Archive for July, 2010

Can’t spell “Valentine’s Day” w/o T-I-E either…

July 15, 2010

No, Hallmark has not attempted to institute an extra mid-summer Valentine’s Day, although I wouldn’t put it past them. They did invent Sweetest Day, after the name “VD 2” fell a bit flat in test markets.

I just have a good Valentine’s Day story to tell you, in relation to my Tie du Jour. It’s got intrigue. It’s got funny. It’s got mystery. It’s got velvet handcuffs. It’s got…What’s that? Yes, I did indeed write the phrase “velvet handcuffs,” and no I’m not looking to up my readership by putting in key search terms. This story has it all…

Once upon a tie, there was a preschool, and all the good little boys and the good little girls were taught by good grownup girls and one good grownup boy.

Okay, Aesop, enough of the storybook stuff…that grownup boy is I. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I taught preschool for a couple of years here in Evanston. I had about 23 female co-workers, all of whom I simply adore. Many of them were Julia’s teachers, at one point or other, so we all had great relationships. A very fun group…some who have grandkids and some who are my age and some who are younger. And, um, some who are, well, really, um, pretty.

Well, you know how a lot of offices have Secret Santa? We had, for some reason, Secret Valentine’s. So, to cut to the chase…about a week before Valentine’s, I get a bottle of champagne. Then a cookie. Then a pair of boxers. With hearts all over them. At that point, I decided that I needed to tell Diane. While I’m sure she appreciated my telling her, she had a pretty serious laugh about the impropriety of it all, and how, in the corporate world, something like this would hardly be tolerated. I swore up and down that I had no idea who was sending me these items d’amour.

And, then, the red velvet handcuffs. With accompanying red feather tickler (of course, you nod, what pair of handcuffs comes withOUT a tickler?). Definitely not items d’amour. Items de lust. Great. So, at this point I’m hoping and praying that this is a cumulative, group effort, due to my being the sole male teacher. At this point, Diane was being a good sport, and was really looking forward to February 15th.

Oh, and that group effort thing? No. Such. Luck. It was Janet, a very [clear throat] pretty teacher.

The End.

So, you get all that story, to lead you to the fact that Janet (still a very good friend of mine) was kind and sweet enough to give me another gift, all these years later. My Tie du Jour!

And what a cool tie it is! Very mod, very vintage, with paisleys swimming all over the place, and a cool blue tip. Janet found it at Factory Vintage Clothing (aka Viva Vintage) on Chicago Avenue here in Evanston.

It’ll be another herald to Mad Men Tie Week, July 26-30, just over 10 days away.

Well, thanks for reading…Brooke

Can’t spell ‘Bastille’ without T-I-E

July 14, 2010

This entire blogpost should be read with your best Gérard Depardieu accent. Or Maurice Chevalier or Lumière (from Beauty & the Beast), wheechevair yeux chuze.

Today is Bastille Day, a French national holiday which I choose to celebrate due to my French heritage. The French choose to celebrate le quatorze juillet because the storming of the temporary prison at la Bastille was a battle they actually won. Oui, bien sur, it was indeed easier because they were fighting the French. But–mais!–it is a holiday with parades and fireworks and much drinking of wine (just like the other 364-5 days of the year in France).

My cravatte du jour, or Tie du Jour, was chosen with this day in mind. A couple of months ago, at the Unique Thrift Store, I found this very cool fleur de lis-adorned tie.This big pic doesn’t do it much justice, so I’ll insert one that shows a little more of the detail and texture.

I had my main man tailor Wafa Zanayed thin it for me. A cool thing that he did was, since it had no tag, he made me a tie-tucker thingie (I am not aware of the technical term for the place where you place the thin end of the tie, if it’s not a label).

Since we had a couple of Chamber networking events today (even more next week), I ended up with a lot of new GWT (and even one GWGWT–Girl With Guy With Tie). Let’s get to ’em…

First we have Morley Robbins and Elizabeth Erkenswick, from Chiropractic First, here in Evanston. They were kicking the tires, so to speak, at our Networking Breakfast this morning. Morley is a fellow tie guy, who regaled me with some great stories about ties.

