Cravatology 101 and the Mountain and Sackett Authentic Regimental Tie Giveaway

by Brett on May 12, 2009 · 661 comments

in Accessories, Dress & Grooming

If you take a step back, the whole idea of neckties seems pretty silly. It’s a piece of cloth that men tie around their necks. Weird. It doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason. And men sometimes use this pretense to avoid wearing one.

But I believe many a man who has evinced an eternal hatred to the necktie has taken too narrow a view of it and bought into its current association with corporate drudgery (the fact that it resembles a noose certainly doesn’t help). The tie is thus in need of some rebranding. For it was was not birthed in the womb of a 1950′s cubicle. Neckwear has in fact a surprisingly long and manly history.

Men in ancient times, from Rome to China to Egypt, couldn’t resist tying a piece of cloth around their necks. And it was the cravats worn by the Croatian mercenaries of the 30 Years War that really transformed the tie into a popular and widespread accessory. So while we may never be able to know the reason why, it’s indisputable that men have always felt a little manlier with something slung around their throat. There’s just something about neckties that make a man look powerful, assertive, and put together. So instead of fighting the tie, why not embrace it and join in this manly and long-standing tradition? Here’s a guide to understanding the necktie so you can do just that.

How to Select a Tie

There is definitely an art to creating and picking out a proper necktie. A necktie can say a lot about you and convey your personality to others. When picking out a tie, consider the following factors to ensure you make a good purchase.

First, think about the shape and size of a tie. When looking at the size of a tie, your safest best is to go with the standard length and width. Most ties are 57 inches long. Anything longer and the tip will go past your waist line, and you’ll head into doofus territory. You want the tip of your tie to come right to the top of your belt buckle. The standard width of a tie is about 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 inches wide. Anything wider and you’ll look like a game show host from 1974. The skinny tie, a favorite of Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack, can give you a cool, hip edge. Use your judgment on when you should bust out the skinny tie. While it might be good for a night out with your favorite lady, it’s probably not a good choice for a first job interview.

Next, consider the tie’s fabric.
Ties come in a variety of materials and textures. The best ties are made out of natural materials like silk, wool, and cashmere. However, be careful even when selecting ties made from these materials. Just because the label says it’s made of 100% silk doesn’t mean it’s a quality tie. There are varying degrees of silk quality. The heavier and tighter the silk fabric is, the better.

Third, analyze the construction of the tie. Hold the tie up by the narrow end. It shouldn’t twist and turn. If it does, the material wasn’t cut correctly and you have a tie that won’t hang correctly from your neck. Also lay a tie flat on a table and check to see if it’s symmetrical. It’s easy to spot if it’s not– one side will be longer than the other. Finally, inspect the tie for any loose threads or runs in the material.

Necktie “Hands” and Designs

When selecting a tie, the feel of a fabric is extremely important. The term that the tie industry uses to describe a fabric’s weight, feel, and texture is called its “hand.” There are two basic types of tie hands: the print and the woven tie.

With print ties, colored patterns are printed directly onto the silk.

With woven ties (my personal favorite), a loom weaves different color threads into the silk, creating a textured hand to the tie.

Let’s break down the different possible patterns that exist in these two basic design motifs.  It should be noted that most designs can be found in both the printed and woven varieties. The designs listed below were broken up according to the type in which they are most frequently found.

The Print Tie

Printed neckties are the more popular choice between the two categories as they’re generally less expensive to produce than woven ties (although high-end companies make print ties with a slow, more artisan process). With technology, you can print just about anything on a silk tie these days. Unfortunately, this facility of printing has left us with some atrocious looking ties, including ties that look like fish or keyboards or ties adorned with Tabasco motifs. Steer clear of such novelty ties.

While many design gaffs have been committed with the print tie, several timeless and classy prints do exist.

The Paisley. The paisley design is a droplet shaped design motif that dates back to Babylonian civilization. The design is sometimes referred to as “Persian Pickles.” Our sexually obsessed Father of Psychology, Freud, said that paisley was a symbol of virility because the design resembles sperm. The paisley tie has gone in and out of fashion throughout the 20th century; however, designers have been incorporating paisley again into ties.

Polka Dots. The polka dot was once the exclusive domain of women’s fashion, but this motif made the jump to men’s fashion via the tie. Polka dot ties go great with all sorts of men’s outfits, but they pair particularly well with stripes (strangely enough).

