Neckties: An expert says 'Be conservative'

A man's necktie is a means of instant communication. It tells his world a great deal about him. In the business world ties are often instrumental in forming first impressions.

Today there is a whole new generation of young men entering the business world with very little experience in wearing or buying ties. Also, it is estimated that 50 to 55 percent of men's ties are selected by women.

How then, is a fellow going to learn to choose a quality tie? Ask a man who manufactures them, one whose reputation is built on maintaining high quality.

Robert Talbott of Robert Talbott Ties Inc., Carmel Valley, Calif., is one of those men. Thirty years ago Mr. Talbott and his wife, Audrey, started the business with a few sample ties, which Mrs. Talbott made at home. today they have two retail stores, and from their factory in nearby Monterey they turn out more than 200 dozen ties per day. These are shipped to fine specialty shops all over the United States.

Talbott Ties Inc. now is a multimillion dollar business.

"Neckties don't change a great deal," says Mr. Talbott as we sit in his handsome office. "The width varies, of course, but a good tie will stay in fashion several years. right now the width is 3 or 3 1/2 inches. We see this continuing. It isn't fashion that dictates trends to us, but our retailers and their customers.

"As for style, my advice is to take a lesson from the Ivy Leaguers: Be conservative."

This doesn't mean a sacrifice of color, but indicates a small geometric print , probably on silk, a rich paisley in colorful earthy tones, a small dotted fabric, or a multicolor diagonal stripe.

"Because so many ties are chosen by women, designers use fabrics that appeal to the feminine eye," says the tie manufacturer. "The reverse is true with us. We like conservative masculinity. Look at the men on TV, like John Chancellor, for example. Theywear ties that don't dominate the camera."

A dapper example of what he says is Talbott's own attire. His ecru shirt and pale chamois-toned tweed jacket were accented with a yellow and black diagonally striped necktie.

Robert and Audrey Talbott, both highly artistic, often design their own fabrics. Their large collections of fine oil paintings hanging in their factory provide inspiration for color combinations. Other fabrics are imported from Europe, the result of the Talbott's annual buying trips.

Besides the art and antiques seen throughout the Talbott factory, there is evidence of the intricate hand detailing that goes into tiemaking.

The guide points to the large margins (on the inside where nobody sees them), the double linings, hand tacking, the use of pure silk thread, and so on.

he guide also explains how a company or corporation logo can be woven into a fabric and made into personalized club ties. Choosing a quality tie

Robert Talbott furnishes a checklist for men to help determine a quality tie. The more of the following characteristics found, the higher the quality.

1. Is the fabric cut on the true bias? (Is the stretch diagonal?) If not the knot will soon be askew.

2. Is the lining of equivalent quality fabric as the outer fabric?

3. Is the tie lined and interlined? (look up beyond the tip to the light colored facings which should be wool).

4. Are there full margins at both ends?

5. Check the lifeline. (this is the thread that secures the lining and runs from one end to the other.) It should be silk thread to provide more flexibility , and should have a tied loop of extra thread at both ends to allow more give.

6. Is there a fiber content label in the seam?

7. Is the tie bar tacked at both ends? (these are tiny lines of stitches tacking both sides of the fabric together.

8. How much of the stitching is done by hand?

All these factors determine the cost of a tie and should be apparent in an expensive tie.

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