Dark Navy Grenadine: The Most Versatile Tie Ever?

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If you could only have one tie in your wardrobe, what tie would that be? Could one tie possibly take care of all tie-wearing needs? If there is one tie that could possibly do it all, it would be a dark navy grenadine.

Fermo Fossati, a silk weaver in Como, Italy, provides the grenadine silk to Turnbull & Asser, Anthony Sinclair, Drakes, Sam Hober and many other purveyors of neckties. Fermo Fossati offer four different shades of navy. The lightest and brightest one that is still in the navy range of blues is known as “Navy” (code 213) and is what Sean Connery wears with his navy suit to the office in From Russia with Love. The next two, “Prussia blue” (code 26800) and “Dusty navy” (code 217), are slightly darker and more like dark teal than navy. These are the least versatile navy grenadine silks because their green cast makes them clash with most blue clothes.

A dark navy grenadine tie from Anthony Sinclair in the same 7 cm width as Sean Connery’s

The darkest grenadine tie that Fermo Fossati offers is the “Dark navy” (code 6220). Unlike all of the other navy grenadine silks that they offer, this one is the purest blue, with perhaps a slight indigo cast, at least in comparison to the rest of the navy grenadine silks Fermo Fossati offers. This makes it match better with most navy suits and blazers than all of the others do. The dark, cool tone of this tie helps it harmonise more with greys (as well as other colours) because it feels more neutral. The very dark blue of this tie also allows it to blend with an outfit rather than pop out of it, so it is less likely to clash with anything it is paired with.

Though Sean Connery also wears the lighter navy grenadine tie, his dark navy grenadine tie from Turnbull & Asser is the foundation of his tie wardrobe and is the only tie that he wears in the first Bond film, Dr. No. He also wears it in From Russia with Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. These are all of his official Bond films in which he wears any grenadine ties. He pairs this tie successfully with grey suits of all shades, from pale to charcoal, and with navy suits and blazers. This dark navy tie could go well with just about anything else too, from light blues to browns and tans. It can work with just about any colour besides black. Though sometimes black and blue can pair harmoniously together, this tie is too dark and too close to black for it to not clash.

A black tie could be almost as versatile as a dark navy tie, but black can look harsh against many colours—particularly bright colours—and skin tones. Dark navy is a slightly softer colour than black, meaning it will complement more outfits and skin tones more pleasingly.

Why is the grenadine tie more versatile than other ties? The grenadine is plain, so it will not clash with any patterns, but the texture keeps it interesting. Other textures can work just as well as grenadine does, but few are as luxurious as the lacy grenadine. Its luxurious nature makes it more formal than the somewhat visually similar sporty knitted tie and thus appropriate for just about all suits. On the other hand, the grenadine tie is less formal than the satin tie—the dressiest of all neckties—and unlike the satin tie it can pair nicely with most sports coats. Both the garza grossa (large gauze) that Sean Connery’s Bond wears and the garza fina (fine gauze) are equally versatile.

The only downside to the tie of ultimately versatility is that grenadine silk is delicate and will snag if you are not careful with it. This is because of all the prominently floated yarns the grenadine weave has. The garza grossa is more prone to snagging than the garza fina is, but the grossa also has a more complex and interesting weave.

Fermo Fossati is not the only producer of grenadine silk, but it is the one that James Bond’s tie maker uses. Seteria Bianchi is another grenadine weave in Como, and they also make a dark navy grenadine that is just as versatile.

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45 COMMENTS

  1. To answer the question based on my experience, yes. I bought a navy grenadine from Sam Hober in 2011; it is the lighter navy referenced above. I am a lawyer and frequently wear suits and ties . The navy grenadine has been my go-to tie ever since I bought it. And it earned that position in my wardrobe. It is easy to match, looks good with all suits, is both simple and plain, yet has interesting texture and generally gets compliments (on the texture/”pattern”). It is the tie I travel with as it is often the only tie I need; it is the tie that I most frequently use for public speaking and court appearances. It goes well for an evening out for dinner as well. And it is the tie I loaned to my 13 year old son when he needed a tie. The navy grenadine is a great tie.

  2. Hi Matt, interesting piece, as always. I have a T&A grenadine tie which is a rather a light navy, and when I visited their Jermyn Street shop recently they didn’t have anything in stock that I would describe as dark navy. Is the Anthony Sinclair tie that you link to in the article in the same shade and gauze as the Dr No dark navy tie?

