Versatility is a wardrobe virtue, particularly when you’re starting out, or perhaps are traveling. It’s also fun to play those games of “if you could only have one….” When it comes to deciding on the One Tie, I think one would be hard pressed to beat the navy grenadine for versatility and elegance. Black grenadine is often pointed to as a “One Tie”, but I find navy more pleasant and versatile.
Solid ties have made a bit of a comeback in the past decade (think James Bond and Mad Men), and grenadines, unsurprisingly, have made an upswing as well. Solid ties can be paired with most anything, but the texture that grenadine offers provides visual interest and contrast to worsted suits. But the texture also allows them to be coupled with rougher cloths like tweed, which simply wouldn’t work with a smooth, satin tie.
Grenadine is a woven fabric that is made to look like a knit. If you compare a knit tie to a grenadine the uninitiated eye might confuse the two, although knit ties typically have a squared off, rather than pointed, end. There are two different versions of grenadine, garza grossa and garza fina. Garza grossa has a larger, bumpier, weave, while garza fina is, well, finer.
I picked up a perfect Robert Talbott navy grenadine recently, and it might just be the perfect necktie. A garza fina, it could be worn with a gray suit at the office, a seersucker suit in summer, or a herringbone tweed and cords in fall. Pack it for a trip and it will be the only necktie you need (I confess to always packing a backup tie just in case I’m attacked by aggressive salad dressing ).
A number of makers, particularly niche makers, offer grenadines (No Man Walks Alone, Sam Hober, Vanda, Kent Wang, Chipp). That said, they can be difficult to find inexpensively as grenadines are always in demand. Chipp is the best budget buy at retail.
If you only had a tie wardrobe of grenadines you would dress far nicer than 99% of the men you come into contact with. And if you only have a navy grenadine, tied in a four-in-hand knot, you will be ready for any situation that comes along.
Watch the folks at Sam Hober make a four-fold grenadine tie: