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Cordial in Korea | a New Podcast

Posted on May 8, 2015 in Podcast, Podcast Episodes | 0 comments


Well, here’s something different.

the Cordial in Korea podcast

Each week, Ellie and Andy will let you know what’s new in our radically changing lives. We’re heading to Seoul, South Korea, and there’ll be lots of culture, cuisine, and clothes changes to talk about.

In This Episode

We talk briefly about Andy’s new job at Yongsan International School of Seoul. Here’s a little video introducing the school:


We mentioned the odd phenomenon of “Mukbang” – where Koreans watch people eat online. And pay them. Here’s a great documentary on this strange happening:

We also said I’d list my pastor-type books on here for sale (or free). That might happen soon.

Sooner or later, we’ll get this on iTunes. For now it’s just here.

Thanks to for the great theme music.

For now, enjoy the first podcast episode!

-Andy & Ellie

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*Magic Bow Ties*

Posted on May 8, 2015 in Andy blogs, Bow Ties, Bowties, Videos | 0 comments

Here we are, in the middle of spring, with summer bearing down on some of us quickly. The excitement of our spring wardrobe transition has worn off. Tweed and houndstooth are a long ways in the rear view mirror. Seersucker and madras are close at hand.

Weddings are planned for the peak season, and bow ties are shipped off to happy grooms and groomsmen.

What do we do now?

That’s kind of what we asked ourselves a few weeks back.

The answer: we play.

Introducing *Magic Bow Ties*

The Church Belles, especially Ellie and Carlee, got their creative juices flowing, and came up with several fantastic four-paneled bow ties. Combining patterns and colors like the pros they are–and Carlee no doubt using her expertise with the color wheel gained from her art school days–they did the real magic: designing your bow ties.

I couldn’t help but have a little fun myself.

Dust off a not-so-new-to-us idea (four-paneled bow ties), apply some fresh creative chutzpah, and sprinkle on some pixie dust, and you’ve got *Magic Bow Ties*.

Challenge to Mathematicians

I suppose I could find out the answer if I tried harder. But–if any of you are inclined to calculate the number of possible ways these *Magic Bow Ties* can be worn, you’ll get a grateful shout out from us. (There are four panels. Up to three of them are visible from the front at a given time: the flap end of the bow, the loop end of the bow, and the knot.)

History’s Magicians

If you haven’t noticed, we give our bow ties men’s names. Sometimes they’re named after friends, public personalities, or even loyal customers. This time, we figured we’d name the *Magic Bow Ties* after some famous, or should-be-famous, magicians throughout history.



It looks like Harry Houdini, perhaps the most famous magician, was a bow tie wearer–and that he liked the diamond-point look on occasion. It looks as though Houdini was always photographed in black or gray clothes and bow tie, or else pretty well stripped down, trying to escape from something or other. So it’s hard to imagine him donning this:

But then again, we do believe in magic, right? Behold, the Houdini *Magic Bow Tie*.

Then there are scary things like this:


Yikes. Mr Blackstone, you are a great magician, indeed. But you would look a little less frightening without the demons and with the bow tie we’ve named after you:

TCC-Group-1Check out the whole batch of *Magic Bow Ties* here.

Order your favorite, and try wearing it every day, a different way, until you’ve run out of magic.

Normally, like I said, we give our bow ties men’s names. But I’ll tell you what–the next *Magic Bow Tie* the Belles create will be named after this belle, Marlene Dietrich. Not bad at all, Marlene. Not bad at all.




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VIDEO: Andy Slashes his Neck Tie Collection in Half

Posted on Apr 27, 2015 in Andy blogs, Neck Ties, Personal Style, Travel | 0 comments


Today, I present you with big news, and a serious challenge that comes along with it. Oh–and a video that I think you’ll enjoy.

In Case You Didn’t Know

I suppose we haven’t officially told you, our beloved Cordials, the news. In July, Andy, Ellie, and their three boys will be moving to Seoul, South Korea!

Andy will be a chaplain and teacher at Yongsan International School. The Church Belles will still be banging out bow ties here in Carolina, while Ellie oversees The Cordial Churchman from Korea.

We’re excited.

Serious Challenges

We are in the process of purging a dozen years of accumulated stuff. For me, that means whittling down my wardrobe to what the ladies might call a “capsule wardrobe.” This is where you separate the men from the boys.

Boys say “But I might wear this some day!”

Men say “Let’s be honest. I’m never, or almost never, going to wear this.”

