Conventional wisdom that the necktie is suited (no pun intended!) to stuffy elites has recently been thrown out the window, with more and more aspiring dapper gentlemen from all walks of life experimenting with their wardrobes and sense of style.
While it is certainly true that certain patterns, such as the striped silk tie, might still be reserved for office wear, the strong emergence of neckwear trends, including knitted ties and printed silk ties, has cast a shadow of doubt over conventional wisdom. Printed silk ties are almost the anti-tie. Foreman to Ali, Federer to Nadal They take a conventional article of clothing and almost spin it on its head. Sure, cosmetically, you're still wearing a tie. But there's a story to it now. There’s life, fun, and novelty. Who wouldn't want that—in even the supposedly stuffiest of places? With that said, here is our guide to how and when to wear a printed silk tie.
So how did printed silk ties with unique patterns come into existence? Following World War II and the subsequent rationing of fabric that was associated with meager economic times, excess took over as a form of counterculture to everything that went on in the preceding few years. The ties got wider. Design embellishments became prevalent. And men truly started to enjoy their neckwear. Art deco pattern styles became popular with animals, plants, flowers, birds, and western and tropical printed themes everywhere.
Printed silk ties have been a popular alternative to woven silk ties for several decades. While woven silk ties are made using weaving looms that take silk yarns of various colors and intricately weave them to form patterns, printed silk ties use either screens (stencils) or ink jet printers to print designs onto what is typically a twill weave. Therefore, the actual pattern is not woven into the fabric but printed onto it. As a result, the silk of these ties often feels lighter, making them ideal for the spring and summer seasons. However, given the intricate nature of these patterns, many dapper gentlemen also opt to wear them year-round.
The patterns that are available with printed silk ties are truly diverse. Designs that are popular are often intricate repeating motifs that are leisure or sports-related. Examples would include a repeating fish pattern for people that may be interested in marine life or water activity, repeating patterns of golf clubs or tennis racquets for those who are inclined to play either game, or relaxing motifs such as swaying palm trees.
The common theme among printed silk tie patterns is that they consist of a small motif related to a theme (animals, lifestyle, sports, music, travel, or adventure) that repeats seamlessly across the tie. These beautiful neckties, when viewed from afar, are often seen as nothing more than a splash of various colors, but reveal their true pattern upon closer examination, thus making them an ideal conversation starter! And as mentioned prior, they often give a sneak peek into what the person’s hobbies are. Your neckwear can therefore be a gateway to your world of hobbies and interests, all while dressing formally! Now how many pieces of formal clothing can you say that for?