Ties the Season to be Jolly

December 29, 2011

I am back. The ties are back. And, best of all, TieXchange is here.

I have offered a couple of tie-teases with my last posts (yikes. October.), but I’m ready to tell you all about TieXchange.

TieXchange is a new venture that has been started by me and my friend Chris Chaudruc (a Guy With Tie, of course). A TieXchange membership gives you the right to receive an unlimited number of ties, one or two at a time. Monthly and annual memberships are offered, and many of my 100 Days, 100 Ties are available to put into your TieQ. In all, there are 140 ties from which to choose, and we are adding dozens per week.

In addition to our sending TieXchange ties out and receiving them back, we will offer an exchange service. Once you join, you can send photos of ties that you no longer wear (and no longer wish to keep). We will assess their condition, as well as their brand, and offer credits on TieXchange purchases (all ties arrive with a ‘Buy Tie’ price) and future memberships.

We are live right now, and looking for subscribers. Here’s a link to take you right to our subscription page. Check us out!

So, now it’s time to go back several weeks for my Tie du Jour. It’s a gorgeous white strip from Express, with orange and purple stripes. Look for the next several ties that I’ve worn recently in the next few days.

Thanks for reading…Brooke


Tied and Seek

October 20, 2011

Unlike yesterday’s foray into an advice column, today I will get straight to the Tie du Jour. Well, at least I will after I admit that I failed to mention my final bit of tie-storing advice to my cousin Beaux (former GWT). As I have captured in a photo on this very blog, I use suit hangers to keep my ties separate once I’ve worn them. There’s no reason this can’t also be a method of keeping not only your ties off the closet floor, but also of keeping your momma happy that you have such a clean room. And believe me, keeping a room clean is not a genetic trait amongst the males in my family.

My TdJ is an example of the foray into the funky colors that could be captured through the use of synthetic materials. Of course, these wunderfabriks had also been used to make the dull blue/brown/black ties that went along with the white/blue/mustard work shirts of the BusinessMan of the 60s (or Dwight Shrute). There just seemed to be a funky creepin’ in, sometime around the late 60s. I gotta scan some pix from my youth…not only am I wearing some retina-searing color combos, my folks’ garb was definitely Brady-esque. Thank goodness they never matched each other, or me and my brother.

Anyway, the TdJ is from Beau Brummel, and it’s polyester. Dacron, orlon, klingon…does it really matter at this point? Yes, I hid it under a sweater, not because it was bordering on ugly, but because I found a stain (old Campbell’s soup…mmm, good) that I hadn’t caught — or tasted — at Unique Thrift Store. The knot gives you plenty of perspective on its, um, colorfulnessosity.

Okay, the mention in my last post that I would spill the beans on TieXchange was apparently a tease. But, I will give the basics here: TieXchange will be a membership-based wardrobe enhancer. For a modest annual or monthly fee, one can select from a growing selection of new and pre-worn ties. One (or two, depending on the membership plan) of those selected strips will arrive in the mail, ready for wear. After wearing them as many times as the aforementioned ‘one’ so pleases, the tie is returned, after which another tie from the queue will shortly arrive. We hope to have it ready in the next couple of weeks, but feel free to click on the link and submit your email address to us.

I guess it wasn’t a tease. More TieXchange info to follow…

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Forget me knot

October 19, 2011

Good brain, bad brain. It seems that the latter seems to be making itself known a lot more, at least in my world. I don’t even have the commercially-fueled image of “This is your brain on drugs” to blame my mental ineptitude on. Just duh-lightful.

My cousin (and GWT alum) Beaux Jones sent a query via Facebook the other week, asking if I had suggestions on proper tie storage. I think his question was based on his assumption that there were better places than a closet floor.

Yes, Beaux, there are many places that are better than the floor, even for storing ties. I employ a few methods. I have a wire rack that hangs like a coat hanger, and can store about 10-20 ties. I also have an extending rack (that’s what he said) with individual pegs (on which I hanged up to 3 ties). It attaches to the closet rod (watch it), and holds 30-90 ties. Thanks to another GWT alum, Dr. Vince Roberts, I have a Fast Track tie rack. Vince either wasn’t using it, or he found it at a resale shop. It revolves pretty slowly, but is a pretty good way to hang 50 ties or so.

So, young Beaux, count your ties and buy something that will hold double that number. A collection will grow, right? Then, as you approach the max number for your tie rack, you can either purge some rarely-worn strips, or you can just get another rack.

Caption Ron

Off the old-man tie-wisdom, and on to the Tie du Jour. It’s from Studio Ron Chereskin, and it’s a big orange paisley beauty. Great material, and it tied really well. I picked this up at the Salvation Army in Skokie. Speaking of SA, I must say that I really miss the one that was on Kedzie here in SE Evanston. Not only was it nice to drop stuff off there, but in case of a need, it was convenient to go in and take a quick look-see.

