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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Episode 200: Origins

This entry marks the 200th tie I have displayed on this blog! For this special occasion I've dipped into the Permanent Collection for my first fabulous tie, from International Passport. I bought it at Raleigh's in White Flint during their going-out-of-business sale in 1990 or '91; I wore mostly conservative ties at the time, but this playful item evoked the cartoon Paris of Pepe le Pew and the Pink Panther (and, more recently, Shag), so I splurged. (At half price it still cost $40.) The tie got a great reception; everyone loved it, and it's probably what set me on a course to become the necktie maniac I am today. Two hundred down, and I'm just getting started!

The twelve-store Raleigh's chain was a Washington-area fixture for fine clothing; the chain was bought by clothing manufacturer Hartmarx in 1988 during a period of acqusitory expansion. The takeover resulted in the immediate loss of 40 jobs in Raleigh's distribution center, and later, as Hartmarx failed to succeed in the retail business (shedding all its retail divisions except for Kuppenheimer), the demise of the chain itself. (The 90s
were to see several more bankruptcies of beloved area retailers, such as Garfinckel's and Woodward & Lothrop.) The Raleigh's story has a happy ending, of sorts: it was bought out by a group of employees who turned it into Boardroom Ltd. Clothiers, with a single location at White Flint Mall.


jackadandy said...

BV, great choice! I really like that tie, and the shirt you have with it is, in my regal opinion, the perfect support.

The fact that it was this particular Pepe le Pew tie that started you rolling down your path to necktie obsession reveals much about your soul and psyche---all of it good! ;)

Burl Veneer said...

Why thank you, Jack! Finding the right shirt for a tie (or, when nearing the end of a laundry cycle, vice versa) is, for me, a really fun mental exercise in the morning (or evening, if I'm feeling industrious enough to plan ahead). As for my soul and psyche: aw, shucks! (Blush...)