December has arrived and that means that the time for tartan ties is also upon us. There are some people that do not share any love at all for the tartan tie. I have heard complaints from some that they are gauche, strange and generally unappealing. I, on the other hand, think they are fantastic. I know that tartan is not exclusive to the winter months or December alone, but for me, they are my December and holiday necktie.
In each season, our clothing at it's best reflects the events of the season, the weather of the month and the general mood that is in the air at a given time of the year. Pastels in spring. Madras and seersucker in the summer. Tweed and warm colors in the fall. Sweaters and colder colors in the winter. There are certain months throughout the year which also exude their own essence and feeling which I feel a pull toward in my sartorial choices. Pink, a bit more in February for Valentines Day. Green, a bit in March for both St. Patricks Day and moving forward the motion towards pastels and new blossoming life as the earth warms. Lots of bold pastels in April. Orange and purple in October while we live in the spooky halloween feeling that accompanies the leaves browning, falling and crunching. December is a month full of holidays which beckon to have be be complimented by one's sartorial choices. December, regrettably, for many is a black hole full of the most grotesque, awful neckwear and clothing while certainly resulting in an homage to the Christmas season, does so in a truly cheesy way. I think we have all seen the hideous Christmas neckties, or sweaters some wear.
The tartan necktie is my solution to this problem. The warm, festive plaids are the perfect way to compliment the holiday season. The patterns remind us of wrapping paper. The wool is an homage to the fabric that the season requires in our sweaters and coats. The warm wool of the tartan necktie, however non-functional it may be, signals this to us and others. It is a natural compliment like warm coffee by a fire. The wool necktie doesn't keep us warmer than a silk or linen necktie, but the wool feels right, it feels like the right direction. Of course tartan in it's original form is certainly not only for December, yet, for myself and I think most others in America, we don't think of tartan as anything other than a winter pattern. For myself, it is almost exclusively a December pattern.
Allowing ourselves to wear certain colors, patterns and fabrics only at certain times of the year may feel restrictive at first. Yet, just like the seasons, once the perfect amount of time has passed, we find ourselves again looking forward to the arrival of what we were tired of just a year prior. Summer is sweeter in May than in September, winter sweeter in December than March. Keeping my tartan ties reserved for December alone gives me a unique, only appearing once every 12 month sartorial choice for the holidays and the beginning of true winter. A classic, respectable, adult and timeless choice to signal the holidays, the tartan necktie is a wonderful, unique piece of menswear.