Howard's PARIS : the atypical career of a perfectionist

by Valery 04/07/2017

Howard's: Test ties, an MTM shirt and a casual shirt

Do you know my biggest approval of a brand? It's a game that fails to explain correctly right now.

This is just what I feared with Howard's PARIS, but my doubts quickly dissipated.

If it's a niche brand that's a bit more upscale than we're used to, it's probably the most successful brand I've ever seen, with finishes of rare quality and a real obsession with detail.


I had really loved trying the Howard's PARIS pieces, because almost everything is atypical. We find the obsession of detail by its creator on each of its products.

Its creator, Frédéric Costa has a particularly original background (which can also be found in this interview) that I will briefly summarize briefly.

At the age of 16, he left school to join BMW as a mechanic.

It is at this moment that Frédéric discovers himself a new passion: he could not find a satisfactory tie (a bordeaux with white dots) for his interviews in the prestigious company and remains frustrated by this blockage. His frustration is such that even after getting the job at Ferrari, he decides to refuse it to embark on the new tie adventure with Howard's PARIS at 19 years old.

The brand was founded at a time when Weston and Wicket were well known, so he also adopted an English name for the brand (which at the same time reassured the customer, very useful when launching its brand at 19 years).

This one stands out not only on the shirts, but also on the ties on which one probably finds one of the best know-how of Paris.

The 7-fold ties are therefore a good ground of expression when one is minute on the details.

Shirts, meanwhile, are made in a small confidential French workshop, which allows to propose finishes that I had never met until then on a shirt (nothing to see at once with C2S, even if the top of range of this plant is also extremely impressive).

Fred has also been able to maintain a relationship of trust with this workshop, which he has demanded over the years as details and finishes ever more advanced and qualitative, which will be found almost anywhere else (and make a big difference, like the buttonhole with the interlining).


First of all you have to know that Howard's ties are handmade in Paris in one of the last existing workshops of the capital. No wonder when you know its creator, he leaves nothing to chance and always looks for the best for his products.

Needless to say they are all made of 100% silk (for the models that we present to you because Howard's also offers a wide range of different materials for its materials including the seersucker).

They are usually 150 cm long and 8 cm wide (an ideal width that will suit all morphologies).

Finally, to conclude, the fabrics all come from England of course. Howard's PARIS is just as sharp for his ties as he is for his shirts (as for all his different product lines).

For the occasion (namely the constitution of our new perfect business attire) we asked him to prepare a special collection that will be available only for those who will take the outfit.

These are the two printed silk ties (bordeaux red with polka dots and blue with floral pattern). As for the other two, the silk received a particular treatment on its texture.

So there are two silk grenadine neckties (navy blue and burgundy) that will also be available.

We therefore offer 4 different models in the perfect business attire


A blue floral print silk with different shades of lighter blue in the pattern and white and another model in red burgundy silk printed with white dots. On these models it is mainly the motive that is interesting.

They will add a touch of character to your outfits (especially if they are united). The patterns are particularly successful and balanced.

Thus, they do not weigh on the tie (The reasons are sometimes scary when they are too invasive on the tie).


On these two models it is the work of the texture that is more interesting (rather than the work of the patterns on the two models presented above). As you can see in the photos, there is no need to add a motif to silk grenadine for it to exude personality and character.


Made in England. Howard's PARIS ties have a nice density of fabric. This allows to obtain beautiful knots of ties that hold well all day.

In addition, this makes it easy to get a nice drop at the end of the knot that will be easy to deepen to mark a beautiful volume and relief on your tie. A detail that is not insignificant since it is Brummel himself (the founding father of dandyism) that has complicated the wearing of the tie. It is proudly wearing knots of sophisticated ties that the dandies stood at the court and in social fairs.


Light, she is very pleasant to handle and has a softer feel than her sister.

Silk grenadine is a very particular construction of the tie which requires a sharp know-how that only a few workshops can really carry out. It is a delicate and sophisticated work that results from the enrichment of an age-old craft practice. It is designed on old looms whose first works date back to the nineteenth century.

These machines are mainly found in Europe and a very small number of them continue to work. This is partly why it is rare to find one. The work of silk grenadine is truly the prerogative of a beautiful brand of ties.

These very old machines thus have a very slow productivity compared to the means of production of the contemporary industry.

On average, a conventional machine produces between 10 to 20 meters of fabric a day at best. This is the second reason why it is more rare to find one.

Grenadine (from the Italian "garza") has a finer texture and therefore looks a little transparent.

It must therefore be accompanied by matching triplets for each different tone to avoid possible conflicts between the colors (which would ruin the work). Among the silk grenadines, there are two different categories: the wide mesh (Garza Grossa) and the fine mesh (garza fina).

