Sunday, December 30, 2007

Glorious Green

I'll admit that my titles for these three matching set ties have been just a bit over the top. Opulent Orange, Ruby Red and now, to finish the group, Glorious Green. But I can't help it.

These are some of my all time favorites in my collection. They remind me of those brilliant, old-fashioned Christmas Tree ornaments. So I wanted to save them for a special occasion, and the holiday season and end of 2007, another year almost gone, will have to suffice.

Just about the only thing left to say about these ties is to transcribe the one and only label that each of them sports, namely "Made in California." The tag is so pretty, however, done in multi-colors, with a sunburst above the text, that I think I'll upload an image of it here. This particular tag is from the Ruby Red tie, since I didn't flip the small end to include the tag in my scan of the green one today.

Here's wishing all my loyal readers, and anyone else who stumbles on this blog entry, a VERY VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ruby Red

Here's the second exemplar from my matched set trio from the Spokane lingerie salesman's hoard. This one is a brilliant deep-hued crimson red color, certainly suitable for Christmas. And the design on the tie is somewhat reminiscent of an ornate Christmas tree ornament, or several such ornaments, if you will.

So, how to describe the design on these ties? It's difficult. A main feature are the several ornament shaped patterns that stand out from the rest of the busy surface. Three of them are depicted in the scan, with one more just a bit further up the tie, that didn't fit on my scanner bed. These are made up of four tulip-shaped patterns forming a kind of rosette or floral shape, each with a small red flower inside, on a yellow-gold background. Another small red flower sits in the middle.

Around them is a lighter colored border, giving the entire ornament a more rounded shape. This is surrounded by a more difficult to see border of deep red segmented ovoids. I've loaded a larger view of one of these rosette patterns which may be a little easier to see.

The remainder of the tie is filled with what almost look like shadow echoes of the primary rosettes. Sort of half- completed or outlined versions of the others, each one typically has a small portion of its shape hidden behind one of the primary patterns. These are over top the primary background of the tie, which is composed of hundreds of tiny red pebbly shapes, differentiated by small black lines. These are probably only barely visible in the scan, if at all.

Overall, it's a very busy, very ornate, elaborate pattern, somewhat reminiscent of arabesque style designs, based on Islamic or Arabian kinds of patterns. Which create a very opulent and rich effect, especially since the fabric of the tie has a lush, silky soft feel to it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Opulent Orange

This is the first of three ties I'm presenting in recognition of the Christmas season. I realize that orange isn't normally considered a Christmas color, but wait until you see the next two! The next two weeks I'll feature this same tie in red and green, the traditional Christmas colors.

This tie is one of a threesome I am fortunate enough to own, all the same design and pattern, each in a different color. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, when I presented the same tie in two different colors two weeks in a row, it is fairly rare for modern collectors to find the same tie in more than one color combination. I'm fortunate enough to own several sets of this type, all of which, if I remember correctly, were purchased at the same time, and all of which came from the same estate sale, all owned by the same individual.

I obtained the tie from a vintage clothing store in Pike Place market in 1991, I believe it was. According to the store's proprietor, the ties in question all came from the estate sale of a lingerie salesman out of Spokane, Washington. He had apparently been quite a man for ties, and a substantial collection of them came into the possession of the store when his estate was put up for sale.

Quite a few of the choicest specimens had already been purchased by the time I saw the ties, but I was able to buy these sets of multiple ties of the same color. I bought a few other ties--singles--from his collection at the same time, but to be honest, I no longer remember which ones they were. But I definitely remember the sets! Apparently this fellow, when he saw a tie that he really liked, occasionally at least, he bought the same tie in more than one color. And thus they were preserved together for me to find, many years later!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

With Polka Dots

As you can see, I've decided it's time to move on from fall images. Winter is most definitely here, at least weather-wise. We had snow lightly falling all morning today, and there's still a light dusting on the ground, although we didn't really get any significant accumulations.

The color combination on this tie seems kind of wintery to me, although that's certainly a subjective analysis. I'm calling it "With Polka Dots" instead of merely "Polka Dots" because the entire tie is not covered with them, just a geometrically shaped segment of the tie.

The bottom segment of the tie is a deep deep forest green color. It probably appears closer to black in the scan, but trust me, it's green. The left side of the tie is a pale turquoise shade, while the rest features white polka dots on a dark brown background.

Interestingly, the various sections of the tie are separated from one another by a white line, which is somewhat unusual in tie designs. Just above the portion of the tie that fit onto the scanner, is another horizontal white line, much like the one at the bottom, and above it, the rest of the tie is the same solid dark green color.

The fabric has a shiny, silky feel to it, and is probably either silk or acetate, as is so typical of 40's era ties. Unusually, there is no brocade woven into the fabric, though. There are two labels, shown in the scan, which read as follows:
The second label continues on the reverse as follows:
Under the "Ultra Trojan" appears a carriage, pulled by four horses, with five or six individuals depicted as riding atop, and what may be a whip or two curled out over the horses' backs. I don't know how visible the tag will be in the scanned image.

This is quite a nice tie, but one that is difficult to wear with modern colored shirts, as nothing ever quite matches. It was obviously intended for the ubiquitous white shirts of the time from which it came.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Variation on Last Week

This isn't my tie. But I have it to share with you thanks to one of my faithful Vintage Ties readers. Thanks, Jim! He wrote as a comment on last week's posting that he had the same tie, only in a different color scheme. I asked if he could send me an image, and he did!

I hope you don't mind my posting it here, Jim, and thanks for sending and sharing it. I love seeing vintage ties in sets. They are very difficult to find and collect, as rarely did they remain together. That is, rarely did one individual buy more than one color in a set.

I've only posted two previous examples. One, a set of three ties, featuring a Mexican folk scene. The other, a pair of summer Hawaiian style ties. Anyway, another big thanks to Jim for letting me share his tie, same design, different color!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Royal Blue with Leaves of Red and Yellow

I don't suppose this tie would have to be assigned to the autumn season, since its colors are not all that autumnal. But in my book, any tie featuring leaves gets worn during the autumn season, so I'm posting it here, as well. I guess autumn is just about over for this year, and as it so happens, I still have at least two more ties to feature next year at this time.

