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Know Your Ties: Anatomy of A Tie

When shopping for a tie, many people focus on appearance without realizing that the method of construction also has an important bearing on the general quality and feel of a necktie. You don't need to be a skilled tailor to know the basics of necktie construction, and this knowledge will make you a more informed buyer, ensuring that you seek out ties which are not only beautiful but are made to last. Below is a breakdown of the main elements of a tie.

Envelope/Shell

The envelope is the shell of the tie and can be made from just about any fabric or material. The most common quality fibres are silk, linen, wool and cotton. You can also find some envelopes that are a blend of those fabrics, e.g. silk and wool.

A good quality tie is made of an envelope that was cut on the true bias, which is at 45 degrees from the finished edge of the fabric. When the envelope is not cut in this manner, the tie will not hang straight, or achieve its true elasticity. It will not withstand typical use and become permanently deformed.

Folds

Ties are made by folding fabric. Pictured here is one of our Six-Fold ties. It is produced from a single piece of silk fabric that is folded six times during construction. Contemporary ties are folded three times. More folds equals more fabric which in turn lends greater weight to the tie, improves drape, and offers superior knots.

A Note On Folds

The more the better? We don't think so. It all depends on what you're looking for. Contemporary 3-Fold ties can be equally as good as a Six or Seven-Fold tie. Ultimately, construction and quality raw materials are the deciding factors. Seven and more fold ties typically are made with no lining due to the vast amount of fabric that is used. Although they are beautiful artisan pieces, they tend to be too heavy and retain wrinkles due to the lack of lining.

Interlining

The interlining is a piece of fabric, typically wool, that is hidden within the envelope of the tie. The interlining helps give a tie its shape and provide wrinkle resistance. A quality tie constructed with interlining is done with wool - it is wrinkle-resistant, soft and durable. Some manufacturers use cotton or synthetics which are inferior to wool.

Tipping

'Tipping' is the material used to finish the reverse side of the tie. Many ties have tipping that is of a different, contrasting material than that used for the body or 'envelope' of the tie. If a more inferior fabric is used for the tip, you may want to question the quality of your tie. This approach can at times be a cost-cutting measure.

The term Self-Tipped means that the tipping is of the same, high-quality silk as the envelope. A quality tie is likely to be self-tipped but not always.

Loop/Keeper

The 'loop' or 'keeper' is the band of material on the reverse of the envelope that secures the back blade or 'tail' of the tie. Many manufacturers use brand labels as keepers, but these keepers often fail to withstand the stresses and strains of everyday wear. As the most functional element of the tie, the keeper must be of a quality material that is well-secured to the envelope. When the keeper is made of the same high-quality material as the envelope (Self-Loop) it is a good sign that no shortcut was taken.

Slip Stitch

As with the keeper, it's critical that the rest of your necktie be constructed to handle the compression and stretching that results from tying and untying. At AKLASU we refer to this as a tie's ability to 'breathe.' A slip stitch, which is a single thread that runs the length of the tie, is used to secure the folds while also allowing the tie to stretch and regain its shape (i.e. breathe) after each use.

Bar Tack & Care Tag

The bar tack, a heavy stitch that reinforces the slip stitch, firmly holds the folds together. The bar tack can either be machine or handmade. An intricate design is typically the hallmark of a handmade one. We believe that the conscientiousness of a skilled human hand lends a quality that is unparalleled by machine-produced ties.

The tie you wear says a lot about you. How and what a tie is constructed from is equally as important as colour and pattern selection. Why? The hallmark of great style is the seamless harmony of craftsmanship and refinement. When you wear beautiful well-made products it will help you establish a confident and timeless style.

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