Sporting. No, we’re not talking about a tie with your favorite football team’s logo emblazoned on it. When we say “sporting” we’re referring to more “gentlemanly” pursuits like hunting, polo, and golf. The sport design motif began in Britain as a way for the participants in these activities to let the world know that they were a gentleman athlete. Sport ties are good for a dressed down look.

The Woven Tie

I prefer the woven tie over the printed. The weaving adds an element of texture, weight, and sophistication.  Woven ties tend to be made with more silk and are thus heavier, more substantial, and make bigger knots when tied. The woven texture also gives the tie’s design a more 3D and vibrant look, as the weave can be designed to play with the light and convey visual interest. The following tie designs look particularly smart when woven.

Solid Color. Every man should have a few good solid color ties in their cravat arsenal. They’re versatile, yet bold. The key to looking sharp in a solid tie is blending it in with the color combinations of the rest of your ensemble.

Image by Yatenkaiouh

The Plaid. We all know kilts are manly. But if you don’t have the Scottish heritage to pull one off, the next best thing is to wear the kilt’s famous plaid design around your neck. The intersection of different lines with varying widths creates a sense of dimension on your tie. The design can make any solid color shirt and tie appear more interesting.

The Striped Tie. The striped tie has it’s origin in the British military. English soldiers would wear neckwear decorated with stripes in their regimental colors, thus they became known as “regimental stripes.” The English stripes ran from the left shoulder down toward the right. When tie manufacturers began to introduce the striped tie in the United States, they had the stripes cut the other way- right to left- in deference to the original regimental stripe (it’s considered bad taste to wear a British regimental stripe if you weren’t in that British regiment ). The angled stripe works to slim the body. If you think you have sort of a chubby face, the striped tie can chisel away breadth and softness from your mug. Want to get your hands on the real McCoy? Keep reading my friend!

Win a Mountain and Sackett Regimental Tie-The World’s Only 100% Handmade Regimental Tie

Mountain & Sackett’s 100% Handmade Authentic English Regimental neckwear combines a refined display of color and uncompromising craftsmanship. These are the only ties in the world that are never touched by a machine, only the hands of skilled artisans transform these distinctive fabrics into a tie that truly reflects the spirit of their history.

The origins of Authentic Regimentals date back to the “Cravat” worn by Balkan brigades of the 17th century.  A hundred years later, as the 7th Royal Fusiliers gathered in the Tower of London to protect King James II from the oncoming Duke of Monmouth, they helped establish the Regiments by name as a unique part of British history.  The roots of the Authentic Regimental designs can be traced back even further, however, as the court of King Henry V established a Royal Registry of military regalia in 1419.  The descriptions of these “blazons” have been incorporated in the creation of the Regimental designs over the ensuing centuries.  Even today the colors evoke the unmistakable presence of Heraldic times; azure blue represents loyalty and truth, antique gold reflects generosity, and claret symbolizes valor.

Every Mountain & Sackett Authentic Regimental is a testament to this history.  Our fabric is a unique double face repp weave of the highest quality seven ply English yarns, and every tie is meticulously hand crafted; they are made to last a lifetime.

Mountain and Sackett have been making their ties right here in the United States since 1957.

Do you want to win the world’s only 100% handmade regimental tie? Entering this contest is as easy as pie. Just follow these two simple steps:

1. Visit the Mountain and Sackett website and pick out the color design you would like for your tie if you’re lucky enough to be selected as the winner.

2. Share your selection with us in the comments section.

Everyone who enters the contest will be emailed a code for a 20% discount on Mountain and Sackett ties at the conclusion of the contest.

A winner will be drawn randomly from the entries. The deadline for entry into the contest is Sunday 12:00 pm.

401 Glenn May 13, 2009 at 8:55 am

Cambridge Scotch School

402 Matt P May 13, 2009 at 8:56 am

Indian Army Ordinance

403 Jim May 13, 2009 at 9:03 am

Royal Marines (Occasionals Hockey was a close second)

404 Mike Dodge May 13, 2009 at 9:03 am

The Old Albanians tie looks amazing, I’d love one of those.

405 srgonzo May 13, 2009 at 9:06 am

I’m going to have to go with the Queen’s Royal Lancers. Considering the depth of my wardrobe, I’ve got a jacket which will work well with that, but my interest is actually historical.