This tie has a rich royal blue background, featuring a looping ribbon of paler blue and yellow, to which are attached leaves, each colored half in brilliant red, and half crosshatched sometimes with blue and yellow, sometimes with paler blue and darker blue lines. As one might expect, the brilliant red colored half alternates positions as you move up the tie, first on the right, then the left, and so forth.

Because my flatbed scanner only accommodates the standard 8 1/2 by 11 inch materials, I could not display the entire effect of this tie with a single scan. So I've provided a second image, taken from further up the tie, which shows several more leaves, these ones smaller, but unfettered by the ribbon connecting those further down.

In many of these vintage ties, the pattern ends well before the expected location of the knot, but these leaves proceed right up to the traditional knot position and beyond. Keep in mind that in the forties, men wore their slacks higher up on the waist, and ties were tied shorter than they are today. This tie has enough leaves to make it effective even when tied long in today's style.

The tie has a brocade woven into the fabric, as so many do, and this one is almost, but not quite, a repetition of the ribbon. The main difference being that the brocade pattern branches into triple strands, whereas the ribbon that descends the tie remains single. I've adjusted the contrast slightly on the second image to the left, to make the brocade more visible.

The tie has one label, which characteristically reads as follows:
Resilient construction
Towncraft DeLuxe
Fabric loomed in U.S.A.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brick Red with Leaves

This is one of the newer autumn ties in my collection. If I remember correctly, my wife found it somewhere sometime within the past year or so. It's a nice tie, but showing signs of its age. Primarily, because it's lost most of its resiliency, and is kind of limp.

But also, because it seems a bit off center. If you look closely at the pointed end of the tie, you will notice that one side of the point is longer than the other side. This is even more noticeable on the short end, where it looks quite lopsided, indeed.

I'm not sure what caused this lopsidedness. It could be that the tie was refolded and narrowed at some point, but it's still a generous 3 1/2 inches wide, if you measure straight across. If you measure from the spot where the tie ends its straight descent, and angles toward the point, to the equivalent spot on the opposite side--which on this tie, is not straight across at all--you get 3 3/4 inches.

The tie does have a fold over of the frontal fabric on the inside, on the left side, but I've seen this on so many ties now, that I'm beginning to wonder if that isn't standard practice, and has nothing to do with the tie having been refolded for a narrower width. Someone who knows about tie manufacturing in the 40's, please help!

The tie has two labels, and I need to transcribe them before discussing another important feature of the tie, one which you may have already noticed. The first label reads
Wilcrest Batiks
Individually hand painted
while the second label says simply
Larry's men's shop
San Carlos, Calif.
It's the "indivdually hand painted" part that I wanted to mention. The only indication of hand painting that I can see on this tie is that four of the leaves are painted with a reddish stained appearance, and this does look like hand painting. My guess is that the leaves were all originally the same tan color, and that four of them were hand painted.

I don't personally see the attraction, as the painting job looks a bit sloppy to me, with bits of the tan still showing here and there, and the color having a fairly uneven quality to it. I think I would probably prefer the leaves to all still be the tan color, rather than painted as they are. To me, this hand painting makes the tie look amateurish, and contributes to the tie's appearing old and worn out, rather than enhancing the appearance, as you'd expect hand painting to do. My wife doesn't agree. She thinks the tie is gorgeous. I like it too, but it's not one of my top favorites.

Finally, there's that word "batik" in the label. Batik, in case you're not familiar with it, is defined as
"A method of dyeing fabric where some areas are covered with wax or pastes made of glues or starches to make designs by keeping dyes from penetrating in pattern areas."
I am personally quite doubtful as to whether any REAL batik techniques were used in the production of this tie's fabric, but I will admit that when you look at the leaves, picked out as they are in a reverse color, that is, the leaves are light spots in a dark background fabric, this does suggest a batik kind of coloring. But my guess is that this fabric design was produced in a more straightforward manner, not using a true batik technique. Just my guess.

The tie also has a lovely brocade pattern, somewhat visible in the scan. The overall brocade design consists of closely crosshatched lines running approximately parallel to the left pointed end of the tie. Over the top of this pattern is an extensive archipelago of smoothly surfaced oddly shaped patches, which appear as darker spots in the scan. You can't really see the cross hatching in the whole tie scan, so I've scanned just a small portion of it at a higher resolution, and loaded it here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Orange with Leaves of Gold and Brass

This is one of the more strikingly colored autumnal ties in my collection. The basic color is a richly vibrant shade of brilliant orange. The leaves are golden and brassy, almost coppery colored in some places.

One could argue that these are feathers, not leaves, I suppose, but I prefer to think of them as leaves, and given that orange is a color strongly associated with autumn, leaves seem the more likely intent, at least to me.

The tie's rich fabric also has a brocade woven into it, as do so many of my favorites from this era. In this case, the brocade, which is at least slightly visible in the scan, consists of looping swirls or whorls, some vertically placed, some horizontal in their motion across the surface of the tie.

If I have any complaint about the tie, it is that it is not as wide as some, measuring a mere 3 1/4 inches across. It may possibly have been a bit wider originally, although I'm not really sure about that. Unlike some of the other ties I suspect of having been refolded or cut down, this one doesn't have a pattern that is obviously off center. The design on the tie seems aesthetically pleasing enough the way it is.

It could have been almost an inch wider I suppose, which would be right in keeping with the 4 1/4 inch width that so many of my forties era ties exhibit. The two edges of the tie overlap by about a half inch, and one side is folded over another half inch, so it could have been refolded and resewn to make it narrower, but it is difficult to know for sure.

The tie has one label sewn into the small end, which reads simply,
The label is obviously old and fraying. part of the word "Penney's" is unraveling and disappearing. The fabric of the tie itself is showing some signs of aging, and the tie is a little limp, and lacks "resilience," that characteristic so often touted on tie labels that read "resilient construction." Still, all in all, a brilliant exemplar of the classic forties era tie, and a pleasure to both own and wear!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Silver Op Art with Autumn Leaves

So, I was missing in action again last week. I actually scanned this tie a week ago Saturday, but on Sunday I was too busy, and there was no time to actually get it posted or to write about it.

