Louis Walton Tie Review
A few weeks back Gregory Walton of Louis Walton contacted me regarding my interest in reviewing a few of his ties. Although I had been admiring Gregory’s work for awhile, I was a little worried about reviewing a product I had no experience with in such a public forum. But, with a will similar to that of Sir Edmund Hillary, I agreed.
Gregory had me select two colors of his “repp silk” ties. Repp silk (or silk faille) is a type of slightly textured silk with a diagonal rib and, like the grenadine or knit, it is a subtle way to insert texture into your outfits. I chose navy, as one cannot have too many navy ties, and a shimmering emerald green. I think a solid green tie is an underrated piece, especially in fall, and can be used to tone down otherwise wild combinations.
When the ties arrived and I pulled them out of the box, at first I was a little underwhelmed. I’ve seen ties like these before, hell, I’ve probably thrifted half a dozen, so what makes these so special? It was only after I inserted the ties in my neckwear rotation that I began to truly appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into a Louis Walton tie.
Gregory’s goal for Louis Walton is to be known as a source of great quality. He makes all Louis Walton ties by hand, in San Francisco, using the highest quality fabrics in the world (the same used by Drake’s and Ralph Lauren Purple Label). The hand-rolled edges and stitching gives each tie a unique look and feel that is really evident after a few wears. The best way I can describe it is that each tie has a “puffiness” about it, a sort of three-dimensional structure that really gives the tie life. When I sat down and examined the navy repp silk Gregory sent me and compared it to a similar navy repp silk from Zegna (at a comparable MSRP), the difference was obvious. Although the Zegna was nice, it just had no life, no “personality.”
I also really appreciated the knot these ties made. As someone over measuring over six feet tall, I’m used to tying a tie and being left with a dinky knot that requires me to spend way too much time trying to produce a solid dimple. These ties knot just right on the first try. They are substantial without being showy.
Now, all this quality comes at a price. Louis Walton ties start at $150 and go into the $200s for cashmere and similar fabrics. As someone who has thrifted a majority of his wardrobe, the idea of spending seventy-five times what I normally pay for a tie takes some getting used to. So I asked Gregory, why should someone reading this review spend such a sum on a Louis Walton tie? Here was his response:
“Fabric at this level quality is very expensive and when you consider that it takes about 1.5 hours to make a tie of the simplest construction the price has to be what it is. It is one of the things I really struggled with in the beginning because I know a lot of people who are passionate about #menswear are not the people who can always afford the price of the tie. I don’t think that everyone should spend $150 for a tie. If you spill soup on a $150 tie it is worth the same as a $20 tie with soup on it, very little. I would cry if I spent that much on a tie and I snagged or soiled it. With all of that said, I think there are times when people should consider a tie at this price point. For special occasions like weddings, interviews, and meetings people want to wear something nice that will make them feel special.”
I agree with Gregory. I am constantly on the lookout for deals in order to enhance my wardrobe. And that’s why I think thrifting is such a valuable tool for developing ones style. You get a chance to try different styles, cuts, makers, colors, etc., all without breaking the bank. But once you begin to figure out what it is you like, you truly learn to appreciate quality and are willing to pay for it. Would I suggest that someone just getting into men’s clothing drop this kind of cash on a tie without having done the research? No. But for someone who knows what they want, who understands what ties work best for them and which pairings best compliment their suite of odd jackets and pocket squares, I wholeheartedly endorse Louis Walton.
Follow LouisWalton on tumblr here, and check out the site, here. Gregory also accepts custom orders and has recently begun selling a line of high-quality leather goods.