April 18, 2010

Mockery only encourages me

Recently I was contacted by someone from VH1 who asked if they could use some photos from the tie project for a show they were producing which would include a segment on men who wear unusual ties. I said, well, I was interested in hearing more, so I asked them to give me a call...and learned that it was for a show called "Undateable" (based on a recent book). "But it's not as bad as it sounds!" I was assured. "There's a positive spin too!" Uh-huh, I thought, imagining that the positive spin would be about the myriad benefits of not dressing like a weirdo. Still, I was possibly interested in the opportunity of counter-mocking the show for its narrow view of what makes someone dateworthy (since I have my own views on the subject, as outlined in this video that longtime readers of this blog will recall), so I said, well, let me know which photos you want to use so I can give you individual permission for those -- I wanted to make sure that the outfits represented would be ones I thought were actually successful -- and let me know what you're able to offer as compensation for the use of the images. ("We can offer you a little," I was told, "but not too much. You know, the economy.")

Anyway, I never heard back from them after that. Presumably they thought I was too difficult to deal with, since I didn't want to have my outfits made fun of for free on TV. Oh well.

However, this did remind me that I've been letting the Tie Project languish. I've fallen out of the habit of taking daily photos, and hopefully I'll pick that up, but in the meantime, I should at the very least post some of the backlog of pictures I actually did take but never got around to posting. After day 272, I have no idea what order most of the rest got taken in, so rather than try to stay in chronological order, I'll just post whichever ones I feel like. Anyway, here are some more outfits you won't see on VH1 (unless they try to ignore the "non-commercial" part of my Creative Commons license, in which case they'll be paying me after the fact):

Day 258. Yowza! Loud enough outfit to restart the project, you think? I wouldn't wear this on a date, incidentally. Not on a first date at least.


Day 259. Meh. I probably haven't worn this outfit since the first try. The tie's a little too bright for the shirt, which is itself maybe a little too boring.


Day 260. Not too bad. This shirt is hard to match so I just went with something mostly black-and-white that had a hint of purple in it.


Day 261. A lot of extraneous colors in the tie here. I think part of the reason I was undermotivated to post this batch was because I didn't love a lot of the outfits that were coming up next.


Day 262. Now this is more like it. The orange in the shirt and tie isn't in the fab vest from Lorinne, but it fits in pretty smoothly.


Day 263. Not as flashy as yesterday, but I like this combo too. The tie is hand-dyed by an eccentric fellow in the East Village who sells clothes from his stoop. I think it was a kid's tie, because it's awfully short.


Day 264. I got this tie at a friend's wedding; it belonged to the groom's grandfather. I told him I liked it and explained the tie project to him, and he said that he actually hated wearing ties -- and then he took the opportunity to remove it and give it to me instead, so that I could enjoy it and he didn't have to keep wearing it.


Day 265. I know this is a lot of photos to post at once, but now that I'm past the bad outfits, I want to post more of the ones I actually like.


But maybe that's enough for now. Best wishes to you, VH1, in all your future endeavors in this difficult economy of ours.

Posted by Francis at 02:58 AM | Comments (6)

October 12, 2008

The Tie Project, days 249-257

I didn't even come close to catching up with the backlog of the Tie Project before my presentation this coming Tuesday at Adult Education (you'll be there, right?), but I do have some more photos for you, albeit with the comments not read aloud in my mellifluous radio-ready voice as they will be for Adult Ed attendees.

Day 249. Autumn (when this was taken) means corduroy, which in this case means pink and blue.


Day 250. An experimental combo that didn't really work, as a first attempt to find a tie for this shirt (which I had bought well before it was cool enough outside to wear it). Too much green in the tie for the utter lack of it in the shirt. This one won't be going in the Taschen coffee table book version of the Tie Project, believe you me.


Day 251. Beige with a little black on top of black with a little beige.


I actually wore that outfit with a sweater, but it was a crew neck, so you could barely see the shirt if I photographed the combo with the sweater on. Here's the full outfit.


Day 252. Not bad, but not great. I just felt bad for this tie, it doesn't get out much.


Day 253. And here's both a shirt and a tie I don't wear very often. The tie is a bit "business paisley" and the shirt isn't actually all that aesthetically appealing to me, but you know, I can't get rid of even halfway-decent shirts because what if I buy a tie that needs that shirt, and I got rid of it? I need Carrie Bradshaw's closet.


Day 253 1/2. A rare non-tie-wearing day.


Day 254. Now here's a good combo. Pretty sure this is a handmade tie; it has a weird, too-flat-and-thin feel to it. But I like the colors.


Day 255. Another good one. Yay, another tie for this shirt. It's sort of cool how different the color scheme of this shirt is from the other shirt I like with this tie.


Day 256. Very pleased with this one too. Seems like I got my act back together after a few so-so days. Have worn both of these before but this was their first time together.


Day 257. Kind of reminds me of Day 201 with less purple. This is the combination that makes me want to borrow one of Lorinne's skirts.


Next time: I help someone get something off his chest.

Posted by Francis at 03:20 PM | Comments (2)

September 21, 2008

The Tie Project, days 241-248

Next month you'll be able to see the Tie Project live! on stage! at Union Hall in Park Slope, as part of the highly entertaining Adult Education lecture series. You won't want to miss it, unless you are one of my enemies. (More reminders will be forthcoming as the date approaches.) Anyway, I'm taking the occasion of giving this presentation as an excuse to try to catch up on my massive backlog of unposted tie photos. Wish me luck.

Day 241. One thing I like about this tie is how, from a distance, it looks like there's purple in it, but then when you look closer, it's actually red dots on a grayish background. And suddenly I sound like a scene from "Sunday in the Park With George."


Day 242. I wear this shirt with a lot of different ties, don't I? Hello again, shirt.


Day 243. Fun new shirt from Daffy's. (Well, new when I took the photo.) Tie is another one I got from the giveaway table at Cargo -- it's good that sometimes I get the opportunity to acquire ties for free, because I probably wouldn't have paid for it, but I like how it works here.


Day 244. A different tie than I've worn with this shirt before. I like the way this tie looks with it much better than the other one.


Day 245. This tie is another one from Cargo, but it's actually from after I stopped working there. Rose had taken over the copyediting post I vacated, and around Christmastime Miguel, one of the guys in the fashion department, gave her this to give me. It's a Duchamp tie, a make which you may remember I love from the time Lorinne got me one as a gift. The shirt is new, but I forget where it came from.


Day 246. Is this really the first time this shirt is appearing in the Tie Project? I feel like I wear it all the time; it's so comfortable. Maybe I'm just not seeing it in the archives. Or maybe I bought it more recently than I think I did. This is what happens when I wait too long to post these pictures.


Day 247. Sunflowers, baby! Again! But with a blue background this time. Other than the color scheme, this tie is the same pattern as the tie in that photo. And still this is not the other, third sunflower tie I have that is the exact same fabric as the shirt. Apparently I like sunflowers.


Day 248. One of my favorite shirts (mmm, linen, mmm, good colors), combined here with some items previously seen in other outfits, including the sweater I knit for myself. And yes, this picture was taken during last year's sweater weather. So that should give you some idea of what's in store for me as I try to catch up on all these photos, eeeek.


Next time: Private ties, they're watching you, they see your every move. Private ti-i-i-i-ies.

Posted by Francis at 03:03 PM | Comments (2)

August 28, 2008

The Tie Project, days 231-240

What with all the recent hits I got for the Tie Project, I thought it behooved me to do another post in case any of those people came back looking for more. So here it is.

Day 231. This is what passes for dressing conservatively round these parts.


Day 232. Yes, that's an owl. This outfit makes me think that I'd really like to see a rap group who all wore shirts like this and called themselves the Seersucker MCs.


Day 233. Probably won't be going back to this combo, though the colors are pretty good together. But the shiny tie with the flannel shirt didn't quite work for me.


Day 234. Now this combo I kind of can't believe I hadn't worn before. Then again, I do kind of have a lot of ties and shirts, so maybe it's not that surprising.


Day 235. I like this combination a lot too. The whole outfit sort of looks like you're seeing it on an old TV with dicey reception, with the faint horizontal lines.


Day 236. I wore this for a tap dance routine that Lorinne and I choreographed together.


Day 237. A recombination of two previously seen garments. I like it.


Day 238. Was I in a hurry this morning or something? The knot is off-center, the shirt is all bunchy at the neck, and it's not a great combination anyway. The blues are totally different.


Day 239. I guess I went with something less complicated after being a little dissatisfied with day 238.


Day 240. The tie is a new acquisition, and is, against all odds of such a thing existing, yet another tie that goes with this shirt, previously seen on day 105.


Next time: Colonel Francis, in the wardrobe, with the tie clip.

Posted by Francis at 01:21 AM | Comments (6)

July 19, 2008

The Tie Project, days 222-230

I am a bad person. I should be writing the next chapter of my book, but instead I played "Professor Layton and the Curious Village" on my Nintendo DS and am reading "High Fidelity". As penance, I will update the Tie Project.

Day 222. Not one of my best. More of an attempt to get this tie out into the fresh air than anything else.


Day 223. This combo I like. I always enjoy the vividness of this shirt.


Day 224. I bought this shirt twice, in two colorways, on the same shopping trip. (See day 19 for the other one.) But this one I don't wear as often because it's a little too big for me. It matched nicely with the tie I bought in Ann Arbor, though, so I broke it out.


Day 225. This shirt's been seen quite a few times in the project, since it's relatively sedate and thus easier to match. It's livened up a bit by the tie, which was worn about two weeks previously in actual tie-wearing time, and several months ago in blog time, on day 211.


Day 226. This is the shirt I wore with yesterday's tie on day 211. The tie was a recent acquisition, I think, probably from the flea market on 7th Avenue.


Day 227. This shirt is kind of weird-looking. (The pockets in particular are kind of strange.) Not sure the tie managed to redeem it here.


Day 228. Not my most exciting combination, but I like the way the pink and blue stripes on the shirt are echoed in the background of the tie.


Day 229. Bright! Very bright. The matching parts of the shirt and tie are not so prominent in the picture (the thin brown stripes, the yellow stripe way off to the side, the handful of magenta circles on the tie). Mostly I feel like the shirt and tie match because, you know -- bright!


Day 230. This is the outfit I wore on the very first day of the Tie Project, but now I think that photo looks kind of sloppy, so I took a new picture.


And so, having come full circle to my first outfit, this would be a perfect time to bring the Tie Project to an end.

Except I'm not going to.

Next time: A complete reimagining of the whole Tie Project! (Not really.)

Posted by Francis at 06:35 PM | Comments (5)

April 11, 2008

The Tie Project, days 217-221

What, another one already? It's true. Apologies to those of you who merely tolerate this obsession of mine and were secretly relieved when you thought I'd forgotten about it; the rest of you can thank Lorinne for successfully nudging me to at least post a few more photos so I didn't lose momentum completely. I still think it was good advice for me to tell you not to hold your breath until I posted another set of tie photos, because that was, like, 32 hours ago, and that is kind of too long to hold one's breath, really. Anyway:

Day 217. This is the other tie I sometimes wear with this shirt (formerly seen on day 86). I bought this tie at a vintage store in Soho, I think. It feels sort of Ukrainian to me, or whatever country King Ottokar's Sceptre is set in.


Day 218. The shirt is a little on the sedate side for me patternwise, but the fact that it's pretty much all one fairly bold color makes it feel louder than usual to me. This tie usually gets worn with the shirt from day 97, but I like it with this shirt too, since the blue breaks up the red, and the lower red motif on the tie echoes the pattern of the shirt.


