What Is a Silk Grenadine Tie?
What fashion accessory can effortlessly be worn with more formal or business attire and also more casual outfits? The silk grenadine tie.
Few ties are as versatile, easy to pair with various shirts and jackets and as timeless as a genuine Italian silk grenadine tie.
So, what exactly is a grenadine tie and why is it considered not only a staple but an essential part of every discerning gentleman's wardrobe?
A genuine silk grenadine necktie is made exclusively in the Lake Como area of Northern Italy. The fabric is made from tightly twisted silk yarns that are then loosely woven on historic wooden shuttle looms that date back to the early 20th century.
There are only two mills that weave genuine grenadine silk, Fermo Fossati, a historic silk-manufacturing company founded in the mid-19th century and Seteria Bianchi, established in 1907.
One of the sought after features of a grenadine tie is that it has a unique, attractive texture and dull luster. Not to be confused with a knitted tie, a silk grenadine tie offers a more formal look than a knitted tie, but it can still be worn in a wide range of situations. Much in demand, these 2 small mills in Como can only weave so much grenadine a year. This makes a real grenadine tie a very special and exclusive item to own.
Grenadine ties are perhaps best known for being a favorite of the character James Bond, starting with Sean Connery in his 007 roles. You don't have to be Bond to make a grenadine look good, though. All you need to know are a few tips on how to identify a grenadine and when and how to wear it.
Different Types of Grenadine Weaves:
These old wooden looms can produce different textured grenadine weaves. The most common are: garza grossa and garza fina. Garza grossa is a larger, looser weave than the garza fina. The grossa weave has a more nubby texture and duller sheen. Because of this, it has a slightly more casual look to it and makes a larger knot.
NAVY GARZA GROSSA
NAVY GARZA FINA
Choosing Between Garza Grossa and Garza Fina:
So, should you select garza grossa or garza fina for your tie? It really comes down to personal preference. Both types create a look of understated elegance. Many men choose to own both types as each offers a unique texture and look. Garza grossa It is slightly more delicate than garza fina precisely because of its larger, looser weave. Both look fabulous, and both, like any loose weave fabric, require a bit of attention so as not to snag them.
How an Elizabetta Grenadine Tie is Constructed:
The fabric itself is woven in one of the two mills in Como, Italy. Because the looms are old wooden looms, and because there are only two mills (both highly secretive and competitive with each other), the quantities of any color made at any one time is small. The twisted silk yarns used are yarn-dyed, meaning the yarn itself is dyed, the color comes from that, not printed after the fabric is woven.
Next, a tailor in Como cuts the grenadine fabric on a 45° angle, which is called the true bias. This results in a tie that when worn, hangs properly and does not roll. All quality ties are made from fabric cut on the true bias. When you cut fabric on less than a 45% angle, you can make more ties out of the same amount of fabric, but the ties then have a tendency to roll and not make a proper dimpled knot. It is a common way to produce ties that cost less.
At Elizabetta we choose to add an interlining of pure wool. This not only gives the tie some body, but helps the tie to keep its shape for many years of wear. Many companies choose a polyester interlining.
Wool, like silk, breathes and is flexible. Polyester is neither. It costs considerably less to make a tie with a polyester interlining.
Our ties are then hand sewn with a loop stitch, leaving a small thread loop at the end. This lets the tie move and stretch as it is pulled, knotted and unknotted. The loop gives the tie the ability to do all these things without ripping and allows the tie to go back to its original shape.
We then tip the end of our neckties with our signature pure silk fabric. Once again, many companies use a polyester fabric for tipping, and some even call it silk. We choose to tip with pure silk for a refined look and because the grenadine is such a delicate and loose weave, it's another feature that helps the tie keep its shape for many years to come.
We add a keeper loop to all of our grenadine ties. Some men like to tuck the narrow end of the tie in the keeper loop to keep the two sides together, others prefer to have both ends loose to show off the underside of the tie and the quality features that go into making it. Either way is a great way to wear your tie, it's simply a preference.
Solid Colors vs. Patterns:
We make some of our grenadine ties with subtle woven patterns to add to the visual appeal of this extraordinary fabric. However, if you are looking to purchase your first grenadine, many stylists suggest going with a solid color, often a navy grenadine tie because this classic color offers maximum versatility, coordinating with so many different outfits from business suits to tweed jackets. Of course, you may become an aficionado and then choose to build a wardrobe with different color solids, both types of weaves and different patterns.
At Elizabetta we make not only classic colors that are the backbone of a well-rounded wardrobe, like our burgundy grenadine tie and black grenadine tie, but also some striped grenadine ties and other subtle patterns.
Standard Length or Extra Long Length:
Here at Elizabetta we make our ties in two lengths. We list the length as a range, because depending on how you pull or don't pull the tie, the loose weave allows it to "move". Remember the loop stitch mentioned above? Our extra long grenadine ties are proportioned to accommodate a slightly wider tip.
- 58.5-59" (148-150cm) Standard length with is suitable for most men under 6'2"
- 62.5-63" (158-160cm) Extra Long Length, suitable for most men 6'2" and over.
If you're not sure which length to buy, you can refer to this guide.
Choosing the Right Knot
Choosing the right knot is an important part of your outfit. Grenadine is a thicker material and a four-in-hand knot will work every time to give you a great dimple with a knot that is not too big and is slightly asymmetrical Try out different knots, maybe you'll find one that is your favorite!
Grenadine Ties for Formal Occasions
Grenadine ties are often regarded as being more formal, but that doesn't mean you can only wear them at weddings and other special events. Although they are a good choice for most formal occasions, they also work well for doing business, going out to dinner or even working behind the bar of a 5-star hotel. It's up to you to work out which occasions you think your grenadine ties are best suited for. They can give your look the extra edge that it needs for a job interview or Zoom meeting and it can even be a good conversation starter, with its smart look.
How to Wear a Grenadine More Casually
You don't need to be dressed up to make grenadine ties work. They're also a good choice for a smart-casual look. If you want to create a slightly more casual look with Italian grenadine ties, you can consider pairing them with blazers and tweeds or for that video meeting, a shirt minus the jacket.
Coordinating Your Grenadine Tie to Your Outfit:
You need to make sure your tie doesn't clash with your shirt or jacket. If you have a solid colored grenadine tie, this is immediately made much easier. You don't have to worry about coordinating your patterns. However, you do still need to think about color. There are no hard or fast rules about which colors go together, so use your eye. If you're not sure, ask someone else to check. As for patterns, it's best to pair large patterns with smaller ones so that you don't have two similar-sized patterns battling for dominance.
A Very Brief History of Grenadine Silk Fabric:
Here in Italy, grenadine fabric is called "garza a giro inglese" which means "English weave gauze."
This is because the wooden looms used in Como to produce grenadine fabric descend from an English bobbin net machine that was invented by John Heathcoat. The machine was the first of its kind to produce a lace-type fabric and make gauze fabric. The old wooden shuttle looms used in Como are similar, but have evolved to create the classic and elaborate jacquard gauze weave silk used for grenadine ties.
Como has a long tradition of silk making, dating back to the 1400s when the Duke of Milan ordered the planting of mulberry trees around Lake Como to promote sericulture. Consequently, by the 17th century Como had become famous throughout all of Europe for producing the finest silk fabrics.
Como today still produces some of the world’s most beautiful silk, including of course, silk grenadine.