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Put your ties on a diet

New business turns rags to riches, making your dated neckties new again

SkinnyFatties Credit: SkinnyFatties

On Nov 5 embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford shocked many during a press conference when he apologized for lying to the citizens of Toronto and vowed to stay on in his job.   

But what was possibly more shocking than the news that Ford wanted to remain the leader of North America’s fourth largest city: the mayor’s ghastly 1995 National Football League tie. The three-and-a-half inch necktie featured several NFL team logos no longer in use.

While Ford repeatedly apologized for his scandalous actions, where was his apology for this heinous fashion faux pas? Did he decide on this poor wardrobe decision in a drunken stupor, and can he promise to never, ever, ever, wear it again?

If you own an equally antiquated tie, fear not, Xtra has found a new service that could turn even the most outdated necktie into a new and stylish one.

A year ago, Joshua Brueckner was unemployed in New York City. Being out of work, Brueckner found it difficult to afford new clothes for job interviews. But rather than admit defeat, he instead mastered the craft of tailoring – transforming his ill-fitting second-hand clothes into a new and professional wardrobe.

During this process, Brueckner discovered he has a particular talent for altering his wider sized ties into sleeker, slimmer versions.

“I found this box of fat ties in my closet. I immediately thought, 'I know there is a way to make these cool ties skinny.’ I did just that and [it] became a real hit with my friends,” says Brueckner.

Realizing there could be a market for this, Brueckner started his own business “Skinnyfatties” (Skinny-fat-ties). People can ship the company their own thick neckties to be altered into stylish, skinny versions.  The service allows customers to re-invent their dated wider ties without having to dispose of them and buy new ones.

"No hating on fat ties. As a matter of fact, the patterns and materials are usually incredible. These fat ties just need a little help. That's where Skinnyfatties comes in," says Brueckner.

In addition to re-inventing existing ties, Skinnyfatties has unveiled its own collection of ties for sale — designed by Brueckner and handmade in New York City. The range is called the Pop Collection and it’s an interactive buying experience. Buyers select the width and primary fabric of their desired tie.

Media outlets such as Men’s Journal, Complex Style, and E! have praised Brueckner’s work.

“The best thing about the service is that it allows you to wear outdated patterns on modern-looking ties, meaning your great uncle's college tie can make a comeback along with all the simple ties balled up in the back corner of your closet,” writes Hannah Margaret Allen for the Men’s Journal.

But while Brueckner now owns a successful business, he hasn’t forgotten where he was only a year ago — so he aims to help those in similar situations. For every tie Skinnyfatties sells and tailors, Brueckner donates to Career Gear, a nonprofit organization that helps low income men transition into the workforce.

Ties can be purchased or tailored on the Skinnyfatties website.