The Air Tie: A Brief History
One of the greatest things about style is the little details that make you stand out from the crowd. While quality materials and tailored fit are fundamentals, one of our favorite subtle styles to rock is a fully buttoned shirt without a tie, a look that's been recently dubbed the air tie.
It may seem shocking or subversive, but that's because it is meant to be. When rocked with confidence and a crisp well fitting shirt the air tie portrays simultaneously ideas of formality and rebellion. It turns heads because it is unexpected. It is versatile, wear a button-up dress shirt and jacket and skip the tie for formal-wear. Wear a five-day button up closed at the top with chinos for a more casual look.
The air tie purportedly has origins in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, where cattle wranglers and ranchers buttoned their top buttons to keep dust and dirt from blowing down their necks. Aesthetically, it also allowed cowboys and ranchers to dress up their more ornate snapped shirts, complete with decorative piping, embroidery and trims.
Two of the most well known men to flaunt the air tie were the artist Mick Jagger, and the visionary film director David Lynch. The Who wore air ties in their younger days, and Talking Heads front man David Byrne performed in many an air tie.
Today the air tie has experienced a true revival, seen on everyone from the Jonas Brothers to Pharrell to Ryan Gosling.
We recommend starting off your Air Tie adventure by running it in a clean and simply designed shirt, like something from our collection of Five Day Wool / Cotton Button Ups. It's best accompanied with a blazer and tucked in but you can also make it work in a slim fitting shirt that you'd wear untucked, perhaps with a jean or bomber jacket.
The word of caution here is to make sure the shirt has a tailored fit. The Air Tie ran with an ill fitting, boxy shirt starts to approach the South Central late eighties gangster look which thankfully is a style that has long since seen its day.
Finally, it does help to be on the slender size which is extra incentive to stay on that bike, in the gym or on the trails throughout the holiday season.
Happy (not) Tying!