Image 01

Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘The Lady Violette Vintage Tie Collection’

Adorable Soft Silk Evening Purses Made From Vintage Men’s Neckties And Where You Can Buy One!

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

A Darling Black & White Tuxedo Style Silk Evening Purse with a Removable Rosette Made Out Of Three Soft Elegant Vintage Designer Neckties by Marlee M Fowler of MM Fun Purses

My last two posts have been about wearing and making ladies silk purses and other feminine accessories out of vintage silk men’s neckties. There are several tutorials online explaining different ways of doing this if you want to make one yourself. Alternately, you can buy one already made up and ready to take out on the town. All of these purses are one of a kind because it is virtually impossible to find duplicate vintage ties! I like these evening bags because they are petite, light weight, and totally unique. You will never see another one quite like yours and it will give your outfit an individual creative twist.

If you want to buy one, you can visit Marlee Fowler at  her company MM Fun Purses. Marlee will be setting up shop and selling her wears at  Street Fairs and Arts and Craft Fairs around the Edmonds, Everett, Marysville and Lake Chelan area for the remainder of this 2012 summer.  She has a nice selection of colors in various styles already made up to choose from. Here is her schedule for the remainder of this summer:

July 29              Everett Market

August 10 -12   Marysville Home

August 18         Edmonds Market

August 19         Everett Market

September 8    Edmonds Market

September 9    Everett Market

September 15   Chelan Wine Tasting Event

If you need further information about finding her you can reach her at MM Fun Purses Designed for You. Marlee M.  Fowler, Retiredfowlers@alo.com. Her telephone number is (425) 345-5513.

An Attractive Unusual Clutch Style Rectangular Shaped Evening Purse Made Out of Five Vintage Silk Ties.

Marlee Fowler makes cell phone pouches, evening bags such as the black and white one above in the first picture, and soft clutch bags such as the one in the picture above. Please view my last two posts to see other examples of her evening purses and other styles of handbags.

How Do You Select Ties To Make a Purse From Men’s Silk Neckties?

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

A Rack of Fantastic Vintage Silk Ties That I Have Collected in Thrift Stores, Estate Sales and Yard Sales. Incidentally, the Blue Ties That I Select for the Following Example are Hanging in this Picture!

People want to know! They ask, so here is how I did it! First collect a goodly batch of silk neckties in an outrageous variety of prints and colors. Whatever you like. I got most of mine at thrift shops and estate sales. Store them hanging up so they stay straight on the bias. I store them on hangers and take them out of the closet and transfer them onto a hanging rack in a well lit area so that I can see them clearly. I choose each tie individually when I am shopping, so that it stands alone, to be worn as an elegant man’s necktie as it was originally intended. I began collecting ties so my boyfriend would have a nice collection to wear.  Now he has so many it can be hard for him to decide which one to wear in the morning!. This can be visually confusing. Even overwhelming! Especially when you are trying to get dressed for work in a hurry at 6AM in the morning! I usually make us an espresso so we can wake up enough to see what we are doing! I do not mind helping him choose a tie and coordinating clothes. In fact I enjoy doing it. He is dependent on me for help and advice in the styling department. He likes having my opinion. He has certain favorites that he likes to wear repeatedly. Some are exceptionally nice worn as conventional neckties. Those will never be made into other items like belts, purses or handbags. Others are fair game for use in fanciful creations.

I Make an Initial Selection of Ties That Appeal to Me for Making Into Accessories Such as Belts, Hair Bows. Purses, Corsages, Hat Bands, Rosettes, Bows, etc.

I begin by selecting some that I think I would like to see made into evening purses and flowers. I pull all of these out and set them on my ironing board so that I can contemplate them more carefully. It takes three ties in a coordination color to make an evening bags like the brown or wine red ones I posted yesterday. I looked over my initial selection here and saw that I had a lot of blue ones and blue grey ones so it made sense to cull those out for further examination as a blue grouping, a blue and grey grouping. and a grey grouping. I decided to trey that.