Unfortunately, the Royal Fusiliers’ (City of London Regiment) colors weren’t specifically available, but the colors of the Queen’s Royal Lancers are similar. (Get to the point, Dave.) The reason I’m interested in those colors is because the Royal Fusiliers was the regiment from which the Jewish Brigade was created in WWI. The Jewish Brigade is the antecedent to the Jewish Brigade (which supported the Allies in WWII) and the modern Israeli Defense Forces.

So, it’s not just a matter of looking like I’m wearing Gryffindor house colors (something my daughters would appreciate), or that the colors are really cool, but in this case it’s a matter of heritage.

406 HP Schrei May 13, 2009 at 9:11 am

As a student who owns only one suit as well, I would choose the Somerset Light Infantry.

407 Tom May 13, 2009 at 9:47 am

I’m partial to Cambridge Scotch School.

As always, love the site!

408 Don May 13, 2009 at 9:55 am

Definitely the Queen Royal Lancer – gold and red stripe

409 Tony May 13, 2009 at 10:04 am

Old Abanians for me too. That’s a classy tie! :-)

410 Art DeGiovine May 13, 2009 at 10:08 am

The Queen Royal Lancers tie is for me.

411 Sterling Smith May 13, 2009 at 10:12 am

I would have to choose the Queen Royal Lancers. USC Trojan for life! Cardnal & Gold!

These are dead sexy ties by the way.

412 Kevin Lock May 13, 2009 at 10:21 am

I would choose the Cambridge Scotch School. I don’t a single thing that is pink but often incorporate many of the other colors on the other ties into my formal wear. This would be an opportunity to step out a bit. Classy looking too.

413 Jake Vigil May 13, 2009 at 10:30 am

Old Albanians, For the Win. Gorgeous, classic look.

414 Bart May 13, 2009 at 10:34 am

Queen Royal Lancers all the way, a stunning piece that speaks for it self.

415 Victor Ryden May 13, 2009 at 10:42 am

Queen Royal Lancers would look great on me!

416 Lady Warwick May 13, 2009 at 10:58 am

Queen Royal Lancers for me !

And what a great site !

Please, keep going with that quality and intelligence !

417 Ronald Butts May 13, 2009 at 11:08 am

Somerset Light Infantry appeals most to me.

Love the newsletter as well

418 Steve Neuman May 13, 2009 at 11:25 am

Old Albanians= Fantastic.

419 John Robinson May 13, 2009 at 11:27 am

Old Albanians looked great to me.


420 Alex May 13, 2009 at 11:29 am

Royal Marines for me

421 Randy May 13, 2009 at 11:34 am

Somerset Light Infantry for me…. classy!

422 Alan West May 13, 2009 at 11:44 am

It’s the Old Albanian for me!!

423 Brian May 13, 2009 at 11:51 am

I would like to wear the Cambridge Scotch School

424 Paul May 13, 2009 at 11:54 am

Old Albanians looks to be the only one I could pull off…bad pun intended

425 Jeremy Frank May 13, 2009 at 11:56 am

I have to say the Old Albanian would be my first choice, but I definitely like the Queens Own Hussars and the Cambridge Scotch School as well. All very well done and interesting!

426 David May 13, 2009 at 11:59 am

Old Abanians.
It’s a shame you don’t offer these in long sizes.

427 Rick B May 13, 2009 at 12:04 pm

I dig the bold colors of “Queens Royal Lancers” and all the manliness that goes along with carrying a giant lance, on a horse or otherwise. This is most certainly my pick.

428 Leo May 13, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Queen Royal Lancers becuase it is also the Regimental Tie of my Alma Mater Norwich University, The Millitary College of Vermont.

429 Christopher Maurer May 13, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Royal Highland Fusiliers, gosh and begorrah!!!

430 Joseph Gregory May 13, 2009 at 12:36 pm

I believe I would like the Royal Marines. I like the subdued colors that mix in well, while still maintaining that distinctive Stripe!

431 Matt McGowan May 13, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Old Albanians.

There is nothing like having a good tie to go with your other business attire. It is one of the few things men can use to tastefully add color and interest to what they are wearing.

432 Jonathan Wenck May 13, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Wow… there are SO MANY people on this list. Excellent post, by the way, Brett. The amount of history you referenced was impressive.

