Archive for the ‘Guys With Ties’ Category

Knockin’ me out with those American ties

May 27, 2011

May as well stick to rock, as I tramp back to the AC/DC well once more (Tieway to Hell was the other). This little ditty has anthem written all over it.

Anyway, on to my Wednesday, which truly was a day full of Wednes, whatever that may be. If Wednes is networking, then yes, I had that, as our Business After Hours was held this evening.

Tie No. 297

My Tie du Jour for this occasion was a late pickup from Unique Thrift Store. It’s from Joseph & Lyman, a mark of Bloomingdale’s, due to the fact that the store was founded by brothers Joseph and…and? Take a guess. Yessiree, Bob [insert your name here if it isn’t ‘Bob’], it’s Lyman [you shouldn’t insert another name here, since ‘Lyman’ is the correct answer]!

Throwing it with this shirt was kind of a lark, but I think it works out okay, as the shirt actually has a little orange stripe next to the green one.

Of course, since it was a networking event, we had a couple of GWTs in attendance at the Hilton Garden Inn.

First, we have Tom Hegelberger, HGI’s new sales guy (sorry, Tom, wasn’t sure the exact title…I doubt “sales guy” will be on your business cards). He is a big fan of ties, so we’ll have lots to talk about.

And, Robert Griffin, of Griffin Financial Strategies, was sportin’ a sweet Jerry Garcia tie.

Thanks for reading…Brooke


Waitress in the Tie

May 26, 2011

Paid my fare, don’t wanna complain;

You get to me you’re always outta champagne.

Treat me like a bum, don’t wear no tie,

You ain’t nothin’ but a waitress in the sky.


Love love love that song, the ‘Mats rockin’, rollickin’ homage to the flight attendants in attendance. Love it even more that it talks about tie-wearing, or the lack thereof. Chances of finding a pic of these guys posing as Rockers With Ties was slim at best. But the good Google giveth, and I believe that’s Tommy Stinson in the candy-man coat and bow tie. Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out indeed.

My Tie du Jour is a Jenny Special…that is to say Jenny found it at a resale shop for me, which make it special. It has a bit of special significance to Evanston history, as it hails from Wieboldt’s, a defunct department store, one of which was in Evanston. And, I must give credit where credit is due: my crapiPhone actually captured this tie perfectly. It’s such a dark navy that I thought it would look black. Well done, ciP. Should have done an ensemble pic with this one, especially with the white/brown saddles that topped it off (or bottomed it out I should say).

While picking up dinner over on Dempster Street, I met a waiter at Blind Faith Cafe who had a very timely tie on. Stan was wearing this cool NBA strip, which was in honor of the Bulls playing that night. Too bad they lost, and are now facing 3 straight (hopefully) elimination games.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me ties, shame on me

May 24, 2011

I wish I could come up with a nice little self-deprecating story that gets to the heart of the ‘fool me once’ expression. Of course, as I wrote that, I thought of one.

When I was a senior in college – my first senior year, at least, as I had two of them – I studied abroad for a school year in Montpellier, France. A couple weeks before my parents told me they were taking me and my brother Grant out to dinner. About ten minutes before we were supposed to leave, a bunch of my friends came over. After about 15 minutes of chit chat, and beers opened (I was 21), and snacks put out, I started telling people that they had to leave, as my parents were taking us to dinner. They all gave me some version of that loving, caring smile reserved only for friends who have lost their damn mind. “Um, Brooke…this is a surprise party.”

So, I wasn’t really fooled twice, but actually fooled 14 or 15 times on a constant basis over the course of 15 minutes. A couple of them had said “Surprise!” but there was never that collective roar emanating from a really large, hidden, drink-holding group of people, as would have happened at the surprise parties that you see on the TV. I guess I was just hungry for whatever dinner we were supposed to go to…

I wasn’t fooling or surprising anyone with my Monday TdJ choice (Tie No. 294, by the way), although some may call me fool for wearing paisley with this plaid shirt. Nah, I’m no fool, just willing to have a tie pop, I guess. This brown, blue and white strip from Carter Holmes is a Giddings Special, gleaned from the bag o’ ties given to me by Paul & Cease Giddings. CrapiPhone camera makes it look yellowish, too…hmm.

Monday was my last board meeting at the Chamber, and I managed to find a new Guy With Tie. David Kane is VP of Senior Living at Mather LifeWays, a retirement community corporation HQed in Evanston. Really like this blue, as you know. He spotted my tie clip, and showed me his cool cuff links as we had an accessories conversation.