Day 219. This combination isn't perfect, though it does look better in real life than it does in the photo, I swear. This is the tie I used to wear with this shirt until Cally bought me the tie from day 105.


Day 220. Now this is sedate. Where did this tie come from, anyway? I think maybe Rose bought it for me on a trip to visit her mom in Louisiana, on the basis that although it wasn't a crazy pattern, it was aesthetically pleasing and had a pretty cool weave. It feels very '50s hipster to me, which is an aesthetic I appreciate if not one I generally try to pull off. Anyway, a calm tie calls for a calm shirt (also worn on day 62), so here we are.


Day 221. A new tie for the Tobias Funke shirt! (And damn, but that photo is off center. I was pretty sloppy in the early days of this project, wasn't I. Or perhaps just not yet quite as OCD about it.)


I think that's enough for today. But here's one more picture, which from my perspective is from a few days ago, but from the perspective of the tie project is in the fuuuuuuuture! Those of who you find the tie project boring may wish to click through to the photo anyway, because there is a cute girl in it.

Next time: Maybe I'll do this some other time than when I should be getting ready for work.

Posted by Francis at 08:38 AM | Comments (10)

April 10, 2008

The Tie Project, days 211-216

The further behind I get on posting the tie pictures, the more daunting it is to try to catch up. Mostly the slowdown is because so much of my blogging energy is going towards working on my fantasy-novel-still-in-progress, but this week I don't have that excuse because I've been slacking off on writing my novel while I read my friend Daniel Radosh's excellent Rapture Ready, so I might as well do a tie post while I'm being a shiftless layabout.

Day 211. Oh, it's been a while, let me think. Pretty sure this tie was a gift from Erin and I was looking for a shirt that it went with.


Day 212. Purple purple purple. I always enjoy the disconnect of a tie-dyed dress shirt.


Day 213. I like the way the lines in the shirt highlight the vertical texturing of the tie.


Day 214. This shirt is another one I got from my friend Charles after he decided it fit my idiom better than it did his.


Day 215. Another tie-dye, this one from Erin, last seen on day 48. I think it works better with this tie than the previous one.


Day 216. This shirt certainly does turn up a lot. First time worn with this tie; I like that both the shirt and tie have that pale khaki-ish color as highlights.


I think that's enough for now. Don't want to overdo it.

Next time: Don't hold your breath, if history is any guide.

Posted by Francis at 12:04 AM | Comments (1)

December 09, 2007

The Tie Project, days 202-210

I thought I'd take time out of my busy schedule of playing video games all day to share some more of my outfits with you all.

Day 202. Only the second time out for this shirt; I'm much happier with this combination than the first one.


Day 203. This shirt has a tie that's basically perfect for it (see day 20), but today I was looking for something to match a tie I'd never worn, and this shirt was the one that fit the bill.


Day 204. This shirt is from Daffy's, and it was sort of a challenge to myself to buy it, because even I looked at it and thought, "Damn, I have nothing that matches that and am not sure I ever will." But after some explorations of my tie racks, I came up with this, which I like pretty well.


Day 205. Not much to say about this one. I've had the shirt for ages. (It previously appeared on day 169.)


Day 206. Triangles and squares and browns, oh my.


Day 207. I know what you're thinking: "Whoa, what the hell, a plain yellow shirt, and it's not even solid shirt week!" Well, you see, here's what happened. Erin got me this lovely tie as a gift, and sadly it doesn't match any of the patterned shirts I currently own. Hopefully someday the perfect shirt will come along, but I liked the tie and wanted to wear it, so I did what needed to be done and broke out a solid shirt. Think of it as a refreshing sorbet course between the other offerings.


Day 208. Pretty sure this tie was from bought on some Boston trip or other. So if it triggers a migraine, blame Boston.


Day 209. Oh, this shirt. I keep trying to find a tie that works with this shirt, and I'm always unsatisfied. I wasn't crazy about this one, I'm not crazy about the one pictured below, and I wasn't crazy about any of the other ties I tried out with the shirt on either occasion. I may just need to set this shirt aside indefinitely.


Day 210. Ah, now this is more like it. This is a recombination of two previously seen (and beloved) items -- the shirt from day 19 and the tie from day 17. (I really need to take a new photograph of day 17's outfit; there's way too much glare.)


Next time: More than one of the shirts from today's installment reappear, revealing at last how many of my garment choices involve the thought, "Is that shirt I wore last week clean enough to wear again? I'm going to say yes."

Posted by Francis at 02:41 AM | Comments (1)

November 07, 2007

The Tie Project, days 195 to 201

Let's reminisce about the ties of yestermonth.

Day 195. I think I appropriated this tie from my stepfather's closet. I guess his prime tie-wearing years were in the 1970s. I also have a wide yellow tie of his that is decorated with alternating black and white railroad lanterns, but I don't think you'll be seeing that one anytime soon.


Day 196. Another one of the ties bought in a batch from my former roommate Kenny. This shirt has always irritated my neck when I wear it, and somehow it took me this long to realize that I could cut the tag out of it if I wanted to. Sigh.


Day 197. This tie is getting on in years. Unlike many of my used ties, this one clearly is "vintage", and moreover was well loved by whoever previously owned it. I love it too, and keep wearing it even though it's getting pretty frayed along the edges; I am just denying the inevitable, I suppose. But, I mean, it's the only tie that goes with this shirt, so what else am I supposed to do?


Day 198. Another patchwork shirt, worn with a tie that is now older than I was when I bought it. (Seen previously on day 135.)


Day 199. You can tell I'm running out of shirts, because this definitely one of my B-list items. The fabric pattern is okay, if nothing particularly special, but the pocket is very weird (note the button in the corner). And I don't have anything that matches it especially well. This tie came close enough for me to leave the house, at least.


Day 200. Mixing and matching a previously worn shirt and tie. (Day 44 + day 160, if you're keeping track.)


Day 201. Today I wore a T-shirt. Ohhhhh shit did I just blow your mind???


Okay, okay, that one doesn't actually count. Although I do wear T-shirts every once in a blue moon. I wore one on Halloween weekend, for instance. (Regular readers of the Tie Project may recognize Rose's outfit from the same day.)

Day 201 for reals. A new outfit. I love love love love love it. I found the shirt while shopping with Lorinne in an East Village thrift store, and the tie is also of fairly recent provenance, but I forget where and when.


Next time: No T-shirts.

Posted by Francis at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2007

The Tie Project, days 188 to 194

Sorry for the massive lags in tie updates and blog posting in general; I'm working on a fantasy novel and it's taking up most of my at-home typing energy. Still, can't neglect the tie photos forever. Here's another seven days' worth.

Day 188. When I'm traveling out of town and see a Salvation Army or other used clothing store that doesn't bill itself as vintage and thus overcharge outrageously for everything in the store (such as the blatantly inaptly named "Cheap Jack's" here in New York), I always try to make time for a quick shopping run to see what they've got -- because whatever it is, it's something I wouldn't have been able to buy at home. So during the National Puzzlers' League convention in Ann Arbor, while being driven to or from the downtown area for lunch one day or dinner the next or whatever, I noticed a huge Salvation Army, and thought, "Oh, well, I guess I won't be making it there, since I'm at the mercy of the people in my car, and they're not likely to want to blow 30 minutes in the Salvation Army when they'd rather be back at the hotel solving puzzles."

On Friday, though, Lorinne and I had taken a shuttle into town so we could solve a puzzle tour of the University of Michigan campus, and when we were done, we didn't feel like spending the money on a cab, and the bus routes didn't seem very convenient to us, so we decided to walk back to the hotel -- and as we started on our way, met some people who had just walked downtown from the hotel, confirming that this was not an insane thing to do. "It took about 30 minutes," they said.

Well, it took longer than 30 minutes (not counting the delay which I am about to mention and which the savvy reader will be able to predict), and we were a little sunburned by the end of our walk. (Sadly, we missed the opportunity to get a lift when someone spotted us on the shoulder, but we didn't notice them trying to get our attention.) We did, however, end up walking right past the Salvation Army, so I got to do a quick shopping run after all; I only came away with one shirt and one tie, but I got to wear them as soon as I got home, since they matched:


Day 189. Our friend Rachel was in town from San Francisco tonight, and we were having dinner at Les Halles, so I tried to class my act up a bit. This is the other tie I bought at Century 21 the day I was buying ties for this shirt (which is to say, day 160) for Lorinne's birthday party and couldn't decide which one to get.


Day 190. This pairing actually matches a little less well than it seems to in the picture; the tie is red while the shirt is a bit more magenta, but my camera kind of chokes on bright reds and so the two have become almost identical. Obviously I like it even though the match isn't perfect, though.


Day 191. A sedate combination. The shirt is from a stoop sale that was across the street from our old apartment in Boerum Hill, and the tie is from a shopping trip with my grandmother on a long-ago visit to New Jersey (probably ten years or so ago). I bought a matching shirt for the tie on that trip; I wonder if I still have it.


Day 192. Trying out a different tie with the shirt from day 74.


Day 193. Not much to say about this combo -- I felt like wearing this newish tie, and in the absence of a patterned shirt that it matched, I went with this one.


Day 194. Another new tie acquisition, and I think the best tie I've yet found for this shirt.


Next time: Reflective musing on the transience of objects.

Posted by Francis at 01:23 AM | Comments (5)

September 03, 2007

The Tie Project, days 180 to 187

Apologies to tie fans who've waited so long for another Tie Project installment, and apologies to tie haters who had been lulled into a false sense of complacency by the long gap since the last installment and who thought I had finally given up. I have not, so too bad for you, suckers!

Day 180. I've had both of these for quite a while. This is the other tie I was talking about on day 154.


Day 181. It must have been unseasonably cool today, since this is a rather heavy corduroy shirt.


Whenever I wear this tie, I try to wear these socks with it, which match both the spots and the background perfectly.


Day 182. Sort of a belated addendum to solid shirt week. This is an outfit I was planning to wear that week, but I got tired of not wearing patterns. Here it is now, though, like a soothing sorbet between spicier courses.


Day 183. I haven't worn this shirt in a while, because it doesn't match much, but this recent tie acquisition has rehabilitated it.


Day 184. Newish shirt from Daffy's with the tie from day 176. There's probably a better tie out there somewhere for this shirt, but this isn't bad.


Day 185. I bought this shirt the same day as the one from yesterday. I love this shirt and wanted to wear it right away, so I went with this tie even though it wasn't perfect, because it was the best I found before deciding I'd spent enough time looking for ties. But then the next day I noticed a much much much better one, boo!


Day 186. I bought this shirt in the Boston area at some big store whose name I forget, but it was near an outlet Rockport/New Balance shoe store or something. And I remember that they were playing Hall & Oates's "You Make My Dreams Come True" while we were shopping, and I thought, damn, I'd kind of forgotten about this song, and it's an incredibly good pop song! And then the next week I made two Hall & Oates mix CDs (one of my favorite hits, one of my favorite non-hits). Welcome to my world.


Day 187. So day 186 was the last day before the National Puzzlers' League convention in Ann Arbor. I wanted to wear outfits to the convention that hadn't yet been seen on my blog, so I picked recent outfits that I'd liked but hadn't posted yet because I'm running so far behind. Except for this one; this outfit is the shirt from day 185 with the tie that should have gone with it all along.


Next time: The outfit I bought in Ann Arbor.

