Timeless Understated Style
Grenadine ties have been the choice of any number of powerful men and prominent style icons. Sean Connery's James Bond wore grenadine silk in most of his films. It is, indeed, a fabric that is inextricably linked to a certain suave, almost intimidating elegance. Grenadine silk can also be seen gracing the neck of Frank Underwood in House of Cards, which is why I've blessed it with the moniker 'scary power tie'. But the most amazing thing about grenadine is its versatility; it can be sharp enough for political backstabbing, or warm and welcoming enough for a wedding reception. It all comes down to what knot you use, and what shirts and suits you pair the tie with.
So even if you haven't heard of a grenadine tie before, you've seen one—and possibly mistaken it for a knit tie. It's a common mistake, which is why it's important, in any discussion of grenadine ties, to differentiate them from their more casual knitted brethren.
In fact, the grenadine tie and the knit tie are more like distant cousins. While the knit tie is formed through (you guessed it) knitting, grenadine is a woven fabric that is produced by a loom. The reason grenadine ties often superficially resemble knit ties is because of the particular method of weaving involved: The weft and warp are twisted around each other in such a way so as to produce a highly textured fabric with a lot of visual interest. However, the ties differ greatly in construction. Knit ties tend to be shaped like an elongated rectangle made from a tube of yarn; these ties can be knitted to a point in the traditional 'tie shape', but more often they are squared off, and the ends of the tube are either sewn shut or simply left open. Knit ties are best worn in slightly more informal settings, as they lend a casual air to an outfit. Meanwhile, grenadine ties can be appropriate for both semi-formal and formal wear.
Grenadine ties are most often produced in solid, subdued colours, which allow the focus of the tie to be its unique texture. The subtle class and simplicity of the grenadine tie mean that it pairs well with a wide variety of outfits, including shirts with 'busier' patterns. If you prefer a minimalist wardrobe and have only a small selection of ties, a grenadine tie in a navy blue really ought to be included among them. A navy blue grenadine tie is utterly timeless and will complement almost any combination of shirt and suit you can think of. For a more seasonally specific tie, a grenadine silk in a rich burgundy can add a dash of warmth to any winter outfit. Grenadine is sometimes produced in multi-coloured patterns, but the pattern should still be simple and elegant enough to allow the texture of the tie to shine through as in this blue tie with geometrical hints of orange.
Because grenadine silk is a fairly weighty fabric, it's a good idea to stick to simple knots. A Four-in-Hand or a Half Windsor will still create large, well-defined knots that pair nicely with your common semi-spread collar. If there is only one knot you know how to tie, it had best be a Four-in-Hand. The Four-in-Hand is an asymmetrical knot that can lend an often desirable look of dishabille to your outfit. However, if you are seeking symmetrical perfection with your grenadine silk, it is better to opt for the Half Windsor.
No matter how you choose to wear it, a grenadine silk tie makes an excellent addition to any wardrobe. Plus, it can't hurt to go through life feeling a little bit like James Bond. Channelling that easy suaveness has got to be good for anyone's mood—and therefore their look.