I played an organ recital at Olympia First Baptist church where I am the organist and pianist. This was a formal recital with music by Bach, Brahms, Bruckner (love those "B's") and also Johann Walther, Helumt Walcha, Heinrich Schiedemann, Jean Langlais, Paul Manz and Michael Burkhardt. If you're not an organist or organ buff, those names probably won't mean a lot to you.

Suffice it to say that this was a BIG DEAL in my life, and took a lot of preparation time, and has been pretty much consuming my time and attention for the past several weeks. And last Sunday, it meant no time for blogging.

So enough about my other pursuits already, and what about this amazing tie! This tie has so much going on that it almost boggles the mind, and fries the eyeballs! The basic background pattern is a wild op art sort of design, with concentric squares. Or you could think of it as diamond shapes filled with alternating horizontal and vertical lines, if you prefer.

On top of this pattern is another concentric design, this one of leaves, two with gold centers, outlined in a deep chocolate brown, surrounded by green. The center leaf has the colors in the reverse order, with gold on the outside, green in the middle, brown again in between.

Underneath the background design is an elaborate, barely visible (at least in the scan) leaf and vine brocade woven into the fabric itself. All of these features combined make for a somewhat gaudy, iridescent effect quite opulent in its execution.

Somewhere in my files I have a picture from quite a few years back, from a soap opera magazine, showing one of the young bucks wearing this very tie. Which suggests that some Hollywood or New York studio costume clothing warehouse had this tie in stock at some point. If I could lay my hands on the picture, I'd scan and post it too, but I don't know where it is at the moment. Buried in some box, no doubt.

The tie has no sewn in labels, but one label printed directly into the fabric reads "HABAND" inside a blank US map. I've scanned and uploaded a picture of this label for your delectation.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Green leaves, Yellow diamonds, on Brown

Here's yet another from my collection of autumn-themed ties. I consider any tie depicting leaves to be autumn-themed. Which isn't to say that I NEVER wear one of these ties at other times of the year, but I make a point of wearing as many of them as I can during this time of year.

In this case we have only slightly stylized leaves drawn in white in little green circles also outlined in white scattered about the tie. Complementing them are yellow concentric diamond shapes, with paler yellow inside. All of the above on a deep, rich brown background, replete with a circular swirling background brocade pattern woven into the fabric of the tie.

Note the abrupt line and color demarcation on the small end of the tie. The same thing occurs further up the large end, but there wasn't space to show this transition in the scan, and still show the tie all the way to the end. This color change is typical of several of the vintage ties I've posted, having the obvious intended effect of making the knot appear all in green to match the circled leaves, rather than appearing in the tie's primary brown color.

Interestingly, the tie has two extant labels (I love that word, "extant," which means surviving or remaining, still in existence, and I can't resist using it to describe vintage tie labels, which often do NOT survive), but both of the labels are manufacturer labels, rather than one being the seller's label, as is more customary. The labels read as follows:
Since 1873

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Floral Patterned Leaf

So I missed another week. Yes, we were out of town again. Between Wednesday afternoon, when we left, and Monday evening when we returned, we put well over 1000 miles on our trusty auto! So there was no opportunity for blogging a tie until now. So on to this week's tie:

Now here's a bit of an unusual design for a tie with an autumn theme! A large leaf (I suppose it COULD be a feather, but we're going to assume it's a leaf), whose individual segments are alternating blue and peach, with floral patterns, i.e., flowers, filling in the spaces.

The deep brown background color is certainly autumnal. Not so sure about the blue and orangey, peachy colors, though. But the overall effect seems seasonal enough.

I had to cut off the bottom of the tie--that's not the true pointed end you're seeing there--in order to fit the complete design into the scan, with the row of dots both at the top and bottom, included. Some of the dot patterns appear to match those found on dominoes, but not all of them. Or they look like domino patterns with an extra dot or two added.

The tie has a diamond shaped grid for its brocade pattern, which should be possible to make out if you look closely enough. The tie has two labels, both the manufacturer label and the seller's label extant. They read as follows:
Hyatt's Brawn
Men's wear specialists
Pendleton, Ore.
Styled by
Creveling of

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Acorn Pixies

Continuing a bit of a theme from last week, albeit a somewhat tenuous connection, I present what I'm calling "acorn pixies." Each little green cap surmounts an vaguely acorn shaped head, replete with grinning smiley face! You may not think these look like acorn faces, but that's what they remind me of, so that's what I'm calling them.

So what's the connection to last week? Last week we had oak leaves, with burr covered fruits that seemed like they should have been acorns, but weren't. This week we have what look like little acorn pixes to my sometimes over-vivid imagination.

The rest of the space is filled with black line-drawn vines and leaves. The color scheme uses a bright orange color, certainly suitable for autumn, set off by the black lines, and bright green acorn caps. Certainly a dramatic effect, and a very bright tie, indeed.

In fact, I've yet to figure out a shirt to wear it with. None of my green shirts are quite the right shade. I suppose I'll have to wear it with either a solid black or perhaps a solid white shirt. I try to avoid white shirts, and only own one, for those rare occasions when I'm required to wear one for whatever reason.

Anyway, here's wishing a happy autumn, a pleasant fall season to all of you!

P.S. It's January 1, 2008, and I'm adding a closeup of one of the acorn pixies, cropped and rotated to be more or less right side up, since most of them are upside down or sideways on the tie itself. As soon as I posted the tie, it occurred to me that I should have done this, but somehow I never got around to it until now.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Blue with Silver Oak Leaves

In honor of the first day of autumn, I am posting this tie featuring oak leaves. Leaves always suggest the season of autumn, even if they aren't fall colors, per se, but a lovely combination of deep blue, paler blue and silver, as in this case.

The swirling lines sweeping down the tie suggest that the leaves are falling from the trees, or being blown by the winds of autumn, furthering the impression of fall.

I may be able to post another autumnal tie or two in coming weeks, but nothing like last year, when I featured extensively from my collection of ties featuring autumn leaves. I'm afraid I've mostly exhausted this aspect of my collection. Just look at my 2006 September (the last tie that month), October, and November postings to refresh your memory.

