Okay, we're going to play a little catch-up here.
The new studio is in full working order (except for an internet connection, which, for an internet-based business, tends to be important), and the ladies are enjoying the elbow room to work together and collaborate much more than they used to. I am enjoying having the craziness mostly confined to another address than my own, as well as the solitude I am afforded by my new study.
The 366 project is still going strong. But the problem is that I can't just wake up, exclaim that I need a bow tie--stat!--and have Ellie make one for me right on the spot, the next bedroom over. Which means we all have to do something that doesn't come very natural to us: plan ahead. So the above photograph represents something truly revolutionary in the 366 project thusfar: a 4-day plan for bow ties.
The first of the bunch (2nd from the top on the cutting board) was a great choice for St. Patrick's day. Orange oxford shirt (some Protestant identity for you), geeky clip-on suspenders, blue jeans, and a green plaid bow tie.
St. Patrick's Day is always fun in Rock Hill. This year's event was fun for most people. I, however, spilled my Killians (the only Irish-esque beer available on the street [FAIL!]) while waiting for 40 minutes in line for Deacon to get a balloon sword from a clown for he and his brother, who was asleep in the stroller. Both swords broke within the hour. Oh well.
On Sunday we had church. Daniel, my intern, wore a bow tie, but forgot to tie it. (Mr Stephen Crotts, illustrator.)
I wore, and tied, the Braden madras.
You can't really tell here, for various reasons. But it's true--I wore it. Buy just this one at a discount.
Monday was my day off, and I dressed up more than I did for church on Sunday. Oops. My buddy Ray dropped by and we were both looking so classic American that we had to have a photo together. Nothing like a blue blazer and khakis.
The bow tie is a rusty red-orange with paisley, formerly a necktie. A pretty rad bow tie.
My boys are growing up very fast. Wow. There they are hamming it up at Rock Hill's new Riverwalk.
The Riverwalk complex includes a fantastic velodrome. You've really got to see it for yourself. Wow. Them bikers get up on that there embankment real high like.
Tuesday I pulled wrinkly Bill's Khakis Weathered Canvas from the dryer and threw them right on. I'm actually losing some weight and they're going to have to be taken in soon--but they fit nicely for the first day after being laundered. Sturdy nonchalance. Mmm.
Wore a brown plaid with red and yellow accents, a pretty un-flashy bow tie, but with a little attitude since cut in diamond point.
Paired the Bill's with my new Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots, and stole Ellie for a photo with hers. What great boots. We're very thankful to 1K for partnering with us for the 366 Bow Ties project. You know you're wearing a great shoe when you wear it all day, take it off, and all you smell is leather, leather, leather.
Go grab these bow ties while they last. Some of them will never be seen again, unless you happen to know whoever buys them. And don't forget that all the proceeds go to Haiti, to help build a school there.
Cobbled together from leftovers from two custom orders, today's tie is a looker. Reddish orange chambray on one side, patch madras on the other. Rendered in straight batwing cut.
This may be the last day in which it's appropriate to wear spring-ish bow ties for the next week or so---the weather forecast calls for solid electrical storms booked through next week. It'll be time to break out the more subdued ties for a while, and to throw on the ridiculous and awesome Le Chameau wellies.
With the warmer weather, it feels great to wear Bill's Khakis M3 Original Twills instead of denim. They were wrinkly as heck from having a pile of sport coats on top of them on my valet. Threw them in the dryer for 10 minutes this morning, and they were perfect: not wrinkled, but not pressed and creased either. In ohter words, casual. Chill. Comfy. American.
And speaking of American: Oak Street Bootmakers pennies. Got to wear them sockless today. I love sockless. One of the pennies fell out of these pennies. Is that bad luck? I also read recently that it was ladies that first put pennies into penny loafers. Whoops. Oh well.
Happy bow tying.
I wish I could say that I had my snappy attire all planned out well in advance of this black tie optional event. Not so. Thanks to my good friend, Dr. Ray, however, I was able to secure a tuxedo at the 11th hour, and Ellie had one of her luxurious satin black bow ties all ready to tie up.
And it's a good thing, too, because about 50% of the gents at the event were in black tie. I don't think I've worn a tuxedo since our wedding in 2002, and I didn't wear a bow tie then. (Shameful!) So it was especially exciting to dress the part last Saturday for the Arts Council of York County's annual 'An Artsy Affair' gala.
Since we--despite the fact that we run a bow tie company--are decidedly plebeian, most everyone in whose company we were delighted to spend the evening were folks we didn't yet know. And it was exciting to make the acquaintance of several of our community's long-time servants, arts patrons, businesspeople, and keepers of the culture. But the other advantage of this situation is that it truly felt like an Andy-and-Ellie date. We got to enjoy each other's company more exclusively than if we had shown up with our plebeian posse. And that's not at all a bad thing.