A Selection of 5 Blue & Blue/Grey Combination Silk Neckties. I Like This and am Considering Trying it Out for a Possible Clutch Handbag . Not Only do the Colors Need to Work Well Together. The Silk Fabrics Must Combine Well in Terms Of Weight and Character. The More Ties You Add the More difficult It Gets to Achieve a Strong Overall Balance.

Here is what I got. I then experimented with grouping them in different ways to study the way the colors looked combined together. I have actually found that it is quite difficult to find five or three of these busy patterns that work well together.

6 Ties Combined in 2 Different Groupings of 3 Fabric Patterns Each is a Possibility

I have so many blue and blue and grey colorway ties that I am contemplating whether or not I can make a bigger clutch bag utilizing 5 or even 6 ties. Or perhaps two small evening bags that are each use different blue silk ties . Here are some of the combinations I put together.

This is Beautiful Combination of Three Blue Silk Ties For an Evening Purse. I am very Pleased with The Variety of Prints and the Different Shades of Blues and Greys Combined Here. I Know I Would Like This Combination in a Finished Product. All Three of These Silk Ties Have Similar Heft So they Would Sew Together Well and Also Hold Up Well Together

Three Ties in Coordinating Blues Silk Patterns is Very Attractive in my opinion. I spread them out on a white cloth background so that I can study the way they look together without the distraction of another color. By now I am tired of looking at all these busy patterns  together. They have begun to op and it is giving me a headaches! I realize I need to take a break from it and go do something else for awhile, than come back to look at the combinations  again, when I feel fresh, to make a final choice of which ones work will work together.

Here is Another Combination of Blue Ties. See How different it Looks From the One Above? There is Only One Different Tie and This Combination Totally Changes the Visual Balance and Final Effect.

The silks used in making ties have very strong distinctive patterns and are designed to be worn alone one at a time with a shirt and jacket. Each pattern and colorway is originally meant to be an accent to an ensemble of men’s clothing. They were never designed to be combined and used three to five together at one time in the making of a purse and that will then be worn with an ensemble of other clothing as well! They were definitely not initially conceived to be used in this way! And t is actually very difficult to select several that go together for this purpose. You must actually try doing it to really understand what I am saying! Tie silks come in a large variety of weights and textures too. The soft. lighter weight ones sew and press better and make better looking final purses and effects. They also seem to twist into nicer looking rosettes and flowers more readily. The thicker, crunchier ties in fabrics like brocades are more difficult to handle when sewing a purse. For this reason you will need a large selection of ties if you want to start making your own purses and accessories. I do not think you can gather them  together in one short trip to a thrift store! You will have to start a vintage tie collection and slowly gather it together over time.

I select ties carefully when I am shopping. I only buy beautiful ties that are in very good condition and are really clean. I choose each tie as if it is going to be worn alone. I began collecting ties for my boyfriend to wear so my criterion is , ” Will this tie be wearable? Is it a nice addition to our wearable tie collection?” I bring them home and I offer them to my boyfriend to see if likes them and wants to wear them. He gets first pick. He likes the majority of them! When I decided I wanted to make some into other items he asked me if I would pull out what I wanted to use, then ask him if it was okay to take these out of the wearable as single ties collection. I agreed to this arrangement because I am really happy that he is enjoying wearing them and dressing nicely! His fashion sense has greatly improved and he dresses nicely much more often since I have accumulated this large collection of ties for him to choose from at home! He hates to go shopping and would never buy them for himself. He hasn’t the patience to sift though racks of ties in places like The Goodwill and The Woman’s Assistance League and Children’s Orthopedic Thrift Shop. I, on the opposite end of the spectrum, enjoy the thrill of the hunt! When my blue tie purse is finally sewn together I will, of course, post a picture of it! And who knows …. by then I may have decided to combine my blue ties in yet another way! It will be interesting to see!

The Combinations Are Endless! Which Ones Will I End Up Using? I Need to Take a Break Before Making a Final Decision!