For my trousers, shirts, jackets, and shoes, this process was fairly easy. Either stuff fits, or it doesn’t. Either it’s worn out or it’s still looking sharp. Either it’s worth paying to move to Korea, or it isn’t.

But with my neck tie collection, this was harder. For one thing, these things don’t wear out, or size out, or style out like other elements of my wardrobe. And so Ockham’s Razor is applied based on one simple principle: do I wear this?

Buy these!

I’ll be unloading the neck ties that didn’t make the cut. I’ll post links soon, and you can buy them!


This was  my first time shooting and editing a video. I know it’s kind of rough–especially in terms of audio quality. But I think it’s pretty dang good for my first go at this. Yes?

Would you enjoy more videos like this? Stuff about our move? Stuff about bow ties, pocket squares, style, etc.? Let us know.

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How Do We Upcycle Your Old Neck Ties? Magic.

Posted on Apr 22, 2015 in Bow Ties, Bowties, Conversions, Neck Ties | 0 comments


One of the things people love us for is how we can turn a neck tie into a bow tie. And to be honest, it is a little magical.


Nearly every day, we receive packages with neck ties from all over the country. We rip them open and check out what is inside.


We take out the seams and press them out.


We add our own interfacing and sew them up.




And just like that.
conversion 5
Its Magic.





We get to make something new again – and we love it.

If you’re interested in purchasing this, you can do it through this link.

Today and tomorrow only, we’ll give you $5 store credit for each tie you send us to upcycle.

*the really good photos (#2 through #5 in this post) were taken by our customer and friend and fellow artist, Joe Jackson.  Thank you, Joe for making it look so cool.

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How to Pick a Bow Tie and Pocket Square Combo

Posted on Mar 11, 2015 in Andy blogs, Bow Ties, Bowties, Personal Style, Pocket Squares | 0 comments


People frequently ask us “what goes with what?”

But there are many times when it’s clear that customers know how to pair things up. This is one of those times.


The Dehnolm silk paisley bow tie with the Cobalt Blue Dot chambray pocket square, both available at

Today, Erica packed up and shipped this combination. As you can tell, this customer has a great eye.

But what are they seeing? You know a good combo when you see it, but how do you see it before you see it? How do you pick a pair of pieces out that you’re confident will work?

Here are three basic things to keep in mind when you decide to try and pair two patterns together:

1. Complementary Colors.

You don’t have to be an art student to see that there are 3 distinct shades of blue here. There are 2 on the bow tie. Plus a purple, which might actually be blue–who knows. But at minimum, there’s a dark and a light blue. Then you’ve got the pocket square, which is medium-blue. It’s right in between the dark and light blue of the bow tie.

What does this mean? It means that the square and bow don’t “match.” Matching is not the goal. Complementary is the goal.

Sometimes it really is as simple as “Hey, look! Blue. And this is blue too! I’ll take them both.”

2. Vary the Scale.



This is where people usually get gun shy. It feels harder to say “this pattern will go great with that one!” than it is to say “Hey, look! Blue! And more blue!”

But don’t get intimidated. Here’s the deal with patterns.

Keep the scale different. If you have dots that are really close to each other, don’t pair them with a striped pattern where the stripes are equally close to each other.

If the dots are spread wide, don’t reach for wide-spred stripes.

If you’ve got a somewhat busy, medium-scale paisley like this bow tie, don’t pair it with a super-busy pattern of any sort.

Keep it simple, like with this chambray pocket square: solid blue, tiny white dots.

3. Own it.


When Ellie recorded her full-length album with Nashville producer/singer-songwriter Andrew Osenga, he gave us a principle that has stuck with us. He said, if you’re playing an instrument or singing, and you hit a wrong note that seems out of place, just keep hitting it over and over again. Own it. Then it looks like you know what you’re doing. Like you meant it. Pretty soon, everybody will be like “yeah, man. Yeah.”

Then go back and practice your scales.

Same with picking out your clothes. Keep a few guiding tips in mind (color and scale), and then just go for it. If you feel like maybe you hit the wrong note, just keep hitting it. Own it. In other words, try something out, and wear it all day with gusto. “Pulling something off” is all about confidence–even when it’s technically “wrong.”

Then try something different next time—or not.

Do you think this fella pictured here cares about my “rule” about scale? He’s got stripes (shirt) and check (bow tie) in almost exactly the same scale. But he owns it. If you look at his blog, it’s pretty sure he’s in the “break the rules” phase rather than the “what are the rules?” phase.

If you like this combo …


You can grab the Denholm silk paisley bow tie here.

And the Cobalt Blue Dot chambray pocket square here.




