“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”     —Oscar Wilde
Here in the States, the repp tie is a universal, democratic fixture of fashion. You’d be forgiven for assuming it is an original American classic like the penny loafer or the chino. Though its preppie pedigree is as solid as the rocks in a southside cocktail, the repp originated across the pond in the late 1800s. It traces a dual heritage to both playing fields and battlefields. The British gentry adopted ties with stripes in meticulously established widths and colors to signify the schools, clubs and regiments they hailed from. During the First World War, the Prince of Wales turned the blue-and-red broad-striped tie of his elite Grenadier Guards regiment into a dapper fashion accessory that Americans then embraced en masse. It remains one of the most popular repp ties in the U.S.
Image via GQ
In 1920, Brooks Brothers made concession to outraged British sensibilities when they ran the diagonal stripes down from right to left, the opposite direction from regimental and traditional club ties. Stripped of its upstairs-downstairs connotations, the striped repp tie began popping up in Ivy League wardrobes. Bolster your collection with durable silk ones by Polo by Ralph Lauren in navy and kelly-green prints and stripes (Polo, $95-$105). Paired with a navy blazer and a crisp white oxford, it signals American attitude at it’s best.