 

I visited Marlee Fowler’s booth MM Fun Purses after making the above selection of ties for myself from my own collection. I showed her my tie choices and we discussed all the topics I mentioned above. She confirmed that she has had the same experiences in difficulties of finding ties that work well together, and handling characteristics of the different types of silks used in making the ties. I wanted to find out if her experiences were the same as mine! She maintains an inventory of over 300 ties at all times to work from. I have not counted my own collection but I assume it is about the same number! We both recommend that number as a good base collection from which to work if you want to be choosing different color combinations on a regular basis. In choosing my blue ties, above, to make a blue purse or two, I decided that it is feasible to decide on a color scheme first, then go shopping for ties that fit into that scheme! You could, for example, buy only blue ties, until you felt you had the correct array to choose an appealing purse combination from. This would probably be a good way to go if you only wanted to make one or two purses for yourself and a gift. You would have to exercise strict self discipline to avoid being seduced by the appealing colors and patterns outside your chosen color scheme!

I Also Notice That The Color Combinations and Patterns Can Look Quite Different Under Different Light Conditions and In Person Versus in Photographs! All These Factors Have to Enter Into the Way You Choose to Combine Ties in the Final Design of New Handbag or Other Article Made Out of Vintage Ties Because the Patterns are Very Complex and the More of Them You Combine in One Article the More Complex They Become. It is Quite a Challenge!

If you do not want to go to the effort of collecting ties and sewing them into a purse yourself you can buy one! I am not making purses out of neckties for people to buy, because I have too many other projects taking up my time, but Marlee Fowler does so and sells them at her booth MM Fun Purses. You can reach her for information about her Street Fair appearances and sales here: Marlee Fowler at Retiredfowlers@aol.com. She makes and sells several other types of purses and handbags as well. I will be posting photos of her booth and her upcoming schedule of appearances within the next few days. Please check back for this.

 

Lady Violette de Courcy on Using Mens Vintage Silk Ties to Make Rosette Corsages, Petite Evening Bags & Elegant Purse Embellishments

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Handbags & Rosettes Made From Vintage Silk Ties

I have been collecting men’s vintage neckties. I am really enthused about the use of men’s ties in my own wardrobe and as women’s accessories. I intend to find more ways to use them and make more things out of them! This idea is still in the experimental stages but I have decided to share some of the results here. I will be showing more nice examples from my tie collection in the near future. I am interested in exploring the use of the beautiful tie fabrics for accessories for the upcoming fall and winter seasons since they look so great with wools, tweeds, velvets, furs, knitted fabrics  and silks!

I began collecting ties about  year and a half ago when a friend of mine asked me to help him update his wardrobe and we went shopping for new clothes for him. He was on his way to Tokyo on business and had to update his look to meet with men in the Japanese design and advertising industry who are very style and fashion conscious. He had not bought new clothes or dressed up for business in years so this was starting from the ground up! We only had a weekend to do it because he had not told me he needed this sooner! This was a difficult assignment because we didn’t have much time to find things and we had no time at all to get anything altered! Men’s pants usually need hemming and jackets need fitting, etc.

Petite Silk Evening Bag Made From Three Brown Colorway Vintage Silk Neckties and Embellished with a Removable Clip on Rosette Also Made From One of the Neckties. The Rosette Can be Clipped to Other Items as a Corsage or Worn in the Hair! The Bag measures 6 x 6 Inches and Has a Handle Drop of 5 Inches. Bag made by MM Fowler.

Surprisingly we began on Saturday and actually succeeded in shopping for, buying and accessorizing a very nice hip and modern business wardrobe for him. I got his entire wardrobe for a week put together and altered ( because I was able to do this myself) and got him coordinated, styled and packed and on the plane on Monday morning! It was a big success. Everything looked great and his look was a hit. This is an important part of doing business in that environment. This endeavor was a big job because it included every bit of his clothing, a haircut, shoes, every tiny detail. Because we were in a big hurry I did not have any time to hunt down vintage clothing and accessories. We had to shop in department stores and new retail men’s shops. When it came to selecting and buying ties he went into sticker shock! He could not believe how much a new designer tie cost! He was stuck and he had to buy three of them for over $125 a piece and they were not particularly fantastic designs.

