Hey guys, this is a supplement to our previous article which talked about why you should consider buying true vintage 1930s/1940s ties to supplement your wardrobe. This time we’re going to tell you about the other place you should look for ties: thrift stores!
If you guys look at my instagram (a great place to see more outfits), you’ll note that I tend to only buy foulards, stripes, and slightly bold prints from the 1930s/1940s. However, I know that not many of you guys are keen on buying true vintage. Some of the prints may be too bold for your taste and the short length can be a turn off! But that’s okay. We don’t advocate a strictly vintage wardrobe on this blog, so you don’t have to only buy true vintage ties!
The truth is, I get inspiration from anywhere. Not only do I look at Laurence Fellows illustrations or LIFE magazine snapshots, but I also look at stuff from Drake’s, The Armoury, and B&Tailor. These guys are the backbone to my contemporary style and don’t stray too far away from stripes and foulards. Obviously there are days when I want to have a more subdued ensemble and decided not to wear a 1930s/1940s tie. Stuff like this, which fall under the contemporary side of classic menswear, is just lovely.
Now these ties are great but I am still not in a place to spend over $50 on a necktie. That’s one of the reasons I buy true vintage! However, I couldn’t possibly have an entire collection of true vintage! What about when I want to look more “international classic” a la the Armoury? Or when I want to look a tad more conservative? Would this mean I have to buy from Drake’s now?
Now, there’s nothing wrong with paying retail. Hell, if I could, I’d have a bunch of Drake’s ties! They are some of the most well made, high quality, and beautiful ties I’ve ever seen. But I can’t afford it. I mean, I could if I wanted to save up and have a collection of a few select ties, but we don’t really advocate for a minimalistic wardrobe on this blog. I like having a lot of ties, which is why I try to spend the least amount while still maintaining the most quality I can get.
Now the Tie Bar and J. Crew make some good ties but even then I thin they’re a little too contemporary with their focus on checks rather than stripes/foulards. On top of that, most accessible mall brands don’t carry classic patterns and instead opt for solids or overly shiny repps. You wouldn’t see the Armoury or B&Tailor wear something similar to those ties, so please stay away.
Luckily for me, repp stripes and foulard ties are readily available in most thrift stores! It’s honestly a great way to find classic (read: contemporary classic menwear) ties for a great price. Most thrift stores have ties for $3-5 while deals can get them down to a dollar. Can’t beat that, especially if you find a quality one.
This doesn’t mean that you should just buy ties willy nilly. Be smart with your purchases! Try to keep your wardrobe in mind and perhaps have some inspiration pics o your phone for reference. Also keep note of the construction that we touched on in the previous blog post. It would be cool to find a tie that has untipped and handrolled edges, so keep your eyes open since they are rare to find. Overall, here are guidelines that I use when thrifting ties:
- Stick to foulards and stripes. They’re classic and will go with almost everything. Leave the bold stuff to the 1930s/40s since most bold ties at thrift stores are from the 1970s-1990s which aren’t well made.
- Look at brand names if you can. Brooks Brothers and Land’s End is good for classic repps. However brand names aren’t everything.
- Check the material.100% silk should be the only thing you’re looking for. Linen and wools aren’t bad, but stay away from polyester ties.
- Make sure the width is okay. Thin 2″ ties are good if you like the 60s look, but 3″-3.5″ is best for something classic.
- Thin interlining is always best. It ties a tight knot and just looks better than anything else.
- Inspect the tie for fraying, tears, or stains. Some stains can be cleaned, but its usually better to pass if it’s pretty noticeable. You can always find more some other time!
Examples of Thrifted Ties
Here are some great examples that use entirely thrifted ties. This should help prove not only that you can find some great ties at thrifted stores, but you can always style them accordingly to how you want! More often than not, it results in a more contemporary classic menswear feel than a 1930’s inspired way, but vintage vibes can still be done as long as the other details are down. You’ll note that some of these pictures are old and that my personal style has changed a little bit (more focused on vintage than contemporary) but I think you can still get some inspiration from these pictures, right?
None of these ties cost more than $10, are all 100% silk, and are in pretty good condition! The best part is that they look very similar to Drake’s ties and can be used in a variety of different outfits.
As you can see in the pictures above, it’s a lot easier to thrift striped ties over foulards simply because stripes stand the test of time. Some of the foulards that I’ve come across have some good ideas, but it’s not always “classic” enough (or well made enough) to be worth my purchase.
It’s always a good idea check a thrift store just to see their collection of ties! If you move past the polyester and the fat, ugly 90s business man ties, you can find some great stuff. Obviously I’m going to advocate Drake’s ties (along with Shibumi-Firenzi) since they make some of the best ties on the market, but it’s something that’s outside of my reach. Maybe some day I’ll be able to afford all the Drake’s ties I want!
For now, I’ll continue to thrift my foulard and striped ties. They’re my definite go-tos when a vintage 1930s/40s tie is a bit too bold for the outfit! Plus it’s one of the best ways to recreate a look from The Armoury, Drake’s, or B&Tailor for much, much less. It’s such a shame that most foulards and stripes aren’t available from most mall brands (since they want something more “fashion forward”) but that’s where thrift stores come to the rescue. Just follow my guidelines and I’m sure you’ll be able to get a great collection in no time.
As always, feel free to DM me on instagram if you’re currently in a thrift store and need some quick advice on whether or not to cop it!
Always a pleasure,