July 08, 2013


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Cordial Wedding Etiquette: Groom's Wardrobe


So....hmmm....most of us are aware of bad fashion mistakes. Bless Dwight's heart.


When it comes to a wedding, the fashion mistakes may be more subtle. Fashion etiquette may or may not be important to you. If not, talk to your fiancee; it may be important to your bride and family. Remember, the pictures last a lifetime. Decisions on what you wear should be based on kindness and consideration. Future grooms, you will probably think more about this outfit than any other you will wear!

[caption id="attachment_3522" align="aligncenter" width="344"]emily post groom attire Emily Post Weddings, 1963[/caption]

The time of day dictates what you wear, as well as the season and location of the wedding. Emily Post wrote an etiquette book in 1922 and it is considered to be the standard when considering what to wear to a wedding; however, we are in a constantly changing world so consider using her rules as a preliminary guideline. Also, consider what the bride is wearing when determing which outfit to wear. You want to compliment her fashion choices.

[caption id="attachment_3520" align="aligncenter" width="344"]drawings of groom attire Emily Post's Etiquette, 15th Edition[/caption]

Emily Post:

Formal: Cutaway or tailcoat.

Semiformal: Sack coat or tuxedo.

Informal: Dark business suit or jacket.

If you are going for a formal look in a tuxedo, consider one of our formal bow ties.  We suggest our Black Satin bow tie to be worn with tuxedos with satin lapels and our Black Faille Bow Tie to be worn with tuxedos that have grosgrain lapels.  The white pique bow tie would look smashing with either tuxedo.  And remember, for winged collars we can make fitted bow ties so that you don't have to have the bow tie hardware visible.

Now if you are getting married in July outside in Orlando at 3 p.m. and the wedding is semiformal, you may suffocate in a tuxedo. Linen suits are a better option.

One final tip. Remember - for almost every blazer or coat that is single breasted, you need to unbutton the bottom button!



**** Have any etiquette questions you would like us to answer? Please let us know! Audrey is not Emily Post, but she has been a bridesmaid in over 20 weddings, was married in 2004, and collects etiquette books. She will do her best to help

Letters To a Young Gentleman: Honor People With Your Shoes

My Dear Sons,

I know I'm regularly telling you to get your shoes off the middle of the floor. Or out of the back yard. Or off of our bed. I hope you don't think we're "anti-shoes". I especially hope we're not badgering and discouraging you by our insistence about something that's obviously not the end of the world.

But of course being a young gentleman is not about simply avoiding world-ending mistakes. It's about learning how to be yourself without forcing others to be someone other than themselves. And, believe it or not, shoes, and what you do with them, are a daily opportunity to practice emerging gentlemanliness.



When you go into someone else's home, they have opened up to you their most personal space. They may have spent time picking up before your arrival to present their home to you as a place where you feel welcome and comfortable.

The first thing you can do to express your gratitude for their hospitality is to, undramatically, courteously, ask them

"Would it be best for me to remove my shoes?"

Say it in a way that makes them feel like it's absolutely no big deal whatsoever if they say "yes, that would be kind of you." You're not there to pass judgment on their 'house rules'. You're there to reciprocate their gesture of hospitality with your own gesture of submission to their customs.

Even if you just came from the shoe store with new sneakers or just had your penny loafers re-soled and shined by the cobbler, make this gentlemanly gesture.


Someone once said "If you want to know if someone is well-dressed, look at their shoes."

Young men: we don't put our clothes and shoes on to "impress". We put them on to set others at ease through our situational appropriateness.

One time, I walked into a very traditional, downtown gothic revival church in the South with Birkenstock sandals on. This was a mistake, because I was thinking about my own comfort, and the expression of my own personality. I wasn't thinking of the congregation as my host, and myself as a guest.

I've also showed up to sporting events in wingtip shoes, which probably also gave the community assembled there the sense that I didn't care about the context. Instead, I probably made them feel like I was trying to assert my feigned superiority over them. I should have slipped on my Birkenstock sandals.

wingtip shoes


The key, young men, to a gentlemanly life, is to take every opportunity and occasion to honor others with your demeanor, attitude, speech and gestures. All the "PUT YOUR SHOES WHERE THEY BELONG!" grief that we're giving you now, if we admit it, is really just our present frustration with tripping over your tennis shoes for the 392,405,301st time.

Yet, we can all learn to look at these situations as exercises in others-centered gestures of gentlemanliness. Forgive us for when we've been merely exasperated. And we'll all work to gently remind one another of how we might honor those who are hosting us, not least with the things we do with our shoes.

Your Loving Father,


Fourth of July Sale!

Happy Fourth of July from The Cordial Churchman! It is the perfect day to introduce our brand new Navy/Red reversible bow tie! Yours today only for $25*

Red/Navy Reversible bow tie. $25 today only!

*Regular Price $32. Sale ends at Midnight Eastern Time

In The Cordial Churchman Studio

Hello! And welcome to The Cordial Churchman studio. Wish you all were here in person and could take a tour of where we make our bowties. Instead, we thought we would share a virtual tour today.

