Thinking About Sheen

August 8, 2016

Thinking About Sheen

One of the downsides of shopping online is that you can’t easily tell if something has any sheen. Unlike when you’re in a store, when you can turn something around to see how it reflects light, everything looks flat and one-dimensional online.

Which is a shame since sheen can play an important role in things such as ties. A hard-finish satin tie can look awful during the day, but have a certain sense of sophistication with a dark, navy suit at night (a particularly good combination if you’re going out to an evening event in the city). You can also use sheen to either balance out the matte-finish of a jacket or play up the formality of a suit. Striped silk ties go well with tweed sport coats for the first reason; shinier repp ties pair nicely with business suits for the second.

In the summer, I prefer matte ties, as they look less harsh in the hot afternoon sun. There are lots of options here – linen, linen-blends, and any number of slubby silks (e.g. Tussah, Matka, and Shantung).

You can also try cotton and wool versions of seersucker, as well as Panama silk (a recent favorite of mine). Panamas have a crunchy texture and matte finish, making them feel like a more casual cousin of your basic silk repps. Drake’s has some wonderful ones this season, which you can find on their site and Gentlemen’s Footwear (the second is having a sale on all accessories this week – 20% off orders over $299 with the checkout code accessory20).

Other good options: Irish poplins and Mogadors, both silk-blends where a silk warp is shot through with a worsted wool or fine cotton weft. The silk mixture gives these a vibrant color, while the wool/ cotton blend dulls the sheen. They’re not as matte as the aforementioned options, but they pair well with cotton, linen, and mohair suits all the same.