Featured: Quite Continental on StyleLikeU ~ Addictions: Neckties

18/11/2011 § 3 Comments

A few weeks ago I sat down with StyleLikeU to talk about my somewhat obsessive relationship with one of my favorite articles of clothing: the necktie.  I am happy to share the finished product with you today.  If you were ever curious why I wear them and who ties my knots, you are in luck — and you’ll also get a peek at my growing collection.

A big thank you to the StyleLikeU ladies.  Shooting this was a lot of fun.

I can’t say that it isn’t kind of weird watching myself on video, though.  Do I really talk like that?

Menswear Crush: Hackett A/W 2011 Lookbook

30/09/2011 § 5 Comments

I have been told my love of the Hackett man is a bit Sloane Ranger-y…

…I’ve decided that I don’t care.  Not one bit.  Me and Mr. Hackett go way back.
And I’m happy to renew my Menswear Crush with the F/W 2011 lookbook.

I mean, how could you say no to a man who wears this…?

You can’t, really.  Especially if you are like me and are furtively conceiving of ways to ransack his closet.  I want his ties, I want his sweaters, I want his scarves.  I want to wrap myself in his shirts — slightly too large for me — and wear them with the sleeves rolled up, tucked haphazardly.  I’d feign surprise when he notices.  He’d feign exasperation.  He wouldn’t really mind at all…  I mean, what else am I expected to do so long as Hackett refuses to make clothes for me?

For more pictures and full details on these lovely looks, head here.

All images via Hackett.

Ask Me Anything: Shabby Haberdashery

13/06/2011 § 2 Comments

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line: contact@quitecontinental.net
Schwartz Tailor Shop, St. Paul, 1918.  Via Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest.
Dear Mariah,
With a closet full of fine shirts (Borelli, Kiton, Charvet, Ascot Chang, Emma Willis, Battistoni et al.), I’m curious to know your thoughts on what to do with them as they age. After years of washings and ironings the first thing to go tends to be the collar. In most cases, the shirts and fabrics are in perfect condition – even ten years on. But the collars start to fray slightly. Do you think these are still wearable (albeit casually) and if so, only in the country or are they ok in the city as well? Or will I just look like a well haberdashed homeless person?

Fine shirts indeed.  I can see how you would be loathe to simply throw the baby out with the bathwater here.  The preppy adage that you should keep things — especially items of quality and sentimental value — as long as humanly possible, is near and dear to my heart.  In some cases you will be able to repair your keepsakes to make them good as (or better than) brand new — here I am talking about the soles of your shoes, the strap of your watch, restringing your pearls, etc. — but in some cases, your items cannot be repaired or reconditioned.  Instead, these are things to be loved in their perfect-imperfect state for years on.

In the case of your shirts, your instinct is correct here.  Your frayed-collars are no longer appropriate to be worn with a suit, but for weekends kicking around the city, country, shore and points beyond, they are perfect.  You should feel free to wear these shirts casually.  Take care not to pair them with anything too prissy, because this look is all about comfortably lived-in finery that gets better with age.  You definitely won’t look homeless.

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line: contact@quitecontinental.net

Vintage Dilemma: Schoolboy Tie

04/04/2011 § 4 Comments

You may recall my success at the Ralph Lauren Home Sale last month, but aside from the amazing phonograph I picked up, I also happened to find a precious tie that I just had to have.  Of shorter length, it was immediately obvious that this was a young boy’s tie.  From the frayed and somewhat uneven edges, and lack of any manufacturer’s label, it became apparent that I was looking at something handmade.

Even though it was a little worse for wear, I decided that I wanted to take it home.  I had a picture in my mind of a mother working diligently over her son’s tie, choosing the silk and painstakingly folding and stitching it into shape.  I like the colors and I usually wear my ties tucked in, anyway, so I figured that it wouldn’t matter that the ends were a bit tattered.  It was when I turned the tie over that I fell in love with it.

Written on the underside of the tie is the name of its former owner — James Bennett.  Having a name to add to the fantasy completely sealed the deal, and I happily carried my little tie home.  However, I now am faced with a dilemma.  I am torn between wanting to wear the tie and framing it.  I think it could be quite handsome under glass with a dark wooden and gold frame, no?  How silly James Bennett would think that was!

One From The Boys: Silk in the Raw {also, My Tie Love Affair}

16/03/2011 § 4 Comments

My love affair with beautiful neckties is ages old, cherie, and I definitely think it began in my formative years.  The fact that my father wore a suit and tie every day served to transform the necktie into a powerful symbol of maleness and there is nothing I like more on a man.  Even when he’s in casual dress, the addition of a tie will make me look once, twice, thrice.  (Tie and glasses?  C’est Fini!)

In college, I worked as a sales clerk in men’s suits in a large department store one Christmas season.  The crowning glory?  Ties upon ties upon ties displayed in a rainbow wheel of silk on circular tables, susceptible to complete dishevelment at the lightest touch from passersby.  That table was a labor of love for me.  I lost myself in the pursuit of perfection while my co-workers steered clear, endeavoring to look busy as they futzed over already-tidied merchandise.

While I’ve definitely given more Hermès than I’ve received — I’m looking to rectify that, d’accord! — I’ve become something of a tie collector and I enjoy wearing one frequently.  (Sidenote: Isn’t it more than a bit unfair that a woman in a tie is viewed as more casual, whereas a man in a tie is automatically considered more formal?)  I tend to favor a skinnier tie and usually employ the military tie tuck to keep from looking too Annie Hall.  My best tie tip for the girls is that most of us can get away with wearing a boy’s tie — just look for the longest length available.  Brooks Brothers Fleece ties in a size 50 are perfect.  Added bonus: when they go on sale they run about $16.

Tie: Brooks Brothers Fleece, available here.  Foto: Jennerator

As spring approaches, I’ve been hungering for a few new ties and Lawrence over at Sartorially Inclined has clued me in to what just might be my next move: raw silk.  The ties I wear need to be versatile enough to be dressed down, but I love luxurious textiles — This is beautiful! What is that? Velvet? I definitely don’t want to be limited to knit or casual fabrics just because a tie on a girl is considered casual.  The texture of the raw silk immediately caught my eye — luxe, nubby, simultaneously shiny and matte — and I’m inclined to give the 7cm striped shantung ties by Drakes London a try with threadbare chambray, crisp dress shirts and everything in between.

What’s around your neck this spring?

H/T: Sartorially Inclined: Raw Silk For S/S

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