    • I have seen the dark navy at Turnbull & Asser in the past, but they may no longer have it. The Anthony Sinclair tie in the link is exactly the same as the Dr. No dark navy grenadine tie.

  3. I myself have a small collection of navy grenadine ties (also one in dark and another one in plain navy) and yes, I think among the ties in my wardrobe they are actually the most versatile. But usually I wear them with grey suits because they are more likely to clash with the colours of most of the blue suits I own. Like Connery’s Bond I am a fan of solid-coloured ties, but the grenadine weave is not as boring as many other solid ties are. I must admit that I have a tendency to overuse them a little.

  4. I have three navy grenadine ties (two from Sinclair and one from Hober). I must confess that the Hober tie is my favorite because I was able to specify the length, width, and weave, so I got exactly what I wanted. I have found that the weave that Hober calls “prometeo” snags less than the grossa, which is helpful since I wear the tie weekly. I’m planning on buying the lighter navy version from Hober to compliment the darker one I already own.

  5. It may be out of the scope of this magnificent article but in reference to you comment of turnbull and asser not having the particular necktie in question is irritating. Obviously there is a market for anything bond related and they either lag on the release or just refuse to release it. Sunspel never has this problem. David zaritsky brought this up as well on how many of the bond related companies refuse to raise their hands to the fans who are eager to pay for their product.

    • Turnbull & Asser do not have the dark navy tie on their website, but I have seen it in the shop in the past. I don’t recall how recently I’ve seen it and if they still have it or can get it. This is why I used the narrow Mason & Sons example, since it’s practically identical to Connery’s tie.

  6. I love navy ties with gray suits, but I am still not sold on the navy suit/blazer with navy tie ensemble.

  7. Maybe not the most exciting but certainly the most versatile tie. I have a couple of dark blue and navy grenadines in garza and fina, and one in navy fina with a sky blue stripe.
    I own a black grenadine fina from Chipps Paul Winston. I never got the fascination for these – any time I’m tempted to reach for it I always see better options on the rack so it hangs there waiting for the next funeral or Blues Brothers re-enactment!

  8. My torso is a bit wide according to my cutter and I usually have to purchase my neckties from websites that sell vintage English brands. I have actually been able to find vintage turnbull and asser brioni grenadine ties that are wide. So should a person’s chest size or torso size be taken into consideration when choosing the width of the necktie?

  9. I’ve mentioned this before but seems like as good a time as any to repost.
    Charles Tyrwhitt sell them in the U.K. The price fluctuates but they’re currently £19.95 and that’s the navy large gauze 7cm width, too.
    I have one and you’re right, they can fall apart quickly as they’re barely stitched together on the reverse (a small thread of blue cotton loosely through the body holds the tie together! At least that’s how mine is, bought 4 years ago, they may have improved the build since then.)
    Anyway here’s the link http://tinyurl.com/y7pbfspg

  10. Thanks for this, Matt. I purchased my first “good tie” this past fall and it’s a navy grenadine from Chipp. Talk about versatile!

  11. Since companies are refusing to release the actual neckties used in the films are you never planning on doing a review on magnoli attempt at recreating some of the bond neckties ?

    • The Aquascutum dinner suit is an older piece. I also have an old raincoat from them that’s fantastic. I can’t comment so much on anything recent from them.

  12. The only problem I’ve encountered with my navy grenadine is that its versatility makes it too easy to be lazy. I now have two drawers full of perfectly good ties that never get worn!

  13. The Tyrwhitt grenandine tie is utter garbage. I had one and returned it as quickly as possible. It’s too wide and stuffed with liner. It gives an ugly fat tie knot. It doesn’t drape, the color is blue and not navy.

    • I can’t say I’ve worn mine to destruction, but I’m quite happy with the weight and construction. It is however Navy, as opposed to Dark Navy which I would have preferred.

    • I just bought a Tyrwhitt navy grenadine tie and wore it for the first time today. It ties a beautiful four-in-hand with a perfectly centered dimple and drapes beautifully. If I had to change anything, I would make it an inch wider, as I am partial to wider ties (I think they drape better and just feel more luxurious).

  14. Matt, was the grenadine tie width of 7cm in Dr. No, and then of 6cm in his 60s movies, or is it more 8/7cm ? I know the answer is in one of your blog’s comments, but I didn’t find it. So better ask.