We create, sew, and ship all our bowties and accessories from a workspace in downtown Rock Hill, SC. We are about 20 minutes south of Charlotte, NC.


We are housed with other artists in a community art center that once was a federal courthouse. Being centrally located downtown, some of our employees walk or ride their bicycle to work on a regular basis.


Seven of us work out of the studio at different times. Over the next several weeks we are going to introduce them to you. If you were to come into the shop on an average day, you would see us reviewing orders, cutting fabric, sewing, packaging, and drinking coffee. Coffee is essential in the making of the bow ties.


On special days, we have magazines and newspapers coming in for interviews and photographs. We are also fortunate to have some of our clients come to our space to purchase bow ties. The local cable and internet company, Comporium, just instituted "Bow Tie Thursday" and we enjoyed helping some of the men select a tie. Last week one of our loyal clients traveled hours out of his way to come and pick out some new bow ties while traveling from Washington DC!


Thought I would include a photograph of a busy few days. Since I not only write blog posts but help trace, sew, and ship bowties, I better get back to work! Thank you for coming on our tour, and we look forward to sharing more behind the scenes over the next two months.



Presbyterians Love Bow Ties

If you're going to be in a huge box of a building bathed in florescent lights for a week, you might as well bring some bow ties, meet some awesome people, and renew friendships with Cordial Churchman enthusiasts.

That's exactly what I did at the TD Exposition Center in Greenville, SC for the 41st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America.

It's actually hard to believe how fast the days and the week flew by. It was soul food to be with such good folks. As usually happens when we show up at an event like this, I got to teach a bunch of folks how to tie bow ties, I got to sell a good 8-10 people their first bow tie ever, and I got to meet people who have been buying our bow ties exclusively since we first started back in 2009.

[caption id="attachment_3347" align="alignnone" width="492"]983952_634117806600620_225014267_n Matthew is a young man with some mature style. His father is a prominent pastor in Greenville, and his whole family is swell.[/caption]

Presbyterians love bow ties.

In fact, it was my very first Presbyterian pastor who introduced me to bow ties back in Ohio. When we moved to Columbia, SC, he sent us to First Presbyterian Church, where I probably saw 50 gents rocking bow ties upon our first visit. It was great to get to see him again at this event, and to put a new bow tie into his wardrobe.

Being as The Cordial Churchman does perhaps 90% of its business online, we work hard to add the personal touch to our customers with handwritten notes and handcrafted custom bow ties. And yet, there's nothing quite like meeting the people who appreciate the work we do.

[caption id="attachment_3349" align="alignnone" width="492"]photo (34) Long-time customer David gets his wife's opinion on a new acquisition via FaceTime.[/caption]

I enjoyed the face-to-face cultivation of these friendships with our dapper Presbyterian customers so much that we've been kicking around a new idea. We're considering coming to see some of you. What if The Cordial Churchman came to the 3 cities where we have the most customers and we all had ourselves a get-together? We could get a jazz band, some champagne, and get all gussied up. We could have a Cordial Churchman pop-up shop and perhaps an official bow tie for the event.

It could be a blast.

Chew on it. Let us know what you think. We'll let the idea percolate for a bit, and then make a proposal or two.


[caption id="attachment_3351" align="alignnone" width="492"]photo (36) The assembly hall[/caption]

On a sad note, I met a pastor at this event named John Appleton, from near Charleston, WV. We talked about his congregation. We talked about how he was involved in starting a farmers' market in his town to bring the community together. We talked about getting together when our family did our usual drive through his neck of the woods on our regular trips to Ohio. And after pondering it for a day, John selected his first ever bow tie.

I got a call from another pastor friend just a few days later telling me that a pastor-firefighter had been killed at a fire. My friend attended the funeral, and saw that the gentleman was being interred wearing a bow tie. He asked the widow about it, and she said that her husband had come home from the General Assembly with his first ever bow tie, and was really excited about it. So she decided to have him wear it one last time. Her husband was my new friend John Appleton.

[caption id="attachment_3352" align="alignnone" width="492"]photo (37) John and Lisa. John introduced me to Presbyterianism and bow ties. So he's kind of responsible for both of our careers.[/caption]

You know, here's the thing: What made this event so special was not bow ties or Presbyterians. Bow ties and Presbyterians were just the occasion. What made this event so special was the people. The friends. Young high school gents who were trying to figure out how to make their lives count. Old men who've been wearing bow ties and preaching for twice as long as I've been alive. Ladies who wanted to treat their husbands to a piece of fine neckwear. Fellow church planters who know exactly what it's like to be me. People serving in the military all over the world. Pastors serving in France, Japan, Germany, and everywhere else.


As C.S. Lewis once said, you and I have never met a mere mortal. The people we come into contact with may very soon be departing this life and on to the next. This was the case for my new friend John Appleton. I'm saying a prayer for his wife, his family, and his church tonight. And I'm going to remember that it's all about people.

Thank you for the privilege of serving you, and of getting to know you.



