Archive for June, 2010

Tie latte, skim, extra foam

June 30, 2010

Did anyone else notice that today was the first day in the last 19 without a World Cup match? Man, I was going nuts. I doubt Hank Williams, Jr is gonna sing to me about it, but I am ready for some football! South America vs. Europe, with Ghana thrown in as a consolation prize to the host continent. Just licking my chops, awaiting Brazil-Netherlands and Germany-Argentina, especially. With the exception of Spain, you have to think the champion will come from those powerhouses.

But, this is a tie blog, so let’s get it on!

By my calculations, and with the aid of some rudimentary counting skills, I think I’m about halfway through my ties. I still enjoy telling the story, such as it is, of how I came up with the idea. It was such a quick happenstance, getting to the blog from the 30-second train of thought (how will I move my ties/how many ties do I have/I’d guess 85/I should wear one a day until I’ve worn them all/I should write about them/I should buy enough to own 100/Hey, 100 Days, 100 Ties). Then, of course, I actually counted them, and there were 115.

The Tie du Jour is Tie No. 74, methinks. It’s pretty average, looks-wise, but I think I made it work with this shirt. It’s from Lands’ End, and I can’t remember if I got it at their outlet place or if I inherited it from my Dad. No matter. I’ve worn it, and it’s served me well.

A little on wearing the striped tie over a striped shirt. One can get away with it, as long as either the shirt or tie has diagonal stripes, and you don’t really want the pattern to be too similar. No perpendicular tie-to-shirt action, or pinstripe over pinstripe. This tie could have popped off of a plain white shirt, but that’s not really me; I think it jumps out rather nicely here, with this understated striped Perry Ellis shirt.

I have a very cool Guy With Tie to share with you today. If you may recall, my cousin, Elizabeth, submitted a very heartfelt comment on behalf of her husband, Tim, vying for a Friday Freebie a few weeks back. She said the colors of the tie, blue and green, matched the colors of their wedding. Awww. Which I missed. Ack. It was a lovely sentiment, and I gladly sent it to Texas with love and C.O.D. Just kidding, I’m not a monster. Anyway, here’s Tim Brehm, sporting the FF tie in front of a painting that they commissioned to represent their floral arrangement. Best wishes to you both…I’m sorry I missed it.

Well, thanks for reading…Brooke


Tie the Beloved Country

June 30, 2010

“I feel the need…the need for speed!” –a giggling Tom Cruise in Top Gun, to an astounded Anthony Edwards (as in, how the hell did Meg Ryan get cast as my wife!)

Amazing writing. That’s what I apparently felt today as I cruised to work in my minivan, as I broke all land-speed records, exceeding the Skokie speed limit by over 50%! It sounds a bit better, but in reality I was clocked–ALLEGEDLY–at 46 in a 30. Slow enough that I could honestly say, “Wow, officer, I didn’t realize I was going that…fast?” Does ‘fast’ really belong there? Should I have inserted ‘speed’? Or, “Wow, I didn’t realize that I was going that…slow. And, again, wow, can you honestly tell me that when you were a little boy and dreamt about becoming a policeman, that you sported a nightstick whilst thinking about pulling over minivans after 200 yards and a lane change?”

Okay, well, here’s what I was wearing as I was pulled over by “The Man.’ My Tie du Jour is from Bachrach, which I will forever associate with my fellow fraternity brothers, who fell for the lure of the Bachrach siren’s song. I found this at the Unique Thrift Store (yes, another one…get used to it, there are a lot of ’em). It appears to have several Ralph Lauren Polo insignias on it, but it’s nowhere on the label. Oh, well…

The TdJ has a pink undertone, but it’s more earthy. Nice tie…

Well, folks, my brush with the law have made me sleepy. It’s nice to be home in bed, and to have been released from the icy grip of the Skokie traffic cop. I will be accompanying my dad to the Cubs-Pirates game (he’s been a Pirates fan for 5o years now), and will try to get some GWT pictures. Wonder if I can bribe the photo-ees, so their bosses don’t find out that their ‘stomach bug’ has cleared up just in time for beers, sun and baseball.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

You’ll shoot your tie out!

June 28, 2010

A tiring day which followed a working weekend which came on the heels of a hard-chargin’ fortnight…good thing my 41-year old (feels like 42 or 43) body can take it. Yeah, right.