We have a double GWT, Steve Andrews of Pace Bus and Jeff Semler of Heil, Heil, Smart & Golee, a local insurance/real estate agency.

And here we have Josh Granum, a financial planner with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.

Thanks for reading…my boss, the 9-year old one, is ordering me off of the computer. Brooke

Tie a Yellow Ribbon…

July 13, 2010

Didn’t even have to pun that one up. How ’bout that.

After yesterday’s Dostoevsky-fest, I’ll try to keep today’s post short. No soccer, no Guys With Ties, no Guys About To Wear Ties…shouldn’t be a problem.

I'm not yella!

Well, for the Tie du Jour, I went for simple. I went for solid. I went for ignored. My tie rack isn’t showing gaps yet, but there are a lot of singletons on the wires, where there used to be 2 or 3 on each wire rung.

This Banana Republic gold/yellow strip was the choice, and I paired it with a blue shirt with a little texture, a little pattern, going on with it. The fact that I don’t have many shirts with yellow in them made no difference. It’s okay to let the tie jump off the battlefield, so to speak, sometimes of its own accord.

Tomorrow is Bastille Day, and I hope to remember to wear a tie with at least the French colors. I do have a fleur de lis tie, so mayhaps that will make the grade. It is a double networking event day, in Chamberville–Networking Breakfast in the morning (duh) and SOHO (Small Office Home-based Office) Network meeting at lunchtime. I’ll try to dress on my best behavior.

I would like to make a general statement here on friendship. I have some great friends out there, some far flung and some near, um, flung. They have  made it extremely obvious that they are thinking about me, and care about me, and are letting me know this now. Some are new friends who are just doing some cool things with and for me; some are old friends who have given a gift that will either endure or just be cool. They’re not waiting until it’s convenient, they are letting me know at this moment that they are my friends. I really and truly appreciate it, and I hope that I am that good of a friend to y’all.

Oh, hold on a tic. My friend Xan Nelson, who teaches ice skating at Robert Crown, also works for Light Opera Works, here in Evanston. She was kind enough to tweet this photo, of a very rare tie tree, arbus botaius nectaius.

No, I’m not drunk. Sober as a judge (is that the expression?)…

Thanks for reading, which is one of the things that makes me realize people care. Brooke

“Not tie,” quacked the duck…

July 12, 2010

…”Then tie will,” said the little red hen.

Alright, I’ve got a lot to get to here tonight. First, last soccer bit…well, until August, when the English league begins.

I must say that yesterday’s World Cup final match was crap. Total crap. In my mind I have awarded Germany the trophy, and Uruguay the 2nd place wages, for having the nuggets to play to score. 3-2 beats the holy hell out of 1-0 in just short of two snoring hours. Yeah, yeah, Spain were the better team, but you can’t spell ‘Neanderthal’ without N-E-T-H-E-R-L-A-N-D (wow, how’d they let that happen?). Sorry, Nigel de Jong, but your cleats should make marks in the turf, not Alonso’s boob. The mighty Oranje erased their beloved total voetbal concept in one South African night, and it ruined the end of the quadrennial show more than the vuvuzelas. Thank GOODness Diver Iniesta’s goal was good and legal–unquestionably onside, over the line and barely touched by human-goalie hand–or I would have sworn off World Cup soccer (for 3.9 years, he did not sheepishly add). I will add that the winning manager, Vicente del Bosque, wore a tie, while Dutchman Bert van Markwijk did not. Coincidence? I think not.

So, I mentioned my orange tie (the Friday Freebie from 10 days ago) which had an ‘outdoor’ weekend, in the street it turns out. My Dutch friend Dirk den Ouden was the winning commenter, and he wore it for the semi-final match (along with these specs, which come from the Elton John collection). Unfortunately, he had the tie (and all its guttered glory) dry-cleaned, and when he wore it on Sunday, its luck ran out. You can see him here with his son, Victor, who did his best to imitate the vuvulezists.