Cordial Weddings: Jason and Erika (The Fitted White Pique Bow Tie)

We are starting a new series here on the blog: Cordial Weddings! The posts will include real weddings, wedding etiquette, and groomsmen gift ideas, just to name a few.

Today we are featuring Jason and Erica from Nashville, Tennessee. When this lovely couple married last August, Jason wore our white pique bow tie. They married at Covenant Presbyterian Church (where Andy and Ellie have had the privilege of attending several times over the years) and held their reception at The Hermitage Hotel.


Why he bought a white pique bow tie for his wedding:

"As soon as Erika and I decided that I, as the groom, would wear full dress white tie for our wedding, I knew I had to do something special with my bow tie.  For me, the tie is incredibly important because it is the centerpiece of a man's appearance.  It is the anchor that ties the rest of his tuxedo, suit, or whatever else he is wearing together.  I immediately knew that a rental bow tie would not do.  Even an adjustable self-tie bow tie was not preferable. But given the constraints of the tradition of white tie, I couldn't just go anywhere for one. That's when I found The Cordial Churchman."

Given the style shirt Jason wore, the bow tie was visible around his neck since it did not have a collar. We made sure to size the tie to his measurements, instead of sewing in sliders. In our humble opinion, it looks great on him!


Congratulations, Jason and Erika, and thank you for sharing pictures from your wedding! The pictures were taken by Rachel Moore.

Cheers, Audrey

**If you would like TCC to make custom bow ties for your wedding, visit our online shop at thecordialchurchman.com or contact us at info@thecordialchurchman.com

A Letter to a Young Gentleman

I was hugely pregnant and chasing around my two young boys.  A lady looked at me in all my exhaustion and asked if I was having a boy or a girl.

"Another boy" I said.

"That's good," she said. "Raise those boys up right.  We need more good men in this world"

I never saw her again, but I think of her often and am encouraged by what she told me in passing.  I even use these words to encourage other parents who have multiple boys. It is so true, the world really does need more gentlemen.  So my other full-time-job is trying to raise these boys into gentlemen.


We hope you'll enjoy our new blog series, "Letters to a Young Gentleman".  Each week, we'll share a new letter.

Dear Sons,

I tell you all the time that you need to be a gentleman.  Do you even know what that means?  A gentleman is someone who is a good friend, family member, kind-hearted and humble.  It doesn't matter how much money you have, how great your clothes are or how smart you are.  Being a gentleman is something different.

Being a gentleman doesn't mean fitting into a restrictive mold and forgetting about who you are.  I want you to know that you can be yourself always. You are a fascinating young man with a unique perspective on life.

It takes time, patience and persistance.  But I see you becoming more like a gentleman every day.  You are learning how to share with your brothers and give up your seat for them and others.  I'm proud of you.  I want to teach you so much more.




New Madras Bow Ties and What Else Should We Make?

Today was new fabric day. I picked up a few bolts of fabric at the store, we received an order I'd placed online and we also filtered though swatches to choose new fall fabrics. We are inspired.

As soon as Carlee (our resident seamstress and illustrator in her spare time) was so excited, she started snuggling up with it.  Then immediately cut it up to make ties saying, "It's time for me to be in my happy place".


So what now? Obviously we'll make bow ties but tell us what else you would like to see from us now and in the future. More pocket squares? Lapel flowers? More Emblematic Bow Ties? Neck ties? Scarves? Ascots? We love your feedback. Please write a comment or fill out THIS FORM to submit your feedback to us.

And if you tell us what you like, there's a good chance we may name it after you. The really good ideas might even get a freebie of some kind.  So don't be bashful.



Elliot White Bow Tie




Recently we acquired this fun fabric while touring a textile mill in our town, Rock Hill, SC.  We've had the fabric in the studio for a few months and enjoyed looking at it on the bolt next to our other bolts of seersucker, gingham and linens.  But it was time to start using it.  Fabric this fun should be used to make something.

So we have about enough of this fabric to make 10 bow ties.

When its gone, its gone.  If you like it, get it.  And wear it on Fourth of July and be the coolest looking guy at the cookout.

TCC in Martha Stewart Weddings

We were so proud to have produced custom bow ties for a wedding that was featured in the current issue of Martha Stewart Weddings.


Before making ties for this wedding, I was only slightly familiar with liberty of London prints.  The bride had chosen a beautiful floral print for us to make their bow ties and we knew this wasn't your typical printed fabric.

Truth is, I've gravitated away from prints in our bow ties, finding printed fabrics to be less interesting than the ones that have a natural pattern in the weave.  I'm now learning to balance the two.  Throwing in the occasional print that is really great on a bow tie can be a good thing.

So I have very high standards when it comes to selling prints, but Liberty of London's fabrics certainly fit the bill.  Our current Liberty of London bow tie is the Cameron.  These don't last long, so if you like it, I recommend you don't waste time.  I will say though that we hope to continue to offer new Liberty prints as we sell through them.


Are you looking custom bow ties for a wedding?  Take a cue from the bride in Martha Stewart Weddings and pick out your favorite Liberty of London fabric and have The Cordial Churchman produce your bow ties.


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