Speaking of Davids, my roving photog (aka “Mom”) was at a funeral down in Louisiana (my great Aunt, “Tante Chick”, passed away last week) and used the opportunity to shoot some ties. My first cousins David and Mark Huval are here (Mark’s on the left). So funny…to this day, I still associate certain musicians to them, as they were (with some other cousins) my first influences on music. Mark had a bunch of Bruce Springsteen LPs, while David was a Rod Stewart fan. While I’m sure they listened to many other artists (oh yeah…Eddie Money and Boz Scaggs), these are just imprinted on my mind.

She also got another couple of cousins, with a different family connection: this pair are separated by a couple of generations. Roland Dugas and his grandson Jacques. Mom says that Jacques is already a nationally-ranked pole vaulter. Man, I can’t imagine what kind of strength that takes.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Tie kingdom come, tie will be done

May 21, 2011

That may be a pretty good subject, seeing as this could be my final blog post. Well, because of the rapture and all…

So, if you’re reading this on May 22, be happy that there has been no judgment, and rest assured that there will be posts next week.

After that, however, it’s going to get tricky. I’ve gotten the word that my last day at the Chamber will be May 31. After that, my tie-wearing days will likely wane. I’ll still don them when I take up my duties as Brand Ambassador for Few Spirits, and I’ll still wear a different tie every day. But, I will probably get down to 2 or 3 posts per week…and who knows, it may be 4 or 5.

My Tie du Jour was not chosen with the looming End O’World in mind; it just kinda popped out and said “Wear me!” It’s a vintage thin from Excellon Abbey, which sounds like a monastery where they create polyester and other faux fabrics under a vow of silence: “O Lord, Bless this synthetic cloth! Work of human hands, let it chafe and age poorly, and if Thou need, it can spontaneously combust and become the de facto burning bush of the 20th century!” Yeah, I’m sure that’s what they would have said at Excellon.

The TdJ is black with dark green circular markings that may be tough to see here in the photo.

I forgot to add a picture of a GWT alum that I ran into yesterday. Jim Nash, a commercial realtor with Farnsworth-Hill, was roaming about town in this cool tie. Of course, my crapiPhone isn’t zoomy enough to capture the detail of the sinewy creatures depicted on said cool tie. Just trust me.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Ashes tie ashes…

May 16, 2011

Friday was a banner day [sarcasm dripping]. Two funerals. Ugh. Let me tell you about these gentlemen and their legacies.

George Hackbarth is the father of a dear family friend, whom I met about 15 years ago. Diana & Dave Price became friends of Diane as she watched them for 8 years (their boys, Andrew & Adam, are the same ages as Steven & Josiah, my stepsons).

George survived his wife, Irene, for 3 years, and they were always fixtures at their family gatherings. George, a professional tool & die maker, had great stories, and he made fantastic – FANTASTIC – Manhattans. He made them slowly and methodically, as a proper cocktail should be crafted, just as he probably crafted something else with ‘Manhattan’ in the phrase. Yes, the Manhattan Project. George machined the uranium bits and pieces of the atomic bombs that were tested in New Mexico and then final examed in Japan. You can read more of his tales here.

That was Friday morning. I wore a properly dark tie for the proceedings, but rather improperly spilled a drop or three of coffee on my Colker Special, an Armani Collezioni. Luckily my crapiPhone camera won’t pick up the subleties of the spillage. But, when I went to the visitation at funeral #2, my friend John Bernin picked up on those subleties, and gave me proper shit for it. What to do? Well, give him shit back, and go change my tie when I had the chance.

So, for the second time this week, I doubled up on my tie output for the day. I went with another Colker Special, a JZ Richards design for Nordstrom. While it still struck the proper tone, its purple had a bit more color than the day’s Tie No. 1 (these are Tie Nos. 287 & 288, by the way).

And so, with an uncaffeinated Deuxième Tie du Jour, my second funeral of the day arrived.

And thus, I come to Leo Passage, who also passed away this week. He is the father of my dear friend, Corrine Passage, who’s a neighbor that I admire in her own right. Leo is the founder of Pivot Point, a world leader in beauty education. He is an absolute icon in the salon industry, and you would not believe the outpouring of love that was present on Friday evening (and Saturday afternoon). People traveled from every continent (except Antarctica) to be here, and those who couldn’t come sent the most amazing flowers. Corrine and her brother Rob shared the eulogy, which turned into a celebration of the passion that someone can have for his true loves in life – wife, family and profession. Leo had all of that, and the inspiration that he emitted through his very talented pores rested on so many of the 600+ in attendance, as well as those who kept him in their thoughts throughout the week. I found a picture of him in a tie, but as this photo captures the twinkle in his eye and the smile on his face, I wanted to use it instead.

I can, however, add his grandson, Jack, to the GWT roster. A spitting image of the young Leo (there was a running video tribute at the visitation), Jack has the world ahead of him, and it’s obviously in his genes to grab what he wants.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

A Tale of Two Cit-ties

May 13, 2011

It was the best of ties, but since I wore only two ties, I should actually say “It was the better of ties.”