This was my chance to explain to him that vintage shopping was far superior to shopping for new things both in terms of prices and interesting selection. He wasn’t sure! He doubted me! So I set out to prove myself! ( Of course I knew this could be done! I am an expert at it!) Every few days when I went out shopping for myself or my vintage clothing clients I found him something great, a vintage treat, to add to his wardrobe. The kind of things I found were beautiful designer ties, men’s silk pocket handkerchiefs, men’s foulard silk scarves, shirts, shoes, cuff links, coats, umbrellas, hats, leather belts, gloves, winter scarves, cashmere sweaters. etc.  The list goes on and on! He was shocked in a good way !

Sweet Little Cross Body Evening Bag Made of Three Wine Red Colorway Vintage Silk Ties and Embellished with a Removable Silk Rosette Corsage. Handbag Measures 6 x 6 Inches & Has Shoulder Length Straps Made From Two of the Ties that Can Be Attractively Knotted to the Wearer's Desired Length. Bag made by MM Fowler.

In a fairly short time I amassed a lovely selection of designer ties, historic ties, art ties, you name it! Utterly fantastic ties. The fabrics are beautiful! As a result my friend really got into ties. He wears a different one every day and he is, after a year and a half, somewhat famous for his sharp ties. His work takes him all over the US and sometimes to foreign countries. He travels a lot. A few carefully chosen ties can greatly extend his wardrobe on the road. He is having a lot of fum with ties. And yes, some men still do wear ties! He is an exception in that he likes to wear them more regularly than most. He has even taken to tying a full Windsor knot these days. Personally I like this look on men a lot! I like a man to dress in elegant clothing and I wish we would see a lot more of it!

Detail of a Straw Handbag with Wooden Handles Tied with a Silk Scarf and Further Embellished with a Silk Rosette Attached to a Clip Made From a Vintage Silk Necktie! Rosette made by MM Fowler . Tie made by Lady Violette.

Meanwhile, with all these beautiful ties in the house, I developed a great appreciation for the beautiful tie fabrics and the way these ties are made. I soon understood why ties are so expensive! I also could not resist finding ways to use them and wear them myself. I sometimes wear one as a necktie for a menswear look, I sometimes wear one as a belt or sash, and I sometimes use them to embellish a handbag.  Now I am experimenting with wearing them as embellishments on hats, handbags and purses.

This experimentation in using men’s ties as women’s accessories for myself lead me by chance to find a lady in Edmonds WA at the Saturday’s Farmer’s Market who makes several kinds of purses and other items and makes various things out of repurposed neckties. Her name is Marlee and she also collects ties for the beautiful fabric! I bought the two evening purses and the flowers used in these photos from her.  She made ties into rosettes that I can use as little corsages and made these two little evening purses  entirely out of vintage silk ties. Her name is Marlee M Fowler and her company is MM Fun Purses. Marlee Fowler can be reached at Retiredfowlers@aol.com. You can find her at her booth at the Edmond’s WA Saturday market on July 28th! She sells other types of purses, table runners, pillows and other home decor items as well as silk tie roses and purses.

Each of the rosettes takes one tie to make and each small purse takes three ties to make. The tie has to be carefully taken apart so as not to damage the fabric and the item you make out of it has to carefully cut and sewn together. This takes considerable skill as handling silk fabric is tricky. It is slippery and unravels easily. I spoke to Marlee Fowler about her experience making and selling her necktie items. She said it has been tough because most people are not willing to pay enough for them to make it make economic sense for her to produce them. Ties are expensive to acquire and there is a lot of time involved in making each item. Each piece has to be custom designed because she is using different ties made of different fabrics each time she makes a new one. I asked her if she had made skirts or larger bags and she said, each time, “”I can’t do it because it requires too much tie fabric – thus too many ties, which cost too much and it takes too much time and people are not willing to pay for it.”  She has been showing her items and selling them at street fairs for a long time.

