I’m convinced that most tie wearing men own too many ties, but at the same time, not enough striped ones. The advantage of striped rep ties is that they’re simple, unassailably in good taste, and wearable with almost anything - from smooth and silky suits to rough and tweedy sport coats. English foulards (which are those silk prints with small, repeating, geometric shapes) and paisley ancient madders, on the other hand, often look best with either one or the other, but not both. Which means if you’re building a necktie wardrobe, it’s better to start with a good foundation of striped rep ties and solid colored grenadines before you branch out to raw silks, boucles, or unusual prints.
It used to be that men could only own one striped necktie. The style originated in the early 20th century, when decommissioned British officers wanted to continue wearing their regimental colors after they returned to civilian life. Hence, we get the term “regimental silks” for how those colors denoted those officers’ service. After a while, the practice was taken up by men in exclusive clubs or colleges, such as the students of Trinity College wearing navy ties with white stripes, or members of the Hawks Club wearing red ties with yellow stripes. It was inconceivable that you could ever buy these ties in a store, as they were for members only, which is why men only had one style they could wear.