Cool knots can knit your style together

This month we look at tips and styles the modern man can adopt while piecing together his wardrobe.

I’ll admit that male fashion is not necessarily my forte, so I have sought the advice of a man whose taste is simply exceptional.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a tie knot that looks like a fish tail. It’s not your average triangle top, but a more complex layered knot. I was intrigued by it when I bumped into Rosebank resident Gugulethu Hlekwayo rocking what is called the Eldredge tie knot as a subtle, yet eye-catching accessory.

Gugulethu cuts a striking figure in his grey suit pants and matching waistcoat. His look is completed by brown snakeskin shoes and a yellow felt, flower brooch adding a punch.

“It was his tie in particular which caught the attention of more than a few onlookers. This led me to seeking out his advice on how to tweak the ordinary to make it extraordinary.

“It’s weird that people have been wearing the same tie for like the past 40 years. It feels like punishment right.

“Three to four years ago I found this website that does exotic tie knots and they have thousands of them.

“We need to experiment, it’s a fun thing I do in the morning. It takes me about 10 to 15 minutes to do a new knot. It’s a nice conversation piece for people,” said Gugulethu.

He sported the Merovingian knot the second time I met him. This looks like there is a small tie knot underneath the bigger one.

Gugulethu said donning his formal attire has earned him more respect among his colleagues and influences the way others treat him. “People underestimate how much you know if you’re not packaged the right way. The thing about first impressions is, they stick. We want to believe that we judge people fairly but first impressions normally stay and people defend their impressions.

“I work in advertising which is very casual, but what I find is that when you’re sitting down with a client and you’re wearing a suit and tie, you can present whatever idea to them no matter how crazy and they will go with it,” said Gugulethu.

Apart from the psychological and physical benefits one receives from dressing well, Gugulethu said that his look is not expensive to maintain, which is definitely a win.

According to Gugulethu, his wardrobe was put together over a few years by buying investment pieces.

Like myself, he keeps a keen eye on sale goods which normally come round at the end of the season and also visits second-hand goods shops like the one run by the Salvation Army in Mowbray to find timeless gems. “Flea markets have a lot of things. They don’t have the average sizes, but on occasion I’ll find something. The Salvation Army (shop) is good for jackets and coats and waistcoats are great.

“All the suits and things I buy I take to the tailor. It cost you like R200. There is a guy (in Claremont), if you take your suit there you’ll feel like a different man,” said Gugulethu.

He said that men and women should think about the item they purchase and figure out if it will go with the clothing they already have at home. Not doing this can be a costly mistake. “You’re not just buying an item, you’re building a wardrobe. It takes a while. I’ve been building my wardrobe for five or six years. You should start off with a clear idea of what you want. Black, white, grey and shades in between are good shades to have. Then you make it about textures.

“I am in love with grey scale, it goes with everything; there is nothing that doesn’t work with it. Then I can add colour to it with my lapel brooch – it was R20 at a flea market outside Cavendish,” said Gugulethu.

Remember you can email me at athina.may@inl.co.za with all your fashion finds and frustrations. Also check out How To Tie a Tie Double Eldredge Knot by Patrick Novotny on YouTube.