There was another tie that came back into my life, sort of, this weekend. My good friend, former French teacher, and oft-contributor to 100 Days, 100 Ties, Dan Murrell emailed this picture. He is wearing a Beau Ties of Vermont bow tie, that he sent back there to be re-sized to his preferred 2″ max width.

My Tie du Jour is another from Liberty of London, and one of my favorite parts is the hidden colors within the blue and white floral pattern. I doubt you can see it in the photo, but there are small bits of pink (that I’m pretty sure do not come from spaghetti sauces past) that matched this TdJ perfectly with this shirt. I got a lot of quick comments on this tie, and I’m almost ashamed to admit that I think I had only worn this tie once before. I’ll definitely wear it again, beyond the century (I’ll explain more of that later).

Wow, still a lot to get to…we have a couple of Guys With Ties to get to.

GWT I is Will, who was my waiter at the brand new Pensiero Ristorante, which is the reprise of the much loved Va Pensiero, which shared space with the Margarita European Inn for over a decade before closing this past spring. I was able to be there on a soft opening, as they put their kitchen and wait staff through their paces before opening tomorrow, July 13. Will was definitely a big reason it was such a great meal…

I met GWT II today at the Fifth Third Bank branch in Evanston, on Maple. Nate Zureikat was sporting this awesome purple paisley tie, and I just had to get this one into 100 Days, 100 Ties. Nate also manages the Niles branch of Fifth Third, and we hope to get him to some Chamber events soon.

Well this next fella is a GATWT. Guy About To Wear Tie. My friend, and former neighbor, Eric Schneider asked a couple weeks back if I could do him a favor. He asked to borrow a tie. It seems that he will be attending a wedding next week in Atlanta, and he does not own a single tie. Hasn’t worn one for, oh, maybe ten years or more. I guess that’d make him the anti-GWT. So, he came over and I plucked about 5 or 6 off the Hanger of the Worn (as you can see in the background) for him to choose from. Chose well Young Skywalker did. Two paisleys…a green and an orange. He cannot go wrong. And the price of such rental? Merely a photo of him, wearing it to the wedding. Eric’s family business, Huron Paper Stock, has been recycling waste paper since 1955, before Al Gore had ever invented the internet so that he could invent Power Point so that he could win the Nobel Peace Prize, which he invented.

Whoa, I did have a lot to cover. This is my longest post yet. Thanks for reading, even if you had to do it in two sittings…Brooke

Flat Bottom Ties, you make the rockin’ world go ’round…

July 9, 2010

RIP, Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara to his friends and fam). Oh, that’s not news or anything. He’s been dead for years (wow! 1991!). Never did get those teeth fixed, did ye, Fred?

No specific reason for putting a dead Freddie on here, except that the subject of today’s post takes after a fun Queen song. It also makes for a fun add-on to the Friday Freebie. The Tie du Jour (hey, I’m actually writing it TODAY!) is now, officially, the Freddie Friday Freebie.

Last week, I received a blog entry from Ellie Laveer, who runs a cool website called The Cordial Churchman. She creates and sells fantastic bow ties, as well as some neckties, too. Her blog entry was about square-end neckties, and I just had happened upon one at Unique Thrift Store a couple days prior. She uses some amazing fabrics, and I will have to peruse her site with conviction one of these jours.

My TdJ is from Arrow. Pretty thin…the big end is not much bigger than the little one. Seems like a 60s era tie…SPEAKING of which: Mad Men will kick off its 4th season of drinkin’, smokin’, screwin’, divorcin’ fun on July 25. The week following, I will coronate as Draper Week. No, I will not drink or smoke or screw or divorce–here at the office at least–but I will wear some thin ties and plain white pocket squares. And maybe I’ll pomade my hair. Once.