Posted by Francis at 01:50 PM | Comments (7)

August 15, 2007

It's all true

Eric Berlin pointed me to this cartoon, which may serve as a brief response for those who find my tie-wearing proclivities incomprehensible.

Posted by Francis at 03:54 AM | Comments (2)

August 14, 2007

The Tie Project, days 174 to 179

Ties marches on.

Day 174. I've had this tie since college. I bought it around the time I was acting in a production of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart at the Santa Fe Community Theatre. I worked part-time in a tiny little mall in the Plaza (which is simultaneously Santa Fe's downtown and its main tourist area) selling Oaxacan animal figurines at a little cart.

Because of my role in the play (a queeny young man from the south), I had an incredibly gay haircut. Short, very 80s, ducktail in the back, swoopy to one side in a way that was good for dramatic head tosses...I'm sorry I don't have a picture to do the explaining for me. I will sidetrack to point out that I also had to pretend to smoke a cigarette in this play, which anyone who knows me and is aware of my extreme antipathy toward cigarettes will find a pretty risible concept. But I did my best; I swished and I puffed (and nearly choked onstage the time I accidentally inhaled) and was pretty pleased with my performance. And the gay men in the show (of which there were quite a few) would get together with their gay friends who had come to see the show and play the game of having them try to guess which of the other actors in the show were gay. And it never failed: everybody thought I was gay.

But absolutely nobody thought I was a smoker.

Anyway, so I was working at this cart in the mall, and the cart that I was next to was run by two lesbians who I was slightly crushed out on and who I made friends with. Well, work friends, anyway; we didn't stay in touch or anything. And our friendship may have been aided by the haircut, because there's certainly a chance they thought I was gay. Anyway, they sold, among other things, aprons (featuring two cowgirls or two cowboys) and ties made with marbled fabric. I loved the ties, but they were (I think) $35, which was pricy compared to what I usually spent on clothes, especially for the amount of money I used to live on in my college days. But I did buy one, and this was it:


Day 175. At this point in the Tie Project, I spend a fair amount of time looking in my closet and trying to figure out what I haven't worn yet. And I had been skipping over this shirt for a while, completely convinced that I had photographed it already. But I couldn't quite remember. So I went through all my photos, and it turned out I had not, in fact, worn it yet. So I wore it with this tie...and then I uploaded the photos from my camera to the computer, and it turned out I had, in fact, worn it three weeks or so previously (with the same tie), but the photo of it wasn't on the computer yet. D'oh. And here is that earlier photo.


Day 176. Not sure where this tie is from. Garment district? Gift from Rose? Can't recall. Tricky to match, though. I decided the green and yellow, combined with the similarity between the green shapes on the tie and and the flower shapes on the shirt, were enough to call this an outfit.


Day 177. This shirt is vexing to photograph. The pattern is just a leeeetle too wide to get in the frame comfortably. I sort of managed on day 87, but there was a lot of bunching from stretching my arms out so far. Ah well.


Day 178. This is the other shirt I got from the street vendor mentioned in day 163. Worn with a shiny tie to go with the silky, drapy fabric; the periodic gray squiggles echo the green and black ornamentation on the pink rectangles. [Lapses into art curator-speak] The gray rectangles' interaction with the silver tie comments humorously on American post-Industrial Revolution life, and we see the drive toward Manifest Destiny evident in the waterfall-like aspect of the tie, with the froth it kicks up representative of... [Comes to, shakes head disorientedly] I'm sorry. Let's move on.


Day 179. I'm not sure I've ever actually worn this shirt (even though I've owned it for a while), because there's a little hole in the shoulder, so I put it in a pile of "things needing repair". But I never got around to buying a patch for it, and frankly the hole isn't all that big, so given my need for more, more, ever more shirts, I pulled it out. And I found the perfect tie for it almost immediately. Maybe now that I've been reminded the shirt exists, I'll actually patch the hole.


Next time: socks.

Posted by Francis at 02:54 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2007

The Tie Project, days 164-173

When the closet's running down, you wear the shirts that are still around. (Sorry, that's the sort of intro you write when you're listening to a recording of the Police playing Live Earth.) Outfits after the jump, as usual.

Day 164. Both the shirt and tie were gifts from Rose, bought on the same day, although she didn't realize when she was buying them that they would match, and thus had the same experience I often do -- she was unpacking the bag of stuff she'd come home with to show me what she'd found, and she said, well, here's this shirt and this tie and...oh, huh. I agreed that they were a great match. The shirt, amusingly, is a Marlboro shirt. Apparently Marlboro used to make shirts! The clerk said, when Rose bought it, "Oh, all those old Marlboro shirts are great." Is my ongoing quest for Rooster ties going to be joined by a new obsession? We shall see.


Day 165. Not perfect -- the tie has a bit too much white in it -- but I like the matching curlicues (on the white part of the tie and on the shirt pocket) and the similarity of the blue accents in mostly brown color schemes.


Day 166. One of my oldest outfits. I'm pretty sure I've had the tie since high school, though I don't think I acquired the shirt until after college...but in college, I was more about suit jackets or cardigans. So this is probably one of the outfits that started me on my current stylistic path.


Day 167. Now, see, today I learned something new about one of my shirts. I took a picture of the outfit, looked at the photo, and thought, "Oh, hmm, the shirt's at a weird angle. Let me take another one." I straightened the shirt and tie, took another photo, and it still looked crooked. So I went and looked in the mirror -- and discovered that the pattern on this shirt isn't actually vertical! It's on a slight diagonal, which is pretty easy to see once you're looking for it, but which I had completely failed to notice over the years I've owned this shirt. Go figure.


Day 168. Both of these are recent-ish, but neither is especially recent. They haven't gotten worn because they're hard to match. Today I decided they actually kinda went with each other.


Day 169. You take some pink, some blue, some brown, you put them in a food processor, and voila.


Day 170. Another patchwork tie. This shirt does have a collar, I swear, but it's kind of small.


Day 171. Rose made this shirt for me from fabric we picked out together. It's actually been very very very nearly finished for a long time -- just needed the front hemmed and buttons sewn on. I had picked out some swanky blue buttons for it, but Rose made standard size buttonholes (as one would) and it turned out that the buttons I'd bought were too big to fit through them...a fact that, sadly, I did not notice until I'd sewn on four of the buttons and was trying to button the ones I'd sewn on so it would be easier to align the other ones.

The button-sewing incident was last Halloween (I thought I would wear an improvised "aquarium" costume), and it frustrated me enough that the shirt went back in the closet for a while. But today was the Mermaid Parade, and I damn well wanted to wear this shirt, so I decided to try again. I went through a pile of shirts I was getting rid of and cannibalized the buttons from one of them (they're red and semi-transparent -- they match the shirt really well, in fact) and lo and behold, a new shirt! (The front still needs to be hemmed, but that's pretty minor, and I thiiiink the fabric might be busy enough to distract most people from even noticing.)

The tie was a present from my friend Charles, who found it in the hallway of his apartment building. I've worn it once before (on day 29), but the moment he gave it to me, I knew that it was meant to be with this shirt. And at last, its time came.


Day 172. The tie was another gift from Rose. I don't remember where I got the shirt -- it's actually been stuck in the pile of "shirts I might get rid of since I've had them for ages and apparently I never wear them". But I spotted it when I was looking for something to wear with this tie, and thus the shirt was rescued from oblivion. The lesson? Never throw anything away. Sadly, given the state of my apartment, this may not be the best lesson for me to learn.

(You may recognize this outfit from my special crossover episode with the Comics Curmudgeon.)


Day 173. A newish tie with a shirt I've had for ages (and which has previously appeared in the Tie Project, on day 81). I liked this outfit so much that I wore it again, at the recent National Puzzlers' League convention in Ann Arbor, where it figured in an anecdote involving regular commenter Rubrick and our mutual friend NeilFred, a.k.a. Renfield in the NPL. (Here is a visual aid of the three of us.) Renfield and I were chatting, and he remarked that this combination didn't seem quite up to my usual standards. I took mock offense and explained that the busy tie/busy shirt thing isn't the only kind of outfit I like, but still, clearly he thought I had gone a little too conservative today.

Then, about an hour later, a group of us were getting a quick lunch at the mall near the hotel before we all went off to catch our planes, and I was sitting across from Rubrick, who was sitting next to Renfield. Rubrick paused at some point and said, "You know, I've been looking at your shirt and tie, and they're really just amazing together. All the colors match perfectly, and the dots in the tie echo the tiny dots in the stripes on the shirt -- it's a great combination." And I said, "Why, thank you!" very sweetly, as I flipped Renfield off with my right hand. (He then recanted his earlier statement, explaining that Rubrick's praise had helped him see the light. If only all my critics were as willing to listen to reason!)


Next time: I continue, against all logic, to not run out of outfits.

Posted by Francis at 05:00 PM | Comments (5)

July 11, 2007

The Tie Project, days 157 to 163

I'm already way behind on posting these -- how behind? well, I just uploaded day 186 from my camera -- so I'd better get some up before I leave town.

Day 157. A skinny, skinny tie. It's not even wide enough to cover the placket of the shirt, for heaven's sake. But whaddaya gonna do? It's the tie that matches the best. As for the shirt, I bought it while I was at last year's National Puzzlers' League convention, in San Antonio. I've always had a soft spot for button-down tie-dyed shirts (I like the casual/formal contrast), but I don't own that many, partly because I don't see them so often, and partly because the ones I do see are in kind of traditional primary rainbow Grateful Dead colors, which aren't exactly my thing. So when I spotted this in El Mercado, with its lovely blue-and-purple color scheme, I had to have it. Turns out the guy who dyed it and sold it to us actually lived in Austin, not San Antonio. I suppose that kind of figures.


Day 158. A study in blues and purples. I own two versions of this tie; you've seen the other one with this outfit.


Day 159. Another tie for the shirt from day 17. Kind of a dead heat as to which one I like better.


Day 160. Today was Lorinne's birthday party, so I wanted a slightly posher outfit than usual. I did already have a tie I was pretty happy with for this shirt, but I felt I needed something a bit glossier this time around, so I went shopping at Century 21 and came back with this.


Day 161. I know I've had this outfit since March 1995, because I remember wearing it to my first crossword tournament. That also happens to be the day I first met Rose (which, I'm sure, also contributes to remembering the outfit -- you'll recall it's because of her I remember wearing day 61's outfit to a tournament a few years later).


Day 162. A somewhat difficult shirt. Hard to match, too big for me, hard to keep the sleeves rolled up. Looks pretty good with this (newish) tie, though.


Day 163. Another old shirt/new tie combo. I bought this shirt (and another one you'll see in a couple weeks) from a street vendor in the East Village back in the '90s. I don't wear either shirt very often, because they're silk, and they're the sort of silk that drives me crazy -- too thin for cold weather, but bad for hot weather too because the fabric doesn't breathe. So there's a very thin window of temperature in which I can wear this shirt, and usually I just don't bother. But then Rose brought home this gorgeous tie for me and there was the shirt, matching it. So what could I do?


Next time: I learn something I didn't know about one of my shirts.

Posted by Francis at 12:39 AM | Comments (5)

July 05, 2007

The Tie Project, days 151-156

My week of wearing nothing but solid shirts took its toll on both me and Rose ("Where's the man I married???"), so there was a palpable sense of relief when the Tie Project resumed its normal course.

Day 151. Old shirt, new tie. I have historically worn this shirt with the tie worn on day 153 below. Next time, probably.


Day 152. Another old shirt, new tie combination. I used to wear this shirt with one of the sunflower ties -- I liked the color contrast -- but somehow it wasn't working for me anymore. At least not this day. But I was very pleased with this maroon and tan paisley-on-paisley combo.


