I remember being less than 5 years old, standing in my father's bedroom in the morning and helping him pick out ties to go with his suits. Whether he was just heading into the office, or about to go to court, he always valued my input and instincts. It's really sad when a grown man thinks that a preschooler has a better fashion sense than he does. Men shouldn't doubt their own instincts quite so much. But here I am, 20 years later, and the last time I saw my dad he still asked me which tie he should wear to dinner. So I guess things never do change. (Although I do like to consider myself a little more credible in the fashion department nowadays!)
But male haplessness is soon to be a thing of the past (when it comes to ties, anyhow). The Tie Bar website has launched a new interface which actually helps guys match their tie to their suit without the help of their wives or daughters. Men are able to "try on" ties by picking a shirt and suit jacket color, and then placing ties against the fabric on-screen to see what works and what doesn't. If men still don't trust their own judgment, Tie Bar suggests ties based on your suit jacket. So if you select 'Navy Suit' for instance, the menu will immediately show only the silk ties which coordinate with a navy blue background. (It took me about 30 seconds to put together the combination shown above, which looks exactly like something my dad would wear back in the day.)
Another reason this works is because unlike other garments, ties are not an accessory you need to try on, so once you know how it'll look, it's easy to shop online. After browsing by suit color, you can double-check your combo by adding a shirt in the "try-on" interface before checking out with your complete order. I think it's a great idea! It's straightforward and practical, which are the two traits guys want when they're forced to go shopping. Tie Bar was created in 2004 by former lawyers (just like my dad!) Greg and Gina Shugar. They wanted to create a way for men to buy affordable accessories that still helped them look sharp every day; now they aim to help men shop and dress with ease and confidence as well.
My dad doesn't wear ties to work anymore. But if yours does, forget the nonsense about a tie being a cliche Father's Day gift. A tie is a wonderful gift for those who wear them, and whose co-workers may be sick of seeing them in the same outfits time and again. But you know what would make an even better gift? Sitting down with dad and showing him how he can use Tie Bar to create stylish new combos all by himself. My dad always appreciates when I take a deep breath and sit down with him to show him how to do newfangled interweb thingys, so I imagine that your dad will appreciate the time and thought, too. Besides, if you give a man a fish he eats for a day, if you show a man to fish...
Then again, since every tie is only $15 and 100% silk, why not throw a tie or two into the gift bag as well? He can put the outfit together and you can pay at check-out. This is also a great last-minute gift idea, since it won't take much forethought and it won't need to be shipped in advance.
Whatever you do with dad this Sunday, I hope you cherish the time spent with your family. Both my father and step-father are far away this weekend, so I envy you your quality time. Give an extra hug for me and all those who can't be with their dads this weekend. Happy Father's Day!