Every day we get inundated with overblown, scare-inducing stories about how the economy, the world as we know it, is coming to an end… Of course, there is much truth to be told and although I am a great optimist, I do know we have seen better days. First our financial system takes a free fall, then our auto industry runs out of gas and now up to 50 billion dollars has potentially been squandered by the greedy and corrupt. I don’t know about you, but I am sort of fed up.
So in true form, this got me thinking about how I can continue to preach about building a personal brand and creating a unique style, while being sensitive to those who are not quite as confident that all will be OK. I decided to devote this entire week to ways we can still invest in our economy (by continuing to shop), be frugal and at the end of the day give something back to those who are in need.
As you know, I am a big fan of switching up your work wardrobe. Even if you work in the most corporate of environments, there are ways you can still look memorable on a daily basis with minimal investment. The most obvious, but perhaps the most challenging is neckwear. Us girls think men have it easy… Throw on a suit, pick a basic shirt and grab a tie and go. The truth of the matter is that picking the right suit-shirt-tie combo is not only quite a skill, but a real challenge for most men. My truly fashionable clients definitely do it right, but it can be a painstaking process at six, seven in the morning. There are so many ways to make a mistake and sadly grave-tie-choice errors seem to be the norm!
So what is a guy to do? The first option is to shop intelligently. Buy your shirts and ties at the same time and if you aren’t a true style maven, ask the salesperson to help. Pick a least two ties for every shirt. Another alternative is to pick a tie brand that is known for subtle, sophisticated patterns...small tight patterns, classic stripes. If you keep it simple, you can still look distinguished and chic, without the potential for a complete fashion flop. I recently found the perfect combination of style, craftsmanship and design, a new brand called RVR Neckwear.
I had the opportunity to sit down with the man behind the tie, RVR’s founder, Robert Valdez-Rodriguez. Robert ( a great guy by the way) is a Wall Street veteran, who about a year ago came to the realization that buying a tie was not only somewhat of a daunting task due to the boundless selection, but that overall good taste and quality was somewhat elusive. He set out to create the perfect neckwear collection…one that addresses the needs of the style-conscious businessman and delivers quality, elegance and a big douse of personalization.
Robert designs all of the RVR ties and has partnered with the premier neckwear fabric mill in Italy. Although some of the designs are similar to those found in some competitive brands, all of the colors and most patterns are exclusive to RVR. I saw the collection and I really felt that it was right on the money. He gets it…he lived it. He was the one the guys who needed to make that arduous decision every morning. He has more insight into the needs of the average man, than lets say some junior designer who never will have to don traditional business dress. The result is rich colors, subtlety and a polished point-of-view.
Also, all of the ties are 100% handmade. At $185, you will be hard-pressed to find such a value. Most ties are machine made (even some of the well-known luxury brands). Another key distinguishing factor is that all of the ties are self-tipped. In simple terms, the underbelly of the tie is in the exact same fabric as the tie, no solid lining...amazing!!! With RVR you get couture-like construction and smart design for a not-to-hard-to-swallow price.
Perhaps my favorite part about the line is that it is not readily available. Buying lesser known brands is a key way to up your personal style quotient! Robert has been smart to control distribution and remain selective about which stores carry the line. He decided to make his website the primary point of distribution, so you can shop online in the privacy of your own home with you entire shirt and suit collection at your disposal. How can you make a mistake?
If you are watching your spending these days, RVR Neckwear is a smart investment. Forgo buying a new suit (of course unless you really need one), and buy a few RVR ties…take the money you save and donate it to one of my favorite charities, Housing Works, dedicated to fighting AIDS and homelessness. Better yet, clean out your tie drawer or edit your tie rack, and all of the impulse mistakes you have made and give them to Housing Works as well!!!