Day 153. A lot of brownish pairs in a row. I got this shirt at the Salvation Army in Williamsburg. It has a big rip on one of the sleeves which I didn't notice when I bought it, but it turns you can't see the tear when the sleeve's rolled up.


Day 154. Again with the old shirt, new tie thing. You'll see the other tie I wear with this shirt in a few weeks (I'm a bit behind on posting photos), but I think I like this one better. The colors match really well, and I like the way the tie makes the green in the shirt seem more prominent.


Day 155. Yay, another shirt for my maybe-favorite tie! I forget where I got this Hawaiian shirt, but I love it. It's not vintage Hawaiian (the fabric is wrong), but it's way more comfortable than vintage Hawaiian. Mmmmm, sweet sweet rayon.


Day 156. A new tie for the shirt from day 115. No way to say which combo I prefer. I love them both!


Next time: The world's skinniest tie.

Posted by Francis at 09:39 AM | Comments (5)

June 26, 2007

The Tie Project, days 145 to 150

And now, as promised, the most shocking Tie Project installment ever!!

All solid shirts!

And no, I didn't do this to appease any of my critics (and note that that fellow hasn't posted a single thing since his entry ragging on my ties -- apparently I broke him, which puts the whole incident in the plus column as far as I'm concerned). The thing that started it all was simply that there was a particular tie I wanted to wear on...

...Day 145. This was the tie that Cindy gave me for my birthday. (She can be seen wearing it here.) Partly I wanted to wear it because, you know, new tie, but partly I wanted the opportunity to point out that it is yet another Beatles tie. (This one is "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".)


Day 146. Today I saw another newish tie that I hadn't worn yet, which only matched one of my solid shirts, and so I decided to make it a theme. Boy, the spots I miss with the iron really show up clearly on solid fabric, don't they?


Day 147. A beloved tie that's fraying a bit in the knot area (so I have to be delicate with it), with a comfy comfy blue linen shirt from Daffy's. For this outfit's full effect, though, you have to see it with the neon green shorts, which I think fully counteract any lingering sense of restraint that might be provided by the solid shirt.


Day 148. Another linen shirt, bought the same day as the last one. The tie is from ISP (Indian Sari Palace, in Jackson Heights). I didn't intend to wear two outfits in a row that matched my neon green shorts, but it just worked out that way. You can see the full outfit in action (with serendipitously matching margarita) here.


Day 149. I went back to the blue linen shirt to help another rarely worn tie get out into the sunshine.


Day 150. I was starting to go through pattern withdrawal, but I had to go one more day so I could wear this tie, which had been patiently biding its time in the closet for many months until I saw fit to wear this shirt. I love the weave of the tie.


Next time: The universe is restored to its rightful order.

Posted by Francis at 12:07 PM | Comments (2)

June 10, 2007

The Tie Project, days 136 to 144

Time to catch up on what's been happening in the world of ties worn by me, and the shirts underneath those ties. I know you have been on the edges of your seats with anticipation.

Day 136. This is the tie I was trying to find on day 118. I like the combination of the abstract geometrical patterns.


Day 137. I don't really wear pictorial ties anymore, so this outfit has been all but retired, basically, but I felt obliged to include it in the project because I'm a completist.


Day 138. After an outfit I was underenthused about, I pulled out one of my favorites, with black line art over a blue, pink, and gray background on both shirt and tie.


Day 139. Another decade-old (at least) outfit. I believe this tie, and the tie from day 137 above, and the tie from day 142 below, are all from the "Kenny acquisition" (as previously mentioned on day 53).


Day 140. First time for this combination. I thiiiiink Rose bought me this tie, but neither of us can remember now. I thought the designs on the tie looked like leaves or feathers, but the moment Lorinne saw me wearing it, she said, "Kitties!" The white one in particular, without the diamond shape above it, does kinda look like a cat sitting down, seen from behind.


Day 141. Another lovely tie in the Rooster vein, made for me by the lovely Rose.


Day 142. I adore this tie. Blue and periwinkle cave paintings, sort of looking like a school filmstrip? It fills me with love. I think this was the tie that really drove the "Kenny acquisition". The shirt may look familiar, because I've worn the same pattern in a different color scheme (on day 109). I bought both shirts at the Garment District in Boston, although months apart, oddly enough. Longtime readers will know how much it entertains me to have the same article of clothing in two different colorways.


Day 143. I just wore this shirt in the last Tie Project post (day 135), but I spotted this new combination and was feeling too impatient to wait longer to wear it.


Day 144. Shirt from Daffy's, tie from somewhere. It's not all that similar, really, but this outfit reminds me of Boccioni's "Development of a Bottle in Space" for some reason.


Next time: the most shocking installment of the Tie Project ever!!!

Posted by Francis at 02:27 PM | Comments (6)

May 26, 2007

The Tie Project, days 128-135

There's been (comparatively) lots of chatter about my ties lately. Columbina -- the lj alias of a friend of mine -- twits me about them here, because he so dearly loves to twit me...although as is his wont, much of the entry itself is rhetoric for its own sake, while the majority of his actual opinions are somewhere in the comments. What I'm trying to say is, don't judge him too harshly for ragging on me. That's just his "thing".

There was also a discussion here, and it seemed more civil than usual, and on the whole more positive than negative, so I commented back.

On to the latest installment.

Day 128. You've seen this shirt before; this is its first time with this tie...as it would have to be, as it's this tie's first time with any shirt. There's a little bit of color matching, but mostly the thing that makes this shirt and tie match is that the colors have the exact same luminosity. (Also the spirals in the tie echo the paisleys in the shirt.)


Day 129. The tie is the second of a pair of different colorways of the same fabric pattern. I always enjoy finding the same tie (or shirt) twice in different color schemes. (Naturally this is only noteworthy when one or both of the garments are bought used, since such shirts are often right next to each other on the rack when new -- where's the challenge in that?)


Day 130. This one just didn't work, and it seemed so promising. All the colors of the shirt are in the tie, and the tie even has a bit of the marbled effect of the shirt. I think the problem is that the tie's just too dark -- it needs more white in it, like the shirt. And I think the geometric pattern vs. the paisley pattern isn't helping either.

Now, I've worn this shirt before, and I feel pretty sure that whatever tie I wore with it, I liked the combo more than this one...but I can't for the life of me remember what tie that was. That's one of the reasons I started this project, actually -- so I wouldn't forget a combination, as I sometimes do.


Day 131. Another shirt you've seen before; today I'm wearing it with a lovely tie that Rose made me (out of some fabric that had been donated to the Church of Craft). Our friend Mary used the rest of the fabric to line a knitting needle case.


Day 132. Now this outfit goes waaaaay back. I definitely wore it in 1997 (though I've had it even longer) to the National Puzzlers' League in Washington D.C., which I remember because there's a story attached to it. A group of us were having dinner, and my friend and fellow puzzlemaker Trip Payne was sitting across from me. At some point he did a double-take and said, "You're wearing a tie!" Moments later he did a triple-take and added, "And a vest!" I believe it was at that point that I described what I was wearing as a "stealth tie".

Nowadays, of course, this outfit doesn't get much play because I've mostly given up wearing vests. But I am a completist, so:


Day 133. A new combination. I don't think it comes off as well in the photo as it did in real life.


Day 134. Hawaiian shirts are always a challenge to match. This tie isn't quite perfect, but it does match the colors in the shirt pretty well. It sort of looks like the shirt pattern after a few seconds in a blender.


Day 135. I've had this tie since high school. Back then I would have been wearing it with an Oxford shirt, though. Anyway, the thing I particularly like about this combo is how both the shirt and tie have similar star-shaped patterns in them: you can see an eight-pointed one in the upper left of the shirt and a six-pointed one in the upper right of the tie.


And thus we reach the end of another installment of the Tie Project. Can't believe it's still going on? Tune in next time, when your incredulity will only increase.

Posted by Francis at 04:07 AM | Comments (2)

May 13, 2007

The Tie Project, days 120 to 127

I've been a bit lazy about updating...but of course you realize when I'm not updating the blog, I'm constantly thinking about how I should be updating the blog, so it's not like I'm actually getting a reprieve. Anyway: ties.

Day 120. This tie and the tie from day 119 were bought on the same day, at the Chelsea flea market. We were browsing upstairs in the indoor area (in the parking garage) and Rose called me over to say, hey, there are two ties over here you should probably take a look at -- although, knowing how the Chelsea flea market prices its vintage clothes, we both figured any decent ties would probably be exorbitantly expensive. But as it happened, the seller specialized in other things besides clothes, so they were only charging five bucks per tie. Sweet.


Day 121. I really like the texture of this tie -- it's grainy in a way that makes it look like the ovals were cut from wooden dowels.


Day 122. Today I was really just looking for something to wear this tie with, since I liked it and hadn't worn it yet. The shirt does have some orange in it, but I don't think the combo worked especially well.


Day 123. This outfit is all about brown specks on black backgrounds.


Day 124. Rose and I were attending a wedding today, hence the fancy suit -- which I got off the giveaway rack at Cargo, back when I was a copy editor there. I know, I couldn't believe it either. And it fits me perfectly, which just goes to show that there are benefits to being average size. (There are drawbacks, too, mainly that whenever I find a pair of pants I like, there's a very good chance my size will be sold out.)


Day 125. Two never-worn items: shirt from Filene's Basement (the last one from that now-kinda-long-ago shopping trip) and tie from the 7th Avenue flea market in Park Slope, I believe. I'm very pleased with this combination.


Day 126. This outfit is a repeat of day 2, but I hadn't quite gotten the hang of the self-photography then, so the photo I took of it is pretty crappy. Since then, I have learned that indirect light is my friend. So, here it is again, but prettier.


Day 127. People periodically break the Social Interaction With Strangers wall to tell me they like my outfits; this combo is one of the most reliable for eliciting that response. Not sure why this one is so well-loved in particular, but it is pretty fun: orange Escher fish and big shiny orange fisheye-looking dealies.


Next week: another experiment I wasn't fully pleased with, and the outfit which (I believe) spawned the phrase "stealth tie".

Posted by Francis at 02:01 AM | Comments (6)

May 02, 2007

The Tie Project, days 114 to 119

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our ties.

Day 114. At times in the past when people have asked me to describe the things I like to wear, I've said "quiet but loud", which is to say, busy patterns in subdued colors (like day 117 below). I think that description has gotten less and less apt over the years. This is a pretty vivid combo, for instance; I particularly like the way the shirt and the tie have the same blue highlights.


Day 115. I don't remember when I bought either of these, although I think they were bought during the Boerum Hill years, when I acquired a really big closet for the first time and my wardrobe expanded prodigiously, unconstrained by East Village-size closet proportions.


Day 116. I love this outfit. It feels very nocturnal. The shirt and the tie are both from Daffy's; I think the shirt may be from the trip on which I first discovered Daffy's and the wonders therein.


Day 117. I like that both patterns are rectilinear, but at 45 degree angles to each other. The yellow, gray, and what would you call that reddish color? carmine? are especially good matches.


Day 118. Another shirt from Daffy's. Everybody say it with me: "I usually wear this shirt with another tie, but I couldn't find it, so I went with one of the backups." It'll turn up eventually. The other tie makes the shirt seem more subdued, while this one makes it seem brighter.


