Archive for March, 2010

Can’t spell ‘Sláinte’ without T-I-E…

March 17, 2010

Here’s to your health on St. Patrick’s Day. This verdant concoction of shirt & tie should be salubrious enough to counter the effects of alcohol that will be coursing through the veins of collective Chicago.

Pink hearts? No. Yellow moons? Nuh-uh. Green clovers?! Gotcha.

My tie today is cheap in so many ways…no lining, chintzy fabric; plus, it came from the $1 section at Target. But it’s worth a lot more to me than that…my daughter Julia, on a recent ‘treasure-hunting’ trip with my Mom to the aforementioned Target, returned proudly with this tie in hand for me to wear on St. Patrick’s Day. How could a Dad–with a heart, at least–resist?

I’m proud to say that this photo is the first one that actually portrays the true color of my featured tie du jour. Seeing as the little shamrocks practically emit their own light, my flash-less iPhone camera finally came through in the artistic department.

My green getup is completed by my green shirt, as well as some green stone cufflinks and a green pocket square for gray suit (which will likely take on a greenish tinge as the day goes on).

My great-grandmother, Maud DuFour, was a Ryan by birth, so let’s do the math…I’m 1/16 Irish, right? No, double it, I think. 1/8 Irish, even better; and, no matter my fractional expertise, it’s enough on St. Patrick’s Day.

So, a toast to a tie, and a tie for a toast. Happy St. Patty’s, everyone! Thanks for reading.


It’s actually easy bein’ green

March 16, 2010

Well, today’s green tie fits in with the St. Patrick’s Day celebration that’s been going on for a few days now. Green Chicago River, green hair, green garb. Tomorrow’s tie will be even greener, and hopefully they will both make it thru the fete without droplets of Guinness all over it. That would be a terrible waste to spill part of a pint. Terrible shame.

Alfred's dark green cotton boll tie with silver tiebar

This may well be my oldest tie, clocking in at 35-40 years old, and I’m pretty sure today was the first time I ever wore it. It belonged to my Dad, and it was one of the handful that I kept when he went all RIF on me. That’s ‘Retired In Florida.’ I think he has one tie now…maybe two.

I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee (oh, you mean, as opposed to Memphis, Egypt?), and there was a store down there called Alfred’s, so they tell me. Their signature tie, or one of them at least, was the cotton boll tie. So they tell me. Memphis has a history as the epicenter of the cotton industry; its location at the centerpoint of the Mississippi Delta cotton fields made it the optimal location for the Cotton Exchange that brought much wealth to the city. And to honor that heritage, someone decided to make a polyester tie. Well-ironed irony.

Since the tie was a hand-me-down, I’ll tell you about where I got the tiebar. Right before Christmas I went into Secret Treasures Antiques on Dempster (twitter: @ST_Antiques); their stuff was so cool and inexpensive (I’d rather say ‘fairly priced’). I walked out with about 10-12 presents, along with 4 or 5 new tiebars, including this one, for myself.

Well, as I sign off, I want to remind everyone to drink responsibly tonight, because, after all, tomorrow night is actually St. Patty’s,  and you’ll need to save your strength for then…

Thanks for reading…Brooke

I told a tie lie…

March 16, 2010

I counted my ties this morning. I thought I had way fewer than a hundo, which would have given me the chance to expand my collection to complete my 100 Days/100 Ties project. I have 116. But, we’re sticking with the title, and we’ll just go with the best 100. That’ll keep me from being forced to sport a couple of Christmas ties in May, so that’s nice.

Today we begin wTie #1ith a multi-purpled, striped number…four different purples, right there on one stretch of fabric. A touch wide for my present taste, but the slim stripes make up for it a bit. It looks nice with the blue/white shirt (sorry, terrible picture), as well as with the charcoal-with-blue-pinstriped suit for the day.

It’s a Ted Baker, and I picked it up this past weekend at the Salvation Army store in Evanston for all of $1.55. I know, where’d I get the cash, right?! A lot of my ties are from resale shops around here. I just can’t bring myself to pay more than the price of an over-priced sandwich for a tie, and I generally limit myself to 10-12 bucks. Just a quick search on Ted Baker ties indicates that these are $50+ ties (or £40+, according to I’ll have a lot of comments on the great things you can find at resale shops, as well as at discount retailers like TJMaxx & Marshall’s. One man’s trash, and one merchant’s prior season, is another man’s treasure…

Well, this is tie #1. I guess I won’t be wearing it again for a couple months, but it’ll be all ready to go for the lead-up to Northwestern’s football season. Thanks for reading, my first 100 Days, 100 Ties posting.

Happy TieDay Eve!

March 15, 2010

When I added a new tie to my tie rack the other day, I wondered how many ties I own. I thought it’d be pretty cool to wear them all, at some point. So I came up with this idea: for the next 100 tie-wearing days (work days for me, along with any other tie-worthy day that may come up in the next 4 or 5 months), I’ll wear a different tie, and take a picture of it with or without the accompanying shirt. Perhaps I’ll tell a story about the maker, or where I got it, or some juicy tidbit from that day.  I don’t own 100 ties…yet.

No reason to tell you more about myself just yet, because, well, no one is reading.