At Jamais Vulgaire we have opted for fine mesh models that seem more consistent in a formal register.


It should be noted that his ties offer some handmade finishes (such as closing flies), a looper (allowing the fabric to resume its place after a day wearing).

The linings are made in the same fabric as the tie (exit the nylon or the polyester) and the interlocks are in 100% wool and are cut in a particular way to avoid that the tie twists (so that it does not not abyss).

Howard's signs his creations in a subtle way on several points.


The lining of Howard's ties is always particularly neat. To mark our special collection, the lining is decorated with a Paisley micro pattern on a navy blue background.

Howard's PARIS signature is also recognizable at the breakpoint. It is still the same color as the tie but a tone below!

This creates a slight contrast and makes the detail particularly subtle. However, it also happens that the breakpoint contrasts more sharply and comes in different colors according to its models.


For the most sartorial of us, the subtle patterns will be quite appropriate on faux uni caviar, Prince of Wales or striped suits. You will find just below a proposal of sartorial composition that plays with the patterns (the stripes of the shirt and the false plain caviar of the costume).

The idea is that by far only the tie makes you stand out and then once in contact it is the entire outfit that affirms your style. Our second composition is halfway between a refined outfit and a sartorial outfit. It is ideal for those who want to learn to wear patterns without taking risks.

The plain blue of the shirt helps soften the white dots of the red tie. In addition the contrast of colors is really more interesting than with a white shirt. The density of the fabric makes it possible to obtain very pretty nodes and a beautiful drop at the end.

Confering relief and volumes thanks to the natural light.

Here is another outfit in a little more fade. The false uni can raise the character of the shirt without attracting too much attention.

Indeed, the goal is rather to highlight the texture of silk grenadine. A texture that is all the more interesting as we have worked with a beautiful drop to offer depth and a play of light more intense.

Here is a last example of compositions, it is the wisest of all the outfits. White offers a strong contrast with the darker navy blue of Grenadine and the gray caviar micro pattern.

This is probably the example where the tie is the most highlighted with respect to the outfit. Everything is uncluttered and the contrast is very high, attracting attention to the piece that interests us in this test. Emphasizing all the textured work that grenadine offers.

You should know that this kind of compositions that looks very simple yet does not work with plain neckties that lack character (unlike grenadine, flannel, seersucker, knitting ...).

With a plain silk tie the rendering becomes bland because you will focus on a piece too smooth.


Ultra sharp materials, very neat finishes and all produced in a renowned workshop in Paris (one of the last of the capital).

It's very simple. Howard's PARIS is a reference in the capital and we could not find better in terms of quality on this price niche there (the equivalent range of our model is selling at 89 € unit in his shop) for holding perfect business.

You will have the choice between neckties very refined in silk grenadine or more sartorial ties printed silk pattern.


Howard's first offers a range of ready-to-wear with a variety of quite impressive fabrics. The casual range is extremely rich and there are large flannels very textured and with subtle patterns that I have not seen elsewhere yet.

The variety of flannel colors is quite representative of the collection. Formal shirts are not left out: there is Thomas Mason fabric including the Journey range.

This is the declination Easy Iron from Thomas Mason: I'm still a little skeptical about these scales there: we add a chemical layer (often starch) that can sometimes smother the cotton and make it more brittle and less durable. We will see that this is not the case and that we reach an excellent compromise.

I am one of the few men to enjoy ironing my shirts and treating this moment as a ritual performed calmly and meticulously.

On the other hand, one can also necessarily understand that it is a chore: it is indeed the case for 65% of the men, whereas there is in front only 17% of the offer which includes this function.

Thomas Mason (an ancestral English spinning since 1750) has recently released a Journey range without the usual defects of non-iron ranges: it does not give a stiff and brittle fabric and does not scratch, thanks to a softer and less aggressive treatment that respects the natural fiber of cotton.

The usual treatment is a bath with multiple chemicals that the shirt receives before the sale whose ingredients are ultra aggressive.

Here, rather than bathing the entire shirt in a treatment, it is in the spinning that we will treat the fabric, before it is sewn to make a shirt, with a slower and softer formula: gets a material that stays breathable, with a touch ultra soft.

This fabric has also been awarded by the AATCC: American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists


Howard's PARIS will also appreciate the variety of collars available, each of which has been intelligently modernized, including pin collar and Italian collar, semi-cutaway and buttoned collar.

A total of 4 passes.

I was able to test the pin collar which I was very surprised by the gap, I tell you more down on the test shirt. I was quite surprised because I visualized the pin collar a bit like in Boardwalk Empire: very large and with an extremely small gap between the sides.