Day 119. I believe this may be my most popular combination ever. I wore this to Erin's party of nothing but fabulous people, and almost every single person came up to me at some point and said how much they liked it. One woman recognized me from earlier in the day -- we'd passed each other in opposite directions walking along Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn -- because she remembered my outfit. I was feeling pretty chuffed by the end of the evening.


One of the brilliant party attendees was Brad Paley, who had brought along copies of a chart he'd designed showing interconnections between different branches of science (mapped by noting when the same reference was cited in two different papers from different disciplines). A version of the chart can be seen here, although the one he brought was more colorful -- and, he noted, kind of matched my shirt as well.

Posted by Francis at 12:31 AM | Comments (4)

April 23, 2007

The Tie Project, days 107 to 113

I wear ties so you don't have to.

Day 107. This is one of the ties Rose got me for my birthday this year, with a patchwork shirt that's two plaids in a checkerboard pattern.


Day 108. Another tie that was a gift from Rose; she brought this one back from a trip to Louisiana. Sort of an unusual color for me, but then it ended up going perfectly with this shirt, both in terms of color and pattern echoing.


Day 109. I bought this shirt and tie on the same trip to the Garment District, while Rose and I were attending the 2004 National Puzzlers' League convention in Boston. I liked the outfit so much I ended up wearing it in the convention photo.


Day 110. Kind of a backup outfit. I have a slight prejudice against shirts with two pockets. What is it about two pockets that makes any shirt into a safari shirt? Do people on safaris just need so many pens that one pocket is not sufficient to hold them all?


Day 111. Now this outfit I'd completely forgotten about; I pulled it out because I had been reminded of it by seeing some old photos taken at yet another NPL convention (2000 in San Francisco). I'm not sure I've ever worn the outfit since then, honestly. Rose, astutely enough, looked at the outfit and said, "I like that outfit, but it somehow doesn't seem like the sort of thing you normally wear these days."


One thing that's different about the outfit is that I wear it with a vest (a regular vest, not a sweater vest). I used to wear vests pretty frequently but don't really do so anymore. Getting two busy pieces of clothing to match is usually hard enough. Here's this outfit with vest, though:


Day 112. Lorinne spotted the shirt while she and I were shopping at Daffy's, and I believe Rose said as soon as I brought it home, "Ooh, I bet that will go with the lizard tie." She was right. This combination reminds me of Ukrainian Easter eggs.


Day 113. This was the day of the massive rainstorm, and a day I probably would have spent indoors if we hadn't been meeting for dim sum with a friend visiting from out of town. Since I had to go out in the wet, I wore something appropriately pluvial.


Posted by Francis at 12:47 AM | Comments (3)

April 16, 2007

The Tie Project, days 98 to 106

What? Taxes aren't due until Tuesday? I'm posting about ties, then.

Day 98. The shirt is a recent acquisition from Daffy's; it didn't occur to me when I was buying it, but when I brought it home I realized it would go with my Valentine's Day tie from Lorinne (last seen on day 67). I think I like this shirt better with it. The colors seem a little Easter-y, so I wore this outfit again at my birthday party (held on Easterween).


Day 99. One of my more sedate shirts. Rose jokes that if I wore this shirt with jeans and no tie, I could pass for a computer programmer. Until I opened my mouth, anyway. The tie is a Rooster, and it's hard to express how much I adore it. It's Madras and batik and there are Hindu gods on it! Awesome.


Day 100. Whoo! Milestone! I'm celebrating (he said, as if he planned this in the slightest) by wearing a colorful patchwork shirt and patchwork tie. There are other fabrics in the shirt, they're just not visible in the photo.


Day 101. Swordfishes and a seaside color scheme; this is the outfit I typically wear when I go watch the Mermaid Parade. I should take that tag off the pocket, though.


Day 102. Here's another example of my buying a tie without really recognizing what I was buying. I thought these were just cute Japanese-looking drawings; in fact, they are Tamagotchis. I don't really mind this, since I don't think anyone really remembers Tamagotchis anymore or what they looked like. I think they go nicely with the colored-in-with-crayon look of the shirt.


Day 103. Didn't I just wear this shirt? Yes, I did. See, this past set of photos was all taken around my birthday, and Rose and I had made plans to meet up for brunch on my birthday at Miracle Grill. But sneakily enough, she had planned a mild surprise by inviting Rob, Lorinne, Cindy, and Derek to join her, thereby making a mini-surprise party. Cindy and Derek showed up each wearing a tie, which they then presented to me as we parted. (The combo I'm wearing in the photo isn't documented here, since it's a repeat of day 20.) I wanted to wear at least one of the ties promptly, and I knew this shirt would be good with the one Derek had been wearing, so I trotted it out again.


Day 104. Another well-adored combination. I bought the tie first, even though it was in some ways not quite in my idiom; I liked the color scheme and the fabric's rippling-water texture. Not too long after, I saw the shirt at the flea market in Park Slope and thought, "I bet this will go with that tie." The colors were perfect, and the speckles on the shirt remind me of raindrops on pavement, which goes well conceptually with the raindrops-on-water tie fabric.


Day 105. I've had this shirt for a while; the tie just recently arrived by mail, a gift from my friends Cally, Andy, and Elaine in Boston. They were shopping at one of my favorite used clothing stores, the Garment District, and found some ties they thought I'd like, so Cally took cameraphone photos of them and sent them to Rose's phone so she could show them to me to get my approval. We received the cameraphone pics as we were walking home from the vet visit where our beloved cat Celestine was put to sleep and were feeling extremely despondent and bereft; it was cheering to find that someone was thinking of me at just that moment.


Day 106. Another tie sent by Cally, Andy, and Elaine. The shirt is another one bought on my recentish trip to Filene's Basement; it was the last holdout in terms of finding a tie that matched it. When Cally sent the photo of this tie, I thought it might fill the bill, and it did -- hooray for friends coming to the rescue!


Next week: More patchwork, more clothes from the Garment District, and the "Ukrainian Easter Egg" outfit.

Posted by Francis at 01:38 AM | Comments (11)

April 06, 2007

The Tie Project, days 90 to 97, plus one more

Somebody just mailed me a "Self Shot Mirror" to stick to the front of my camera, to aid me in my daily documentary photography. But I don't know who! Thanks, mystery blog reader. On to the outfits.

Day 61.5. Somehow or other I accidentally missed an outfit a month or so back. Well, actually, I know exactly what happened. I photographed myself in the morning, and then Lorinne and I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden that afternoon, where I (as usual) took a whole bunch of pictures. Then, later that week, when I went to upload tie photos from the camera, I only noticed the photos that followed the set from the garden. So, here it is -- The Tie Project: The Lost Episode.


Day 90. Had a hell of a time photographing this. The shirt is very soft and floppy, and doesn't really want to hang symmetrically. Comfy, though.


Day 91. I'm pretty sure I didn't realize there were jungle cats in the pattern of this shirt when I bought it. I might not have gotten it if I had noticed, having a certain antipathy towards representationalism on clothing. It's still fairly abstract, though, so it does get worn now and again, and I do like the way it makes this tie pattern seem like potential jungle camouflage.


Day 92. I bought this shirt and tie on the same day from a vendor at the Chelsea Flea Market. I liked the idea of a semiformal (well, maybe more like hemidemisemiformal) Hawaiian outfit. One day I was wearing this combo and I received an extremely enthusiastic compliment about it from a young Orthodox Jewish man. I was surprised, but maybe he was tired of wearing all black all summer long and dreamed of wilder outfits.


Day 93. The first time I've worn either the shirt or the tie. (Both got bought at some point during the cold months.) I swear I ironed the shirt, but side lighting will find the spot you missed every time.


Day 94. This is what I wore for the first night of the crossword tournament. Somewhat sedate, but I like the tie and vest together, with the shirt serving as a color accent.


Day 95. Saturday's outfit at the crossword tournament. Lorinne made the vest for me; isn't it gorgeous? I had some ideas about wearing this patterned shirt or that with it, but none of them quite worked. Then I found the perfect tie and realized the outfit didn't need anything else, so instead I wore it with a plain cream-colored shirt. (I do keep a handful of solid shirts on hand for emergencies.)


Day 96. Sunday's crossword tournament outfit was a repeat, so we skip ahead. This outfit uses the same tie from day 61-and-a-half above. I'm fond of this tie; I like the way the pattern looks like beads. For a while I had no shirts to go with it, but then I found this one, which has echoes of all the colors in the tie. And obviously I've also tried it out with at least one other shirt.


Day 97. An old favorite. The outfit does most of its matching on the pattern level. Colorwise, it's an interesting combination of blending and contrasting.


Kind of a hefty update, I know, but I'm pretty behind. In the next installment: the same shirt twice within four days? What is the world coming to?

Posted by Francis at 01:33 AM | Comments (9)

March 29, 2007

The Tie Project, days 83-89

Well, all this crosswordy stuff is very exciting, but I can't let it make me neglect my tieblogging.

Day 83. This shirt looks a little more brown and less green in the photo than it does in real life, I feel. Or maybe I'm just willing it to be greener with my mind so it'll match the tie better.


Day 84. The color scheme of this shirt always improves my mood somehow. I'm wearing it with a similarly cheerful (and handmade) tie that was a gift from my friend Alexandra. I don't know where she bought it, but I think it was the 1970s.


Day 85. I told you that I'd be wearing the shirt from day 4 again, and I was not lying. It just took me about four months to get around to it. (It was winter!)


Day 86. This is the other tie I received as a gift for contributing to the Business 2.0 article (see day 77). It's yet another Rooster. The shirt was spotted by Rose in a tiny little Chinatown shop just outside the East Broadway subway stop; she rescued it and brought it home for me. That store has never stocked anything with the least bit of merit since.


Day 87. A new combination. Shirt from Filene's Basement, tie from...Cargo, I think. Shirt looks a little oddly taut at the shoulders from me trying to get the camera far enough away from myself to get the full pattern of the fabric in the frame.


Day 88. An old standby. The tie is vintage and the pink bits are starting to get a bit thin in places. (Well, it's been happening for a while, really.) I try to treat it gently.


Day 89. Another new combo, another shirt from Filene's basement. I've had the tie for a while, but I think this is the first time I've worn it. It's much more the sort of tie that one wears with a retro '50s suit and a fedora, which is not quite my idiom. Glad I finally got to give it a day in the sun.


Posted by Francis at 12:01 AM | Comments (6)

March 19, 2007

The Tie Project, days 76-82

In the comments on an earlier tie post, Fran pointed me to a New York Times article about how untraditional ties are becoming fashionable. Does this mean my look is suddenly "in"? Judging by the closing paragraph, I suspect not:

But what about Mr. More Ordinary? Can he wear a cheeky tie and not look clownish? The answer is yes. But Matthew Edelstein, the fashion editor of Details magazine, cautions: “It’s important to keep the rest of your styling subtle. Pairing an unusual tie with an equally statement-making look could make you appear as if you’d recently escaped from the mental ward.”

Hmm. Well, Matthew Edelstein, maybe that advice applies to Mr. More Ordinary; as for me, I shall carry on as before.

Day 76. I wore this to Lorinne's husband Rob's birthday party. The shirt and tie have appeared in the project before in other combinations (day 11, day 48), but I think this may be the ideal pairing for each. Certainly it got the most compliments from people of any outfit I've worn in recent memory. (Fellow reveler Dianna told me firmly, "Make sure you say this is my favorite combination ever.")


