I love to dress up from time to time.  Ok, ok, I love to dress up all the time.   And one of my favorite things to do is play with people’s expectations, to dress up what is usually considered “casual wear.”  Pairing jeans with a comparatively formal oxford shirt or (heaven forbid) polo: that’s normally the extent of “Casual Friday” for most men.  I do things a little differently.

The Knit Tie’s Versatility

The knit tie is a great way to dress up a Monday (try a silk knit tie) or dress down a Friday (wool/cotton knit tie). The knit tie is one of my favorite accessories, because it can be used in almost any imaginable situation.  Wearing a suit on Monday but sick of wearing a regular silk tie?  Throw in a silk knit tie.  Tired of wearing a plain oxford and jeans for casual Friday?  Throw in a knit tie made of wool or cotton.

What I love about fashion is that it’s a form of expression, allowing you to separate yourself from the crowd, either subtly or in a bold, confident voice.

Although the knit tie appears to be a new trendy accessory, it’s actually been around for quite some time.  I remember watching Roger Moore wear a chocolate brown knit tie with his hunting jacket in Moonraker.  That was back in 1979.  I wondered what exactly it was that Mr. Bond was wearing.  Knowing that English gents have such classy style, I did some research to find one of my own.  Now I have quite a few that I simply love to wear with everything.

Collection of men's silk and wool knit ties

Historical Insights

(Occasionally, our in-house historian, Stephen Hayward, will make some remarks to put an article in wider context.)

Weaving is a craft of sharp angularity, warp and weft threads laid at precise right angles to one another. Knitting, on the other hand, is the practice of deviation, of interlocking loops. It can be done completely by hand, with no apparatus other than two longish sticks, or needles.

Weaving requires more complex technological assistance; warp threads must be kept taut in order for weft to be woven in the opposite direction. Ancient civilizations used gravity to achieve the necessary tension; now, we have buildings filled with fully-automated machines. There are very few (if any) manual weavers left in the world. Loro Piana uses a hand-woven “silk,” made from the fibers of lotus flowers in Myanmar/Burma, to construct a beige blazer. The price is $5,600.

Knitting began and, unlike weaving, remains a “human” art. It is probably far older than weaving; the earliest examples have been linked to nomadic cultures that predate any agrarian populations.

For more information on the history of textile manufacture, see my recent article: Weaving, A Technological History.

Casual Friday Should Not Be So Casual

Casual Friday has a new meaning with knit ties.  I love to have a bit of fun and dress up the normal jeans and oxford with a knit tie and Sperry Topsiders or Chuck Taylors.

As always, I recommend starting out with something simple.  In this case, take what you would normally wear and just add a solid knit tie to it.  If you’re a pretty colorful gent like myself, it’s equally as easy.  I love stripes.  A striped or polka dot tie is a piece of art.

Knit ties are so trendy now that they’re being sold at almost every retailer of men’s clothing.  Take a stroll through the mall and see if you can find one you like.

Consider the possibilities of having a tie that you can wear with a suit and a pair of jeans.

Men's knit tie on model

For chilly weather, or when wearing a blazer with jeans or colored chinos, a knit tie is perfect.  During the spring and summer, I love to wear colored chinos and a nice knit tie.  For fall and winter, I dress a silk knit tie with a nice sweater or blazer.  It’s almost as if the knit tie is a hybrid of both dressing up and dressing down!

In almost every menswear magazine nowadays, you’ll find images of a gentleman wearing a beautifully-colored knit tie with a suit.  Magazines are one of the best places to start getting ideas.  Use these tools to help you upgrade your wardrobe and further personalize your style!!!

About the Author:

Paul Anthony is the founder and creative director at Bespoke Unit. He has had a life long affair with design, watches, fragrance and clothing. Originally from England, he now lives in the USA splitting time between NYC & Philly. Favoring "British Style", but has an overall eclectic taste.

No Comments

  1. Craig November 14, 2013 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Hey Gerald, great insight! I’m a massive fan of the knit tie too. I started wearing them a couple of years ago and got a few odd glances and comments, but I’m glad to see that they’re now a lot more widely accepted. Even across the pond!

    • Gerald November 19, 2013 at 8:36 am - Reply

      I love your knit tie collection Craig! I must say I am always getting new ideas from your fascinating collection. I especially love the silk knit ties I love the versatility of the silk.

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