Are you a man that can boldly wear a block stripe knit tie? David Coggins believes you are.
A tie can be both more or less than an accessory. It can signal your intent from a distance, announcing a man who takes a standard and improves upon it. Others, however, treat a tie as a garnish, insignificant and merely worn out of tradition. We are not those men! If a tie must be worn then let it be a good one. As far as I can tell, that’s one of the founding premises of Drake’s, and remains true to this day.
And that sets the stage for the block stripe knit tie. Are you a man who can wear one? I believe you are. Let’s take a moment and remind ourselves that wearing any tie makes you look pulled together. Thankfully that means you can take it easy in the other aspects of your person. Your favorite chinos have a hole in them? Your beloved chambray shirt is nearing the end of its life? Then pull it all together with a block stripe tie! This is a tie in the spirit of Hockney, of Slim Aarons, of Cecil Beaton. This is a tie whose wearer doesn’t ask what time it is when he’s offered a glass of wine at noon. It’s a tie you can wear up late or right to sleep.
The knit tie is particularly well suited for this mission. It’s the torch bearer for texture, it goes well with a flannel suit, but it goes just as well with a chore jacket or a military shirt. The knit tie is on good terms with materials that have some tooth. That’s why it looks at home with tweed or corduroy, with a thick fisherman’s sweater or a heavy-duty rugby shirt.
Use its vivid color to further your agenda as an iconoclast with something to say. But of course sometimes you wake up and it’s Monday and raining and you don’t want to say all you have to say. Or maybe you’re possessed by a timid mood and don’t feel like wearing it with your sharpest suit. Well that is just fine, because this tie looks great with something more mild, even drab, like an old barn jacket. When you are feeling off duty your knit tie will still show up and do its job.
What’s important to remember about a tie is that it’s just a burst of color, a mad dash, the sartorial equivalent of a one-liner, not a long essay. So you can afford to be indulgent. What I love about a man in a good tie is that he is indicating that he appreciates clothes enough not to take them too seriously. That seeming contradiction is perfectly clear in the hands of a well-dressed man who doesn’t dress by the book as much as he writes in his own language.
Something else to keep in mind, if you’re still feeling shy, is that nothing is ever as hot as it seems when you first wear it. Your pink and green tie mellows each time you tie it on, like the second sip of cask-strength Scotch. Similarly, if your whisky needs a splash of water to open it up, a vivid tie probably wants to be worn with an oxford shirt or something striped, textural or tonal (that is, not with an ice-cold white dress shirt). But as always that’s a guideline that you can make obsolete.
That’s the beauty of the bold tie. When worn well, by a true individual, it points to new possibilities. What once seemed daring is now perfectly logical. What was far-fetched is suddenly inevitable. You’ll be shocked at the power of your own sartorial paradigm shift. Singular dressers expand our ideas of what’s plausible. That’s called vision, and it’s liberating because it shows us all just how daring we can be.