Day 77. Today I was attending a friend's confirmation as a minister in the (rather liberal) United Church of Christ, an occasion on the solemn side of festive, so I went with a slightly more subdued outfit than usual. I got the tie as a gift seven years ago for contributing to an article by John Warner and Kevin Guilfoile for Business 2.0 in which they critiqued Al Gore and George W. Bush's campaign websites. I was consulted as an expert on the "puzzles for kids" section of Al Gore's site, which included a "crossword" (at least, that's what the website called it; it was actually a word search).


I was amused to see, when I arrived at the church, that I had inadvertently matched this wall hanging:


Day 78. I don't wear this tie very often because it's too short...I end up having to wear my tie clip higher than I like to.


Day 79. The shirt from day 59 again. I think I like this tie better with it.


Day 80. "I think this is much louder than that other outfit you thought was loud," says Rose.


Day 81. This tie is reversible; the reddish fabric you see on the edge wraps all the way around the other side. I always wear it with this side up, because I like seeing the contrasting patterns.


Day 82. Yay! This was the day the weather started getting warmer! Which means: short-sleeved shirts. And just in time, too, because I was getting to the point where I was starting to run out of long-sleeved shirts I hadn't worn yet.


Posted by Francis at 01:35 AM | Comments (1)

March 15, 2007

The Tie Project, day 75

Okay, I warn you. This outfit is LOUD. I mean, a lot of my outfits are loud, but this one is in a league by itself. If you look at this and think that it is in any way a reasonable thing to wear, then I have apparently done an exceptional job of getting you to drink my aesthetic Kool-Aid, and I thank you for joining me out here on the boundaries of fashion.


Actually, Rose and Lorinne both think I've worn louder outfits. I suppose it depends on one's definition. Anyway, the shirt is one I bought from a street vendor in the East Village back in the mid-'90s, and the tie was bought around the same time. The guy I bought the shirt from wanted some assurance that I would actually wear it. I promised him that he had nothing to worry about.

Posted by Francis at 12:33 PM | Comments (3)

March 10, 2007

The Tie Project, days 68-74

The traffic from Gawker did not result in any hostile comments, as I'd had a slight fear it might; in fact it earned me a very complimentary entry on someone else's blog. So that was nice. Anyway, time for another update.

Day 68. Not my greatest outfit, but it was cold and I wanted to wear flannel.


Day 69. This tie's appeared before (day 6). I'm sure you'll agree it would be impossible for me not to wear this shirt and tie together.


Day 70. I think my friend Charles gave me this shirt, in one of his "I thought I would wear this shirt but it turns out I don't but then I realized it sort of seemed like Francis's thing" moments, which come up every so often. The tie reminds me of a particle collision.

I wore this outfit when Rose and I went to see the new Broadway revival of Company -- which I wanted to see partly because I'm a big Sondheim fan, and partly because one of the actors, Bruce Sabath, performed in my musical, We're All Dead, and I couldn't miss his Broadway debut. (Both he and the show were excellent, by the way.)


Day 71. I've photographed this outfit before, but I didn't like how the picture came out (it really didn't do the tie justice), so I reshot it when I wore it again, this time in better light. (I think I took the first one under the fluorescent light in the kitchen because it was raining out. Bleh.)


Day 72. This is the tie I was trying to find on day 51. I love this combination.


Day 73. I like the whole concept of a tie-dyed shirt that's not actually loud. This one has a ghostly, foggy look that I'm particularly fond of. The tie is another one of the batch I bought from onetime roommate Kenny (see day 53).


Day 74. In one of those serendipitous shopping experiences, I bought this shirt and sweater the same day. (Can't remember if they both came from the same used clothing store on Atlantic or not, since I usually hit both the stores I frequented in sequence.) In what is surely becoming a familiar refrain to you, I couldn't find the tie I normally wear with this shirt and sweater, so I improvised. I perhaps need a better tie filing system.


Posted by Francis at 10:32 PM | Comments (7)

February 27, 2007

The hideous tie exhibition

Welcome, Gawkers. I wouldn't use the word "hideous" myself (given that I wear all these outfits), but I'm accustomed to being the most liberal person in the room, either politically or sartorially, so, ah well.

Posted by Francis at 06:29 PM | Comments (5)

February 26, 2007

The Tie Project, days 62-67

Onward and tieward.

Day 62. Rose bought this tie for me on her recent trip to San Francisco. She said it was the one good tie in the used clothing store she went to, and it was the first one she spotted (from a distance, yet). Good eye! The shirt looks sort of plain at first glance, but it's actually a lovely multicolored weave, with yellow, blue, and red threads (among other colors), that work together to give an overall dusty pink effect.


Day 63. Another solid shirt, but I love the color. The tie is handmade, although not by Rose. I bought it used, but it's clearly not mass-produced.


Here's the full outfit, with sweater:


Day 64. I just cut straight to wearing the combo with the sweater this time. Another solid shirt! Crazy. I bought this shirt at Daffy's after deciding that I needed a few more shirt options for events where I wanted to be a little more conventionally dressed up, but still didn't want to be wearing something drab -- hence a shopping trip for solid but appealingly colored shirts.


Day 65. Flowers! Patterns that I favor generally tend toward the non-representative, but I often make exceptions for flowers.


Day 66. This is the shirt from day 52, with the tie that typically accompanies it (another Rooster).


Day 67. Special action shot, taken at a party! Shirt is from Daffy's, and the gorgeous Duchamp tie was my Valentine's Day present from Lorinne. I'll have to redo this shot later with better lighting, but I think it adequately documents the fabulousness:


Posted by Francis at 11:18 PM | Comments (4)

February 20, 2007

The Tie Project, days 57-61

The backlog continues.

Day 57. Another contrasting combo. (The tie was a birthday gift from my friend Mary, received at the same party where I got the Oscar the Grouch tie.) I like the way the keys on the tie cause the design elements on the shirt to start looking like keyholes.


Day 58. Same shirt as day 41; this is the other tie I wear with it.


Day 59. This is one of those Central American shirts you buy at street fairs. Or I do, anyway.


Day 60. This shirt was another gift from Erin. It's a bit hard to see, but there are little occult-looking symbols inside the circles on the shirt, which I think go nicely with the background pattern of the tie.


Day 61. I loooove this shirt. Which is why I'm willing to put up with the fact that it needs to be hand-washed. The tie is a favorite as well. I remember this outfit elicited a compliment from Rose one year when I was wearing it at the crossword tournament, well before we started dating each other.


Posted by Francis at 01:18 AM | Comments (1)

February 17, 2007

The Tie Project, days 52-56

I've been building up quite a backlog. I think I'm going to have to break the photos up into multiple entries.

Day 52. This is an all-vintage-items-which-I-paid-slightly-too-much-for outfit. The shirt came from a used clothing store just south of Canal which I've only ever been in once, because everything was overpriced. I liked this shirt enough to pay the surcharge, however. The tie is a recent purchase with a similar backstory; it's from a vintage store in the West Village. They had tons of Rooster ties there, but at those prices, I could only bring myself to buy one, and this was my favorite. I have another tie I usually wear with this shirt, but I was looking for an excuse to wear the new tie.


Day 53. A longstanding combo. The tie is one of a batch of ties that I bought from an old roommate of mine, Kenny. He owned a bunch of vintage ties which he'd inherited or acquired in some other fashion from a relative. He didn't so much wear them, and I obviously coveted them, so he offered to sell them to me. He didn't let me pick and choose (I paid a flat rate for the whole batch), but it was worth it, especially since he sold them to me ridiculously cheaply (about $3 a tie, I think).


Day 54. The sunflowers-on-sunflowers combo is a little much even for me in its unmediated form, so I generally wear it with a plain sweater vest to break it up a bit. I actually have a tie which is the exact same sunflower fabric as the shirt, but I never wear it with the shirt. Where's the challenge in that? But it amuses me to own it.


Day 55. I'm not crazy about the two-pocketed safari style that this shirt has going on, but I love the pattern, which goes especially well with this tie that Rose made me a while back. (I believe this is the first tie she made me, in fact.)


Day 56. A old and somewhat tame combo, but I'm fond of it, perhaps because the colors in it are somewhat underrepresented in my wardrobe.


More soon.

Posted by Francis at 02:32 AM | Comments (6)

January 28, 2007

The week in ties (days 47-51)

In case you saw me on the street this week and were wondering what I was wearing under that enormous ski jacket, here's the answer.

Day 47. One of those outfits that's more of a conceptual pairing on the pattern level, with colors that are complementary instead of matchy.


Day 48. Another shirt that was a gift from our beloved Erin, which I have up until now only ever worn over my bunny T-shirt. But I just realized that it goes with one of the ties that Rose bought me for Christmas.


Day 49. Kind of a boring shirt, really...I bought it on mega-clearance at the Gap, which is not one of my usual haunts. I think what happened is that there were shirts I liked better that didn't fit me, and so I ended up buying the one that fit me that I sorta liked. It's not bad, though, and I like the way the tie picks up the thin blue stripes in the shirt (which are a little hard to see in this picture).


Day 50. Hard to decide whether this or day 48 is my favorite combo of this batch. Shirt and tie are from two different visits to Daffy's over the past year or so, just put together this week. I like the way the whole outfit looks sort of luminescent.


Day 51. An old standby. There's a more recently acquired tie that I wear more frequently with this shirt nowadays, but this is the original pairing. And, more importantly, it was the one I could find when I was getting dressed.


Posted by Francis at 11:36 AM | Comments (4)

January 20, 2007

The Tie Project, days 42-46

Someone asked me if I'd run out of outfits yet. Oh my goodness no.

Day 42. Old shirt, recent tie (bought on my last trip to the Garment District in Boston). From day 1 of the Mystery Hunt, taken in the bridge/hallway between buildings 12 and 24. Can I tell you how much I love it when two buildings are connected by a midair hallway? It's like the buildings like each other so much they have to hold hands.


Day 43. A combo I've had for a long time; tie is a Rooster. Would be better if the tie were a little darker, but oh well.


Day 44. It may have been only one day after looking in my closet and saying "That's it, no more shirts -- I have absolutely no room in here," that my friend Charles sent me an e-mail saying, "Hey, they're having a clearance sale at Filene's Basement, and I saw a lot of shirts that looked like your sort of thing." So I bought more shirts. I am weak. The tie is one I've had for a while; it's been biding its time.


Day 45. Another shirt from Filene's. It was honestly kind of expensive even on clearance, but it was too gorgeous not to buy. Also, it played on my recent weakness for corduroy.


Day 46. This outfit's been in rotation for a few years. My geekiness is betrayed my the fact that the tie always makes me think of the pins that Peter Davison wore on Doctor Who.


Posted by Francis at 06:35 PM | Comments (4)

January 11, 2007

The Tie Project, days 39 through 41

There will be no tie updates this weekend. But I'll try to document my outfits while I'm at the Mystery Hunt, since there's a way-nonzero chance I'll be frequently crashing in my clothes in a sleeping bag in the corner of my team's headquarters at MIT all weekend, making my shirts less likely to be fit for reuse. Anyway, here are the outfits for the last three days:

Day 39. This is one of those street fair shirts. It shrank a little in the wash at some point, but not enough to render it unwearable.


Day 40. I'm honestly kind of amazed it took me this long to wear this outfit, since I feel like I wear it all the time. The tie is a Rooster, and a little atypical in that it's a bit wide for a square-bottom tie.


Day 41. Another outfit I've owned for probably a decade.


Posted by Francis at 12:12 PM | Comments (4)

January 07, 2007

The Tie Project, days 33 to 38

I think I like the format of posting the tie pictures in an aggregate, wrapup-of-the-week sort of fashion. At least it consolidates my time-frittering. Anyway.

