Look no further than the amazing wool tie, if you are looking for an accessory that is classy, earthy, and practical.
Wool is a fiber that has been utilized for countless centuries, since human beings have domesticated sheep. There are even paintings depicting the Virgin Mary knitting a round sweater using wool yarn.
But what makes this fiber so special, and why would you want to wear a wool necktie?
Wool starts out as the fleece covering a living sheep. The fiber has a reputation as being scratchy, but really it just depends on what breed of sheep the fleece comes from. Icelandic sheep have very coarse and sturdy wool for harsh conditions, which makes their wool very rough.
On the other end of the spectrum we have the Merino sheep, with its very fine hairs, which produces wonderfully soft wool. There are many breeds in between which produce fiber somewhere between the two extremes, such as Blue Faced Leicester and Colonial sheep.
Wool is a fabulous natural material. Wool is an insulator, which means it traps heat very well. This can be a positive thing in the winter, as having it may help keep your neck warm. But in the summertime that insulating effect may become very stifling. Keep these ties as winter accessories, switching to silk for summer.
One positive aspect of wool is that it is slightly water resistant because of the lanolin it contains. So if you spill a small amount of drink on your tie it shouldn't be too difficult to just brush off.
On the other hand, wool is not a washable material. When exposed to warm water or agitation wool begins to felt, or shrink and lock fibers together. Even rubbing a small stain can cause that area to felt. This means that they are not easily cleaned, which can be a liability when eating or at a cocktail party.
A wool necktie may be Knitted or Woven, and each has certain characteristics. A knitted tie will have some spring to it, and won't drape like a Silk Tie or Satin Tie would. It will also lack a little of the fullness of a woven tie. A knitted tie can also look a bit more casual, and goes best with earthy colors or tweed suits.
A woven wool necktie can have a very crisp look, and is usually made with finer gauge wool than the knitted tie. A woven tie will go better with a crisper looking suit, and is more formal than its knitted cousin. Keep in mind that the finer the yarn is, the more formal looking the tie will be, and the better drape it will have.
Some of the best wool neckties are made in England, Italy, and the US. One of the foremost producers of handmade wool neckties in the US is Mountain & Sackett, out of New York City. The English also have a love affair with wool, and you can find these excellent ties at retailers such as the world famous Harrods.
You can also find some of the world's finest wool mills in Italy, which is a high quality producer of many wool products including neckties. For Italian designers look to Gucci and Versace, along with all the other big name designers from the fashionable country.
If you are looking for a trendy, warm, practical, and earthy men's accessory stock up on knitted and woven wool ties. They are a piece that will last you many years and will always be in style.
Next time you drive past an idyllic flock of bouncing rams and ewes, think about the amazing fiber nature has provided for us, and wear your wool necktie with pride!