I met another man, last year, who had tried making and selling items from ties also and reported the same problem. This is why you do not see accessories made of men’s ties for sale everywhere! Or anywhere for that matter! You see them hardly anywhere. For this reason you may have to make them for yourself. I have looked online and have found many tutorials on making skirts and dresses out of ties. These are big projects that require a lot of ties and have to be custom fitted to the individual for whom they are made. Another point Marlee made was that it takes a lot of ties to come up with a few ties that look good together and coordinate in color and fabric type to combine in making one purse. She has a collection of about 300 ties to work with at any given time. I asked her where she gets her ties. She said at thrift stores and rummage sales, at estate sales and yard sales and consignment shops. These are the same places I find the ties I collect. I have been buying mine in and around Seattle. She has been buying them in the same area and in Arizona where she spends her winters since she is retired.

I usually pay between $2.99 and $10 per tie myself. Sometimes as much as $14 or $16. Marlee finds them at the same price range here, but in the Southwest, where she winters, she can get them at a sale that goes on in one place for $1 a piece on one day a year. That is a lucky break, but it is not consistent! The other important thing is that you have to pick through a lot of second hand ties to find any that are nice enough to use. Then you have to check them carefully to find any flaws such as stains of tears or pulled threads that render them unusable. I would never buy a silk tie that was in need of cleaning because it costs $10 to have a tie dry cleaned and it is uncertain whether any stains or marks will actually come out. Silk ties cannot be washed! Nor can any other ones. Ever! Do not try it. It would be a disaster and ruin the tie.

I understand what is involved in hand making lovely things like these and I do not have any problem paying a skilled artisan or crafts person to make me something special. I greatly appreciate the materials and the skills involved and the fact that such a person is willing to make something like a purse from silk ties. Apparently I am in the minority because I constantly find that people just do not want to pay a fair price for something well designed and hand made. They will willingly pay a great deal for a commercially produced designer original from a luxury brand name. And they will willingly over pay for mass manufactured  overpriced low end commercially produced items, but they don’t want to and won’t pay for a unique well made handmade artist designed  item. Over and over again I find artisans who tell me they cannot continue to make something special and beautiful to sell it because people refuse to pay enough to make it worth their time. The people who say this either do not know how difficult it is to make something, or how much time it takes, or are not thinking about the hours it takes to make an item and the skills involved. They also do not seem to understand the cost of the raw materials the artist needs to acquire in order to make such items. In this case 3 to 5 designer silk ties. This is why you do not regularly find certain beautiful things on the market. Many things are too beautiful and too special to be sold in any big store! I urge you to buy from people who make custom items such as Marlee Fowler on a regular basis in order to support their work. This is the only way they will be able to continue to produce it to make it available for us to buy.

I have asked Marlee if she would make up some special order items I would like done to my specifications using some of the ties from my own collection. She said that she would. So I am going to be placing an order for several items I want to use myself and some to give as gifts. This should work out well for both of us since I will supply her the ties I want her to use at my expense and she will be able to charge me whatever she thinks is fair for making the items I request. Maybe special order work is the way for someone like her to go? We shall see! I am, at least happy to have found someone who is willing to make up some of the silk tie design ideas I have spinning around in my head! Because I am not finding time to do it myself ! I am looking forward to what we come up with together!

Currently I am really enthused about the use of men’s ties in my own wardrobe and as women’s accessories. I intend to make more things out of them myself – like actual clothes. This idea is still in the experimental stages but I have decided to share some of the results here. I am hoping this idea catches on! I will be showing nice examples from my own extensive tie collection in the near future. I am interested in exploring the use of  beautiful tie fabrics in women’s wear and for more accessories for the upcoming fall and winter seasons since they look so great with wools, tweeds, velvets, furs, knitted fabrics  and silks!