I spent a lot of my day today edging up to the precipice of buying a used car, then finally backed away when it just didn’t feel right. I need to feel like I’m in the perfect situation, so I think I’m going to be a minivan-man for a few more months. [The following should be read using the voice of The Price Is Right‘s Johnny Olson] Low mileage! Remote control sliding doors! CD/DVD with broken cassette! 7 years of dings & scratches on the inside, crumbs and gum wrappers on the out! It’s an…an OLD CAR! You’re the next contestant…

Onward. This past weekend was the Chamber’s Fountain Square Art Festival…two days walking the street (insert hookin’ joke here) was fairly brutal, but it was a great time seeing people. A lot of artists left happy, as the crowd was seemingly in a buying mood.

GWTT (Girl With Tie Tee)

One of the vendors was Eun Hee, who was selling handmade kids’ clothing under her label Sam and Coop. One of her designs is a t-shirt with a tie sewn onto the front. She actually had one in an adult size, so I thought it only serendipitous that I buy it. This will certainly lead to a Special Weekend Edition of 100 Days, 100 Ties, as I will certainly evoke much guffawing and chortling when I wear it to a barbecue (“A Tie! To a Barbecue! That’s a stitch!”)…

My Tie du Jour fell victim to the shortcomings of my iPhone camera. It looks yellow, but it’s really a light gray off-white. The picture also doesn’t really show the great blue pattern in it, that actually pulls it together with this shirt. Dammit. Don’t think that I haven’t heard about the camera capabilities–higher res, flash, the ability to see yourself while you picture yourself–in the new iPhone 4. Definitely looking forward to getting one of those in the future. Enough coveting of my neighbor’s smartphone, my TdJ is from Le Ferré, which I believe is mark of Gianfranco Ferré, a designer out of Italy. I would be surprised if Signore Ferré ever reads this blog. He passed away in 2007.

Ran into a couple of Guys With Ties during the weekend’s Art Fest festivities. Store manager Wayne Tadda of the Evanston Jos. A. Bank was around early on Saturday. His tie collection puts me to absolute shame. Four hundred ties. 400! I actually use his method for tie storage–hang them on a suit hanger–for my Menagerie of the Worn.

And, we have our first GWT-B of the project. B stands for ‘bolo’, and I made it a dash-B so it wouldn’t be confused with Guys With Bow Ties. I can’t be certain, but putting bolo tie guys with bow tie guys is only askin’ fer trouble. David Canfield, one of the presenters at the Festival (his wife Kate Barrere won an award), was sporting this bolo tie, and was kind enough to pose for a minute.

I’m pretty sure that I mentioned that I had to wear a tie every day in high school. On the first day of every school year, we had some sort of assembly, where Brother Someone-or-other read over the rules. Hair length, dress code, tardiness, etc, the usual Cat’lic school BS. One of the items on the d0-not-wear list was bolo ties, but it was a tradition that someone had to ask what a bolo tie was. I guess it’s not really that funny, unless you’re a barely mature boy who’s a bit nervous (and pissed) about the first day of school.

Well, that’s that. Welcome to the working week, which will lead to a long weekend. Happy early birthday, USA.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Here’s mud in your tie!

June 26, 2010

If it felt like my previous post just went out, that’s because…well, it did! Was a little behind, but am catching up.

It’s Friday, and I was back to my mini-forgetful ways. I picked this tie without recalling that it’d be up for grabs to the best commenter, as the FFF (Featured Friday Freebie). Lucky for me, it’s not a family heirloom, at least of a family member that I like(d). Oh, who’s kidding whom, I like all my relatives. Relatively.

The Tie du Jour/Friday Freebie is a really cool vintage repp-style strip. It has nary a tag, so I can’t even poke fun at a cheesy brand name or a phony-sounding synthetic fabric (which it most certainly is). I bought it at Unique Thrift Store a couple months ago, after 100 Days, 100 Ties started. I really liked the tone of blue, as well as the olive/off-white complementary stripe. This hangs on my smaller rack (that’s what SHE said) of vintage ties, which will be part of MMTW (Mad Men Tie Week) later on in the project. The 4th season of Mad Men starts July 25. Wow, what a coincidence, one month from today! I didn’t plan it, swear…do you think my brain could actually accomplish that?

A little on the Mad Men phenomenon. I really like the show…the style, the acting, the writing, the time-specific situations. The fashions can be so simplistic, but yet so unbelievably complicated…as in, wow, how does one find a suit so singular in color, with a tie to match? Well, the color wheel was barely round back then, and folks stood out WAYYYY too much if they got away from the basic blue-or-gray suit, white shirt, dark tie. I get stared at enough for some of the tie/shirt/suit combinations, and that’s withOUT throwing in the pocket scarf (it’s a pocket square!) and tie bar and cufflinks and socks that match. These guys in the 50s and 60s were so hamstrung by convention that they went years, decades even, maintaining an abnormal norm. I like my 40 shirts, I like my 8 suits and I like my 140 ties (by the way, those numbers are all grossly understated…I have a problem).

