A tie is a tie, is a tie – or is it?
When you’ve found the color and pattern you like, what else is there? Actually, it’s only the beginning. Just like a suit or a dress shirt, you get what you pay for, and it takes an educated eye to recognize the difference.
Tie construction is multi-faceted, and precision and good workmanship are crucial to wearability and longevity. Some 22 manufacturing steps go into the making of that simple strip of fabric.
In a quality tie you’ll find good outer fabrics, resilient construction, proper interlinings and luxurious finishing touches.
When examining that next tie you want to buy, look for bias cutting of the lining and tie fabrics, which allows the tie to recover from wrinkling. Slip, another important feature, is a loose stitch that will yield when tied. Today, most ties are machine slip-stitched with resilient thread.
While many types of interlinings are used, the most popular is a blend of wool, acrylic and polyester. A properly weighted interlining will give the tie a luxurious feel, knot easily and remain wrinkle free. By the way, it is a myth that the more stripes on a tie’s interlining the better the quality of the tie. The number of stripes merely denotes the weight of the interlining and is a guide to the manufacturer for matching the respective weights of the interlining and outer fabric. Heavier linings are needed to balance lightweight fabrics and conversely, lightweight linings compliment a heavier weight outer fabric.
Both the tie linings and outer shell are made up of separate pieces of fabric, sewn together at the neckband and positioned under the shirt collar, where no seams will show.
As part of the sewing process, the tips of the tie are hemmed or “tipped” by machine or sometimes by hand, in the case of more expensive ties. These finishing touches add to the quality and luxury of the product. Hand rolling or tipping is often the hallmark of higher priced neckwear, and means that the tie tips are folded back and stitched by hand. “Facing” is another luxury process, where an extra piece of material is sewn to the back ends of a tie, from 2″ to 11″ in length, to add greater protection and longevity.
Careful pressing after sewing assures that tie edges have a “roll” or fullness, and do not lie flat. Bar tacking, another luxury feature, is a heavy stitch just above the apex of the inverted “V” of either or both ends of a tie. It reinforces the slip stitching process and results in greater quality and value.
Your neckties are among the easiest items in your wardrobe to maintain. However, they are not zero maintenance. Here are few tips that will ensure you will be wearing the favorite tie until it goes out of style.
Always remove your tie by unknotting it. A tie is constructed in a manner that it can be tied in a knot and not wrinkle. This is called Resilient Construction. However, to recover its shape the tie must “rest” unknotted in a hanging position.
Always hang your ties, except knits which should be rolled and stored in a drawer. As noted, hanging enables the tie to recover from knotting. However, if you can’t hang your ties, rolling them is preferable to folding. Folding can set a permanent crease in the tie.
Allow a tie to “rest” several days between wearings.
Never iron a necktie. Ties have rolled edges that are ruined by pressing. If you feel the tie must be ironed, take it to a professional cleaner who is equipped to handle ties.
Water spots on silk ties can usually be removed by rubbing the fabric together in the effected area. Greasy spots should be professionally cleaned.
Chose your dry cleaner carefully. Ask if they have the forms necessary to safely press a necktie. If they don’t, either go elsewhere, or specify that the tie not be pressed. There are mail order firms that specialize in cleaning ties.
When traveling, either roll the tie or place it in a tie travel case.