Please check back soon because I will be posting Marlee Fowler’s summer 2012 Street Fair schedule and pictures of her booth within the next few days. If you are interested in acquiring one of her Silk Tie Purses this summer you should visit her booth. She has a good selection in many colorways and styles of silk tie evening bags and cell phone purses, rosettes as you see below, and other items already made up to choose from. Marlee M Fowler and her company is MM Fun Purses. Marlee Fowler can be reached at Retiredfowlers@aol.com.

Rosettes Made From Vintage Silk Ties with Clips Sewn to the Back That Can be Used to Attach Them to Many Things. The Rosettes are made by MM Fowler.

My Amazing Quest for Beautiful Liberty of London Vintage Ties

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Beautiful Banners ~ Liberty of London Vintage Ties - Circa 1960's

A while back I wrote a post about my Liberty of London Scarf collection. That is one of my favorite blog posts I have done yet!

After doing it I received a nice response from the Liberty of London Social Media Team complimenting me on my scarf collection, writing and photographs.  They seamed really pleased that I had the collection of their vintage scarves and had put up the photos to share them. I have been thinking about  that ever since as I have several other Liberty items. I love the fabrics. I realize I have scarves, skirts, blouses, and now men’s ties! I even have some makeup in packages designed by Liberty of London in collaboration with Mac Cosmetics.

This is What to Look for On the Flip Side Liberty of London Men's Ties - the Fabrics and the Labels

Because the scarves go so beautifully and comfortably around women’s necks I felt it was logical to explore what went around men’s necks next! I have seen artistic and fashionable men wear one of the Liberty of London Scarves occasionally and personally I think it looks great ~ but, let’s face it, not many men are wearing ascots these days! That was popular in Victorian times and in the 1940’s and 50’s. Men are getting really casual about their dress in the last couple of decades. They hardly even wear ties anymore! But they were in fashion for everyman in the middle of the last century! Doesn’t that phrase sound long ago? I feel like I just said something straight out of Oscar Wilde! The Importance of Being Ernest, perhaps, because I am earnest about this!

A Sampling of Liberty of London Vintage Ties - circa mid 1950's - mid 1960's ~ From Top to Bottom and Narrow to Wide

In the 1950’s, 60’s and very early 70’s Liberty of London made elegant ties for men out of their signature prints and fabrics. The earlier ones were traditional rather narrow width styles in the 1950’s and 60’s, elegantly done, in paisleys and small traditional silk prints and often utilized many of the subdued English Arts and Crafts type botanical prints in silks and wools. These suited the traditional English Tailored Gentleman Style of dressing very well.

In Chronological Order ~ Fanning Left to Right the Two on the Left are From the 1950's English Tailored Gentlemen's Style ~ the Two on the Right are From the Flower Child Style Eruption in the mid 1960's

Then, with the Flower Child Style eruption in the 1960’s bold full blown colorful flower patterns became popular. Liberty of London’s ties were often wider and more dramatic in both shape and coloring.  They were made from some of the more flamboyant archival floral prints from the Liberty of London Fabric Collection. I have seen them done in cotton, silk, and wool challis. The Liberty designers also issued new prints to meet the 1960’s fashion world’s demand for color and big flowers. Liberty’s style was particularly suited for this opportunity! As the demand for these more flamboyant men’s ties emerged some women’s scarves were also issued in brighter palettes for the more fashion forward. Somebody in the marketing department of Liberty was very wisely looking ahead ~ making sure to attract a younger clientele for the present and future success of the company. Liberty of London has always been very aware of its market combined with what is happening in the society at any given time. That is one of their very strong points as a company.

Note the Labels on These Flamboyant Mid 1960's Liberty of London Ties! By Now They Were Notating Which Prints They Used Were New and Which Were Taken From Their Archival Designs. Note the Customization of Their Tie Linings As Well!

The mainstream fashion world’s high point for popularity for mens’ Liberty of London ties was the 1960’s. They were coveted by hip dressers in the fashion forward cities in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. That fad died down in 1970’s,  but Liberty, of course, continued to make traditional ties as they always had for their English Tailored Gentlemen Style customers. Elegant, subdued and distinctive these ties could be spotted a mile away by those in the know. I saw them now and then on distinguished gentlemen.