Speaking of numbers, go count your ties. Let me know, by commenting, how many you have…

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Fly the Friendly Ties…

June 25, 2010

I know I’ve predicted this before, but this post may be the shortest yet. I’m tired, I’m thirsty, I’m ADD-ing…and now the email from my iPhone to my gmail account won’t get delivered. Ahem. Echo-echo-echo…

That is now the sign for, let’s wait until tomorrow morning…

Have now been properly rested and sufficiently caffeinated, so let’s see how this goes.

After some technical difficulties which entailed emails from my iPhone going to some sort of limbo/purgatory, I’ve finally gotten a workable shot.

It’s from US Polo Association, which, come on, has got to be predicated on the popularity of the Ralph Lauren Polo brand. I imagine their sales figures/market value have to fall into these categories.

  • True fans of the USPA brand – 7%
  • Family members of USPA – 8%
  • People who see “POLO” on the label, check the price, and giddily figure they’re getting a bargain on some kickass Ralphie gear – 39%
  • People who see “POLO” on the label, know it’s not kickass Ralphie gear, but buy it anyway – 41%
  • People who get the product because it looks good/fills a need, and don’t care about the label – 5%

I fall into this last category, as I bought this at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx, and liked the brown with the blue touches. While I certainly am usually aware of certain labels (and their relative value, in terms of finding a bargain), I truly was not label-watching in this case. So there.

Jim Nash: A great spy novel name

I found a new member of the Guys With Ties clan yesterday. Jim Nash, of Farnsworth-Hill, a real estate company HQed here in Evanston. This picture should guarantee that I’ll never be accused of being a lighting expert. Great, I made the subject stare directly into the sun, and I cut off half his face in shadow. Tie looks good, though.

And I totally forgot that my sister-in-law, Mo Kirk, sent me some pictures of RGWT (Related Guys With Ties) from a Bar Mitzvah that she and my younger brother, the strategically-named Grant Saucier.

In this first one, that’s Grant on the left, hiding his tie (is that a Liberty of London?) with his big paw whilst expounding on something to one of Mo’s brothers, the acclaimed documentary filmmaker Michael Kirk (PBS’s Frontline).

In this other one, Grant & Mo are hanging with Eli (the new Bar Mitzvah) and Wolf, Mike’s sons. I guess these guys would be the charter members of WWT (Whippersnappers With Ties), although I guess Eli is a full-on GWT, due to his new status.

Thanks for reading…yep, though I was late, I was wrong about the shortness.


I cannot tell a tie…

June 24, 2010

As far as monumental days in American history go, today will likely not rate too high. But in terms of excitement…in terms of this particular week in this particular month…in terms of last minute soccer goals scored to put the USofA into the knockout stages of the World Cup…then YES, today will go down in its own limited scope of history. As you may know, the US scored a vital goal in the waning minutes, delivering 1st place in their World Cup group.

This morning, my tie plan was based on sporting a good luck charm that would hopefully bring our boys the result that they got. I have a couple of red, white & blue ties left in the available mix, but none particularly scream ‘America!’ with the proper fervor.

Lucky for me (and the US team), I’ve been blogging about ties for the past few months (Swear!), and folks have been giving me ties, loaning me ties, etc.

Let George Tie It

Anyway, last month a very good friend, Katherine Eiff, gave me this tie that she found at an estate sale. She apologized up and down that it was such an ugly tie; I sincerely beg to differ, as I think it’s a stunner. So, I told Kat that we’d compromise: I’ll use it to promote Ugly Tie Week, which will happen July 5-8. Unless I forget.

The Tie du Jour is from Oleg Cassini, and it is a depiction of some Revolutionary War generals (for the purpose of this blog, one of them is George Washington). One of them is George Washington. If you squint at it, it looks like the guy on the $1 bill.

Here’s a closeup that shows some more detail…I like imagining that this scene is when he was proving that he really could throw a silver dollar across the Potomac. AGAIN! Sheesh, won’t those hooligans believe him? Father of the Country aint’ all it’s cracked up to be, I guess.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

The Tied Piper of Hamlin

June 22, 2010

This morning was good. My planning was good. No ill effects of travel, of late nights (since my daughter is down with my folks still), of forgetting to take my gingko biloba (I mean really, there’s a chicken-and-the-egg thing going on, right? Hello? Echo!). I shaved, deodorized, got dressed (underwear then pants, then do a little dance) and even remembered to take a picture! What has made me so proud is that I had a plan and rolled with it. That’s good!

