Review: The Cordial Churchman (Black Satin Narrow Butterfly)

For six years now, The Cordial Churchman has been hand making bow ties in a small workshop in South Carolina. They got their start when a wife of an online menswear aficionado (and pastor) made a rather fetching bow tie out of leftover seersucker fabric and his friends asked where it could be bought. She also started converting tired old neckties into fresh looking bow ties, a service that is still offered to this day along with "cut, make, trim" services (sending your own special fabric for product construction). Now they mostly deal in making bow ties from bolts of fabric as is traditional, but these products are no less special. You can't find many of these fabrics elsewhere, they are pretty unique.

Recently, I decided that a better quality, black satin bow tie was needed in my collection. I also thought it was time for a more classic butterfly shape instead of the diamond ended ones bought from The Tie Bar. At the same time, it was difficult to find what I wanted. That is, a butterfly shape that wasn't as wide as traditional but also not very narrow. I didn't want a straight-ended "batwing" tie either. To my surprise, none of the major clothiers one would expect had such an animal available for purchase. I then remembered TCC and how they make bow ties to order.

Arriving in minimal packaging with just some tissue in a small box, the bow tie came complete with a hand-written note from Ellie herself. This, to me, was a great little gesture. The neckwear itself seems pretty decently made for someone who was "merely" self-taught in making them just a few years ago. It has just enough body without being overly stiff and makes a pretty fine bow. Most of all, the 2 1/8" butterfly shape is precisely what I was looking for to wear at future black tie events.

The only minor downside for some is that the adjustable band doesn't have precise neck size markings like most of the major retailers' bows do. I'm a 16" neck and somehow the setting it arrived on works perfectly, but most other people will have to do some fussing before it's right. I'd like to see this feature on their bow ties in the future, but maybe it just won't happen. That's okay. I'll still be buying more ties from them in the future, because they make a great product for almost half of what the major retailers charge.

Wearing the bow tie in my James Bond (Casino Royale) inspired shoot.

Dinner jacket by Brooks Brothers
Evening shirt by Modena
Wristwatch by Kenneth Cole New York
Cuff links by Express

Photo by Cnidarium Photography


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