This is a good point to mention that the Liberty of London Company is very British and steadfast in the sense that they always can be relied upon to consistently produce certain types of old reliable items that their permanent admirers want – fashion fads notwithstanding.

I became really interested in exploring the Liberty of London print ties right after writing my blog post on the Liberty scarves. I had long been aware of them, but I had never owned any before that. Two things happened to whet my appetite for finding some. My general resurgence of interest in all things Liberty of London because of my scarf tying and writing post and secondly, the fact that a friend of mine asked me to help him shop for and co~ordinate a business wardrobe. We went shopping for men’s clothes for 2 days – in a big hurry because he had to leave for Tokyo for a week of meetings, and being in IT in Seattle, had been dressing casually for work for the last 10 years. He had no dress clothes! We had to do everything at once. That is hard and I do not recommend it. You ideally need to allow more time to co~ordinate things and get alterations done!

We flew into action. I must admit I am very good at this and I really enjoy personal wardrobe consulting. I knew what stores to go to for what brands and what was on sale. This man is very tall and thin and has a hard time finding ready made shirts and jackets with long enough sleeves and slim bodies ~ as well as pants with small waists and long enough inseams. This is one reason he hates going shopping and puts it off as long as possible. We bought everything! And after getting the main pieces down we got to the fun part ~ selecting ties. Until we looked at the prices! The new silk designer ties are really expensive! As much as, or more than, women’s designer scarves! My friend had sticker shock! We had to buy three because we had no time to search for bargains. He had to get alterations done and leave town packed by the next day. I had an alterations connection who was willing to do a rush job. We got him packed, and off to Tokyo looking fantastic with enough clothes for a week of business meetings in the very critical Tokyo design and advertising world where the men are very fashion conscious. They even flash their labels to show you who designed what they are wearing. They are absolute competitive fashion sharks! The modern day version of the dandies of the French court.

His clothes worked out. Everything was a hit. While he did business in Tokyo I got busy learning about vintage ties. I went online and searched for vintage tie dealers and looked at their offerings and prices. They were considerably less expensive than the boutique and department store ties we had just looked at and had to buy in the shops due to the rush we were in. I memorized the desirable designer names and absorbed their looks. I made myself a mental tie dictionary. Ties are complicated! And very sophisticated. New ones, as I mentioned above, are very costly. I decided to hit the local thrift shops, consignment and vintage shops to see what I could find. Ties are something I like to see, feel and inspect in person. ties are very sensual.

I live in Seattle, WA. Men have not been dressing up much for work in the IT industry here for decades. For me this was very fortunate. No one was buying ties and there were lots to be had. Especially lots of awful ones! These little resale shops were loaded with possibilities! This was how I began my Liberty Tie Collection. I searched for vintage ties, knowing what kind I was hoping to find and after looking at about 1,000 truly, finally, found one Liberty of London vintage tie!

I was spurred on! About 500 ties later, I found another one! About 2,000 ties after that, yet another! And so on. Last week, I had four and decided it was time to photograph them to write this post. So I did. Then, driving home from town last night, I stopped at the Goodwill and jackpot! I found yet another one! I now have five! Altogether 5 Liberty of London vintage ties. 5! I am so excited! And, just so you know, I have to get excited to write about these things!

And I must admit I have also picked up many other ties that are really nice from different designers as well.  I now have a basic collection of about 40, altogether, great men’s vintage ties. Why? You may wonder, being a woman? Well, because I like the fabrics and the way they are made, and I decided it would be fun to have them around to loan to my male friends who are always needing help with their clothes! I am also figuring out ways to use them myself and think I will incorporate them into my own wardrobe in some very feminine menswear inspired looks this fall and winter. Something to look forward to! Hopefully I will blog about that! I will certainly try!

I decided the time was ripe, I must write about my Liberty of London Vintage Tie Quest this this very weekend.