This morning, this good, good morning, was our Networking Breakfast, hosted by Illinois Nut & Candy. The proprietor, David Levine, is a distinguished alumnus of GWT Univ. Their facade is very pink, very noticeable while driving past on Dempster. So, I thought that I’d honor that color scheme with my ensemble.

Paint the mother pink...

This striped strip is from DKNY, and I picked it up at Thriftgeek, which I’ve mentioned before. They are a thrift store which was open in Evanston for a year, and just recently moved down into the city. They had some fun stuff…I have several ties from there, as well as an old faux-leather (pleather, yeah!) gym bag that I use to tote all my racquetball crap.

Today’s meeting brought out a lot of Guys With Ties, and it made me realize something. Vince Roberts, a chiropractor with Reavy Rehab, has been on here, as a Guy With BOW Tie. The first GWBT, by the by. Well done, son. His 100D100T resume is getting to be quite like Paul Hletko’s…he, too, is a Friday Freebie winner, plus he gave me one of the bow ties for BTF. You, too, friendly reader, can be a winner. Just send two box-tops…

Next is Jim Pepa, a partner with Brown, Kaplan + Liss, an accounting firm Evanston. Jim’s tie is an attention-getter, and I don’t like it…I love it.

Larry Levin is a salesman at Jos. A. Bank on Sherman in downtown Evanston. He always has a big smile, and had some really cool things to say this morning at our NeBr. About me. And my tie blog. Which is nice.

Jesse Moreno of Next Level Planning Group was there, and he mentioned that he’d wear a better tie next time. I have to disagree, as I think this tie is pretty great. Um, Jesse, you can always give it to your favorite Evanston Chamber Membership Manager…

And, finally, after work, I went to [name of local establishment has been covered to protect the politician] for a [type of beverage has been covered to protect the politician]. Evanston’s 4th Ward Alderman Don Wilson showed up in his suit and tie, ready for a photo. Such a great guy…all of the GWTs are really, really cool, and I appreciate their willingness to be put on 100 Days, 100 Ties, I really do.

And, by the way, the weather, and the beer, at Nevin’s was perfect.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Good Ties Wear Black…

June 21, 2010

All good things must come to an end, it is said. Some of them are available for a limited time…happy hour, McRib, the Titanic, and Bow Tie Fortnight are but a few. A funny/good thing about wearing bow ties for 3 weeks (no full 5-day weeks, but you get the idea) are the comments, many from people unbeknownst (is ‘beknownst’ a word?) to me. A sampling:

  • “You should be selling ice cream”/”Are you the Good Humor Man”–a variation of this was definitely the leader, with 10+ versions coming across my bow.
  • “Do you sell [Item other than ice cream]”–fried chicken, organ grinder music, washing machines.
  • “My _____ wore bow ties all the time.”–Fill in the blank. Dad, uncle, grandfather, fried chicken salesman. An honor.
  • “Nice guys wear bow ties”–this is a summarization of the sentiments received from two people. And being a nice guy, I liked hearing it.
  • “Is there a horse race goin’ on that I don’t know about”–far and away, the winner. A guy I don’t even know said it getting off the elevator the other day. It may have been partly based on my seersucker jacket and white/brown saddle bucks, but oh, man, was that a good laugh for me all weekend.

Though I will miss BTF, it was nice to pull out a regular, albeit a bit staid, tie this morning. I mentioned the existence of this Tie du Jour a few weeks ago, when I talked about Wafa Zanayed, the proprietor of A-1 Tailor on Dempster. He had altered a tie for me, and he sold this tie to me that had been left at his shop in the late 00’s (have we figured out what to call that decade yet? oughts? single-didgies?).

So, if someone recognizes this tie as a tie that you or a loved one dropped off hurriedly and requested that it be finished by the next day, only to ignore it for the next 500 or so next days…well, then, make me an offer and you can have it back.

The TdJ is from Marshall Field’s, which most of you will remember as a downtown Chicago icon. They were bought by Macy’s a few years back, and their flagship store looks a bit different. But, luckily, Macy’s has quite a bit of cachet in terms of traditions, so they know how to handle the transition. I’m sure some will think I am speaking the language heretic, but the few times I’ve been down have been fine. If I started a tradition going down there with Julia this year, she’d be just as happy had it started at Marshall Field’s.