And my choice would definitely have to be the Queen Royal Lancers.

433 Brian Hsieh May 13, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Royal Highland Fusilier
- GREEN is associated with both “money” and “Yes” in western culture
- BLUE is associated with loyalty, security, and stability, which is very manly.
- the Gold strip in the middle reminds me of royalty, higher power, and eternity.

I picked this design because it gives off statements of above to people I work with.

434 Brian May 13, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Cambridge Scotch School

435 Josh May 13, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I’m all about the Cambridge Scotch School…need to get some more pink in the wardrobe.

436 Andrew May 13, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Occasionals Hockey, Please

437 John Chrisopher May 13, 2009 at 1:09 pm

I really liked the Occassionals Hockey Tie.

I already have an Old Albanians-like tie, and I wear a lot of navy blues with khakis, therefore, this tie is a more versatile choice with my selection of shirts and sweaters.

John Chris

438 Alan May 13, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Somerset Light Infantry as well, def like that simple look

439 Luke Sheahan May 13, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Old Albanians!

440 Phill May 13, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Cambridge Scotch School for me. I do like the Ocassionals Hockey and the Old Albanians too, but the Cambridge Scotch really stands out from the lot.

441 Eddie May 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm

I’m partial to the Royal Marines. A little red goes a long way, and blue goes with many things.

442 Andrew Rogers May 13, 2009 at 2:10 pm

There are a number of designs there that appeal to me, but I will go with the Somerset Light Infantry. At this point, I need to be re-stocking some of the more basic designs.

443 Jim Hayes May 13, 2009 at 2:11 pm

I’ll take the Old Albanians tie. Thanks.

444 Greg May 13, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Indian Army Ordnance for me, I love the colors really give you a classy refined look with a nice tailored shirt.

445 William P Reece May 13, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Old Albanians.

Regards and thank you,

446 Phillip May 13, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Balchristian Infantry

Just to be in the minority.

447 Jason May 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Queen Royal Lancers is wonderful… and in Florida State University colors to boot!

I would love one to celebrate both style and my Alma Mater!


448 Edward Guidry May 13, 2009 at 2:42 pm

The Old Albanians is a most striking specimen..

449 Vlad Zenchenko May 13, 2009 at 2:56 pm

I like the Occasionals Hockey one, i like the dark blue with the silver and blue going down
I’m a big blue fan for ties and dress shirts

450 Denis May 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm

The Queens Own Hussars is a great pattern and it has great colors.
One of the best in this selection of fine ties

451 Scott May 13, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Cambridge Scotch School, for its bold stripes, its “don’t tell me pink isn’t manly” color scheme, and the fact that it’s got a wonderful libation right in its name. (Single-malt, please!)

452 Jonathan Foster May 13, 2009 at 3:14 pm

East Kent Regiment. By the way, offering these patterns as bow ties would be awesome.

453 Tom J May 13, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Royal Dublin Fusiliers is my favorite from the regimentals.

454 Ryan Stillion May 13, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Queen Royal Lancers looks quite sharp!

455 Matt May 13, 2009 at 3:35 pm

West and East Yorkshire for sure!

456 Christopher L May 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Wow, hard to choose just one, nut the Cambridge Scotch School speaks to me more than some of the others. It the most unlike any of the usual ties Ive seen.

457 Dan May 13, 2009 at 3:56 pm

3rd Kings Own Hussars, for serious.

458 Philip Sawyer May 13, 2009 at 3:57 pm

I like the third Kings own hussars tie, very interesting and different.

459 Max Cerami May 13, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Well I’d have to say the West and East Yorkshire Tie would suit my collegiate look quite nicely. Its a little out of the ordinary as well giving it a distinct style.

460 PJ May 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm

I’d have to say Royal Marines would be best.

461 Bobby G May 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Somerset Light Infantry

462 Sam R May 13, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Hey! Don’t hate on the Tabasco Tie, I really like mine! Anyways, The Cambridge Scotch School looks very cool.

463 Jerry O May 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Queen Royal Lancers all the way.

Thanks for the great article. I never thought much about ties, but I’ve never seen ones that look this great. Thanks also for the info on a great site to stock up on REAL ties.

464 Evan May 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm

I agree, the tie is far too often overlooked and a gentleman should know his ties.

