Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Fashion Wednesday with Unfashionable Osler

Often, when I have some memorable event (say, an oral argument on an important case), I will get a new tie for the event. I like the ritual of it, and then I can identify my ties with an event.

On Monday, before my lecture at Harvard, I set out to get a new tie at J. Press in Cambridge. I found three good candidates and laid them out, then solicited the opinion of a dapper-looking salesman. Here was our conversation (and yes, I started with a heaping helping of hyperbole in an effort to be funny, but he did not get the joke):

Me: I'm going to try to change the world tonight, and I think I need just the right tie.

: Of course, sir. That's why we're here. What color jacket will you be wearing?

Apparently, they hear that a lot.

He then proceeded to ignore all my choices and instead recommend the tie pictured above. It was a pretty good choice, really; much better than the ones I had picked out.

But... does anyone really notice what tie a guy wears? Really?

I do! And then I try to crack the code. One time I figured out that a prof wore the same tie every Tuesday.

I have a great friend (former co-worker) in Tampa and he has the most horrendous ties. A few years ago I bought him a few new ones for Christmas. It as easy to do since he was job hunting and after a number of years of business casual his ties were definitely out-dated!

He didn't disown me.
Yes. Yes. Yes. AT least, women notice. I have no idea what kind of male code there is in ties, whether there is really a "power" tie or not . . .
For a long time I only wore solid color silk ties, and to this day I still only have one tie with any kind of stripes or patterns on it. People tend to notice when you wear something that stands out; in my case, it's the solid color silk ties since so few people rock them consistently.
Yes, people notice. I like to wear nice ties and get compliments all the time...sadly, its usually the ones someone else picked out the get the most positive response.
Nice haircut, btw.

Did Mr. CL do that for you?
I think that is the item people comment on most in a man's wardrobe. It definitely is in my experience. The tie you bought was great; it was the quintessential J. Press tie.
Two things (two-and-a-half, realy):

1. Everybody notices a BAD tie.

An Aside: I actually prefer a tie that is understated (not the tie that everybody notices and can't stop talking about).

2. I think of the tie as something close to underwear (especially when wearing a suit)--and I love this story from the Golden Age of Hollywood:

On the set of GWTW the cast of thousands were being fitted and costumed. Upon being fitted with a fine silk undergarment, one of "Scarlet's sisters" told David O. Selznick, "Mr. Selznick, we could save a lot of money if we didn't use these fancy petticoats and other accessories that no one is every going to know we have on."

Selznick reportedly replied: "But you'll know you have them on."

He thought that made a significant difference. I agree.
Ties are stupid. That's the one thing the hippies got right, no more ties.
Waco Farmer - I like your GWTW comment. This is why women like to have a few nice pieces of lingerie in their wardrobe.

I also remember saying to my husband once that I had one nice thing to say about GWB - I like his choice in ties.

That's all I'm saying.
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