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Ties That Have Seen Better Days--or Years--Might Not Be Suitable Anymore


Many guys keep a collection of ties in their closets. There are the few they use on the job or for special occasions; then there's the bundle that sit like hibernating snakes, collecting dust and fading out of style.

Here's the one you wore to high school graduation, the skinny one you had for your first job, the leather one you picked up because you thought it was cool.

Like any kind of clothing, ties have a life expectancy. If you haven't picked through yours recently, it may be time to start.

"Pull them out of the closet and into the light to look for fading or fraying," says Ziva Adams of Tie Rack in MainPlace/Santa Ana. "If it still looks good, and it coordinates with what you wear now, keep it. If not, get rid of it."

If you wear ties to work, it's easy to get caught up in a rotation--these two ties go with this suit, this tie with this shirt, and so forth. In the meantime, you're forgetting about a dozen other ties that are dormant, keeping your castaway shirts and belts company in the closet.

"We're in a period where almost any style of tie is acceptable," Adams says. "This may be the time to get one last use out of some of those older ties you have."

Because ties are often the first thing people notice about you, keeping them up to date becomes a priority if you're trying to groom your image. An antique tie might work just fine for a party, but at a big client meeting, you may want to dress to impress.

"After about two years, colors tend to change in fashion, and you may find that the great tie you got a couple of years ago doesn't really go with your new suits," says Tom Fuller of Fuller's for Men & Women in Laguna Niguel. "That's why it's generally recommended that you pick up a few new ties when you buy a suit."

If a tie is dusty, have it dry cleaned. If it's just out of shape, a simple pressing might be in order.

"Silk ties are very resilient. You can use a cool iron, very lightly, on the neck area to get rid of creases," Adams says.

When you put a tie on and it just seems to lack that certain "crispness" it used to have, it may have been knotted for the last time.

"There's a thread, a 'lifeline,' in a tie that can be broken if you pull on it too hard," Adams says. "You'll notice that it loses its shape, and it becomes easily frayed."

What should you look for when tie shopping? Victorian patterns with flowers and elaborate designs are in.

* Do you need an antidote for a wardrobe problem? Write Closet Rx at The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Or fax to (714) 966-7790.

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