Fred decided to make it an easier-to-wear version, with a lower rise and a bigger gap. The explanation behind this choice is quite simple: in the 1920s and 30s, we used to wear extremely graphic patterned ties: so there was no need to show a big part and a shirt gap normal would have given an impression of too much.

Nowadays, men prefer to wear plain but textured neckties: it is about the blow of an originality much more subtle than ultra colored patterns.

We can therefore afford to show a larger part without overloading the outfit, and therefore to wear them with a collar whose sides are a little further apart. It is an update and a little history lesson that I have in any case much appreciated.


I must say that I have rarely seen a buttonhole that looked so resistant: it is explained by a tear, which usually never seen at this place and which ensures a nice fall, in addition to necessarily strengthen the buttonholes that are not likely to yawn any time soon.

The rest of the finishes are at the height of a shirt of this range: Zampa di Gallina, with swallows reinforcement and English seams galore, and seams of 8 to 9 points per centimeter (I have rarely seen such finesse).

The buttons are in their Mother of Pearl (the premium mother of Australia): they combine both finesse and strength.


I rarely felt that I wore a luxurious fabric: the first port was really amazing because it is both thick and very rigid. It's almost like I'm wearing raw selvedge jeans that look like my shoulders.

I think it's easily my most fitted shirt, and it shows in the photos when we look at how well she's married to the curve of the back. On the other hand, it is also very adjusted at the front, so much so that it can become slightly uncomfortable after a meal too generous.


A shirt with a formal identity as marked is worn with clothes of a simple structure as a jacket two buttons (a jacket crossed in my opinion right now much too much), a bow tie oven in hand very simple (a windsor or even half a windsor would be too large for this neck size).

It can be accompanied by a plain pocket (or with a contrasting border) with a square fold.

Double loop at the bottom can possibly echo this structure a little original.

This collar belongs to the formal (or even dressy) register but will not be suitable for the work form (I will have to make an article to clearly differentiate the formal dresses from ceremonies and other occasions very dressed and the formal desktop, much more rigid and with clearly less originality).

We have already talked about the gap of the sides, the height of the collar is also a good compromise and make this neck portable even if you have a small neck.

Here, I chose a costume Les Francs Tireurs two button, very simple and accessories Frank Shooters (a tie and a pocket). From a structural point of view, the outfit is dressed but remains wise (the seriousness of the jacket two buttons mitigates a little eccentricity pin collar). It stands out more about the patterns and colors: to balance we made a double knot oven in hand inverted that gives a knot fine enough.


Formal note: 10/10 (navy blue stripes and pin collar, hard to do more dressed)

Casual rating: 0/10 (surely the least casual shirt in the world, it is not at all the use)

Risk taking: 4/10 (you still have to assume the pin collar, even if it goes well in the end in a simple and balanced outfit).

We are close to 200 euros with this custom shirt, but we are really very close to perfection in terms of both finishes and fabrics.

Difficult to talk about quality/price as no other brand still offers this level of finishes there


This is the fitted shirt in blue cotton flannel hoofed pattern worn by PA, photographer JamaisVulgaire. 

Only small black point on the cuts and the sizing: nothing below the size 37.


We remain on the same quality of finishes: mother of Pearl buttons with a Zampa di Gallina seam, seams in English and a collar. It is very pleasant to see such fine seams that allow to express this material of character and appreciate the density of its details.

The Italian collar is well suited to this kind of casual shirts: it is not completely soft and has the rigidity to ensure a good fit, but without looking like the ultra starched collar of formal shirts that e do not go at all with the casual register.


I too often associated the flannel with a speckled look at a logger's shirt, but too rarely with a very fine and subtle pattern that was found for me on textures like oxford. This extremely subtle hound's foot easily brings an impression of false united to the shirt.

It is also the catch of light which is quite bluffante: one has shot here a little before the fall of the night (that is towards 17H) and the rendering changes completely.


I would avoid a completely casual style even if it is flannel: we are here on a piece a little more precious with more subtle patterns.

We therefore avoid especially to integrate a workwear style made of work jacket or boots. The flannel also makes a shirt too rough to integrate it into formal form. It will not be worn anyway with a suit.

The right register for this shirt would be casual chic with a touch of Gentleman Farmer: we can therefore wear with pants with a light Prince of Wales pattern that serves the material, and double brown buckle derbies that bring a slight touch Gentleman Farmer. 


Formal register: 0/10 (this is not the goal)

Casual register: 10/10 (I rarely saw a pattern as precise and detailed on a material as flannel)

Risk taking: 3/10 (the most appropriate Gentleman Farmer register is not necessarily the easiest to identify)

Value for money: 9/10 We are on a quality of materials and finishes once again quite untraceable otherwise (at least in the French brands): I still rarely saw this finesse of sewing and this kind of buttoning on a casual shirt.


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