The square-end is not a complete rarity, I guess. Most knit ties are square-ended. It definitely is noticeable, though. Several folks have mentioned it today, and, somehow, it looks different, in mirrors and glass, on me.

Thanks for reading…have a great weekend. Brooke

Half a cup of rock and tie

July 9, 2010

Okay, now since I’ve been late for two days straight it seems like the norm. Darn me and my wanton unwillingness to get hooked on gingko biloba. Come on, it’s just one little gingko, man. Everybody’s doing it…it’s cool. Man.

Somehow I don’t think there ever was an ABC After-School Special on the societal ills of herbal remedies. Perhaps that would have helped me in this situation. Hey, ABC, let’s get with it.

The Tie du Jour du Yesterday is from Metropolitan View, the house brand, so to speak, of Bloomingdale’s. I’m a bit bummed about the picture (nothing new there), as the blue is not quite captured. It’s more of a cornflower blue and really jumped off of the blue and green stripes of the shirt, which had some seersucker fabric qualities to it. This was found/rescued at the Salvation Army store on Kedzie & Chicago, here in Evanston. Buck-ninety, if memory serves (yeah, yeah, I know it usually doesn’t)…

Okay, let me sneak in this (likely penultimate) bit on the World Cup. I am downright depressed about its coming to an end. I should feel the opposite–it’s the final, there will be a NEW champion (Spain and Holland have never won football’s biggest prize), and I’m going to win my pool–but I’m going to miss the every day excitement. Well, I’ll only be 45 when it goes to Brazil in 2014. Perhaps I’ll finally head down there. Aunt Mathilde (from Sao Paulo), lead the tour! I’ll buy the caipirinhas! Anyway, it’s been an interesting tournament…weird balls, scandalous referees, Teutonic youth, Dutch optimism, Iberian magic all wrapped up in a beautiful continent that has never presented itself on such a stage.

Have a great Friday…I’ll post on the Friday Freebie at some point today (or tomorrow, nah hah!)…Thanks for reading…Brooke

All is Tie-it on the Western Front

July 8, 2010

Well, the Germans sure were quiet today, at least from a soccer perspective. After smashing 4 past mighty Argentina (mighty in the eyes of Argentina), they looked surprisingly tired today against an older, wiser Spanish team.

Enough soccer blogging…back to ties from here on out. Or at least until the final on Sunday, when I won’t likely be wearing one.

Since I’m late (as my Mom pointed out) with Wednesday’s post, we’ll have to call this the Tie du Yesterday. It was scorching hot on Tuesday, so it was decided that afternoon that Wednesday would be a seersucker day. I informed my boss that he should eschew his seersucker so that we didn’t look like they were filming the new Gone With The Wind musical here in Evanston.

No, no, no, they’re not doing that, at least not as far as I know. What I do know is that “Frankly, Scarlett…” and “Don’t Know Nothin’ ‘Bout Birthin’ No Babies” should never be Broadway songs. Please…

Okay, so, my silk light pink/light blue (looks yellow/blue in the picture, yikes) Tie du Yesterday went well with the ‘sucker. Because of all the stripes going on, I thought it would be a good time to break out one of the few actually solid shirt that I actually own. Too bad I forgot to check the label on the tie, or I’d gladly share. Sheesh, on Tie No. 78, how do I forget that? Age, definitely. Gingko Bilobaaaaa! Helloooo.

I did manage to remember that there is a Guys With Ties element to these here proceedings on this here blog. Last night we (I, the Chamber and the LGM Network committee) hosted an LGM Networking event at Prairie Moon. What does ‘LGM’ stand for, you ask? I may have already explained this, so sorry. Lawyers, Guns & Money is the name of our networking group that includes lawyers (natch), CPAs, bookkeepers, fund managers, real estate persons, bankers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers. Okay, I made the last three up.