I always thought this tie was oak leaves and acorns, but now that I look a bit more closely, those don't look like acorns at all. I asked my wife what they were and she said dahlias, or chrysanthemums. I don't find that answer satisfactory, because if that's what they are, they aren't to scale with the oak leaves. The leaves are too large, or the flowers too small, one or the other.

I suppose they could be some other kind of nut that has a prickly covering. I'm not aware of any acorns that have a covering like this although I suppose it's not impossible. I read (and blogged) William Bryant Logan's fascinating little volume on the Oak tree, but don't recall enough detail to remember if he discussed anything like this.

The tie also has a nice brocade, but I'm not sure what it represents. There are sort of scroll-like framing elements, enclosing vaguely rectangular spaces, inside which are groupings of three dots, in a vaguely floral arrangement. I don't think you can see it very clearly in the scanned image, just hints of something behind the primary design.

The tie has one extant label to transcribe:
Made in U.S.A.
All Silk

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Green and Red Horror

Now this is my idea of an ugly tie! Kind of a sickly olive green color combined with bright red. Ugh! Not my idea of an attractive color combination. If anyone out there disagrees, offer me 20 bucks plus $5 shipping, and this beauty (I mean horror) is yours!

Now the design isn't so bad. I like the big stylized floral shape, similar to the "rosettes," as I termed them, from a few weeks ago. And the wavery red lines crosshatching the larger portion of the tie, seemingly hand drawn, with occasional breaks and gaps--now that's a nice design touch.

The red and green checkerboard, now that I could do without, especially as the color printing doesn't stay very well within the lines. Was this a deliberate design element, or a flaw due to cheap design execution? Who knows. The shadow knows! (But not me).

I think you would have a good chance of winning an ugly tie contest with this monstrosity. It looks to me like the kind of tie a used car salesman might have worn, or perhaps a Willie Loman type. Somebody a bit down on his luck.

The tie also demonstrates that it was probably not a top of the line model by the fact that there is no brocade woven into the fabric, as the fancier, nicer ties generally have. Of course, I don't really know that only the more expensive ties had brocaded fabrics; I wasn't born yet when the ties on this blog were manufactured and sold. It's all supposition on my part. Intelligent (I hope) guesswork.

This tie IS all silk, however, so it couldn't have been TOO cheap, I suppose. The tie has both its original labels, which read as follows:

Northern Commercial Co.
Anchorage, Alaska
Fashion Craft
All Silk

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pale Yellow, Pale Peach on a Deep Brown Background

The title I assigned to this post just about says it all. Colorwise, anyhow. So what do I call the shapes on this tie? Three-cornered stars? Three-petaled flowers?

There is probably a proper name for this shape, but I don't know what it is. My wife thinks they look like stylized rocket ships sitting on the launch pad about to take off.

But I have no idea how to describe the black and white figures that fill the center of each pattern. They look like little bits of barbed wire, or maybe like brain cell dendrites, or little black bugs sharing their legs with one another.

Be sure to notice the fabric brocade which permeates the background of the tie. Some sort of stylized floral pattern, perhaps rosebuds, or tulips, or something, with tiny little five-petaled rosettes floating around them.

The tie has two labels. Both are sewed into the narrow end of the tie. The first is printed on black fabric, on which the script has faded so as to be almost unreadable, unless you hold it at just the right angle under a bright light. It reads
Men's Wear
Hayward, Calif.
The other label reads
All Silk

Monday, September 03, 2007

Brown and Silvery Blue Eggs

Here's a nice 4 1/4 inch specimen. I'm calling them eggs for lack of any better descriptive term. The groups of nine tannish brown circular objects, which appear to be embedded into the surface of the tie reminded me of nice brown eggs, nestled into some kind of container.

Of course they are surrounded by many more objects of the same shape which do not resemble eggs at all, what with their concentric rainbow shaped patterns, surrounding a central dot in each.

If you look closely, you will notice that the gray blue egg shaped grouping has less than 100% accurate color printing, with a small strip of each of the top row eggs lacking the blue color. I don't have any idea if this was a deliberate effect planned by the designer, or if it is a printing misalignment, or error.

The tie also has a rich brocade pattern embedded in the fabric. You can see it best on the solid colors--on the groups that I'm calling eggs, and on the solid brown portions of the tie. The brocade pattern resembles bits and pieces of a slashing sunburst design shape.

The tie has the label "Haband" printed directly into the fabric on the reverse of the large end of the tie. I've made a closeup scan of this label for your edification, enlightenment or entertainment, depending on your point of view or inclination.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Red & Blue Icicle Swirls

Don't ask me why I called this tie "Red & Blue Icicle Swirls." That was just the pseudo-poetic expression that popped into my head when I was trying to think what to call it.

I'm not even sure that "swirls" is the right term to use. Curlicues might be more accurate. And why icicles? The color patterns on the tied, all kind of swirled together in shades of silver, white and blue, with the red background streaking through in places, somehow reminded me of icicles. Probably not very accurate, but it worked for me.

This is one of the most recent acquisitions in my collection. It just got back from the dry cleaners this week, having arrived the week before in the mail. I purchased it together with another in a lot of two vintage beauties on eBay. At the time I am writing and posting this blog entry, you can still see the pair online, but I don't suppose the pictures will stay up there indefinitely.

You will have to forgive me for cutting of the pointed end of the tie, but I wanted to show as much of the design as possible, and my flatbed scanner just isn't long enough to do the tie full justice. I have sometimes resorted to my digital camera, but I haven't really mastered it well enough to get very good tie shots with it. I generally get glare off the flash, for instance. So I prefer the scanner.

The large end is close to how the tie actually looks, but the small end is most definitely not. For some reason it came out much darker. The only good thing about it is that you can see the brocade pattern quite distinctly down near the end. A diamond shape made up of four parallelograms. This pattern is embedded into the fabric hither and yon, fairly infrequently, but consistently every few inches up the tie.

Well, that's enough for this week. No labels on this tie, unfortunately. Until next time, au revoir, auf Wiedersehen.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tan and Brown Circles on Red

This is an intriguingly patterned tie. First we have some largish tan circles, filled with smaller solid brown circles. Then we have an arc shaped slice filled with concentric brown circles on a tan background. All superimposed over a solid deep red background.

