Sometime over the summer (2011) I visited an estate sale in a nearby neighborhood where a lot of the older residents are now retired faculty from the local premiere public research university. I assumed, correctly that day, that this might be a real trad ‘nouveau gramps-steez’ payday. The man whose estate sale I was guiltlessly plundering was a Yale grad, as evidenced by the many Yale themed wardrobe items (including fraternity neckties, and a capella group bow ties), and the massive quantities of J. Press neckwear, and the item shown in the pic above. Needless to say, I mercilessly rummaged through the accumulated archive of this dude’s long and bow tie collection.
Despite the much ballyhooed idea that real ‘trad’ style is somehow impervious to the slow sands of historical change, this guy’s collection proved that even the most stalwart trads succumbed to both bad taste and the siren wail of synthetic fibers in the 1970s. I picked out all the nice ‘timeless’ long ties and bow ties that were in wearable condition (including the rep tie pictured here). That totaled 18 items, maybe about 10 ties and 8 bow ties.
I asked the person running the estate sale how much she wanted for the lot (it was being run through an outside party) and she said $2 each. I thought, “shit, that’s an amazing deal!” I looked in my wallet, and found I only had $17, and the sale was cash only, and thought “shit, why am I so broke!?” I steeled myself for rejection, or at least for the prospect of having to choose only 7 out of these 18 pieces (which still would have been a come-up), and brazenly (but not dickishly—never dickishly) asked, “will you do $17 for the bunch? It’s all I have…” The kind woman must have sensed the ‘I’m just a broke-ass dude trying to look nice for my upcoming teaching job’ oozing out of my pores and said “OK, sure, you seem like a nice guy who will put these to good use…”