On Linen Ties
Linen tie - it may sound a little bit crazy. We have all heard that the best ties are made only from silk, right?
High summer often means wearing linen shirts, trousers, sportcoats or even full suits. There is nothing to be surprised about - breathability, lightness and crispness of linen make it the undisputed summer champion among the fibres.
Although choosing garments made of linen during summer months sounds completely rational, doing the same with a tie seems not. It cannot change anything, right? Is it not better to just leave a tie at home and undone some buttons?
Well, linen ties have nothing to do with wearer’s comfort, at least the thermal one. Replacing a piece of silk around the neck with a piece of linen will not make any difference. Unless we are talking about style - then the difference may be quite noticeable.
Heavy texture, robustness and matte look in this case should be treated not as disadvantages, but as the biggest strengths. Thanks to them, a tie made from linen will look much less formal than the plain silk one, even to the untrained tie. Obviously that also means they will match completely different outfits.
In general, linen ties should be treated as close relatives of wool ties. Both are based on the same principle - lower formality achieved by the matte texture - but are intended to be worn in another seasons, with distinct fabrics. The latter look best with tweed, flannel, corduroy and heavy woollen suitings, the former primarly with robust tropical wool, heavily textured wool/silk mixes and loosely weaved cotton or linen.
It is a reason why a linen tie is best worn with not-too-formal separates and summer suits, in casual surroundings. To put it more simply: linen ties are appropriate when a tie is optional (or recommended), not required. You are a wedding guest? Wear it. Groom? Definitely not. Going to a fancy garden party? Perfectly alright. Opera? Not really appropriate.
A huge advantage of linen as a tie fabric is that it can be easily printed - a feature that cannot be achieved with eg. shantung silk, another summer tie favourite. It means that you can wear your favourite matte prints - medalions and others, associated primarily with ancient madders and wool challis - all year long, in a proper colour palette.
But what about the creases? Yes, the linen tie will wrinkle, as anything linen usually does. However, we would not call it a big problem - it rather adds charm than breaks the whole effect, especially in the summer, when a tad of slouchiness is natural and welcome.
We can also add that we just cannot imagine a complete tie collection without any linen one. Even a personal collection of each one of us.