All in all it makes for quite a striking design. Striking enough that we don't really miss the lack of a brocaded fabric in this case.

The tie appears to have been well liked and frequently worn by its owner. Or else he was careless, as the tie shows some dark staining towards the end.

There is one label which reads (not unlike several others I've posted):
Resilient Construction
Towncraft Deluxe Cravat
Fabric Loomed in U.S.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Orange Rosettes

This beauty is another of my favorites, and hangs on my rack of orange, brown and tan colored vintage ties. There are over 25 ties on this one rack alone.

I have similar racks for blue, red, and green. The green rack also holds some miscellaneous ties in silver, gray, and other colors. Plus there is a separate rack devoted to ties with autumn leaves, most of which were featured on the blog last fall.

I don't know that the shapes on this tie are proper rosettes, but that was the only term I could think of to describe them. The fabric has one of those rich brocades woven into it, of an apparently floral design, which is probably difficult to see in the scan.

There is one label sewn into the small end of the tie which reads:
Pebble Beach
Made in California

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Green and Silver

Now here's a tie that no one has cut down, refolded, and narrowed! It's fully 4 and 1/4 inches in width at its widest point.

Quite striking in design, with two dark green patterned sections cut from much larger circles impinging on a silver background, the circular patterns themselves filed with small overlapping circles, some plain, some filled with many pointed stars, some of which have a smaller silver circle imposed on them. The areas between the small circles are filled with small silver dots.

The tie also sports a fabric brocade consisting of vertical rows of diagonally oriented squares forming a kind of checkerboard pattern. The brocade continues unabated through the green circular patterns, but are not as visible there unless you examine the tie closely, and probably aren't very visible in the scan.

This tie is difficult to wear with any color other than white. I typically wear it with a matching dark forest green shirt, but then, finding a pair of slacks that doesn't clash in tone with the silvery background of the tie is a challenge.

Unfortunately, no labels survive.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Vertical Stripes

Look Ma! Vertical Stripes! Unlike most traditional striped ties, which place the stripes horizontally, or more often, diagonally across the front of the tie, these are straight up and down. Not quite your normal stripe arrangement.

The tie itself is beautifully brocaded, with an elaborate arabesque pattern that includes paisley-like figures here and there. What is an arabesque, you ask? Here's one definition, as found via Google:
A motif consisting of intertwining vines, branches, leaves, or blossoms. These could be woven in a geometric or curvilinear pattern.
The term "arabesque" undoubtedly relates to the fact that the type of pattern so described is frequently found ornamenting mosques and other Islamic buildings. I don't suppose the pattern on this tie represents a genuine arabesque, but it has the flavor.

There are no extant labels surviving on the tie for transcription here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Blue and Silver Abstract

Here's another beauty with a modern, abstract, yet geometrical kind of design. Like the "One Giant Ornament" tie from a few weeks ago, I had to cut off the normal, pointed end of the tie, in order to show you as much of the design as possible.

I always regret it when I'm forced to do this--cut off the end of the tie in a scan--because it's that pointed piece at the end of the tie that gives all ties their iconic and unmistakable look. Which isn't to say that you don't occasionally find ties with squared-off ends, and I have quite a collection of those, too, which I may share at some future point. But with out the pointed end, most ties just don't look quite the same.

Like several others posted recently, this tie appears to have been refolded and re-stitched with new creases installed, in order to make it much narrower than it originally was, as tie fashions narrowed significantly at the end of the glorious tie era that was the forties. This one is remade even narrower than most. I wish I could find a good tailer/seamstress type person who could effectively remake these ties back to their original widths. I've not had too much luck so far.

In addition to the wonderfully abstract mod-art style design on the tie, the fabric is also embedded with a beautiful leaf and vine and berry brocade which thankfully came through fairly well in the scan.

The tie has one label which reads:
Made and styled
in California

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Orange Geometrics

So, where have I been for the past three weeks? Inquiring minds, my adoring fans (all one of them--Thank you, Jim!) want to know. This is the first time since I began this blog that I've ever missed more than one week, and this time, I've been gone for three! Shame on me.

So where was I? Well, the first weekend I was in Washington D.C. attending the American Library Association's annual conference. That was work (at least, I was getting paid). The next weekend I was in Portland, Oregon, attending the American Guild of Organists' regional convention. That was play (or, at least, vacation).

Last weekend, I had just returned from a week off, and had SO MUCH stuff to catch up on, that I barely had a chance to sit down at the computer long enough to check my e-mail, let alone scan and blog a tie.

Well, I'm back. And changing gears with the ties. No more pseudo fleur-de-lis, vaguely heraldic designs, at least for now. I'm not sure there are any more of those in my vintage collection, anyhow. Nope, on to other things, tie-wise.

This is probably one of my all time vintage favorites, and certainly is one of the best ones not yet blogged. The pattern reminds me somewhat of some of the Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window designs. The colors, especially the off-white and pale orangey background, are wonderfully summery, perfect for this time of year.

The tie has two labels. The seller's label reads:
Frederick & Nelson
Men's Shops
The manufacturer's label reads (like several others I've posted):
Fashion Craft
Resilient Construction

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Red Hazard (Almost)

OK, this may be the very last of the vaguely heraldic,
pseudo fleur de lis design ties, and to even call this one that is probably stretching things a bit.

Actually, the patterns on this tie bear a slight resemblance to a skull and cross bones, or even worse, a bio or nuclear hazard warning symbol. Somehow, I don't think today's tie designers would use a symbol quite like this one.

Alternatively, you might say they just look like anchors. Or maybe the don't resemble any of the above. I suppose the designer was just aiming for a sort of nondescript masculine looking patterns. Something you can't really say looks exactly like anything, but has a vaguely mannish quality to it.

Unlike some other recently posted ties, this one does NOT appear to have been cut down or refolded to make it narrower. The red fabric comes clear out to both edges of the tie behind, and there is nothing to hint that it might have been wider once.

The tie has one label, the containing the venerable "Arrow" brand, and the words "Made in U.S.A."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

One Giant Ornament

This tie has just one giant ornament on it, but with those characteristic curlicue type figures that I've been calling pseudo-fleur de lis, vaguely heraldic. I'm in a hurry tonight, so I'm not going to say much about it, since most of it would be a repeat of what I've already said about the others.

