accessories

The One (or Two) Knots to Rule Them All!

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

Tonight’s post will be on a topic so simple that most men don’t even think twice about it. I am of course referring to the tie knot. Now there are so many different options when it comes to tying a tie but there is one particular knot that graces the necks of uber stylish men worldwide. Are you ready for this tidbit of super secret information? I am referring to the humble, easy to tie, four in hand knot.

4 in hand pitti uomo gent gazette

Pitti Uomo, ultimate display of peacocking yet look at the simple tie knots. Photo from Gentleman’s Gazette 

I myself have recently abandoned my old favorite, the half-windsor knot in favor of the four in hand and it’s cousin, the double four in hand.

What makes the four in hand, a knot that was probably the first one you ever knew, so damn stylish? For one, it has a dash of built in sprezzatura. Take a good look at the knot, it’s not 100% symmetrical, it’s slightly askew….and we wouldn’t have it any other way, embrace it!

Secondly, it is a versatile knot that pairs with any kind of tie and shirt collar as evidenced below:

Now, I was tempted to include an exception to this rule by writing that extra wide spread collars only look good with a larger knot like a half-windsor, but after seeing what my extra wide spread collar looked like with a four in hand knot (first picture on left), I can’t justify including that exception.

What else do I love about this knot? Double it up and have twice as much fun! The double four in hand knot (simply wrap the tie around a second time before knotting) adds a further dash of sprezzatura by adding a little bulk and personality to the knot. It also serves a practical purpose to shorten neckties that may be a touch too long for you depending on your height.

But Don, that about those cool intricate knots I see on Instagram? Aren’t those cool to use on a regular basis? H-E-L-L  N-O!

eldredge knot

Eldredge Knot

I hold such a disdain for these kinds of knots for 2 reasons.

  1. It LOOKS like you are trying too hard, the complete opposite of sprezzatura
  2. You are probably wearing a cheap tie and are trying to distract away from that fact with a WOW factor knot…if you’ve got a great quality tie on, let the tie be the star of your show not the knot!

To conclude, in order to look great with you neckwear you do not need to fuss over what knot goes with what collar, simplicity is elegance! Consider the four in hand (and double four in hand) like a white dress shirt, it goes with everything!

Grazie e salute!

-The Don

Psst! Looking for a great place to stock up on any tie imaginable? Check out the Tie Bar, with prices that can’t be beat for the quality. I own an extensive amount of ties and pocket squares from them, from classic and elegant to fun and funky. There’s plenty to match your taste without breaking the bank!

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Tip of the Day!

Vintage and Secondhand store (thrift shops) can be a great way to amplify your accessories and outerwear without breaking the bank. My favorite shop in Ottawa is Ragtime Vintage Clothing on Flora St. Nothing like finding vintage designer ties for  $30. Combine them with modern tailoring and you’ll stand out in a crowd, in a good way of course 😉

 

-The Don

Hestia Tobacco: A Review

Good day Dapperites,

Now I know I have advocated against cigarette smoking in the past. And I will now come clean on the fact that I do enjoy an occasional cigarette (only when I get my hands on ones from the good old U.S of A), nothing beats a good unfiltered Lucky Strike or a Camel (hey Sinatra smoked em!). But this post today will be on a new kind of tobacco product on the market. I’m talking about Hestia Tobacco All-Natural Filtered Craft Cigars.

Do they look like cigarettes? Yes! Was it their intention to be a cigarette? As a matter of fact it was. I won’t blab on about it but you can check out their story here about the founder’s battle with the FDA and subsequent designation as a filtered cigar.

I came across their site one day and got curious so ordered a couple of packs. At $12 USD for 2 (plus shipping of course) I thought “why not” ? I’ve always enjoyed cigars and an occasional dart so let’s see what they got here.

Well I will tell you I was pretty impressed. With their only ingredients being tobacco (aged in cedar) and water, you know you’re getting a quality smoke with no BS additives in there. The fact that they come in an old school soft-pack with a cool design and logo was one thing that drew me to them. Secondly, they enclose a pretty cool card with a quote from Abe Lincoln himself, “Folks who have no vices have few virtues” along with their support for independent tobacco farmers (they give back 10% of the profits to them)….OK Time out for a second, I know this sounds like some hippy/hipster bullshit, but if you know me you know I’m far from it, I just like a quality smoke! Check out the back of the pack:

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My favorite part of the pack is their tagline, “we all know they are addictive” gotta love the brutal honesty.

As for the cigar itself, it’s long filter and tobacco wrapper really stand out. I would prefer a shorter filter for more flavor but that’s just me:

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How do they taste? Completely blew away my expectation, they taste exactly as they smell, like a high quality cigar (I’m sure it’s the aging in cedar that does it!), really get a clean tobacco taste with no nasty aftertaste. I’ve heard these are great with coffee but I’ve yet to try it as it’s currently -20C here in Ottawa. I will definitely try that combo come springtime. Anyways I highly recommend these, a great alternative to cigarette smokers and great for cigar lovers who want the taste of a cigar on the go!

Stay dapper my friends, and a Happy Valentine’s Day to All!  

-The Don 😉

C-Word Comes Early This Year!

Good evening Dapperites,

So I was at work at Brooks Brothers last night, pondering what I would buy to make up my Christmas outfit (I know believe me, I don’t want to think about the C-word yet either) but we recently got in a few (3) brilliant silk knit Christmas sweater ties. Picture one of those cheesy C-Word Sweaters, but on a tie! Anyone that knows me knows I would definitely wear and pull off something like that. Now I had been planning to buy it for a while, putting it off until December. But last night I realized, why not buy it now that way in December I can focus on gifts for others and not myself (What a grown up thing to say eh?). So I ended up pulling the trigger on it. Oh and what did I get to go along with that tie? Just a pair of red cashmere socks that were 60% off. Also used my 60% regular employee discount on the tie.

