Know Your Terms: Repp Tie

Because dropping the lingo is half the fun of dressing well.

When most style-inclined guys think of a repp tie—aka a “rep” tie—they think of the quintessential preppy accessory, decked out in a diagonal stripe and (probably) hanging from the neck of a clean-cut young man in the halls of some hallowed institution of higher learning. It’s been that way ever since 1920, when Brooks Brothers adopted the regimental and club stripes that traditionally adorned the neckties of the British gentry and signified membership in everything from military battalions and private schools, to athletic teams and drinking societies. Brooks Americanized things by reversing the direction of the stripes, and birthed a trend that became a defining aspect of Ivy style. But though those iconic stripes are damn good looking, they’re not actually the defining feature of the repp tie. That honor falls to the fabric—namely, the tightly woven silk that’s marked by tight ribs running across the surface. The history of the name has two different versions. In one, it’s a corruption of the French reps, a word of unknown origin. In another, “repp” somehow evolved from the word “ribbed.” Which, if either, is the real story? We’ll likely never know. But at least the ties look good.

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