I will point out, in case you haven't already figured it out, that the point you see at the bottom of the tie, is not the real end of the tie. I had to cut off the bottom, in order to get the entire ornamental figure included in the scan.

I should also mention that this tie, like the one from two weeks ago, has almost certainly been cut down from its original width, to make it more fashionable as tie widths were narrowing early in the fifties. The obvious clue is that the ornament is significantly off center on the tie.

Less obvious, and not obvious at all in the scan, is the fact that just like the tie from two weeks ago, inside the back of the tie, the fabric of the tie is folded over the lining on one side, but not on the other.

Finally, this tie has one of the more interesting brocade patterns of any tie I've posted. You can see it most clearly on the small end of the tie. An abstract pattern that somewhat resembles flames of fire, or maybe, patterns in water, with bubbles floating through the middle. The pattern embedded in the fabric is to my eye, far more interesting than the ornamental design printed on tie, which is a bit too pretentiously formal for my taste.

There are no extant labels to transcribe. So there you have it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Orange, Gold and Brown

This tie is like a combination of the semi-formal vaguely heraldic type patters, and the more flamboyant, free-flowing, out there, abstract designs. It's got that sweeping free-form look, with the curved patterns of golden pebbles slashing its way down the tie, offset by the brown and orange sections, but superimposed on top of that is a sort of formal looking symmetrical type design, containing elements somewhat reminiscent of typographic ornaments, or something sim'lar (to Heinrich Himmler, as Ogden Nash once rhymed).

If you can make any sense out of the preceding paragraph of prose, well, then to quote another poet, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

What I like best about this tie is first, it's width: it's a four-inch plusser (4 1/4 inches at its widest point, to be precise about it), and its vibrant colors. Frankly, I'd like it better if it DIDN'T have that semi-symmetrical ornamental thingy-ma-jingy surrounded by the three smaller postage stamp looking boxes, each with a vaguely floral, perhaps amoeba-like shape enshrined within. A similar shape sits at the heart of the ornament.

Again, I'm feeling flaky today, as reflected in my purple prose. So I'd better stop before I get any further behind (I daren't suggest that I stop while I'm ahead, because I seriously doubt if I am.)

The tie has a label, which reads as follows:
Resilient Construction
In between the word "Cravat" and the tie of distinction part, is embroidered a tiny "coach and four," an old-fashioned Three-Musketeers style coach, pulled by four horses. There may even be a cockaded coachman or guard riding at the back, facing backward, but it's hard to tell, the entire image being so small, and limited in detail by the embroidery stitching.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Silver, with Black and Gold Ornament

This may be the last in the recent series of what I've been calling vaguely heraldic pseudo fleur de lis designs. I'll have to hunt carefully through my collection next week to see if I can come up with any more, but I'm not aware of any off the cuff, so to speak.

Is it mixing metaphors while referring to ties, to use the expression "off the cuff?" I don't know, but at least it's a clothing-related expression.

I think this is the first time I've placed the small end of the tie over the top of the large end in my scan. I tried it initially the other way, but as you can see, in the arrangement I used, the design on the small half would have been directly behind the large end, and wouldn't have showed at all.

I decided it made more sense to see the design twice, rather than just viewing an uninterrupted stretch of those groups of four parallel lines, resembling blank music staves.

I have fairly good reason to believe that this tie was once wider, a true four-plus incher, but that as tie fashions narrowed, someone took it to a tailor and had it cut down, or re-folded. I've always been suspicious of the fact that the design is off center. For this kind of symmetrical design, you'd expect it to be precisely centered on the tie, not visibly closer to the left side, as it is now.

Next, when you examine the tie in the back, the silver fabric comes all the way to the edge of the tie on one side, but on the other side, the silver fabric has been folded under, which is not normal construction for a tie. And the silver fabric overlaps significantly in back, again, not normal. The two sides are sewn up the middle with loose stitching.

I'm considering undoing the stitching, having the tie dry cleaned flat, with no crease, and see if I can refold it to approximate what I believe to have been its original wider size. If and when I do, I'll have to post another picture for your benefit.

The tie has one label, sowed in lengthwise on the small end. It is presumably a seller's label, although I suppose it could be the manufacturer. It sounds like the name of a prestigious law firm:
Woodward & Lothrop
The two lines of the label are separated by a fancy typographic ornament.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Silver, Yellow and Blue

Yet another in the series of vaguely heraldic, pseudo fleur de lis designs. This one is a change from all of those that went before, in that, instead of the designs being scattered somewhat randomly or even evenly over the surface of the tie, here we have a rigidly symmetrical design.

One elaborate design suspended, chandelier-like from one of the two geometric crossing points on the tie, with a very close imitation of the fleur de lis above, picked out in a reverse colored white on navy. The petals on either side are too small, and the central flower is diamond shaped on the outside, rounded on the inside, but if you compare this shape to the classic fleur de lis design as shown on Wikipedia, you can't help but notice the resemblance, even though skewed somewhat.

You should be able to see the elaborate leaf-patterned brocade woven into the fabric. It shows up best on the central silver panel, although it flows through the entire tie, equally. Unfortunately, in the scan, the brocade is not visible in the deep navy blue sections of the tie.

The tie is another narrower example, measuring only 3 3/8 inches across at its widest point. There are no extant labels to record. A very nice, obviously expensive tie in its day, but nevertheless, not one of my favorites, for a couple of reasons: First, it's not wide enough! I like those 4+ inchers. Second, I prefer the more abstract freer-form designs to the rigid symmetry displayed here. I said a couple of reasons, but here's a third: Yellow just isn't my favorite color.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Gray-blue with Flourishes and Squiggles

The squiggles are the angle bracket markings which cover the surface of this tie.

The other patterns I'm calling "flourishes" today, because they aren't quite as heraldic nor do they probably even qualify as pseudo fleur de lis, like the designs on the ties from the past 3 weeks.

In comparison with those, these flourishes make me think of Paul Klee and his "Twittering Machine." I guess because they are more thinly drawn, and composed of less substance, somehow, than the vaguely heraldic designs of the past weeks.