Voila:

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Think I’m going to pair these babies up with my white oxford, grey tweed pants and potentially my red cardigan. That should make a hell of a festive outfit. And if anyone thinks the tie is too cheesy or whatnont, to me it symbolizes a reminder not to take yourself too seriously all the time, loosen up, have fun with a holiday look! Ok now that is the last I will mention with regards to that time of year until next month!

As always, stay dapper my friends 😉

The Don

Dapper as EPH

As many of you know, I moonlight as a personal style representative for a great company, EPH Apparel. Recently I took advantage of my employee discount to get myself that one flashy, showoff suit I’ve always wanted. I’ve always desired a windowpane pattern in a double breasted variety with wide peak lapels and cuffed pants, along with suspender buttons (and belt loops, making it versatile)  so it should come as no surprise that that is exactly what I ordered!

Since my measurements are already on file, my order came in relatively quick and I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I got the box

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As you can see, the suit comes perfectly folded and packed and includes a garment bag (a nice touch). Also pictured is the tie I picked up which is of lovely thick silk for a perfect knot.

In all its glory!

In all its glory!

You can see that I went with a light blue windowpane pattern and the black buttons on it really make it pop against the light backdrop of the fabric. You can also see the tie that I picked up with it. A better shot of it here.

Oh, and how can I forget the funky liner I chose along with my monogram (a song from one of my idols, Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra)

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This suit will go perfect with my recent shirt and cufflink order that I recently received from EPH as well (when you have a discount, you use it!)

French cuffs, spread collar and silver knot cufflinks

French cuffs, spread collar and silver knot cufflinks

As a bonus, and to support Movember (in addition to shaving my face fully for the only time all year), I also picked up the “Rusty Mustache” tie and tie bar (we are running specials on the 2 and 25% of your purchase goes to the Movember foundation). Speaking of which, you can donate to my campaign here. (Shameless plug intended)

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Wanna see how this whole ensemble looks on me? Well check back tonight for an update 😉

Stay Dapper my friends,

The Don

Look of the Day, “Straight Outta Da Yacht Club”

Ahh what a beautiful summer day it is today. So when I had some errands to run I felt like sprucing up the outfit with my new addition, a dashing straw boater hat, that 1920s sailing look which I recently snagged on special for $10!

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You best believe I got quite a few stares throughout the afternoon rocking it, and you know I love it I’ve said it time and time again, it’s all about confidence when rocking pieces like this.

Good day dapperites,

The Don

Death to the Skinny Tie!!!

Ok maybe not complete death to the skinny tie, but I believe they are on the way out. Browsing some pics of fashionable gents in Europe on Instagram such as this one, there is not a skinny tie in sight. Lately, I myself have been favoring a wider tie, anywhere from 3 to the oldschool 4 inch ones.

There have been many ‘rules’ when it comes to tie width, “match the width of your tie to the width of your lapels” is an ideal one, although not always practical, am I supposed to run out and buy a new suit every time I get a tie of a different width? Please. Another one, (which I agree makes sense) is the fact that certain widths look different on certain body types. If you’re a husky, or athletic muscular guy, a skinny tie will look kinda weird on you. There’s a reason why you see football players not wearing skinny ties, it would look ridiculous on them. Here’s a good example of Ray Lewis rocking an appropriate tie for his shape.

Now, I am not advocating taking all your skinny ties and throwing them all away, but rather encouraging you all to start integrating some wider ties in your repertoire. Especially if you work in a conservative office, you’ll want to go with something like a standard 3″ tie. And let me let you in on a secret, I myself feel a little more powerful and manly in a wider tie, try it! And if you need a bonus, there are so much more possible knots with wider ties than with skinny ties, where you are largely restricted to the simple Four in Hand knot.

Overall, I do feel like the whole skinny tie trend is becoming played out, as we all know, fashion is cyclical and always repeats itself in one way or another. By that line of thinking, we should start seeing wider ties become trendier again. In fact, some stores don’t even carry skinny ties and never really did, like my #1 favorite Brooks Brothers. In fact, an interesting line caught my eye in their book, Generations of Style“By ignoring trends, Brooks Brothers has gone on setting them”

Now to cap it off with a few ties from my own collection of varying widths:

Some of the collection

So here we have ties of varying widths, they are as follows (in order left to right): “2.25”, 3.25″, 3.75″, 3″. 1.75″, 2.5″ and the large gaudy 1970s tie acquired from a co-worker in a whopping 4.75″. That is probably where I draw the line, 4.75″ is extra wide, will probably take it to a tailor and have him narrow it to 3″ or 4″.

And my latest, most beautiful catch, a Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece handmade seven fold silk tie purchased at work for $13, languishing in the discount bin due to it’s 4″ width. For those unfamiliar with Brooks Brothers, the Golden Fleece line is the creme de la creme in terms of quality. If you are wondering what a seven fold silk tie is, look here. They are hard to find and usually retail upwards of $150!

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I will say this about seven fold ties, they are nice and thick and make for a beautiful knot as shown above.

That’s all for today dapperites, remember next time you’re out tie hunting, switch it up a bit and go for something a little wider. Don’t be scared, you’ll look great, just rock it with confidence 😉

The Don