Yes, on Wednesday I pulled the old switcheroo (hearkening back to the glory days of the English slanguage, when “something-eroo” was the “fo-shizzle” of the day). I wore one suit/tie combo during the day, for my regular work-a-day, then gettin’ my seersucker goin’ on for our Annual Meeting.

So, since I have twice as many pix to post, let’s get this double tie-party started.

The original strip, which I guess would be the official Tie du Jour, is pretty plain-Jane. It’s dark navy with teeny-tiny white, red and green pinstripes in it, barely visible thanks to my crapiPhone. It’s from Harridge Row, which sounds British. This is one of several fairly staid ties that I own, that I avoid constantly. Of course, I go for the bolder ones over the dullards, but I’m going to have to have a YITW pretty soon (Yawn-Inducing Tie Week). Some may say I have had several YITWs up ’til now.

Since we at the chamber love to pile extra work upon ourselves, we planned our monthly SOHO group for today at lunchtime. Hosted graciously by Coworking Evanston, a shared-office space on Davis Street, I even got to capture a new Guy With Tie.

Lightning is owner of inMotion, a consulting firm that helps businesses establish their values and processes. And, yes, his name is Lightning. Love the paisley shirt.

Back at the ranch, I added Creighton Bledsoe, one of our interns who is technically a GWT alum. He was on here before during the week when I was running around with a bag full of ties so I could try to get 100 new GWTs (that includes Girls With Ties). Gotta dig the skinny tie.

Soon it was time to head home and don my Annual Meeting attire. Oh, I needed to be noticed (attention seeker?…PRESENT!) and seersucker was just my ticket to noticedom. My Deuxième Tie du Jour (we’ll call it the provisional TdJ) had a bit more personality. Just a bit, as did my suit.

This bright neon-blue and neon-green strip is from a designer called Club Urbano. I thought it would go well with my bright seersucker suit and my bright white belt and my bright white shoes and my…well, you get the idea.

Since it was a quasi-formal occasion, there were lots of GWTs running around. I only caught a few. Let’s get right to ’em.


James Brewer is owner of Envision Wealth Architects. He’s new to the chamber, and he wore a great Ben Sherman strip that I may need to borrow.

Next we have a threebie pic, GWT alum Todd Paul joins Andrew Levin and Brian Levin, two NU students who have, along with several others, formed LEND (Lending for Evanston and Northwestern Development), a company that provides micro-loans for small businesses in struggling areas of Evanston.

Steve, version Griffin

Next we have Steve Griffin, another GWT alum, who is the Community and Economic Development Director with the City of Evanston.

Steve, version L-J

We stick with the Steves, as Steve Lemieux-Jordan was sporting a tie while also taking some pix himself. He and his wife, Genie, are owners of Evanston Photographic Studios. They were taking some LinkedIn profile photos for attendees. They got some good ones, as you’ll see in a second.

I mentioned that they were taking LinkedIn profile pics. I took mine during one of the more enjoyable moments of the evening (aka – I’d had a few beers). Which of these should I choose?

Thanks for reading…Brooke




Goodtie Yellow Brick Road

May 10, 2011

Ive got some goooolden chesthair

I've got a goooolden ticket!

Sir Elton John (né Reginald Dwight, which you can’t spell without T-I-E) was of course at the royal wedding of most recent happenstance. His purple tie was quite befitting of the day, very regal. Of course, many wish he had busted out one of his tie-less outfits from the 70’s. That whole wedding needed a bit of naughtiness.

Naughtiness was not the order of the day, as I spent the first part of it taking a mostly-well, slightly-sick daughter to the doctor’s office. Then that same even-more-well-less-sick daughter accompanied me to the office all day. Luckily for all involved, she brought her laptop and enough books to keep her occupied, at least until the last 90 minutes of our stay, which was of course punctuated by exceedingly rapid-fire requests to leave the premises. Huff.

But, I did manage to get a tie on – and keep my top button buttoned, even – to last the day. It’s what we now know as a Colker Special, one of the group of ties that my friend David Colker loaned me several weeks ago. They are mostly power ties, bold colors that were the favorites of folks in the trading industry. Folks like David, who went to bat for the Cincinnati Stock Exchange against the Wall Street boys. If I ever get him to wear a tie again (I’m pretty sure he’s a GWT alum), I’ll snap a pic. But, if not, then here’s one that I plucked online…

Now, on to my Tie du Jour, or the CSdJ (Colker Spécial du Jour), as it turns out. As you can guess from the Eltonian subject, it’s a bold yellow number, a power strip, so to speak. It hails from the house of Ike, Ike Behar. The one bad thing was that I didn’t have any pocket squares that set it off just right, so I had to settle for something that went with the shirt. Sheesh, did I take my bitchin’ pills today?