This week featured a lot of outfits I've worn many times over the years and thus don't have to think about except insofar as needing to find the damn tie on the damn hangers. Like day 33:


Day 34 features two new (used) items, both Missoni bought for cheap! The sweater I bought along with the sweater in day 28 (which I found because I was searching for Missoni things to link to when I wore my Missoni shirt), and the tie was spotted by Rose at the same thrift store where day 20's tie came from.


Here's day 35. I particularly like the way the X shapes in the tie echo the X shapes in the shirt.


Day 36. I guess this is, in a way, an example of how I disagree with the conventional wisdom that plaids and plaids can never go together.


Day's 37's tie is another one acquired from the Cargo giveaway table. The shirt was a recent purchase, from the same shopping trip that day 34's tie came from. I saw this pairing and thought, well, I'll have to save that outfit for the spring, when it gets a little warmer (since the shirt is short-sleeved) -- but then the temperature broke 70 degrees, so I figured, what the heck.


Day 38 is actually an outfit I think I'm retiring -- I've had it for probably over a decade now, and I still like it, but there's a sizeable rip in the back of the shirt, and the interfacing of the tie is ridiculously twisted. So I'm probably bidding this combination goodbye, but I wanted to make sure it got documented:


Posted by Francis at 10:56 AM | Comments (4)

January 06, 2007

I realize that I care about all this too much

An update featuring the past few days' worth of ties is on the way, but until then, I realized that I'd meant to talk a little bit about one of the tie knots from the previous Tie Project entry. It's from day 29's outfit, but you can't see the knot very well in the picture I used, so here's a close-up from another shot:


The thing about this shirt is, the collar is incredibly huge, so my usual four-in-hand knot looks ridiculous with it. This knot is much fatter and more pronouncedly triangular. It's not any of the standard knots -- it's actually one I learned when I worked at Cargo, when someone wrote to the magazine asking how to make a fatter tie knot. The knot was devised by the magazine's fashion director, Bruce Pask, and I liked the fact that it was a slip knot. That is, it comes untied when you pull the tie off. (A Windsor knot has to be manually untied after you remove the tie.) So anyway, it's become the knot I use when I need a bigger knot for some reason. What's that you say? You'd like me to teach you how to tie it? Why I thought you'd never ask.

I'm not going to show you a series of photos indicating the various steps, because (a) I don't have the time and (b) I've never been able to follow those things anyway. What I will do is give you the notation for it, as explained in the article linked from this entry (which includes many interesting alternative knots, although not this one):

L(x) C(.) L(x) R(.) C(x) R(.) L(x) C(.) T

Let me know if any of you try it! (Leave yourself lots of tie in the front if you do.)

Posted by Francis at 11:06 AM | Comments (2)

January 02, 2007

The Tie Project, holiday break edition

As is probably obvious, I did not stop wearing ties over Christmas week. Here's a wrap-up of last week's outfits, after the jump.

First up is a "bonus track" for day 27. Lorinne noticed that the outfit had a sort of Garden State effect when I was sitting on my futon couch, so I asked her to document it for me:


Day 28 is a repeat outfit, but it got photographed again because I added a sweater, freshly bought from eBay:


Day 29 features two gifts -- the shirt was a Christmas gift from Rose, and the tie was found by my friend Charles (someone had left it as a giveaway in the hallway of his apartment building). It's not a perfect combo, but the highly saturated blues in the shirt are sort of underrepresented in my wardrobe, so this was the closest I could get. Still pretty happy with it:


I actually have a shirt that's a better match for this tie -- it's a homemade shirt that isn't quite finished. Basically, it needs buttons. And I started sewing the buttons on a few months ago, but then I discovered I had accidentally bought buttons that were too big for a standard buttonhole size. So the need to go get more buttons kind of slowed all that down. It'll get finished before too long.

Day 30 is one of my standbys:


I think the shirt and tie are from two different trips to Daffy's. I also have a sweater (which I knit myself!) which goes very well with this outfit:


Day 31 features another gift -- a gorgeous shirt from Erin. Here I'm wearing it with a tie I've owned since high school:


I have another tie which I like even better with the shirt, but I'm a little scared to wear it, because it's on its last legs...it was vintage when I bought it, and it's getting very, very frayed. But I'll definitely break it out at some point, probably for a party, so it can be seen live by as many people as possible before it disintegrates into its component molecules.

Day 32 was my New Year's party outfit. Here's the basic version:


And here it is with the vest:


Incidentally, I've also been archiving all these photos at Flickr (at Rose's suggestion). I think the thumbnails look pretty cool, all collected in one small space. Check it out here, if you are so inclined.

Posted by Francis at 02:46 AM | Comments (8)

December 22, 2006

Day 27

Somewhere along the line I started acquiring some corduroy shirts. I like them, but of course I can never wear them with my corduroy pants. That would be too much.


Posted by Francis at 09:38 AM | Comments (5)

December 21, 2006

Day 26

This shirt was spotted by Rose in a store window; she knew I had to have it. The tie was a freebie I got when I worked at Cargo. There was one day when a huge pile of way-too-expensive-for-me-to-afford ties got dumped on the giveaway table; naturally, I was immediately alerted. (And although I did acquire many wonderful free things from Cargo, it is also the source of the Shirt That Got Away -- about which more later -- and thus there is some bittersweetness to my sartorial associations there.)


Posted by Francis at 10:00 AM | Comments (2)

December 20, 2006

Day 25

Shirt from Daffy's. It also came in a yellow-and-orange color scheme which I loved, but which looked absolutely appalling on me.


Posted by Francis at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2006

Day 24

Another slightly-more-conservative-than-typical shirt, but I do love the color scheme, and, of course, as with all the shirts that don't have wild patterns, it goes with quite a few ties. Here's one I've never even worn it with before:


Posted by Francis at 09:50 AM | Comments (1)

December 18, 2006

Day 23

This is another tie that Rose just brought back from Louisiana -- and which is the first tie I've ever had that actually goes well with this shirt, a long-ago purchase from Daffy's:


Posted by Francis at 09:44 AM | Comments (1)

December 16, 2006

Days 21 and 22

It's the all-gift installment of the Tie Project today! This is what I wore to Erin's non-holiday party last night:


Rose bought me the shirt at a thrift store -- it was somewhat expensive for a used shirt ($25), but that's because it would have been very expensive if it were a new shirt. I mean, look at the prices on these ties from the same designer. And then go persuade some wealthy person to buy them all for me.

The flowery tie was a gift from my friend Alexandra. It's a good thing she got it for me, because it's not one I would have bought on my own -- viewed by itself, it's a little more conservative than my usual tie purchases. But in context with the shirt, it's just right.

This next shirt (which I am wearing to tonight's non-non-holiday party at our friend Beth's) Rose brought back with her from her recent trip to Louisiana; she got it at a vintage store she discovered on her last trip. I could not stop gushing about how much I loved it. And I knew I had the perfect tie for it (although I couldn't remember where I'd gotten the tie from)! This morning I showed Rose the combo:


She said, "Didn't I buy you that tie? I did! Wait -- not only did I buy you that tie, I bought it at the same vintage store in Louisiana where I bought the shirt!" Since both the shirt and tie are hand-dyed, I wonder if they were made by the same person? A big hat-tip to him/her/them, whoever they are!

Posted by Francis at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2006

Days 19 and 20

Winter is, in a many ways, a lean time for the shirts and ties -- my short-sleeved shirts languish unworn in the closet, narrowing my wardrobe selections considerably, and some days it's cold enough that I break out a sweater and don't wear a tie at all. I know, horrors! But I do have a few sweaters which can be used for pattern enhancement:


You don't get much of the shirt in that photo, since the sleeves are out of frame. The sweater isn't exactly cut for showing off a lot of a tie, probably because it's a women's sweater. Here's the outfit without the sweater:


This tie Lorinne and I found while killing time before seeing Cars in the East Village, at a thrift shop across the street from the movie theatre. It immediately became this shirt's default tie:


Posted by Francis at 09:33 AM | Comments (2)

December 12, 2006

Day 18

This tie was a present for my 35th birthday (the year I asked for a bottomless box of ties) from my friend Annika, who is a fellow Muppet fanatic:


I like the way this tie manages to find a way for worms and apple cores to seem understated.

Posted by Francis at 04:03 PM | Comments (2)

December 10, 2006

Days 16 and 17

I wore this on Friday, but because my computer was sad and needing to be rebooted, I couldn't get it to recognize my camera before I left for work. Anyway, this is another still-looking-for-the-perfect-tie-but-this-will-do-for-today combo:


Actually, that shirt might work with the tie Lorinne bought me recently. I'll have to try that one next time.

After two days of tentative shirt/tie pairings, I felt like I needed to go with one of my favorites:


Both components were acquired used. I forget exactly where I bought the tie, but the shirt is from the Swap-O-Rama that is held now and again in Williamsburg -- so, check out that hipster cred.

Posted by Francis at 10:15 AM | Comments (3)

December 07, 2006

Day 15

Still looking for the perfect tie for this shirt, but this one's pretty good:


Posted by Francis at 09:37 AM | Comments (3)

December 05, 2006

Day 14

Rose made this tie for me as a gift -- I think the fabric is incredibly beautiful, and the tie is perhaps her most professional-looking effort.


The shirt is from Daffy's, and I've always liked it a lot, but it acquired a special place in my heart when I saw Tobias Funke wearing it on Arrested Development. (Can't find a screenshot, alas. Will try again later.)

Update: Here it is! That shot is from season 3, episode 5, "Mr. F"; he also wears it sometime in season 1, but I forget which episode. I wonder if the costumers also bought theirs at Daffy's.

(Thanks to Kostia for the pointer to Striped Wall!)

Posted by Francis at 10:19 AM | Comments (3)

Day 13, belated

This is the outfit that sustained me through the weekend -- and at one point inspired a cheerful black woman to exclaim in the elevator, "Now that is a refreshing outfit! It wakes you right up." I'm pretty sure that was a compliment.


This shirt was given to me quite a while ago by my friend Charles, who has a fashion sense that is different from yet still akin to mine. He doesn't wear ties, but he does like the loud shirts -- and every once in a while, he miscalculates about whether a shirt is really his style or not, and he'll ask me if I'd like to give it a good home. This was one of those shirts. I loved it right away, but I had no tie that came anywhere near matching it, and doubted I'd ever find one. (I think I wore it once with a plain black tie, but I didn't really care for that.)

Then, one day, Rose and I were in a Walgreens, of all places, and Rose pointed down the center aisle at a rack of ties with a look of amazement: "Francis! I think one of the drugstore ties on that rack is actually cool!" At a distance of several aisles, she had spotted the rainbow lizard tie seen above. I rescued it from the rack of crappy, boring ties and took it home posthaste. And while I was hanging it on the tie rack, I thought -- wait, I think this tie matches the unmatchable shirt! Hurrah!

Finds like that (I repeat -- a Walgreens! What the fuck!) remind me of the guy at the rental car place in Boerum Hill that we used to frequent who said, apropos of a combo I was wearing that he thought was particularly swank, "Where do you shop for ties?" I replied, "You are never not shopping for ties."

