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Joe Brummell #4 – Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down

Men don’t have the same range of fashion accessories that girls do. Wear too much jewellery and you’ll end up looking like Jimmy Saville or a championship darts player. Make-up is generally a no-no and all other accessories are limited to the basics–bags, watches,a casual hat, that’s kind of it. Or is it? Kim Jones debut collection for Louis Vuitton had one particular accessory that you don’t see around too often, the neckerchief. In fact if you look carefully you can see it all over the Spring 2012 runways.

Louis Vuitton

As accessories go, you probably don’t already own one but they’re pretty easy to pick up. Like the pocket square (the neckerchief’s more formal brother) these accessories are cheap, easy to find, and best of all they have the ability to transform the mundane into the extraordinary. So why aren’t we all wearing them? Well it’s a tricky business wearing a neckerchief. Get it wrong and you’ll look like Fred from Scooby Doo. The trouble with a neckerchief lies in the perception that it’s fey, contrived, and worst of all costumey.


The fact is a neckerchief is actually pretty masculine. Historically the item originates from scout uniforms, and the clothes worn by cowboys and sailors. It doesn’t get much more macho that does it? In fashion terms cowboys and sailors are nothing more than stereotypes but if you want to talk gender politics then sailors and cowboys are archetypes – archetypes of real men. But it doesn’t have to be so serious, a neckerchief is fun to wear, and really what’s the point of dressing up if you’re not having fun?


The bow tie made a very welcome come back of late and technically the neckerchief is just a more casual version of that. Wearing one isn’t complicated;in fact if you’ve ever been a scout then tying one will be second nature. Margiela’s neckerchiefs were even fastened with a woggle. If you weren’t a scout, then you can do some research on tying knots. The reef knot or slip knot are your best bets…learning how to tie different types of knots, well, that’s pretty macho in itself.


So when it comes to wearing a neckerchief throw the stereotypes out the window and re-appropriate it for now, for men and for yourself. It’s the perfect accessory – it goes with literally everything and you can revamp your whole wardrobe with no more than a square of fabric, carefully styled and worn with conviction. What are you waiting for?


-Warren Beckett

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