Study the Front Side as Well as The Flip Side ~ Inspect the Ties Carefully ~ if Buying Vintage You Want to be Sure the Tie You Pick is in Pristine Condition

As I drove home I thought about this: Vintage shopping takes time. You cannot go to a store because you know you need something and find it right then and there. You have to have a lot of patience and search and search. Over time. I cannot emphasize how long it takes to put together a decent collection of wearable art in this way. It is a constant work in progress. And it requires tremendous self discipline. I am always editing up. I have a rule, I have a limited amount of physical space and I must take as much out of my collections and get rid of it as I bring into them. Thus I am sorting and recycling constantly. I have kept many items for decades and some for only a few months. The hunt is part of the fun. You never know what will be around the next corner, what you may find, what new desire this might kindle within you. And, when you get one of these desires going you have to keep it smoldering in the back of your mind constantly, in order to keep the quest for finding it it fueled. Somehow, sending the message that you want something old and odd or unusual helps it to appear on your horizon. This really works! But you must have patience. Sometimes it takes two years or longer for something special to appear.

The Subtler Colorations of Traditional Silks From the 1950's Liberty of London Styles.

This is how it was, as you have read, with the Liberty Vintage Ties!

Then, all of a sudden, as I was driving home I remembered this:

About two years ago, when I was rushing around doing household errands in Target of all places, in Seattle, Washington, I remembered I had seen some men’s Liberty of London print ties for sale! They were part of the Liberty of London for Target collaboration that produced a variety of popular lifestyle accessories, from lamp shades, through throw pillows, clothing and my favorite ~ screen printed bicycles for women and children! I was busy. I was not paying attention. I did not look very hard. I did not buy anything from Liberty of London issued in collaboration with Target that day. In fact, at the time the Target/Liberty campaign was going on I didn’t get into it at all! I missed out on the entire thing! I wish I hadn’t! But I must say, I live in an area where Target is not very active. Very little of that companies special campaigns merchandise make it into the stores in my area. I have since become aware of this because some people I know are collaborating with Target merchandising and PR on developing on their I-phone Application.  In fact, one of those very people is the man whom I was helping with his trip to Tokyo business wardrobe.

This guy is a computer person. He is an IT professional. He is also a gamer. He has long teased me for my penchant for vintage shopping and collecting. He recently observed that thrifting is like gaming – it is all about the hunt, the unknown, the quest, what you will find around the next corner when you go out looking, and what that will lead you onto next. The reward, we vintage shoppers get, in our game, is the treasure we find to add to our collection at a price we are willing to pay. He has observed that people who are “addicted” to thrifting are similar to gamers in this way. He uses this as justification for spending much time gaming, of course! Time I think he should be spending some of shopping so that his wardrobe is ready when he needs it!

Collection of Liberty of London Vintage Scarves ~ Circa 1960's

I do know some thrift shoppers who love to shop because they find it “so relaxing.” these people buy something of everything. I am different. I actually find thrift shopping quite stressfull. I think this is because I am honing in on a particularly small areas of highly specialized and hard to find items. Rare stuff that one hardly ever comes across. And I am way over the thrill of looking through tons of garbage to possibly find it. I actually do not like to have too much stuff around. And all of it must be orderly and neat and in very good condition. I turn down 90% of what I find because it is not pristine enough to fit my standards.

I clean and repair everything as soon as I acquire it if that is necessary. I don’t want to have anything dirty or needing renovation lying around. This, in my opinion, is the advanced stage of successful collecting! These are the ways I have managed to assemble my own collections. I would say that operating within limitations is generally a good guideline. In this case I was looking specifically for the men’s version of the Liberty of London neck pieces ~the ties ~ made in the same time period as my women’s vintage Liberty of London scarves. I was also looking for about the same number of them ~ four or five. I often actually set out with a number like this in mind as I don’t want to feel overwhelmed by having to find or take care of too many. I find that I use and enjoy things if I have numbers of them that are under control.

Photographs of the ties are by Fredric Lehrman

Photographs of the scarves are by Violette de Courcy