s beautiful collection of bowties into my wardrobe but they are just as terrific as his neckties. I was telling Franco the other day that I feel like I am discovering a new fashion name at the beginning of something great. There will be more exciting things to come from Franco Uomo. Just remember who told you about him first 😉
Your wardrobe isn’t complete without a proper Hermès tie. Classic patterns run alongside whimsical prints. Instantly recognizable, there is no mistaking an Hermès tie. Quite a bit more expensive, but worth every penny. I have Hermès ties that I’ve had my entire tie-wearing life. More adventurous? Try an Hermès losanges or men’s scarf.
Gianluca Isaia produces exciting ties in contemporary styles and fabrics. Fresh looks for the young gentleman, wear this lesser-known-in-the-States brand and people are sure to ask who you’re wearing. Coming from his grandfather’s heritage in Casalnuovo, the town of tailors, Isaia’s contemporary looks are steeped in tradition.
No list of fine ties would be complete without including Kiton (kee-tone). Their ties have an organic expression owed in large part to their exclusive fabrics. How exclusive? Kiton develops about 90% of their fabrics themselves, including rare fabrics like cashmere-linen and cashmere-silk. Thank you, Ciro Paone. Kiton is just as fanatical as Attolini in making their suits; they only produce about 20,000 suits per year with each suit taking about 30 hours. Got $50,000 to spend on a suit? Then you can buy yourself a K-50 suit which requires a minimum of 50 hours to create.
The house that Eugenio Marinella founded has beautiful ties. Really beautiful ties. Seriously. If polka dots and small pattern prints are your style, you can’t get much better than Marinella. Their ties are exclusively seven-folds. You’ll stand with good company alongside other clients like: Chirac, Kennedy, Visconti, Onassis, and King Juan Carlos.
You can’t get more exclusive than a custom, made-to-order tie from Sam Hober. The only brand on this list that is based in the United States, Sam Hober works with fine silks from England, Italy, Ireland, and Thailand. Their exquisite grenadine, poplin, and herring bone weaves are a sight to behold. They weave their own designs from Thai silk steeped in a long family history of weaving in Thailand. What this means is that you won’t find a better silk tie as Sam Hober demands the absolute best quality that you would expect to find in the rarest and most luxurious silks from Thailand. Know that when you wear your Sam Hober tie, it is truly your tie and no one else’s. Also worth mentioning is their outstanding offering of pocket squares to accompany that great tie, also available in great fabrics.
Be sure to check out my evolving list at Pinterest: Killer Ties for a Gentleman of Taste.