4 Tiers of Ties and Where to Buy Them

My ties hang in my guest closet on a rack. Each tie represents a different mood which I ultimately want to share with the outside world. I have knit ties for when I'm feeling a bit Coggins-esque or trying to pull off a Mashburn and jeans look. I have a cashmere tie that forms a very large knot that I save for winter. I have an armada of repp stripe, block stripe and print ties that serve loyally for work, and a bowtie or five if I get a wild hair and feel like channeling the soul of a tenured professor. Like with all menswear, stuff comes and goes, style and tastes change, and lessons are learned (skinny tie on big frame? Not great, Bob). Below I've broken down where I've bought my ties into four tiers while sharing the positive and negative of each. I've also included an estimated cost of a tie from each tier.

  1. Goodwill, Salvation Army, local charity/church shops, etc. ($10 or less): The first tier consists of your usual suspect thrift stores like Goodwill & Salvation Army. But I also include in here smaller charity and church shops. Typically I find off brand ties with shiny textures and poor construction covering most of these tie racks. So here at the bottom tier this is where you have to put in the most sweat equity. A lot of the time I walk out of these stores with nothing. But I circle back every month or so because if you keep showing up and rummaging you'll find a nice Brooks Brothers or Ralph Lauren tie hiding amongst the chaos. I recommend checking out local charity and church shops first. They can also be a treasure chest for art.

  2. Boutique Goodwill, thrift shops, ebay ($15-$30): The next tier takes some of the rummaging out of the equation for you. Boutique Goodwill will have plenty of Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers shirts, suits, and polos and a handful of ties. Key is to find the locations near the more affluent areas of your city. Same with independent thrift shops. By filtering out the "bad stuff" they immediately cook back this service into their prices. But the quality is higher and your chances of finding something you want to take away improve. This price range is where I start using Ebay as well. I use it as a specialization tool to find nicer ties that are listed below value. I'm a big proponent of the Buy Now function, set your price limits, use broad keywords and fire away.

  3. Consignment stores( $50-$120): The next step up is what I consider my "retail" for buying higher end ties. The clothing consignment stores I frequent typically sale their ties for a third of the original retail price. So I can justify buying myself a $70 Hermés tie than using the rest of what one would cost me retail ($215) to go to dinner with the wife. This is where I get most of my ties as of right now. Im definitely buying less since I built a foundation through thrift stores. Now I can be more particular about filling in the gaps. Typical suspects I see are Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Drake's, Hermés, Kiton, etc.

  4. Retail ($120 & up): The final step and the one I do my best to stay away from, is full retail. With a finite amount of means and a long list of hobbies something has to give. Therefore I think it is smart to save on ties by using the previous three methods. However this is easier to say but harder to do when you are standing in the Ralph Lauren flagship store in Paris during your honeymoon. Therefore I can only endorse the purchase of ties at full retail price if you are doing so to mark an occasion.

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