Anyblahblahblay, Barney Peterson, who’s in sales at the Hilton Orrington, dropped by the Moon for a little bit. Long enough for me to get a snap of his Polo tie…

Luke, Owen T, Owen L, Nicky, Greg

And here’s a good one. I’ve been waiting on this one for a while. For the past few summers, my good friend Sara and her son, Nicky (who’s in Julia’s grade at school) have hosted a boys’ night in. It’s a dinner party, and the invitees are required to dress up. Here are the fellas, looking their best, and sportin’ some great ties.

And, while I’m on the subject of boys in Julia’s class, I may as well share my philosophy on their growing into the teen years alongside my precious daughter. I tell them to enjoy the nice guy I am now, because as long as I remember how my mind worked from 13 thru 18 (or didn’t), I’ll know what they’re thinking. I can hear my hairs turning gray right now, and I practice my “You-Make-Her-Cry-I-Make-You-Cry” speech (with accompanying face) almost weekly. I’m watching you, Wazowski, always watching. Who am I kidding? I talk mighty tough, but when it comes down to it, Julia will out-toughtalk me, and will get her way. Sproing! Another gray. Great.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Spy vs. Tie

July 6, 2010

Or, shall I say, Uruguay vs. Netherlands. Yes, yes, I know, soccer is about to commandeer my tie blog. AGAIN. But, it’s such a good storyline, especially with the ties that have been worn and, now, given away.

The last Friday Freebie tie had an interesting weekend. It was the orange one that I wore when Netherlands played Brazil. I was accompanied by my Dutch friends Dirk den Ouden and Trudie Wierts, who were duly impressed with my good luck charm of a tie, especially since it worked. Dirk commented that he should be the one to wear the tie throughout the remainder of the tournament, and I was only glad enough to oblige. The only thing was…I had to retrieve the tie.

This is your tie on drugs

I wore it all day Friday, through happy hour and an evening out. The tie, sadly, was lost en route and did not make it home. I thought it was lost forever, but a buddy spotted it in the gutter on MONDAY evening and alerted me to its location. Posh Sheridan Road in SE Evanston was like the scene in E.T. when the boys spotted their alien buddy, expiring in the creek. A quick check showed no outward signs of abuse–tire tracks, dog teeth marks, etc–and so I delivered it to Dirk for today’s match. Hopefully, it’s good luck-ness was not tarnished by its lost weekend on the skids.

Oranje! Hup!

Sorry for the seeming favoritism here, but I am sticking with the oranje theme here, as I stand to win a World Cup betting pool (“Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, and I…never…slice”) if Holland take home the Jules Rimet trophy. This Tie du Jour is one of my faves, and it’s from Tommy Hilfiger. It’s like an electric orange, with a blue, yellow and darker orange thrown into the mix. This tie jumps out from the chestal region (my new term) and really makes itself known.

One of Tommy’s touches is to make the small end of the tie a different fabric. As you can see here, it’s just a navy blue with white polka dots, which don’t really do much except to get folks to notice, which is kind of the point of a tie, after all.

I had some tie-related correspondence over the weekend…

My friend (and longtime 100D100T contributor) Dan Murrell sent in this article, on the re-entry of bow ties into the style of the day. No pictures, alas…

And, from the Perfect Timing Department comes this emailed link from The Cordial Churchman, a blog/online store that I just started browsing. They are touting their square-end neck ties, hand-sewn by proprietor Ellie Laveer. The timing works, as I found, on my last trip to Unique Thrift Store, a square-end tie that I’ll fire up later this week. It’ll be very tough to choose only one of Ellie’s creations, when i finally get down to bidness and toss on in the old shopping cart.

Well, that’s all I have to say for now. Thanks so much for reading…Brooke

Can’t spell ‘taking sides’ without T-I-E…

July 3, 2010

I’m ecstatic that the US have gotten to the point where the general citizenry are upset when they lose a match in the World Cup. We’ve certainly come a long way from 1990, where it was simply novel to see them on the pitch against Czechoslovakia (a soul-crushing 5-1 defeat) and Italy (a surprisingly close 1-0 loss). This year, expectations rose substantially, especially as a Ghana-Uruguay path to the–GHAST–semifinal looked inviting. It was, obviously, not to be.