My next installment will include details on my new tie venture, the TieXchange. Can’t wait to share it with y’all.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

The Tied of the Yankees

October 11, 2011

Darnit. I’ve had this blog subject saved for months, ready to use it in the inevitable event that the New York Yankees have a modicum of success. Not that I’m a fan; in fact, I’m probably the opposite. Because my immediate forebear (my Dad) passed on his extreme dislike (his extreme like of the Pittsburgh Pirates peaked 51 years ago when they took the World Series over the Bronx Bombers), it’s mildly disappointing that I failed to submit a timely account of their playoff demise. Well, in case you’ve instead been following football, lamenting the final episodes of Breaking Bad, or just enjoying the Indian summer, they were knocked out by the Detroit Tigers (either word, of course, can’t be spelled without T-I-E).

So, after several tie-less days, I finally sported another for a Few local sales calls for Few Spirits. Longtime destination Tommy Nevin’s Pub (T-I-E again) was first on my list, and so we’ll have our stuff there very soon. I also furthered our cause at Bar Louie and the Celtic Knot. We’ll be everywhere, man!

My Tie du Jour for the occasion is a lovely, patterned strip from one of my faves, Paul Fredrick. I picked this one up at Classy Closet resale shop, along with several other PF TdJ’s-to-be. The dark navy field is a perfect plot for the differently-colored medallions that regaled my light orange striped shirt.

Although I had not worn a tie in several days, we did have a new Guy With Tie pay us a visit. Scott Wright is a commercial loan officer from Charter One Bank. Our local branch manager, Raquel Hernandez, set up a meeting for us, and she and Scott niced up our distillery for a Few minutes.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Random act of tieolence

October 3, 2011

This evening I choose to focus on the ‘random’ portion of my subject, rather than the tieolence/violence sector. I have 5 or 6 ties to write about, and I’m going to select one of them at random to write about. Okay, kids! It’s a parlor game! Yippeee!

Welcome to my parlor, then, as we check out the available strips for our playing enjoyment. Round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows. Will it be on the green, the orange, the blue/brown stripey one?

We have a winner [insert phony exclamation point]. The panel of judges have selected one of my rare green strips for Tie du Jour superblogdom. It’s another 100D100T selection from Liberty of London, or so I suspect (the label seems not right). I guess that game wasn’t quite as exciting as I expected. Oh, well, it’s still a Liberty tie, specked with blue ovals.

Given the evidence I have, from my crapiPhone pictures from around that time, I wasn’t able to capture a pic of a new GWT on this particular day. But, my daughter Julia apparently drew me one. One could say she was trying to draw Butthead, but she’s not old enough to watch that show? Heh-heh…I said “but.”

And, again…BUT, now that Mike Judge is bringing B&B back, I guess she WILL be old enough to watch. Or not.

Thanks for reading…Brooke


Can’t spell “Tree killer” without T-I-E…

October 1, 2011

You also can’t spell “Restoration Hardware” without T-R-E-E-S A-R-E S-H-I-T. OK, there’s an extra ‘S’ thrown in there, but you get the picture, and you hopefully get what Restoration Hardware feels about our forests.

I have never been one to preach a green lifestyle: I try to recycle and I usually accomplish it. I have canvas shopping bags in my trunk, and I actually bring them into the store about half the time. But, when I saw the monstrosity that Restoration Hardware sent out, it pissed me off.

Have you seen this thing? It’s 615 pages of their overpriced merchandise (don’t they have to overprice? they need to pay for their catalog…) crammed into a 3-to-5 pound shop-alog. What world does their marketing department live in? Are they not onto the fact that, when someone needs a linen storage box, some Italian bedding, or a large leather couch (financing available), they will likely browse online? Yes, when I was a kid, I enjoyed the arrival of the Sears Giftbook just as much as anyone else. But, there was no way for me to peruse aisle after virtual aisle of toys and other Xmas wishes. These days, does anyone really take the time to leaf through 600+ pages of shoppable crap? For shame, RH…you are S-H-I-T.

Ok, off the soap box and back to ties…

After our Delilah’s adventure, it was time for the Indy Spirits Expo at the Bottom Lounge. Few Spirits, along with over 60 distillers, showed off our products to several hundred whiskey/spirits fans. I had some sales calls earlier, so I threw my Few shirt on over my shirt/tie ensemble. Not bad…

My Tie du Jour is a vintage thin from Prince Igor, which is probably, safe to say, no longer in business. It was sold by the Maurice L. Rothschild & Co. outfit at one of their department stores.

