As of late, I have developed a new fondness for the plain knit tie. It wasn’t until I got older that I began to understand the appeal. To my younger self, they seemed overly simple, boring and unnecessarily casual. Coming of age in the early 2000s meant I perpetually wanted more colors, more layers and more patterns. I never understood why someone would wear a plain knit tie instead of a classic rep tie. As I have grown older, my views have changed. Once the hangover of the early aughts wore off, I began to realize that I didn’t need to cram as much as humanly possible into each outfit. I realized, God willing, there will be more days, and I began to develop an affection for the plain knit tie. With age, I began to appreciate the simplicity, casual elegance, reserved comfort and approachability of the plain knit tie.
If you are like me, you have a closet full of sport coats found in a wide array of patterns. Instead of deliberating and endeavoring to solve the puzzle every morning of how to wear a motif tie or rep tie with an interesting sport coat without looking like a clown, the plain knit tie comes to the rescue, and life becomes a bit more clear. The plain knit tie solves my problem and ensures I don’t not look like a clown.
I am also a lover of the university stripe. I have a particular fondness for the university stripe in almost any color. I don’t hold to the traditional standard of only wearing a yellow, pink or blue university stripe. I am always on the lookout for the unique and rare university stripe OCBD. To my mind, the purple, violet, mint, orange or green university stripe is a great way to stay within our traditional framework while also allowing a degree of acceptable adventure and creativity. The plain knit tie is the perfect compliment for the unique university stripe. It allows the color of the university stripe to remain a subtle unique point of interest without the added complexity of a motif tie or rep tie overwhelming your ensemble.
Lastly, my affection for the plain knit tie has increased substantially since becoming a father. Young children love grabbing and chewing on almost anything they can reach. My rep ties would not last long in the grip of my young son. My plain knit ties however, hold up just fine. I can play on the floor with my son, hold him unencumbered letting him tug and pull on my necktie without concern . The knit tie can take a beating and look none the worse for wear.
Are my rep ties in storage indefinitely? No, of course not. I still wear my favorite vintage motif ties and rep ties, just not when I am in reach of my son’s hands. I don’t believe we live in a museum. We are living, breathing human beings. Dressing with dignity does not mean being an untouchable doll. Clothes are meant to be lived in, and life is meant to be lived. With young children, the knit tie coupled with chinos and a hearty OCBD is my key to living life fully and easily, without eternally fearing a stain all while wearing the clothes that I love.