That said, as my allegiance to the boys in blue (and white and red) has grown, there have always been national teams that I have carried a torch for, sometimes for no apparent reason. Since I am a Chelsea fan, and watch English Premier League football the most, I followed England’s matches, frustratingly. Germany’s domestic league has fallen a little behind the Spanish, Italian and the aforementioned English leagues, but their system leads to youthful vigor that translates into powerful performances at big tournaments (like, say, the World Cup…I’m writing this within minutes of their 4-0 destruction of favored Argentina).

Despite years of dining at the internationally corporate trough of ABN AMRO (a bulbously overrated Dutch bank that was embarrassingly broken up and sold off), I have held an affinity for the Oranje, the national side of the Netherlands. Historically, they have been up there among the contenders, but never have hoisted the World Cup. They snicker amongst one another, on and off the pitch, but they can string together fantastic performances with their total voetbal concept (that you can read about in Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football, by David Winner) that seems innate.

Anyway, yesterday (I am very late on this entry) they were set to play Brazil, who’s only the most powerful football country in the world–5 World Cup titles, building a new trophy case for the 6th, yadao yadao. In my World Cup pool, however, I picked the Netherlands to get past Brazil and win the whole darn thing. My Tie du Jour was chosen in support of the Oranje, as you can see it’s all, well, orange.

I guess it worked. Well, that and my cheesy, clad-in-orange-and-white soccer picture from 1984 (or ’83 or ’85), that a former colleague said was good luck. The Netherlands scored twice in the 2nd half to overtake the Brazilians and send them packing.

And, so, this tie is up for grabs, being the Friday Freebie and all. Send in your comments…special dispensation will be given if any Dutch folks vie to win. It should be worn on Tuesday, no doubt, as they will take on Uruguay in the semifinal. I can’t wear it…nor can I fit into that 25+ year old soccer jersey.

I believe this tie may be Tie No. 75. Thanks for reading…Brooke

Be Good to Your Ties!

July 1, 2010

The Clawwwww…

Yes, I know I berated myself for seguéing into soccerblog territory last night, and yet I feel that I must exit my tie blog mentality, albeit temporarily, to comment on Toy Story 3. Great, great movie, a fitting ending to the whole Toy Story franchise. The genii at Pixar upped their game, not only with the 3D (barely necessary), but with the story. Sure, they stole a bit from the first two TS flicks, but people like it when they do. Moreover, they realize they’re speaking with a large amount of young adults who watched 1&2 DOZENS of times, so they didn’t hurry it through or mail it in, like some live-action Part-Three-of-Threes (I’m talking to ye, Johnny Depp and yer blasted Pirates of the Drug-Trippy Caribbean). Lastly, the only good thing about the 3D is that the glasses kept Julia from seeing that I was crying at the end. Yes, the toys all die. Horribly. Oh, spoiler alert, sorry.

Back to ties. I went kind of simple in the tie department today; a nice solid navy to go with my plaid-patterned shirt. There is some texture on this strip, as you can see in the smaller picture on the right. It brought out the blue, and with my blue suit w/pinstripes, it was all good. Its label says ‘Cognizanti’, which may be a mark under the Beau Brummel line.

The google search of Beau Brummel found some interesting history. One of the earliest ‘Dandies’ in the late 18th/early 19th centuries, Brummel claimed to take 5 hours to dress. That’s just insane. What was he doing?

What’s your favorite thing to wear? Shoes? Jeans? Cut-off shorts? Come on, let me have it, let me know what you really look forward to putting on in the morning. What do you get most excited about finding in a store? I want some dialogue here, little reminders throughout the day that you’re reading 100 Days, 100 Ties.

Well, that’s all for tonight…thanks for reading. Brooke