The paisley tie, as one of the most popular design motifs throughout history, has enjoyed a comeback in recent years.
No longer is the design relegated to hippies and the summer of love, even the most professional and conservative man can wear a paisley splattered tie with confidence.
But where did this design, popular with everyone from John Lennon to J. Barbour & Sons, come from anyway?
The paisley design actually was formed thousands of years ago by the Persians (now known as Iranians). It is said the design represents the leaves of the cypress tree, and are a symbol of fertility, life, and eternity.
In ancients times the paisley design was used to decorate royal garments, and even today it is still an extremely popular pattern among people of the region. Of course, the term "paisley" actually comes from Scotland, after a small town there. If you were to go to Iran, the palm shape would be known as the Carrey design, which means "mango seed" in Urdu. Thanks to the far travelling British Empire, who introduced the pattern to the Western world, we can all enjoy this beautiful design.
However, not everyone may appreciate the deeper meaning of the paisley motif, especially in the United States. In the US at least, the pattern has associations with hippies, who readily adopted the symbolic pattern, and also with some West Coast gangs, who wear blue or red paisley bandanas depending on their gang membership.
Though a paisley necktie isn't going to declare you a gang member, it's still good to know the opinions of your superiors. You wouldn't want to show up to work to a cranky boss who lived through the 60's, and hated hippies.
Other than being wary of conservative bosses, the paisley tie makes an excellent accessory for many occasions. Work, dinner, and cocktails are all great occasions for this beautiful motif. If you are going to an extremely formal event however, try to stick with Black Tie Wear or Solid Colored Ties at the very least.
There are many reasons why people love the paisley design, not least of all because it can be done in so many ways. Designs are mostly printed on Silk Ties, but can be anything from one huge paisley in the middle of a tie, to many small ones that are so tiny they do not even register as paisley unless closely scrutinized.
A basic rule for matching your dress shirt and your paisley necktie is to keep patterns on your shirt to a minimum, and always have a larger pattern on your tie than on your dress shirt. Try and match a background color on your tie to your dress shirt as well. For example, a paisley necktie with a red background, yellow paisleys, and green outlines for the design would go great with a green dress shirt.
Also, remember that a plain white dress shirt will go with anything, and is always a safe bet. Still, a colored dress shirt can look absolutely astounding when done correctly. Just make sure to match the shirt to a low key color in the tie so as not to look overly matched. More on Matching Tie and Shirt.
Also, try and stick with a solid colored suit rather than a tweed or striped jacket and pants. You don't want your colleagues to go into shock from pattern overload; you want them to admire your handsome tie instead.
If you are looking for an amazing paisley tie the hunt won't be too onerous. In 2005 the paisley necktie enjoyed a lovely renaissance, and has been easy to find in the following years.
One designer, noted for helping to bring back the paisley trend is Robert Talbott, a neckwear designer out of California who produces hand sewn silk ties. His ties may be pricey, but they are some of the best. His paisley motifs are also very modern, using bold color combinations like periwinkle, black, and gold along with strong lines.
Look to Italian designers like Gianfranco Ferre and Gucci at Raffaelloties.com for brighter, more drastic color combinations. And don't forget to include classic American designers like Kenneth Cole and Ralph Lauren, both of whom have paisley necktie designs to their credit.
In truth, you would have to look hard to find a designer who doesn't have paisley neckties; some just do it better than others, that's all.
So if you are looking for a classy design that will push your fashion borders a little bit, don't hesitate to try a paisley tie. There's a reason why this design has lasted centuries, it is clean, beautiful, and symbolic.
Now, all you have to do to garner the same compliments on your style is hurry out and buy one today!