Tomorrow is the Chamber’s Annual Meeting, a big to-do that will soon be to-done. Our new Executive Director, Eve Doi, will take a bow, as this will be her first Evanston appearance as our new boss. Best of luck, Eve! Can’t wait to re-meet you (she met with staff during the interview process). Hope she knows that she has to do shots with all of the board members…annual meeting tradition.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Absence makes the heart bow fonder

May 8, 2011

Bow Tie Week, the little brother of last year’s Bow Tie Fortnight, has come to an end. Many thanks to my great friend Dan Murrell, for keeping me in bow ties, and promising to keep me replenished as I need them. I’m planning Seersucker Week for the week after Memorial Day (if memory serves me that day), so I’ll ask him to send me another couple that would work with my suit or blazer.

My final BTdJ was another from Beau Ties of Vermont. These red hearts would be great on Valentine’s Day (or Hallmark’s creation called Sweetest Day), but why shouldn’t they come out any day of the year?

Over the weekend, I was able to complete a FSWT (Father-Son With Tie) combo. I went to a first communion after-party at the home of GWT alum Peter Reinhart. His dad Jack, looking dapper at 90 (which is a kid in the Reinhart clan…his father lived to the ripe young age of 110), posed for me. Love the paisley!

Just want to give a teaser now…keep reading over the next couple of weeks. There will be some big news on my tie future.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Bow Country for Old Men

May 6, 2011

Once again, I had police officers involved in my day, and once again, I was not a lawbreaker or victim. It’s the first Thursday of the month, which can only mean Leadership Evanston time! All of my classmates had the chance to talk about our experiences with our ride-alongs (or would that be rides-along?), and 4 of Evanston’s finest joined us for some role-playing. In three scenarios (domestic dispute, teenage brawl, traffic stop), we played the cops and they played the suspects. My very authoritative bow tie didn’t keep me from having my (toy) gun stolen. Oh, well, so there won’t be a late-life career shift into the law enforcement industry. Great job, Officers!

My Bow Tie du Jour is tagless, but I do know that it’s a Murrell Special. It’s a very cool orange and blue which, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be an orange and purple tie. Intrigue, no?

After I sported my bow tie into domestic-dispute-scenario-battle, we had a speed-networking hour with more than a dozen Evanston organizations. Of course, I had to find some new Guys With Ties.

Art Mollenhauer is CEO of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Chicago. He’s an Evanston resident, and if this tie is any indication of his collection, he’s a great addition to GWT.

Another guy, another great tie…Jeremy Barrows is the Director of Development & Communication for the Evanston Community Foundation. He joined up for the speed-dating (as they put it)…

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Take Bow Prisoners

May 6, 2011

Wednesday was a first for me…I got to ride in a police car. No, no, I did not break any laws, nor was I wrongly accused of breaking any laws. As part of my Leadership Evanston experience, I had the privilege of going on a ride-along with Officer LaShawn Cook, one of Evanston’s finest. She took me on a tour of her beat, and we even got to make a traffic stop (a lady pulled out her cellphone and started texting right in front of us. duh.). Contrary to popular belief, manifested in the movie Superbad, I did not get a chance to discharge a weapon or burn a wrecked squad car. Officer Cook was very patient with my stupid questions (“How fast can one go before he/she gets a ticket?” “Can I discharge a weapon or burn a wrecked squad car?”). Thanks, Officer Cook!

So, knowing that I’d be cruising around in a cruiser, did I change my Bow Tie Week responsibility? Of course (k)not! This orange number from the Churchill Collection via GWBT Dan Murrell’s collection may have been the first bow tie in that car, unless they busted some college professors for smoking the reefer recently.

I’m sure that folks who saw me riding along wondered what the hell that guy with a bow tie was doing in the police car, especially once you see the ensemble (that’s a tan blazer, not yellow, as my crapiPhone would suggest). That would have taken the whole ‘good cop/bad cop’ thing to a different level. ‘Snazzy cop/sloppy cop’ or maybe ‘good fop/bad fop’ come to mind as suitable replacements, should the mighty bow make its way into the uniform of our men and women in blue.

Wednesday was kind of a big day, and not only because of my brush with the law. We had our monthly Lawyers, Guns & Money (funny that I was dropped off by Officer Cook, who had a Gun) event at the Prairie Moon. I should always get more GWT at these events, but I don’t want it to be just about the camera. I did snag/snap attorney Michael Poulos, on one of his rare visits to LGM (he’s in the Chicago Bar Association’s orchestra).

After cavorting with the collection of lawyers and money folk, I was collected by Jenny and we headed to SPACE to see singer/songwriter Chris Pureka in concert. It was a fantastic show, and she even sported a tie. The crapiPhone may even give you proof, but don’t hold your breath. I swear she had on a tie.

Thanks for reading…Brooke