TIES…FAMILY TIES: A JPW Sartorial Review
Following 2016 Junior Parents’ Weekend, Scene editor Erin McAuliffe and scene writer Nick Laureano reached out to their dads, Bob and Bert, for their thoughts on the state of the necktie. Below are some of the highlights of those conversations.
Bob McAuliffe on ties:
“Not a fan of the tie, actually the rash on my neck the next day prevents back-to-back tie days for me anymore.”
Bert Laureano, on his thought process:
“Friday was just cool-casual because we weren’t going to the gala — a rustic cotton shirt, grey cardigan, and cords. Saturday was formal so the only decision was between a purple or pink tie. Might have to get a bow tie or two. That would have looked good on Saturday.”
“I’m off bow-ties. Sinatra never wore them post-comeback, why should I?”
“I like bow-ties as long as it doesn’t look contrived. Most men who wear them look like they know they have one on and it affects their movement. It’s funny, because the same guy with a long tie moves more naturally. [One of your friend’s dad] looked stiff wearing his bow-tie, whereas your other friend, Jacob Dumford, looked at ease.”
Jacob Dumford, member of the class of 2017:
“Yeah, I mean I like the way bow-ties look, and, for me, liking the way I look is a source of confidence.”
Nick on the philosophy of ties and finding the right length:
“I don’t do ties. I just don’t. In no circumstance am I happier with a tie on than without.
With that said, occasionally decorum necessitates that I don a tie. In these instances, it’s a knit tie or die. The knit tie is a nice throwback to the ‘60s and ‘70s, and it also happens to be fashionable at this moment — how can you go wrong? And, since I rarely wear ties, I can get relatively high mileage out of a piece that some observers may consider a gimmick.
Another way to toss it back to the ‘60s is to keep your tie on the short side. Look at any given episode of “Mad Men;” Don Draper’s ties regularly fall a couple of inches above his belt. Do as Don did — outside the realm of interpersonal relationships he could do no wrong. The length serves a practical purpose, too. I’m a shorter guy, and wearing your tie short creates the illusion of a lengthened torso.”
Jacob on the topic of his dad’s tie game:
“It’s pretty weak. But he doesn’t wear ties enough to really care.”
Bert on the topic of other dads:
“A lot of men my age don’t get it, certainly among this crowd. They think that reaching a certain level of success — you know, these guys are paying for their children to attend Notre Dame — means they don’t have to worry about what they wear. In reality that’s just not the case. If you want to stand out in a room of 2,000 other successful dads, you have to look sharp.”
Bob on JPW:
“In general, JPW is not competition for fashion week. (Note: Bob is aware that London Fashion Week is going on right now because he is a #CoolFashionDad) Some strong standouts but mostly church-going gear.”
Nick on showing off:
“In the immortal words of Jack Donaghy,‘Where I come from, if you have more than two colors on a tie it means you’re looking for a certain kind of bar.’ Donaghy’s sentiment might be misplaced, but his message rings true — ultimately, your tie is not the proper place to show off.
Nonetheless, too many guys seemingly build their outfit around their tie. The perils of the flashy tie stem from the attention it draws to itself: (1) it’s easy to tell a cheap tie from an expensive one, so as a college student who doesn’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on every tie it’s best to wear something understated; (2) many guys can’t tie a knot for beans, so you’re best off wearing something that won’t draw attention to your knot-tying skills.
Where you do want to show off is on your ankles.”
Bert on choosing the right socks:
“If we’re talking casual wear, I pick socks that pop a little, usually matching my shirt or sweater. For formal wear the socks complement the suit. I’m too old to wear purple socks with a purple tie.
I find that as I get older, a good way to stay fresh in the socks department whilst avoiding looking like a poser is to opt for textured socks. The pair I wore on Saturday had a pronounced topography — they were dimpled, like a golf ball.”