Personally, I like the Royal Highland Fusilier pattern. It is simple, distinguished, and the color pattern communicates a quiet confidence. It’s a tie that you could find in your grandfather or father’s closet and wear proudly, because it appears fashionable, yet with history. Thanks for the opportunity and the well written article!

465 Travis May 13, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I’ll make that Ocassionals Hockey look good…. errr wait – it’s the other way around

466 Lou May 13, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Great article! Somerset Light Infantry for me.

467 Dan May 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Old Albanians

468 Keith B May 13, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Smashing ties. Tough decision–but at last it comes down to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

469 Bruce May 13, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I like the looks of the Handmade Wool Striped Tie

470 Doug Gibson May 13, 2009 at 5:29 pm

East Kent Regiment. It is blue and gold, my fraternity’s colors, as in the song:
“The blue of her eyes and the gold of her hair are a blend of the Western sky,
The moonlight beams on the girl of my dreams, she’s the sweetheart of Sigma Chi.

471 Timothy Schmitz May 13, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Royal Highland Fusiliers for me.

472 Carl J May 13, 2009 at 5:36 pm

I have Irish in my heritage so I’ll go with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

Thank you for a good blog that has brains and heart to it.

473 Hugh May 13, 2009 at 6:07 pm

East Kent Regiment

Thats one sharp tie!

474 Robert May 13, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Occassionals Hockey
Thanks for the advice!

475 Aaron S. May 13, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Indian Army Ordanance. Great advice for tie selection.

476 J in FL May 13, 2009 at 6:35 pm

I’m going with the Old Albanians… I really like the classic look to it.

477 Geoff May 13, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Paisley Rules!!!! The Sevenfold Printed Paisley Tie is very handsome. Either the Navy or Crimson. Why this wonderful print ever went “out of style” is beyond me.

478 Todd Morris May 13, 2009 at 7:04 pm

East Kent Regiment all the way.

479 Kent May 13, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Somerset Light Infantry for me.

480 Richard Flower May 13, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Old Albanians for me

481 Tom May 13, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Old Albanians

482 Jake May 13, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Cambridge Scotch School would be lovely thank you

483 Greg May 13, 2009 at 7:41 pm

If I had to pick one, based on versatility, I would have to pick the Royal Highland Fusiler. I think that the colors can go well with the shirt/suit combinations that I favor.

484 Paul Graves May 13, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Cambridge Scotch School is my choice, what can I say a real man can wear pink.

485 Aaron May 13, 2009 at 8:08 pm

3rd Kings Own Hussars. Now that’s a good looking tie.

486 Z.Wilson May 13, 2009 at 8:12 pm

I’d have to go with the Queen Royal Lancers. Very bold.

487 C. Biar May 13, 2009 at 8:21 pm

I’m a fan of the Royal Highland Fusilier, myself.

488 joseph soto May 13, 2009 at 9:04 pm

East Kent Regiment. Nice bold stripes!

489 T. Saltzman May 13, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Queen Royal Lancers is my favorite. Reminds me of Harry Potter for some reason though?

490 Stephen May 13, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Queens Own Hassars, Hazzar!

491 Phil May 13, 2009 at 11:22 pm

If I don’t get drawn, I’m going to grab me a West & East Yorkshire

492 Steve Rutherford May 13, 2009 at 11:31 pm

I have a Scottish ancestry and the Somerset Light Infantry is closest to my tartan as well a good looking…I like it

493 Harry May 14, 2009 at 12:04 am

Royal Marines. I like the multiple widths of the stripes. The Old Albanians is also a great, classy tie.

494 Ryan May 14, 2009 at 12:20 am

Queen Royal Lancers for me. Too bad there is no Princess Pat’s!

495 Benjamin Hansen May 14, 2009 at 3:24 am

Somerset Light Infantry

496 David H. May 14, 2009 at 3:42 am

Indian Army Ordnance.

497 Bob Jones, Esq May 14, 2009 at 3:54 am

Definitely – West End & Yorkshire

498 John May 14, 2009 at 4:08 am

Old Albanians!

499 Ryan Waldron May 14, 2009 at 4:56 am

I really would be completely thrilled with either “Occasionals HOckey” or with “Somerset Light Infantry.” They are both amazing!

500 Daniel May 14, 2009 at 5:11 am

I am going to go with Old Albanians. Though I really like Occasionals Hockey, I think Old Albanians is a bit classier.

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