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Belisi Fashions - All Tied Up

What does your tie say about you?

While they may have disappeared for a few years, pocket squares are making a big comeback. Given their minimal presence in the past, knowing how to wear a pocket square may require some guidance.

"When it comes to sporting a pocket square with a tie, pick up on a subtle nuance in the selected tie, such as the least present color and use that as a focus in the pocket square," said Rosenfeld. "It's best when the tie and square are not too matching and when the geometry or other patterns are incongruous. This adds more dimensions and adds expression."

A pocket square can seem innocent enough„but should never be thought of as an after-thought. "When wearing a pocket square one can look very well dressed, dignified and confident. On the other hand, a wrong pocket square could reflect the opposite. A wrong pocket square can reduce a beautifully tailored suit and fine neckwear to something that looks second-hand. But when we see an authentic handmade linen pocket square properly folded with four beautiful points it lends a quiet dignity to the beautiful silk neckwear."

Hudson says that strong styles for ties are English stripes, regimental stripes, elegant paisleys and eye-catching motif patterns. So, what if you have a navy silk tie with small gray unicorns with a yellow horn repeated throughout the fabric? He recommends a properly folded, light butter yellow or Navy colored Irish linen pocket square.

If you want to simplify your wardrobe, white is an acceptable color for pocket squares. "White is safe is because it goes with every color combination," Hudson said. "If a colored pocket square is worn it must pickup a color in the necktie. One has to be careful here. Burgundy or wine is not red. Ecru is not white. There are many shades of blue."

If the pocket square color palette seems overwhelming, stick to this simple mantra: when it doubt, wear white. If your pocket square gets dirty, freshen it up with Woolite and then iron very lightly with a cool iron.

No substitutions please

Say you're out shopping and spot a great-looking tie, or so you think. You like the style and pattern. You flip it over and check out the label: Polyester. Maybe no one will notice„it looks okay. First of all, the people you want to impress always know. Secondly, even if the tie looks okay, think about what it will look like after you've worn it a few times. If you don't mind frays, pilling fabric and faded colors, go ahead and buy the Polyester tie (did you hear the collective tisk tisk of fashion stylists everywhere?)

The experts agree there is one highly regarded fabric for ties. "The fabric of choice is 100 percent silk," said Bill Hudson. "Preferably a nice 50-ounce twill weight, which knots and drapes beautifully. However, in the first half of the year, Spring/Summer neckwear can be more casual with acceptable fabrics such as summer linen in solids and simple patterns along with Madras cottons in plaid patterns. But 90 percent of the business is silk."

While you're guaranteed a longer wearing life with silk, there still will come a day when it, too, will go the way of the circular file. "When a silk tie becomes even slightly stained, throw it out," Hudson said. "If you are going to wear a tie and dress for success, then do it."

Ring around the collar

While it's easy to dish advice about how to buy and wear a tie, you may need help actually coordinating ties with complimentary shirts and matching them to your skin tone. Fortunately we aren't telling you to sink or swim. There are personal shoppers, stylists, image consultants, and store associates who can help. If all else fails, there's Mom and possibly a sister, cousin, female friend or significant other. It's better to ask for help than send the wrong message with the wrong tie.

When it comes down to it, you're the person who has to wear the tie, so ultimately it should please you. Don't let the proposed "rules" frighten you. Just keep about 15-20 ties in your collection that you really like. "Love every tie," Hudson said. "Have no ties that you wouldn't buy again. Never purchase ties because they are on sale. Purchase a tie because you love it and can't wait to wear it. Visualize the ties as you shop with your shirts and suits and blazers. Don't just have 3-4 favorite ties, have 15-20."

Neckties According to Peter Belisi

As a long-time tie collector, even before I started my business, I realized the power a tie could wield. Working in the service industry in fashion-conscious Palm Beach, I wanted to make the right impression every time I entered a room or greeted a new client. At one point my tie collection was my most valuable material possession, and given my current line of work, it is still something I hold near and dear. My advice is to never underestimate the impact a tie can have on not only an outfit but also how others perceive you around you.

Believe it or not, the ties you wear reveal a lot about your personality. Driving a tan Cavalier or a Canary-yellow Mustang is about as revealing as wearing a tie with gaping Bass on it or a subtly hued, 100-percent silk tie.

To view a tie as a garnishment undermines the power of the tie. A tie is the focal point of a polished, put-together ensemble. Done right, a tie reflects a confident image, done poorly and you could send the wrong message. Proper neckwear is not just about fabrics, styles and colors it's also about presentation and accessorizing.

Tying it all together

An ill-fitting, cheaply made tie is an abomination on its own. Add mismatched or obnoxious and botched deals and social misfires should come as no surprise. Joseph Rosenfeld, Men's Image Mentor and the only male Certified Image Professional in the US, tells his all-male clientele that if they're wearing a tie, it is literally meant to "tie" the outfit together. The tie should compliment the suit or sport coat as well as the shirt. Colors should be complimentary to a man's natural coloring of hair, eyes, and skin tones.

"Woven ties continue to be very popular amongst men who are modern traditionalists," said Rosenfeld. "Neckwear with smaller printed patterns tends to appeal to a man who wants to express his easy-going and gentle personality. Solid neckwear, typically in cooler hues, is right for the modern man who wants to display austere elegance."

It sounds pretty straightforward but if you thought you were getting off easily, think again. Just like women's fashion, there are seasonal considerations for men „and that means ties too. "Ties were once worn season after season, year round, and in the same colors," said Bill Hudson. "Now there are two seasons: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Vibrantly brightly-colored neckwear for Spring and Summer, serious, deeper shades for Fall and Winter."

Fortunately this news is not cause for widespread panic. If a style changes, you can gradually ease into it without having to replace your entire tie collection.

"When neckwear changes widths, slowly replace your collection," Hudson said. "In the 60s ties were 1-2 inches, then in the 70s they were very wide, up to 4-5 inches. Current neckwear is about 3-4 inches."

Keep your look fresh by never wearing the same tie to meetings, especially weekly meetings held in the office, says Hudson. "Change it up, be the best dressed. There is nothing that presents a better first impression than a beautiful suit, shined Oxford shoes, the right shirt, silk neckwear and Irish Linen pocket square. The combination works every time and any time."

Go ahead be square


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