That's about as far as the resemblance to Klee goes, and it's not much a of real resemblance, I grant you. But the thought passed through my head, so I had to mention it. That's what blogs are for, right?

It is perhaps worth noting that the back side of the tie is a slightly brighter shade of blue than the front, suggesting that the front of the tie has faded somewhat over the years. Fading usually comes from exposure to the sun, and that seems a bit hard to countenance, given that the tie was originally sold in Seattle, and I found it somewhere in the NW also. One wouldn't think a tie worn in these parts would get enough sun exposure to fade!

This tie strikes me as another less expensive example, like the one from April 15, mainly because it is not made from a brocaded fabric. But I may be completely off base, since the fabric is an all silk foulard, according to one of the labels. Per usual, when two labels survive, one is the seller's label, and one the manufacturer's. They read as follows:
Department Store
All Silk
The term "foulard" is an interesting one. Read some web definitions via Google here.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Silvery Gray & Red

Here's yet another tie with those vaguely heraldic pseudo Fleur de lis type symbols scattered about on it.

This one has a lovely brocade woven into the fabric, with overlapping circles filled with a checkerboard type cross hatching pattern, the circles surrounded by circular, oval and even somewhat paisley shaped objects, arranged around the circles somewhat like flower petals.

I've also loaded a couple of closeup detail images, showing the two versions of the heraldic devices. The first one is mostly red, with white and gray highlights, while the other is partly white, partly red.

The upper central portion of these designs almost resembles a human figure, raising its hands (or wings?) above its head.

This tie, like the one from last week, is only 3 1/2 inches across at its widest point. Unlike last week's, this one has no surviving labels to record.

The brocaded fabric is beautifully designed, but the tie itself is, in my view, on the boring side. The color, gray, is not exciting, and these vaguely heraldic designs project a more conservative, traditional image than do the freer, more abstract designs that I prefer. Still, it's a definitely a tie worth having in my collection. To be honest, I'm not sure if I've ever worn it. I suppose I ought to find an appropriate shirt, and wear it to work, some of these days.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Blue and Silver with Crimson Highlights

Here's another vaguely heraldic, not quite Fleur de lis, continuing the trend from last week. This is a prettier color combination, though, at least in my view. My only complaint about this tie is its slightly narrow width, measuring as it does, a mere 3 1/2 inches at its widest point.

What are those repeated shapes on the tie? The bottom part looks like bird wings. The top almost, but not quite, resembles a ship's anchor.

The fabric is richly brocaded with an inlaid pattern of crosshatched squares, turned on their sides to form diamond shapes.

So from what time period does this tie hail? I'm not positive, but it has that 1940's look. The slightly narrow width could indicate the beginning or end of the wide tie era, although I don't know that for sure.

The tie has a single label, sewed into the narrow end, which, printed in an elaborate script, reads simply,
The Bon Marché.
This grand old store, for over a century synonymous with good shopping in Seattle, is unfortunately no more. It was bought out, and its vintage name replaced with that of Macy's in 2004. To read the history of the store, check out this article on, which calls itself The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Not quite Fleur de lis

Here's another vintage tie with a rich brocaded fabric, but not, I have to admit, one of my favorites. I prefer the more abstract designs. This one looks like it's trying to be vaguely heraldic, imitating but deliberately avoiding the classic French Fleur de lis pattern.

And its chocolate brown background color is not my favorite, either. Brown, yellow and red, together. Not exactly a favorite color combination for me.

Nevertheless, it was probably an expensive tie in its time, and as a collector, when you find a vintage specimen for a reasonable price, you grab it. Although to be honest, it's my wife you probably found and grabbed this particular item. But the fact still remains: in this day and age, the vintage tie collector has to take what he (or she) can get.

This one does have good width, 4 1/4 inches at its widest point, albeit that is a quarter of an inch narrower than last week's specimen. No labels.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Red, White and Gray--Spots!

Now that I've finished displaying my thirties era ties, it's back to the bigger and bolder forties. Even here, I'm afraid that many of my most colorful and opulent examples have already been featured, so it's on to the more ordinary, probably less expensive in their day, examples.

Take this relatively prosaic pattern of uniformly distributed red and white circles on a gray background. Not even any particular creativity in the positioning of the dotty spots. Just evenly spaced alternating rows. And no fancy fabric with embedded brocade patterns here. What you see is what you get.

It is worth noting that the red circles, ovals actually, are shadowed , while the white ones are not. To me, this tie looks like something that would be worn by Bozo the Clown! About the only thing it has going for it is it's extreme width, fully 4 1/2 inches across at its widest point, just before it tapers to its inevitable point. The width does make its own kind of statement. No shrinking violet, this!

The tie does have one label extant, which states:
Made in California
The word "California" is set in a fancy script style font, and a palm tree graces one corner of the label.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Last from the Thirties

Holy Week can be a sort of "hell week" for church organists, such as myself. Simply because of the thousands of notes to practice and perfect. And the extra musical events, extra music, period, for which to prepare.

That explains why no tie got posted last weekend. I had my regular Sunday service in the morning, then several hours of practice, followed by a hymn sing that evening. The next day I played a 30 minute noon recital sponsored by the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists, of which I am dean.

I practiced Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening, and Thursday evening there was a Maundy Thursday communion service to play for, with the final Easter choir rehearsal afterwards.

Saturday afternoon saw a couple more hours of final practicing for the big Sunday Easter celebration, which included no fewer than six big choir anthems, culminating in The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah, which has to be one of the most difficult pieces to play in the entire repetoire.

All of that effort comes together in a very rewarding fashion, but it's still very tiring, very labor intensive, a lot of hard work!

But this is supposed to be a blog about ties, not about church music. This is, so far as I have been able to determine, the last of my 1930 era ties. If I have any more, they're hiding. I call this one "Leaves of silver, blue and copper on a burgundy background." It's one of the more glamorous entries in these richly fabricated ties that I have been featuring since January first, this year.

I'm also loading a second image, of both ends of the tie from the back side, primarily to show another unique characteristic of 1930-era ties. These ties are invariably put together in an off-centered fashion. Look closely at the image of the back side of the tie, and you will see that the fold where the two sides of the tie come meet and are stitched together, are not centered, but are severely lopsided.

