Suits, you may have heard, are back. In the post-pandemic era, when most folks are still working from home and you can wear jeans to a wedding, there are fewer occasions than ever that actually demand a two-piece. Which is exactly why we’re pumped to wear them. These days, suits have transcended their stultifying background to becoming something much rarer: a righteous flex, and the easiest way to distinguish yourself from the sheeple in head to toe fleece. It’s no surprise brands like Fear of God have made swaggering, languorous tailoring a cornerstone of American luxury fashion—or that designers like Anthony Vaccarello have supercharged age-old European maisons by doing the same.
Ties, on the other hand—well, ties have had a rougher go of it. (With a few notable exceptions.) Even for the most zealous tailoring nerds, ties can feel a step too far removed from the current moment, the final vestige of menswear’s before times. That ends today. Because, we’re thrilled to report, ties have never looked cooler. Already mastered the blazer-and-jeans mashup? Salute—now try the tie-with-rumpled-striped-shirt combo. Do you really need to wear one, in the same way you do a hardy tweed sportcoat when the weather takes a dip? No! And that’s the fun of it.
Better yet, some of the raddest ties around are next-to-nothing on the vintage market. Think about it: guys have been wearing them for so long, and so consistently, that our tie-less reality has given way to a glut of extremely rad options (from some seriously flashy names) for pennies on the dollar. So we tapped two of the savviest suiting gurus in our rolodex to weigh in on the best places to scoop a neckful of sick silk accessories—and the brands to set an eBay alert for. Keep your eyes peeled, fellas.
The Godfather of Italian Fashion: Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani’s louche ‘80s-era tailoring has taken on a new relevance in 2023, says Peter Zottolo, US Director for Plaza Uomo—and the designer’s ties help explain why. “He always chose such wonderfully unique and airy fabrics, like texturetastic woven stripes or ‘50s geometric throwback prints in crepe silk,” Zottolo says. “Some are a bit boardroom, others a bit more abstract, but [they’re] always tasteful.” What better way to spice up your ginormous suit than with a tie from the label that made them a bona fide thing?
The All-American Classics: Brooks Brothers, Paul Stuart, and Ralph Lauren
Armani’s breakout era not quite your speed? Classic American labels like Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, and Paul Stuart are always a good bet. Sean Crowley, the founder of Crowley Vintage, favors the trio of Americana masters for their quality, taste, and sheer ubiquity. “They’re available, they’re always going to be good, and there’s enough of them that, even though prices have gone up, you can still find them.” Pro tip: Look for ties that boast a ‘Made in U.S.A.’ or ‘Made in Italy’ label.
The Fun, Freaky Innovator: Rooster
Crowley also points to the now-defunct label Rooster, especially if you’re after vintage ties with a kookier bent. In contrast to the ties churned out by Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers during their heydays, Rooster’s can be experimental and downright weird—a welcome shift away from the stodgier styles that dominated menswear in the ‘60s. “Rooster was this wild card that was just novel and fun and whimsical,” Crowley says. The brand didn’t invent the square-end tie, but they damn-near perfected it, a “new and irreverent” flourish Crowley still appreciates today. Over half a century on, the square-end remains a low-key way to flex your menswear chops—and it looks fresh as ever.