A colleague in the Evanston community, Carolyn Dellutri of Downtown Evanston, passed along this great photo of a tie wreath that she took over the weekend at an awesome Andersonville business called Necessary Extravagance. I’ll have to go check that place out…

Small pianist, big bow tie

Paul Hletko (partial resumé: double Guy With Tie alum, winner of a Friday Freebie, soon-to-be-announced winner of the Friday Freebie, Bow Tie Division) sent in a picture of one of his offspring, P.Q. (or “Paul Quinn”, when his parents want him to listen), sportin’ the bow tie for his piano recital. Can’t wait to see (big) Paul with his new red bow tie.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Bye, bye Miss American Tie

June 18, 2010

OK, so this Bow Tie is not as patriotic as the subject field may suggest. But you have to admit that, with my red, white & blue shirt, it’s obvious I was going all-in at Bluestone for the US in their World Cup match against Slovenia (if I ever get around to wearing a Slovenian tie, then I know that 100D100T has gone on too long). After some nervy defending in the 1st half, they came out blazing after the break. But for a miserable referee’s decision, they could have stolen the match, but instead settled for a 2-2 draw (also known as a ‘tie’, isn’t it?).

2-2 tie tie

My Bow Tie du Jour is very simple. Red on red on red. Sorry, I am not doing a very good job of selling the Friday Freebie. If anyone wants this tie, please post why you deserve it, and I’ll mail it to you. Another downside…it was really tough to tie, as if the knot wouldn’t get tight enough.

It was, like the B.T. du Yesterday, part of a bow tie/cummerbund set. Cummerbunds have, save for proms, gone the way of the dodo, according to Glenn O’Brien, “The Style Guy” at GQ. His article is a must-read, by the way…little tips on things as varied as sideburns, weekender bags and, hey, even ties. Oh, and if I can find the cummerbund, I’ll make it a part of the Friday Freebie package.

So, that’s it for Bow Tie Fortnight (which went over by a day)…I enjoyed the attention (not a stretch for me) that bow ties seem to capture, but I’ll be glad to get back to regular ties. In two or three weeks I’ll get into Ugly Tie Week, and I’m sure I can come up with some previews. A friend gave me a tie that she thinks is ugly, but I love it, so maybe we’ll spark a debate or a vote on that as one of the previews for UTW. Future weeks I’ll have Blue Tie Week and perhaps Purple Tie Week (maybe tied in with something at NU).

Have a great weekend, everybody. Thanks for reading, and thanks for passing along the blog to your friends.


Can’t spell “Instant Replay” without T-I-E…

June 18, 2010

…but the letters D-U-H are not in need.

I am really out of it, since my return from Fla. Yesterday’s BTdJ didn’t get posted until today (okay, it’s after midnight–and thus Friday–but let’s pretend it’s not–ergo still Thursday). Tonight’s faux pas was coming home (from a FANTASTIC show put on by The English Beat at Evanston SPACE), and realizing I hadn’t taken a picture of the BTdJ. Doy! Pass the gingko biloba, please.

So, for the first time ever, I was forced to recreate the shirt/tie situation. Got the shirt out of the off-to-the-dry-cleaner bag, put it back on and then retied the bow tie. So embarrassing, honestly. Need to get back in the routine, but how hard can it really be?1. Pick tie. 2. Tie tie. 3. Photograph tie. The steps after that are unnecessary to inscribe here, because step #3 will ensure that this won’t happen again. How was that spelled? Duh.

So, we are down to the final two days of Bow Tie Fortnight, and I am afraid I have used up all of the good ones. The only ones I have left are regular bow ties and clip-ons from tie/cummerbund sets that my brother and I used in high school. Why on earth would high school kids need bow ties & cummerbunds, you ask? Besides prom(s), we had 5 or 6 formal dances per year, I answer. I have some of the pics around here somewhere. I’ll locate them and post them–they’re a stitch. If there are any 80s-hairdo-philes out there, these shots are most desirable to you.

A reenactment of actual events

This one seems the best of the lot. No tag, except a small one to say that it’s 100% silk. It’s a dark red/maroon tie with green paisleys flecked with blue. I put it with this red & gray striped shirt, and it went prettywell, I guess.

Any friend of seersucker...

As for Guys With Ties du Jour, I did have one. Sean O’Grady visited Chamber HQ this afternoon. He’s an executive at NorthShore University HealthSystem, as well as a member of the administration of Evanston Hospital. Sean is also a brand new member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Looking forward to working with him, especially since he knows how to wear a seersucker suit. Cool tie, too.

Well, thanks for reading. Keep in mind tomorrow is a Freebie Friday…best comment will win the bow tie du Friday.