    I think indeed this is the tie you should own if you only own one tie, or wear ties rarely. Its texture will still set you apart from most other tie wearers.
    I do have a problem with mine though. The quality is excellent (it’s a Drake’s in 7 cm I bought in London for my first trip to England, along with a T&A shirt ! I sure was happy going home 🙂 ), but I found a bit too long and ask a tailor to shorten it. He did but he also ironed the tie (quite unnecessary). Since then the tie has always been very flat and I have the impression it lost all of its thickness and volume. Any idea of how to get it back I tried to take a hot shower with the tie attached to a hanger, but it didn’t do nothing.

  15. Hello Matt,

    The Fermo Fossati 26800 and 217 are not being woven anymore and maybe not again…

    Our Midnight blue GGT-8 is almost black to the point where most men need to carefully look at the color next to black to see the difference.

    Also there can be a diffreence from one roll to the next of a certain color so you may be looking at a slightly different version of the same number.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and some men prefer a midnight blue and some men like a lighter blue.

    I am curious when did Turnbull and Asser make the switch to Fermo Fossati grenadines?

    • Thank you for the information, David. I did not know they stopped making 26800 and 217.

      I have your midnight blue from Fermo Fossati, and it is hardly distinguishable from the black ties when in my closet.

      I was just at Turnbull & Asser in London and I saw a tie in 213 and one in either 26800 and 217 (they’re so similar). Both of those are beautiful colours, but I find that they don’t pair well with many of my clothes, and I’m not going to miss them. 213 for a lighter navy is much more versatile than 26800 and 217.

      I have noticed variations in the colours of what I believe are intended to be the same. I have a bunch of grenadine ties that are almost the same, but not quite.

      Someone at Turnbull & Asser in bespoke told me a few years ago they were using Fermo Fossati. They don’t look like the Bianchi grenadine as far as I can tell, but I can compare the ties in my closet to the swatches you sent me.

  16. Matt,

    Bianchi’s midnight blue is now ( as in the last few months) a shade lighter and has become a beautiful dark navy.

    A very long time ago I mentioned a swatch of English “grenadine” that I wanted to send you for your collection. I never found it but I wonder it Turnbull and Asser perhaps at one time were using it?

    Perehaps their Fermo Fossati grenadines are very recent, or mainly used in their bespoke ties? Just thoughts…

    By the way I love your website it is very cool.

    • Thanks, David!

      Bianchi’s midnight blue swatch I got from you before was beautiful. I’m interested to see what the new one is like.

      Turnbull & Asser’s grenadine ties are real grenadine, not the “faux grenadine” made in England that Robert Talbott and Paul Stuart use. I believe the one you had was the same as what they use, and I think you may have sent it to me. I will check. I will check my recent and vintage Turnbull & Asser ties against the Bianchi and Fermo Fossati swatches from you. They use the wrong side of the silk.

  17. Hi Matt,

    I was just wondering. Isn’t grenadine a syrup? I’ve been trying to figure out some of the fabrics you mentioned by looking them up. Perhaps you mean gabardine instead of grenadine? Or do you mean grenadine as a colour and not as a fabric/textile?

  18. Matt,
    First, thank you for this wonderful and informative site. I just bought a “Dr. No” shirt from T&A and I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of Bond style.

    Paul Stuart’s web site claims their grenadine ties are made in the US of Italian silk, while T&A say theirs are made in Kent of silk woven in Suffolk. Either of these might be a cut-and-paste from another description elsewhere and thus incorrect.

    I’m waiting until I’m in New York in a couple months to get one, but I’m thinking the PS in “Midnight” is going to be my best bet. (I’m OK with the 9cm width, I’m wider than Mr. Connery and avoid narrow ties.)

    • For Turnbull & Asser, it seems to be a description put on every tie, including their knitted ties which it clearly does not apply to. You seem to be right. I don’t think it’s something to go by.

      Paul Stuart is probably using real grenadine silk again, so the midnight from them looks like a good choice.

    • Mike, you should be more than okay with that width. It was the standard for ties prior to the mid to late 2000s. In fact, I got a fantastic Banana Republic tie (made in Italy!) back in 2006 that is 3.75″/9.5cm wide. I think they only started offering narrower ties in tandem with the traditional ones that year or the year after. I only wear 42L but wider-than-fashionable ties (and wider-than-fashionable lapels) balance well with my broad shoulders.

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