It so happened that my drink of choice for the evening was gin and tonic, and that my mustache wax emitted the same aroma. Hence, with each stolen kiss, Ellie would nod her head and declare: "Gin and Tonic." Indeed.
The other exciting thing about this semi-formal event was that I got to wear French cuffs--and with them, the cuff links my mother got me for Christmas in 2010. They're black and silver--so the elegance, I would like to believe, is retained. But they, of course, are repurposed old typewriter keys. "Shift" shown here.
Check out more photos of the 2012 'An Artsy Affair' here.
To get hold of this exclusive, elegant black satin tie-it-yourself-and-make-all-the-ladies-melt-and-beg-you-to-fetch-them-a-gin-and-tonic bow tie, go ye here, and get ye there in haste.
And take your special lady out for an elegant affair sometime. Borrow a friend's tux. Drink a gin and tonic or two. Spend a few extra minutes shaping the 'ole mustache. Fold the white silk pocket square meticulously. Open the door for her. Mingle with your betters. Slow dance. Enjoy good things with a thankful heart.
PS--Congrats to one of our favorite local customers, Mr. Jay Rinehart, who won the auction for a set of madras and seersucker bow ties and neck ties from TCC. Glad to support the Arts Council of York County!
Day 2 of my recent NYC trip started out as it should: coffee at 2 local-as-can-be coffee joints. It was rainy, so I did the logical thing: I wore tweed and carried around a leather satchel, sans umbrella. Nice one, dork.
It was pretty amazing to get to see so many famous paintings at the MoMA, or Museum of Modern Art. Many thanks to Target for getting me and a throng of cheapskate art appreciators in for free. I didn't really plan it, but this Van Gogh piece and my outfit kind of go nicely together.
Aaaahhh...the NYC Subway. I didn't pay a lick of attention to where we were, where to get off, which way to exit to the street, etc. I just followed the crowd who knew where they were going. I spent a good chunk of the day swiping my card with poor touch at the turnstiles and smashing my leg into the metal bar. Oh well. By Sunday I took public transit, with several subway detours and an airport shuttle connection--all without an iPhone and without my friends I'd been blindly following all weekend. Pride.
After having a Chemex from Joe at AuBreve coffee near Cooper Union, we've been brewing like this at home ever since. Smooth, clean cup of coffee. They've just started selling bulk Intelligentsia coffee at the Earth Fare in our neighborhood. Yum.
Got to snag some sample swatches from Mood Fabrics and other stores in the fashion/garment district. Excited about some colorful Irish Linens that may end up in our new specialty line--more info TBA.
What was funny is that I was approached by a young lady panicking over which of two very plastic-y fabrics to buy. She was used to doing administration for a TV network, but got sent to the fabric store to buy fabric for a rain poncho for a TV show. She was concerned about which fabric had the most 'drape'. I faked it, and she felt helped. Confidence, right? It's NYC.
The bow tie was "The Hound" --- pulled from DEEEEEP in the Cordial Churchman archives, and made especially for this trip. It was one of our original wool-silk offerings, and it's still one of my favorites. Get this very one---and do it now as it might be the last one ever. Classic cut.
Sometimes you put the jean jacket and the desert boots away and you dress like a bona fide grown up. Maybe even like an old man. This was one of those times. For no particular reason, of course. Just 'cause.
I'm fond of the notion that one should never have to feel like one should apologize for, as people say, "dressing up". Dressing up by Downton Abbey standards, of course, meant putting on white tie, not a gray chambray like this one with a pale green button-down oxford and a herringbone tweed. And khakis--how casual! Loafers?? (Oak Street Bootmakers loafers, in this instance. Boy do I love these shoes.)
But in our day and age, this sort of rig is really pushing it. I went into the bank to get some cash and received the "sir" treatment from every teller with which I made eye contact. I like this, I'll admit. They probably all laughed at me upon my exit, but hey--I made off with cash and at least the lip service of respect. I'll take what I can get.
We've done a few gray chambrays already in 2012, but this is a new fabric, and hence a new bow. Get this very bow tie, in all its diamond-pointed glory, along with a heap of "yes, sirs", at a slight discount here.
Okay, I know--it was just a couple days ago that I wore these suspenders. Couldn't help it. The other day, when donning these braces, my good buddy asked me
"How am I supposed to take you seriously when you're dressed like that?"
Whoever said anything about taking me seriously? And just to make sure that nobody is accidentally under the impression I'm looking for people to take me seriously, I added two more ridiculousnesses today.
#1: A girls' bike. With a basket.
#2 An early attempt at a mustache.
The only thing I want you to take seriously is your opportunity to purchase this bow tie. This was hands down my favorite bow tie of last summer, and there are only a couple left. I'm parting with mine. This is serious business. Blue, red, yellow, white madras. Classic Butterfly. Looks great frumpy (pictured above) as well as tied with meticulous attention to symmetry.
