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Ties | Manolo for the Men - Part 5
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Pink Eye for the Conservative Guy

pinks and reds

Capturing a sentiment that originated with the French Revolution, Republicans in France for a long time subscribed to the slogan, “Il n’y a pas d’ennemi à gauche,” meaning “No enemies to the left.”  Whether or not that should be the case in politics, it is certainly true with respect to the colors on the political spectrum: Pinks and Reds can indeed get along.

Angular Momentum

Wesley Snipes with angled collar

As a celebrity, it’s part of Wesley Snipes’ job to a draw attention to himself, which he easily accomplished with an oddly angled collar. The non-traditional collar didn’t offend Izzy as much as he would have expected, but the extra-long dimple in the tie had the opposite effect. Is it possible for a necktie to be too silky?

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lawyer in ascot

A Milwaukee-area judge has gotten hot under the collar due to a prosecutor’s wearing an ascot in lieu of a court-mandated necktie.  While the judge might be extreme in threatening the lawyer with contempt, his Honor is correct that an ascot must be seen as an informal piece of clothing.   While donning one in court might not amount to a full-blown violation of the canons of legal ethics, the real question is why the prosecutor would want to accentuate the girth of his already hefty neck.   His goatee was a smart choice, however.

The Sport of Princes

Prince Charles playing cricket

A suit is good for nearly any occasion, though playing cricket, or any strenuous sport, is usually not one of them.  Still, Prince Charles didn’t look completely out of place taking a swing in a double-breasted suit with two-inch cuffs (a cuff size that is generally acceptable only with such a suit).  Izzy especially appreciates the understated tie, something that is all-too-rare in the U.S.

To Each According to His Needs

In a journalistic coup, a Venezuelan political leader was railing against capitalism when a reporter pointedly asked him about his luxury brand preferences:

Venezuelan Interior Minister Pedro Carreno was momentarily at a loss for words when a journalist interrupted his speech and asked if it was not contradictory to criticize capitalism while wearing Gucci shoes and a tie made by Parisian luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton.

“I don’t, uh … I … of course,” stammered Carreno on Tuesday before regaining his composure. “It’s not contradictory because I would like Venezuela to produce all this so I could buy stuff produced here instead of 95 percent of what we consume being imported.”

Could this be a new kind of supply-side economics?  Gorbachev, at least, waited to flaunt his Louis Vuitton until he left office.

The video, in Spanish, can be found here.

Askew Gone Awry

Casey Affleck with tie askew

Izzy had never thought about it before, but this photo made him realize that the loose-tie look works best with a narrow necktie, unlike the four-ish inch one on Casey Affleck that emphasizes his gut.


Thanksgiving is here, which means that the collective madness known as holiday shopping has already begun. In no particular order, here are some gift ideas for inspiration. Of course, it’s the thought that counts, but some thoughts are more valuable and stylish than others.

Up first, some simple, classic Brooks Brothers ties.

Brooks Brothers bar stripe tieBrooks Brothers silk repp dot tie

On the formal bow tie front, there’s nothing blacker than velvet, which isn’t seen much nowadays.

Thomas Pink velvet bow tie

And for a change from the usual cufflinks, how about silk knots, which, unlike ordinary cufflinks, are never stuffy? They’re so inexpensive that you can collect them in every color. Also, they’re easy to put on, even if you don’t have a manservant.

Thomas Pink woven silk cuff knots

Another interesting alternative are these woven cufflinks from Thomas Pink, which have a delightful feel.

Thomas Pink woven cufflinks

Speaking of formal wear, it might be worth experimenting with these Frenchback boxers, which look like just the thing to wear under white tie and tails. They’re perhaps the only undergarments that deserve to be starched.

Brooks Brothers Frenchback boxer

Not exactly the tallest man in the world, Izzy, like Tom Cruise, is a sucker for dressy boots.

Peal & Co. Chelsea bootsPeal & Co. wingtip Chelsea boots

And as for boots that will keep your feet warm and dry on an Arctic expedition or merely a schlep to the mailbox, Sorel is one of the brands to count on. The company was founded in Canada, after all.
Sorel Mounty II boots

These are totally off-season, Izzy knows, but why where white bucks when you can wear white buck wingstips?

Peal & Co. white buck wingtips

For that special someone who thinks he has everything, surprise him with this Brooks Brothers sportcoat made from “Coarsehair,” a custom Loro Piana blend of cashmere and goat hair.

Brooks Brothers Coarsehair sportcoat

Happy hunting.

Another great gift idea is getting the latest 4g phones as a gift, where you can find some great discounts.

Use Your Delusion

Delusions of Grandeur shirt and tie

As this shirt from Delusions of Grandeur demonstrates, once-archaic club collars are slowly making a comeback—though unlike in the early twentieth century, they’re typically being worn unstarched and unpinned.  Izzy recommends donning them with odd jackets or tweed or flannel suits.  Also, they should generally be paired with narrow ties (the one in the photo is too fat). 

No fuddy-duddy he, Izzy must admit that he actually kind of likes the racing stripes on the shirt’s cuffs.  The sloppily low-slung trousers, on the other hand…

Note, by the way, how the model’s cigarette is all that is needed to express a devil-may-care attitude.  We’ve come a long way from heroin chic.

Mini Van Winkle

Tommy Lee Jones with stubble

While wearing stubble is generally a terrible choice for older men, one that makes them look like they’re in the midst of an involuntary hospital stay, Tommy Lee Jones’s combination of mustache, soul patch, long side burns, and stubble gives him an especially bedraggled appearance.  And to quote Mad magazine, that tie is bleccch.


Lagerfeld with gloves

Just in time for Halloween, a horror-show of a documentary about Karl Lagerfeld has opened in New York.  According to one review:

Mr. Lagerfeld claims to be “a complete improvisation.”

“I don’t want to be real in other people’s minds,” he declares. “I want to be an apparition.”


As a child, he admits, he was “unbearable and spoiled” and compares himself to Shirley Temple. Even now, he cannot go to sleep without a pillow clutched to his stomach.

His mother, he says, was “the polar opposite of a typical German mother.” She “exuded frivolity” and “made slaves of everyone.” Mr. Lagerfeld displays a similar mixture of eccentricity and severity. With his white ponytail, high white collars, sunglasses, fingerless gloves (his hands are festooned with rings) and preference for black, he resembles a man of the cloth, “a defrocked one,” he says matter-of-factly.


His most unsettling remarks concern friendship. Hanging over every close relationship, he asserts, is a sword of Damocles. And he implies that many have been permanently exiled from his court. “Forgiveness isn’t something I’m preoccupied with,” he says. “Turning the other cheek is not my trip. The curtain falls: an iron curtain.”

Izzy thinks that Lagerfeld needs a hug.

It’s Hip to Wear Square Ties

hipsters in ties

“After years of being out, the necktie is in,” so sayeth The New York Times.  As much as Izzy is a staunch advocate of the tie, he would prefer it if obnoxious hipsters went back to their tie-less ironic ways, so as to avoid any guilt by association.

Jumbo Tie

Alber Elbaz in giant bow tieOscar Wilde with bow tie

Ridiculously large bow ties (made of what appear to be Shantung silk) have become the sartorial trademark of Alber Elbaz, artistic director of French fashion house Lanvin. Though they given him a whimsically clownish appearance, they do at least make him look friendly and approachable, in contrast to the cold hauteur of so many fashion designers. And to those in the know, the colossal bow tie pleasantly brings to mind the flamboyant aesthete Oscar Wilde.

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