Posted by Francis at 12:50 AM | Comments (9)

December 01, 2006

Day 12

I acquired both components of this outfit this year -- the shirt from Daffy's, the tie from Indian Sari Palace in Jackson Heights -- which means that my tie says "ISP" on the back, which amuses me:


I most recently wore this combo for an unusual reason. There's a yearly Scrabble tournament where I work, and I had just won the main part of the tournament, and was about to play the "Prometheus Round" against the reigning champion, my boss, Peter. Now, Peter is off-the-charts competitive. I knew he was going to try to psych me out or gain some kind of edge -- and he did try to, with two ploys that came to naught -- so I thought I should make some sort of effort to return the favor, which I did by wearing the most visually distracting outfits I could find. I don't think they're what made the difference, but I did win the playoff, two games to zero. (I'll post the other outfit sometime soon.)

Posted by Francis at 11:43 AM | Comments (11)

November 30, 2006

Day 11

I prefer today's outfit with a vest.


And thus ends my recreation of my Thanksgiving weekend wardrobe. Now I have to start actually thinking about what to wear in the morning! Bah.

Posted by Francis at 09:39 AM | Comments (2)

November 29, 2006

Day 10

I hope you are not scandalized by the tiny glimpse of neck in today's photo.


Posted by Francis at 11:48 AM | Comments (3)

November 28, 2006

Day 9

Glenn's not going to like this one either. (See comments on day 8.)


Posted by Francis at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2006

Day 8

This is a new combo I found while I was looking for outfits to bring with me to Boston. I thought the color scheme was sort of harvest-y, so I wore it on Thanksgiving.


Posted by Francis at 08:08 AM | Comments (3)

November 22, 2006

Day 7

One of my absolute favorite ties. A Rooster, of course.


Rose and I are headed to Boston this afternoon for Thanksgiving weekend. I may do some blog posts and tie project installments while I'm there...or I may just wear the same four outfits after I get home. We'll see.

Posted by Francis at 08:39 AM | Comments (5)

November 21, 2006

Day 6

Pretty sure this tie is a freebie that I got when I worked at Cargo. By itself, it's a more conservative tie than most that I own, but I like it a lot in context.


Posted by Francis at 09:10 AM | Comments (3)

November 20, 2006

Day 5

Rose made this tie for me, from a Kaffe Fassett fabric we found together. The universe made the shirt for me to match the tie.


The outfit goes pretty well with my new scarf (also made by Rose), too, actually.


Posted by Francis at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2006

Day 4

Today's tie is a recent gift from Lorinne. You'll probably be seeing the shirt I'm wearing it with quite a bit, as it's one of my favorites, and it goes with a lot of ties.


Posted by Francis at 02:16 PM | Comments (4)

November 17, 2006

Day 3

I bought this outfit yesterday, at the thrift store I always pass (and am always lured into) when I walk to the library on my lunch break.


Posted by Francis at 08:22 AM | Comments (3)

November 16, 2006

Day 2

I bought this shirt and tie on the same day, at the flea market on 7th Avenue in Park Slope. I always enjoy finding a pairing I like in one location. It feels retroactively as if someone had said, "There are exactly one tie and one shirt in this store that match. Your task is to find them. Go!"


Posted by Francis at 10:09 AM | Comments (2)

November 15, 2006

Pattern recognition

I decided to start a new project today, one that I've been contemplating for a while. Every morning, I'm going to take a photo of my shirt and tie for the day (unless it's a combination I've photographed before). This is, it occurs to me, not all that dissimilar from the 365 Days project that Rose is doing, but it won't be every day, and I have no idea when it will end -- obviously I own less than 365 shirts, but if you remember your combinatorics from the I Hate Mathematics book, there are way more than 365 pairings to be had. Not to mention all the shirts and ties I haven't acquired with my greedy little hands yet. Anyway, so it begins.


Posted by Francis at 09:10 AM | Comments (9)

April 16, 2005

Fab ties

Recently, my friend Alexandra bought a tie at a thrift store for me. Here's a picture of it:


But, you see, it is not just any tie -- it is a Beatles tie.


Not sure what's going on in the second of the two pictures. The top one seems like a plausible representation of "Let me whisper in your ear / Say the words you long to hear", but the other one seems more like "Let me whisper to your neck / All the facts you'll want to check" or something.

What Alexandra did not know was that I already owned a Beatles tie -- although I didn't realize this fact until, like, a year after I bought it. What can I say? I never looked at the back. And, I think you'll agree when you see the tie, the fact that it was meant to represent a song is not so much immediately apparent:


I mean, yes, I had noticed that there were recognizable graphic elements in there -- a clock, a phone, people's heads -- but I didn't give it much thought. It all seemed pretty random, and all I cared about was how freakin' well it went with this shirt:


Clearly, these two garments were meant to be together. Frequently, when I wear them, people ask if I bought them as a set. I mean, it would be interesting if Garanimals branched out in this fashion after so many years out of the public consciousness -- but no.

So, anyway -- can you tell what Beatles song this tie is meant to represent? I'll show you another image, from a little higher up on the tie, that may provide a hint:


If you're still stumped, click here for the answer.

(See crappy images of many other ties in the collection here.)

Posted by Francis at 05:33 PM | Comments (3)

April 04, 2005

Clip service

Someone found my blog by searching on the phrase "how to wear a tie clip". Since I believe in helping people, I will attempt to answer his query.

1) Put on a shirt
2) Button it
3) I hope you have pants on, because now I'm going to tell you to tuck that shirt in
4) Put on a tie
5) Pick up tie clip, grasping it firmly between your thumb and forefinger
6) Squeeze it
7) Slide it so that the negative space within the clip is replaced with a combination of tie fabric and shirt fabric; attempt to accomplish this without pushing the tie off-center in the process
8) Vertical placement of the tie clip is a matter for your own aesthetic consideration; I personally favor a fairly low position on the tie (a little more than halfway down the shirt), but whatever works for you. Like, if you want to wear it really high on your shirt and look like an idiot, that is your right. Do, however, try to avoid aligning the clip exactly with one of the shirt buttons. Use this handy mnemonic to remember: "On the button, ain't worth nothin'; in between, lookin' keen."
9) You are now ready to face the world.

Posted by Francis at 03:49 PM

August 04, 2004

Better tie-tying through science

Andy points me to an article on ties that is slightly over my head, math-wise, in a couple places, but introduces a tie-tying notation which I actually grok very well. It helped me tie my first ever decent Windsor knot, in fact. (I'm a four-in-hand man, myself.) I doubt I'll use it much, but since a Windsor knot uses up a lot of tie, it might come in handy for the handful of ties I own which are a bit too long for me.

I'm also interested in hearing proposed names for the new tie-tying methods introduced in the article. I'm currently calling the really short method a "Slacker". And maybe that last one is a "Mega-Windsor".

Posted by Francis at 03:31 PM

May 25, 2004

Killer ties

As a collector of neckties (although apparently not as motivated a collector as the fucker who outbid me for those two Rooster ties on eBay -- damn that lack of personal wealth!), it disturbs me to know that they can be little gardens of death, the Guardian reports.

Researchers found that nearly half of the ties worn by medical workers harboured bacteria which could cause disease.

Clinicians were eight times more likely to wear a tie carrying bacteria than by hospital security staff.

The Toronto Star gives more details, noting that the problem is twofold: doctors don't always wash their hands before adjusting their ties (and then they may touch their tie after washing their hands, potentially recontaminating them), and people rarely send out their ties to be dry cleaned.

In an interview, Nurkin said he began wondering about the possibility of contamination when he noticed swinging ties coming in contact with patient bedding, even patients themselves.

After all, earlier research had shown items doctors routinely carry ? pens, pagers, cell phones and stethoscopes ? are often teeming with all sorts of bugs. And cloth is known to harbour pathogens, which is why surgical staff change gowns between patients.

But whereas doctors now know to clean their phones and pagers, "the necktie, you don't," Nurkin said.


No one is suggesting ties are modern-day Typhoid Marys in hospital settings. But they may be contributing, in a small way, to the spread of hospital-acquired infections, said McGeer, head of infectious diseases at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital.

"It's an indication of absence of handwashing and it probably is associated with some risk," she said, noting the last thing a tie-wearing doctor probably does before bending over to examine a patient is to tuck his tie into his shirt.

Sounds like good news for the tie clip industry, at least. Seriously, why does anyone think it's a good idea to wear a tie without a clip? I remember when I used to temp on Wall Street, and I'd see businessmen walking to lunch on windy days with their ties blowing over their shoulders. Here's the message that sends: "I like to pretend to be a grown-up, but I don't actually know how to dress myself."

(Via Boing Boing and Collision Detection.)

Posted by Francis at 03:07 PM | Comments (3)

April 12, 2004

And I used to scoff at astrology

Here's more about me and Rooster ties, sort of. I was born in 1970, the year of the dog, according to Chinese astrology. So what do Chinese horoscopes have to say about dogs and roosters?

Dog & Rooster - Moderate to cool ties.

Uncannily accurate. Even I haven't loved every single Rooster tie I've come across, but they've all been at least moderately good. And the rest are totally cool.

Posted by Francis at 07:59 PM

April 08, 2004

Sit down and let Uncle Francis tell you a story about ties. Hey, where are you going?

For a few months last year, it seemed like every time I found a vintage tie I wanted to buy, it was a Rooster tie.


It seemed implausible that there should be so many of the same bygone brand of tie around at once. (I had bought or been given Rooster ties before, but I'd never seen them with such frequency that I started recognizing the name.) They couldn't be a recent brand of tie with a retro logo, because some of the ties still had their original price tags attached, and the prices were nowhere near current tie prices. Rose theorized that perhaps there was a warehouse somewhere that had recently discovered a lost cache of Rooster ties, and the ties had gotten sold to a bunch of vintage stores.

While it was clear the mysterious appearance of Rooster ties in practically every used clothing store I frequented was never going to be answered, my curiosity had still been piqued by this mystery tie company whose aesthetic was so in sync with my own, so I looked around online and found absolutely no information whatsoever about the Rooster tie brand. Frustrating. So I was very pleased to run across this page at last (third item). It's not much information, but it's more than I used to have.

While you're reminiscing about the ties of yesteryear, don't miss the tie made out of feathers.

Another thing I learned from ties.com: The Taliban banned neckties in 2001. I never realized I was such a patriot.

(Shorter version of the above post: steal your father's Rooster ties and send them to me.)

Posted by Francis at 02:57 AM | Comments (2)

April 02, 2004

Family ties

I have a lot of ties. Hundreds. Most of them are fairly busy, as are most of my shirts. You might say it's one of my hobbies to find shirts and ties that seem like things which no article of clothing that isn't solid could ever match, and match them.

This particular style of tie-wearing was somewhat slow in evolving, although I started on the road to it way back in high school, when I used to wear jackets and ties all summer, which was even more eccentric because I lived in Phoenix, Arizona at the time. All I can say in my defense is that it was a dry heat. Anyway, while my wardrobe at the time was not nearly so interesting, there are ties I acquired in high school which I still wear over a decade and a half later. Here's one:


I even vaguely remember the details of its purchase. My mother and I were at the mall, and while we were in some clothing store or other, I saw two ties that caught my eye. They had the same basic pattern, but different color schemes. She said I could pick one of them; I went with the one above.

Fast forward to January 2002. I was in Boston making preparations for the MIT Mystery Hunt, which I was helping run that year. One puzzle needed a bunch of books to be displayed in a bookstore window; I was delivering the books. While I was out, I stopped in a few used CD and used clothing stores. In one of the latter, to my amazement, they were selling the other tie -- the one with the other color scheme -- for a mere five dollars. Obviously, I needed it.

It's hard to describe how satisfying this was. Here is a picture of both ties together, though:


This little family reunion pleases me every time I see the two ties together in the ever-expanding tie section of my closet.

Posted by Francis at 04:11 PM