Inspiration: The Black Grenadine Tie

Inspiration: The Black Grenadine Tie

The black grenadine tie is often cited as a staple accessory. I know that there are some specific outfits where it is the perfect choice – think navy suit, white shirt… grey suit, white shirt… charcoal suit, white shirt… see the pattern? When I received this new black grenadine fina tie from Aklasu, I wanted to see how far we could push the versatility of what appears to be a fairly limited application but staple piece.

Black grenadine with brown/green

Here’s the first outfit. I wore something similar a few years ago, minus the cardigan. This jacket was the base, and I chose to pair it with a chambray shirt and mid-grey trousers. I didn’t own a black grenadine tie at the time, but had a black “faux” grenadine which I wore. For this outfit, the less saturated blue shirt helps pull it all together. The way the black and green interact is visually appealing to me, especially in the context of the brown jacket that features some green in the guncheck pattern. In fact, without the green in the cardigan, I don’t think this look would have been as successful. To pull green into the breast of the jacket, I chose my Van Gogh square from Amide Hadelin. It adds some lightness, but keeps green as the primary colour in the outfit.

This was my first wear of my Sons of Henrey George split-toes in ebony Utah grain, and the deep brown shade really works with the darker tones in the outfit. With everything else here being fairly dark, the black grenadine doesn’t stand out as much because the contrast is lower.

Black grenadine with blue/brown

With this outfit, I wanted the black grenadine tie to be a bit more of a focal point. It is definitely more noticeable to me in this one than the previous. Here, the elements of the outfit are a chambray shirt, light grey cardigan, navy hopsack sport coat and mid-brown flannel trousers, and my black captoes from Carmina. There is more contrast in this outfit – dark (tie, shoes and jacket); light (the cardigan); and middle-ground (shirt and trousers). The square is the Lod Mosaic from Kent Wang, with brings grey, black and brown into the upper half to help connect with the mid-brown trousers.

It feels well balanced, but I can’t help but imagine this outfit being better with a dark brown tie. And that is exactly the reason for this post; exploring whether or not a black grenadine is versatile enough to be used outside of a rather narrow range of applications.

Black grenadine with burgundy/grey

This outfit might be the best case for wearing a black grenadine outside of the known “good” applications. Part of why it works so well is because the outfit as a whole isn’t a large deviation from the type of outfit that works well with a black grenadine. Here I’m wearing a white shirt, light grey cardigan, mid-grey flannels and black captoes. The big difference is the burgundy jacket, which is a definite statement piece, and I think it has the visual heft that carries the focus for the outfit, allowing the black tie to become a part of the whole.

I’ve found this square from Amide Hadelin, “The Syndics” an oil on canvas painting by Rembrandt, is wonderfully dark, and really adds to an outfit, without standing out too much. Something that would be more conspicuous in its absence, if you know what I mean.

Black grenadine with oatmeal/grey

Last, but not least, was this outfit featuring my oatmeal Donegal sport coat, brown striped shirt, mid-grey flannels and my medium brown suede captoes from Morjas. This is the only outfit I’ve featured without a cardigan, and I do feel like it was a missed opportunity. The extra layer and way to introduce a complimentary colour or shade really helps soften the hard visual a black grenadine produces in an outfit. That being said, I like the tie with the brown striped shirt and light jacket. The mid-grey flannels and brown suede shoes finish it off. The top half holds all the contrast, which keeps the eye drawn upwards.

The one bit of colour is the burgundy base in this paisley square, again from Amide Hadelin. It pairs with the brown, but doesn’t match it, and the subtle highlights from the yellow and blue in it add a little bit of interest without being distracting.

Versatility

So, there are more outfits than the well-established few that work for a black grenadine tie. It will never be the best choice, but it’s fun to find ways to get use out of pieces like this. In the more successful applications, there was little deviation from the combinations known to work well. Pairing a black grenadine with browns and greys seemed to be the ones that worked well.

Final thoughts

Since I have a black grenadine in my collection, I will continue to try to find ways to wear it. That’s part of the fun. I guess I agree that it’s a staple, at least for the limited applications outlined at the beginning of this post. If you are just starting out, or have a small collection of ties, I’m not sure I’d recommend investing in a black grenadine too early in your journey. What do you think?

-Colin

4 Replies to “Inspiration: The Black Grenadine Tie”

  1. Many men buy one because of Sean Connery and 007. My first tie rebuilding my wardrobe was a black Faille. I love it, but in many ways it failed. I haven’t been to any funerals and am savvy enough not to pair it with a tuxedo. Nor do I own a black suit so many girlfriends dress their boytoys with (and if they marry them insist on lavender tuxedos and yellow ruffled shirts to match her bridesmaids. I will not quote divorce rates.) But moving beyond Sherlock Holmes, Steampunk and the funeral profession a black tie is deceptively versatile. Add a grenadine, a shantung, avoid the Col Sanders string tie ( and recycled brown gravy) and it is amazingly versatile.

    1. What an entertaining comment! I’d agree that a black tie is quite versatile, but after this little experiment a crunch knit might be a bit more useful than a grenadine. The extra texture and less refinement would go a long way to broadening it’s potential applications.

      -C

  2. (I agree with you) Although I view it as an ‘essential’, I think most men should consider a few other ties before. Once you’ve developed your sense of style, integrate a black tie (strongly recommend a grenadine) into your wardrobe. I think all the looks you put together in this piece should inspire us all. Nice work.

    1. Hi Mensah,

      Thank you! Glad to be of inspiration. I feel that black accessories are under utilized – thinking ties and shoes – but are best left to more advanced dressers outside of formal, conservative outfits. It’s definitely been fun to find ways to wear this beautiful black grenadine.

      -C

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