Ellie made me a really big valentine. She sewed it and painted it. Then she hung it in our room. All this on top of making me a Valentine's bow tie, pictured here.
For all this--and for the lady that she always is--she wins. Happy Valentine's Day to the Proprietor of The Cordial Churchman, to the mother of our 3 fantastic boys, to my lifelong fling.
Since the baby was under the weather, we had to cancel our dinner plans. We ate dessert, and lots of it, instead. Not a bad consolation.
But having skipped dinner, I therefore was not obligated to change out of my tweed and red bow tie and into formal dinner attire--a nice change of pace for an aristocrat like myself.
I ran across a blog on men's formal wear, the writer of which is something of an expert on the subject. He notes the transition in dinner wear from white tie to black tie with a dinner jacket during World War I. Above we have Downton Abbey's Lord Grantham in traditional dinner apparel; below, the relaxed dinner jacket that came with the war.
The author notes his lordship's mother's warm reception of such societal trends:
Lord Grantham: I nearly came down in a dinner jacket tonight.
The Dowager Countess: Really? Well why not a dressing gown? Or, better still, pajamas?
If you haven't seen Downton Abbey, I hereby forbid you from reading this blog for one more day until you've watched at least the whole of Season 1. Get you to the website and start watching!
As a runaway style trendsetter, and with all the authority invested in me as a man of the cloth, I hereby pronounce that appropriate dessert wear with one's Valentine when you're stuck home with a sick baby shall henceforth consist of tweed, white oxford, Bill's Khakis, and a red bow tie. To prepare to comply with this new standard, purchase this one-of-a-kind bow tie turned from a 100% silk necktie, and we'll throw in the white twinkles for free.
Happy Valentine's Day,
EDIT: Link to bow tie listing fixed!
I know I'm posting out of order. Valentine's Day bow tie will come later.
Ellie's Valentine's Day present to me was awesome. AWESOME. She set up a very manly dressing area for me. She took my valet and added to it a beautiful mirror, an antique bench, a tie hook, and a shoe horn. This in addition to pretty much overhauling our bedroom--new blinds, curtains, bedside lamps...the works.
It must have been this old fashioned gentlemanly environment getting to me when I reached for the suspenders (or as I should say, in old gentlemanly parlance, "braces").
An, of course, she made me some new bow ties from the pile of old neck ties. This one a 100% silk club diamond cut. I love this bow tie. But I'm going to part with it anyway. It's yours if you're quick.
I should also say that Ellie took these thrift store chinos in a bit in the leg for me. Which makes her even more awesome.
So awesome that, when she says "jump!", I am prone to say "how high?"
We're real high brow, you know? Which is why we hit up Chick-fil-A almost every Monday night for free kids grub. I'm not alone in bow tie wearing when we go, either. There's a gentleman who refreshes beverages that always wears a bow tie. It's probably subconsciously why we crave a Number 7 and a chance to let our boys get all their energy out of their system at least once per week.
Monday's tie: the Dexter. It's been elusive. Hard to capture the color exactly. Blue. Green. Subtle check. Definitely wooly, but soft. Very much wintry. Only one left--part of my personal collection. I'm willing to part with it. You should be very willing to take it off my hands.
Kids playgrounds smell like feet. You can tolerate it for a few minutes, but phew.
The little guy has been very much anxious to participate in whatever nonsense his older brothers happen to be up to. Wrestling before bedtime, and now apparently CFA playground tag, too.
Felt like the blues and browns played nice off each other: blue in the bow, brown in the sweater (looks like I copied Winthrop, our mannequin) blue in the 501s and a tad in the argyles, and then brown again with the Oak Street Bootmakers pennies.
Grab the last Dexter now or you'll quite regret it. There's a reason the fabric's all gone and mine's the only one left--it's a snazzy bow tie.
So I've been doing this silly thing since about September where I take photos of my socks. Why? I don't know. These are supposed to be pink flamingos, but they look more like velociraptors. This is probably me writing a blog post in Ellie's studio.
The bow tie is a new linen from the forthcoming Spring/Summer line, to be released soon. We're trying to make it so you can't stand the wait. Is it working?
100% linen--chalk full of texture and plaid awesomeness. I wore the classic butterfly, so that's the one up for grabs. I've shown these images here with diamond-point cut so you can see the texture.
Get one before anyone else. Get one before the thing even has a proper name. Get a bow tie and send $29 to Haiti. Get this bow tie!
PS--many of you have been after us to re-list the Maxwell neckties. By popular demand, they're back on in our store, available in point-end or square-end varieties. Pictured just above.
Your business supports our children's developing passions. This one has a loud developing passion.