This is the way all of these ties are put together, and is quite distinct from most ties of later vintage, which, if not perfectly symmetrical, are generally more so than these. You can see a couple more examples, albeit only of the small ends, by taking another look at "Red Paisley" and "Red Spiderweb," both of which show the back side of the small end of the tie.

"Red Spiderweb" definitely shows the lopsided stitching, while "Red Paisley" is a little more centered, but demonstrates another aspect of these ties: looser stitching. These ties are typically only loosely stitched together in back, unlike later examples, which are generally more tightly and evenly stitched.

So, now that we're done with the thirties, at least for the time being, what next? I haven't decided, so you'll have to wait (with me) until next week to find out.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Maroon and Blue with Silver Trimings

I think I've finally figured out the trick to adjusting the images of my maroon ties so that they appear correctly on screen, at least on MY monitor. I can't guarantee how they appear on YOURS.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have the red vs. cyan and blue vs. yellow sliders all the way toward red and blue, and then I adjust the green vs. magenta slider back just a little from all the way toward green, to get exactly the correct shade of maroon.

Then I can play with the automatic brightness and contrast, hue and saturation controls to further enhance the image. My goal is always to make the tie appear on screen the way it looks when I hold it in my hand. I am particularly pleased at how this one turned out. The blue is such a brilliant and vibrant shade that contrasts so vividly against the maroon.

Now that I've got a better handle on how this works, I probably ought to go back and play with some of the earlier samples that I couldn't get quite right before. If I ever have time, I will probably do so.

This tie's labels are showing, albeit upside down on the image. They read as follows:
The Bon Marché

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Tiny Paisley Print

Are these really paisley's? The little pink/red shapes scattered evenly across this tie? They are too small, and don't have enough detail to be absolutely certain, but their shapes are certainly reminiscent of paisleys, so I'm going to assume that that is how they were indeed intended.

I don't know what to call the paired silver shapes that alternate with them. They could almost be commas or apostrophes, or perhaps bent bowling pins, or maybe telephone receivers (probably not). Whatever they are, they add their own glossy glistening glissade, gliding down the face of the tie like glad glib and glorious globules of glossolalia.

I have to admit that "glissade" and probably "glossolalia" and "globules" for that matter, are only marginally apropos to my usage of them in describing this tie, but I couldn't resist the alliteration.

This tie amazingly has two labels still attached, shown in the scan. The first reads
The H.C. Capwell Co.
Store for Men
And the second a single word:

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Maroon Coils and Silver Bubbles

Once again I had to struggle with my scanner's inability to handle shades of maroon. The scanner picks this range of colors up as a dull brown, with none of the real shades of red and blue that it should be resolving. I had to run the image through my image editing software (I use Jasc Paint Shop Pro 8) , and manually adjust the Red vs. Cyan, Green vs. Magenta and Blue vs. Yellow sliders, most of them heavily toward the right (Red, Green and Blue), to get an approximation of the right shade.

Until I ran this scan, and began trying to "fix" the color, I had never even noticed that in addition to the silver colored "bubbles" (that's what I'm calling them), there are also some red bubbles, almost identical in shape, but barely discernible against the dark maroon background. I don't know if you'll be able to spot them or not. It may help to click on the image for a larger version.

This is obviously another in my 2007 series of 1930's era ties. I think I'm getting close to the end of these. I know I have at least one more, and there might be some others lurking in my myriads of tie racks that I will be able to seek out if I hunt for them. At any rate, it probably won't be too much longer before I'm back to the more colorful 40's era ties that I started out displaying on this blog.

This tie has no labels to report on, so that's about it until next week! See you then!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Green and Brown Swirled Lines

So far all the thirties era ties I've posted have been either red, maroon, or blue. So I decided it was time to switch colors, and the result is this brown and green exemplar. Although the thin lines with the more brightly colored dots and dashes on them include a red color, probably not highly visible in the scanned image.

I've decided to load a second image this week, showing the inside of the tie, or to be more accurate, the reverse side of the fabric, so that you can see you these designs are created.

When you look at the image, the brightly colored parallel stripes you see running across the fabric are the little brightly colored dots on the narrow stripes on the front. Those dots are created by threads that run clear across the fabric, but somehow they are only allowed to show through to the front whenever they cross one of the swirly lines that curve across the face of the tie.

Incidentally, those lines you see on the reverse side of the tie would be running in absolutely straight lines across the tie, if the tie weren't folded a little. It's hard to keep the tie absolutely flat while trying to close the scanner lid down on the tie, since I've unfolded the tie along its creases, to show more of the fabric backside. So the lines all curve where the tie managed to fold in on itself.

Well, I'm sure I'm boring the life out of anyone who is actually trying to read this entry. Just look at the tie, and ignore my unnecessary verbiage. So until next week, au revoir.

P.S. I have just (8/12/07) reloaded a newly edited version of the primary scan for this tie. The previous version was so dark that it was almost impossible to make out any detail on the tie. I certainly don't recall it being that dark when I originally loaded it, but it certainly looked dark now. This version still isn't accurate color wise, but at least you can make out some of the detail.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Brushstroke Swirls

Another '30's era tie. This one I'm calling "Brushstroke Swirls" for lack of anything better. My scanner really seems to have problems with dark shades of maroon. I had to really run this scan through the image enhancement software process in a major way to get it to come even close to the actual color.

It's pretty close now, but just a bit on the dark side. (Not the dark side of the force, mind you 8^)

I believe I mentioned embroidery in one of my previous 2007 entries. These ties have a unique kind of fabric that resembles embroidery, but unlike embroidery, the design is not stitched on TOP of the fabric, but is embedded into the fabric itself. I wish someone with more knowledge of fabric would explain it to me. How this fabric is made, that is, and what the proper terminology for it is.

I have said several times before that these scans don't really do it justice. But then, the ties themselves, from any distance at all, appear rather plain and ordinary, dull even. It's only when you take a look at them up close that you can perceive the richness, the sheen, the jewel-like colors, the elaborate stitching effect that is created. These ties are much more subtle than those from the next decade, but are not nearly as dramatic and flashy. But seen up close, they are just as stunningly beautiful. That's my view, anyhow, and I'm sticking to it!