One of the exhibitors (good thing I didn’t say “exhibitionist”) at Indy was a very cool guy named Graham Wasilition, purveyor of Tenneyson Absinthe Royale (which was delicious, by the way…I’m a BIG fan of the black jelly bean). He had some tie-bar/cufflink sets, and he gave me a new tie bar, adorned with the Tenneyson design. Very cool, so I wore it the rest of the night. Thanks, G.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Samson & Detielah

September 29, 2011

Well, show me…the way…to the next…Whiskey Bar. Oh, don’t ask why, oh, don’t ask why. –the Doors, Alabama Song

Big night in Fewville (Fewtown? Fewsbury? Fewborough?), as we Few had a huge launch party at world-renowned Delilah’s, down in Lincoln Park. We had a fantastic crowd down there, as many folks from Evanston made it out, on a school night no less. Owner Mike Miller was the best host, and his wonderful wait staff put out a great offering of cocktails.

I thought it may be a stretch to wear a tie to a punk-rock whiskey bar, but I figured it’d be okay with my Few shirt. This vintage plaid strip from Monsieur Cravatieur feels woolen, but thank goodness it’s pure synthetics! Trevira Polyester rears its pretty head again into my 100D100T world!! I wonder if the ancient clans of Scotland ever imagined synthetic wool. Nae…

I wasn’t alone for long, as the newest GWT walked in soon after we set out our gin & whiskey. Alan sported a very cool bowtie, which would be visible if the flash on my not-as-crapiPhone camera had actually worked.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

The Tie Traveler’s Wife

September 27, 2011

I’m going to go out on a limb here: I’ll probably never have the chance to time-travel. There. I said it. So, I can guess I can finally use this post subject that’s been sitting in my drafts list for quite a while.

And though the chances are somewhat greater that I’ll have an encounter with author Audrey Niffenegger, an Evanstonian by day (and night), I figured I’d just go ahead and use it to signify that I’m going back to one of the 5-7 ties that remain un-posted.

Mildly interesting backstory on my Tie du Jour, and that’s putting it very mildly. This TdJ is solid in at least a couple of ways – color scheme and craftsmanship would be my choices. It’s from designer RVR Neckties, owned by Robert Valdes-Rodriguez, with whom I used to work at ABN Amro Bank. Or for whom, I guess you could say, at least for a few months. I nearly choked on my bowtie when I saw that his strips go for $185 a throw. [long, slow whistle] Give me 30 days and I could find 100 above-average ties for less than $185. And, no, I wasn’t really wearing a bowtie when doing my research. My good friend Lee Allison designs ties that have personality, AND are half that price.


In my last post, I can’t believe I left out a Guy With Tie. Mike Ryan is a mixologist-extraordinaire at Sable. Paul and I visited there a couple of times in the past week, thanking them for carrying Few. Here’s Mike in proper mixology-gear, i.e. waistcoat and tie. Go see him, and ask him to make you a Few-inspired cocktail.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Multiple personali-ties

September 23, 2011

Do not adjust your set. In this case, “set” obviously means your PC/Mac/Smartphone/random-futuristic-interweb-viewing-device.

My vintage Tie du Jour was sold a long time ago at Marshall Field’s, which, along with its celebrated holiday traditions, was swallowed up several years ago by Macy’s and their own celebrated holiday traditions. There was much hullabaloo when the deal was going through, as folks worried if they’d still be able to go to the tea room in the Field’s/Macy’s flagship store in downtown Chicago. That and the walk-around story-telling are still there, as far as I know. Go, capitalism!!

The designer is Pierre Cardin, who joins Yves Saint-Laurent and Louis Vuitton as the spiritual triumvirate of French designers that even the average Yankee non-fashionista has heard of. This TdJ looks like Monsieur Petey was trying a few different things out…on ONE tie. It’s got a nice solid dark brown as its base, then hits on some stripes in a cool cream, crimson and some more o’ that cornflower that I dig on. He must not have hit his paisley quota for that season, ‘cuz he fires up two small strips of them. To top it off, he throws in some kind of tapestry thing between the paisley rows, making this one a candidate for the legendary Ugly Tie Week.

This strip, and all its glory, accompanied me on a few sales calls down in the city. I was spreading the Few Spirits-ual gospel to Andersonville – Simon’s and Big Jones – and downtown Chicago – Henri & the Gage. Look for a Few new additions at those fine establishments soon.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Heinz 57 and French-tied potatoes

September 21, 2011

Jimmy Bowfett? Yeah, terrible joke...

Rather ironic that my title channels a guy who likely despises ties: Jimmy Buffett. I originally wrote that first sentence to allege that he never wears ties, but that theorem was rather hastily dashed after a quick search of “Buffett photos.” And I’m pretty sure this isn’t Warren Buffett…

This is my first post in the “Back in Time” series, as I journey into my less-crapiPhone’s photo bank and find pictures of ties that I have worn, yet did not post. Out of order? The shame!

My Tie du Jour is from the French designer Claude Montana (no relation to 49ers hero Joe Montana), who is known for his outrageously colored style creations. This TdJ is no different. Thank goodness there’s a picture, because I could never describe this without sounding like a moron. “Um, it’s kinda green and kinda yellow with some blue and gray (British translation: grey) lines making a kinda floral pattern.” Yep, I went ahead and described it anyway. Moron.

Thanks for reading…Brooke