There’s something about a man in a good suit that always appeals, and Christiaan Rankin, owner of the brand new Canberra fashion label Christian James, is here to help all you guys to take wearing a suit up that extra notch. Christiaan didn’t win this year’s Canberra Melbourne Cup Male Classic Fashion on the Field without some idea of how to pull the whole suit wearing thing together. So, if you want a touch of class—read on.
Christian James brand started in February this year and specialises in ‘men’s accessories of distinction’ including ties, cuff links, tie sets, and pocket squares. “I’ve always been interested in fashion, especially accessories,” says Christiaan. “A good suit is great, but it’s the accessories that really make it in the end. A stylish or colourful tie or pocket square can really set off a look so much better than an open collar shirt, but of course there’s a time and place for that too.” As a public servant he sees a lot of guys in suits but laments the lack of good accessories. Most men will choose a black, grey or dark blue suit for business wear, but don’t think about adding colour, or even if the tie suits the suit.
Christian James ties and accessories are very stylish and exceptional quality. All ties are made from natural fibres; pure silk interlined with pure wool or a wool blend, which provides a greater thickness for improving knots and the way the tie sits at the collar. In a huge range of colours and patterns, including checks, dots, paisleys, plaids and stripes, they can take your plain grey suit to a whole new dimension. Why wear a blue tie with a blue suit? But it’s not just the tie that needs a lift. Christian James also has tie sets with matching ties, pocket squares, and cuff links, and guys, I have to tell you; that look is a head-turner.
And while we’re on the subject of ties—did you know there are apparently 85 ways to tie a tie, and yes, there is book on it. The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie was written by Thomas Fink and Yong Mao, both research fellows at Cambridge University, and published in 1999. The book not only details the history of the necktie but confirms that there really are 85 ways to tie it. Of the 85 ways of tying the tie only 13 are described as suitable for everyday use—based on shape, symmetry, and balance, and not necessarily ease of actually knotting the tie. According to Christiaan certain ties should be tied in a particular way. “I use a Four-in-Hand for skinny ties,” he says. “The Trinity is also one of my favourites, and I used that knot when I entered the Fashion on the Field on Melbourne Cup day, and the Windsor is usually my choice for work.”
Christiaan’s plan is to have an expanded range of affordable men’s accessories and to continue to build and develop the online side of the business. “I’m still working full-time as is my wife,” he says, “and we have two young children so it’s very hectic, but I didn’t want to get to the end of my life wishing I hadn’t done it. Hopefully we’ll have our own store one day, but that’s some time away yet.”
And guys, here’s another incentive to buy Christian James. You’ve got the suit, you’ve got the tie, and now Christiaan can show you how to tie the full Windsor. Now that’s real class.