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Stylish Kids Saying Awesome Things

Posted on Mar 4, 2015 in Andy blogs, Bow Ties, Bowties, contest, Personal Style | 1 comment



Kids say the darnedest things.

When we were first married, we assumed that having kids who say hilarious things was the main point of having kids. It was a motivation to procreate. And it continues to be a consolation on days when rooms are a wreck and spaghetti sauce is splattered on new khakis.

Turns out your kids say awesome things too. We had a feeling they would.

Without further ado, it’s time to sit back and enjoy some darnedest-ness from your kids’ mouths. Each of the following children have won themselves a boys’ bow tie on the strength of their answers to the question:

If you were to win a bow tie, what’s one awesome thing you would do while wearing it?”

Winner Number 1.

“I’d pogo stick over the Grand Canyon in a chicken suit doing a triple back flip while singing the national anthem backwards. … I probably can’t do that, but I can ride my scooter with one hand and eat a sandwich with the other.”

-Aleks, age 10, Rock Hill, SC

Alecks, you win! Deacon (age 9) thinks your answer was, hands down, the best in the whole bunch. How did you end up with such superb coordination? Have you heard of Evel Knievel? I bet he would try your bow-tied pogo stick Grand Canyon chicken suit triple back flip national anthem stunt. In any event, you are super cool. You also live in a great town. Maybe we can go on a bow-tied, sandwiched scooter ride sometime. Thanks for entering, and enjoy your bow tie!

Winner Number 2.

“This is a picture of our 3 year old son, Charlie, and his friend Caroline. They were playing dress up at school and Caroline asked him to marry her. She brought him the coat and tie and he said ‘No Caroline! I have to wear a bow tie when I get married!’ We live in the mountains of western North Carolina.” – Katy Seymour, Sylva, NC


Charlie! You win! We’d like to send you a bow tie that you can put in your preschool’s dress-up box, so that all the 3-year-olds who decide to get hitched during preschool have the opportunity to rock a bow tie. Hey–funny story. You’re a 3-year-old, and you already know it’s best to wear a bow tie when you get married. But the owners of this bow tie company didn’t even know bow ties were so important at weddings when they got married back in 2002.

Oh–another thing: I, too, had a clip on long neck tie instead of a bow tie when I got married. I wish you had been there to set me straight. Your bride, by the way, is beautiful. Tell Caroline that she’s awesome. Oh–one other thing: I didn’t get married in preschool, but I did have a very serious girlfriend, another 3-year-old named Kelly Kessler. We planned to marry, but we must have ended up in different classes for Kindergarten, because I ended up marrying someone else (Ellie) instead. Have a great rest of the school year, and a happy marriage!

Winner Number 3.

 “Trip (10) likes to wear bow ties and has a goal of learning to tie his own this this year.”

– Dick Carter, Jr., Topeka, Kansas


Trip! You win! Technically, you didn’t say one of the darnedest things. But we want to reward your sense of style and your ambition to learn to tie a freestyle bow tie. You get a big-boy, grown-up bow tie that you can learn to tie yourself. Then you can show all your friends how to tie them like mature young gentlemen do.

I also want to compliment you on your casual use of the bow tie in this photo. This is proof that shorts and bow ties go together just fine. In fact, there’s a really tall college student who comes to our church who wears shorts and a bow tie every day. EVERY DAY. Impressive, huh?

(Say, what’s the statue behind you? At first I thought it was Iwo Jima. Then I though maybe it was Mary with Jesus. Now I have no clue at all.)

In any event, congratulations, Trip! Here’s to many years of happy bow tie self-tying! Cheers!

Winner Number 4.

Attentive readers will have noticed that we couldn’t stop at 3 winners like we planned.

 “I would go on a date with Mommy.”

– Asher, age 3, Clover, SC

Dear Asher,

Guess whose heart you melted with your answer. Yep, my wife’s. She’s a mom. Of a 3-year-old. We know it’s not super-duper fancy, but with you bow tie, we’re going to send you a gift card for Chick Fil A. Put on that bow tie, have your mommy put on a fancy dress, and take her out for a date courtesy of The Cordial Churchman.

Kids: even better than saying the darnedest things is saying nice things about your beautiful mammas and taking them out on dates. Daddies: you should take your kiddos’ mammas out on dates, too. Then they’ll want to take their mammas on dates, and everybody’s happy. Brian–you must have done a good job of this, cause it’s rubbed off on Asher!

Winner Number 5.

“If I won a bow tie, I’d go back in time with my friend Braylon and we would go bowling with Abraham Lincoln in the White House.” – Lincoln age 8, Spring Lake NC

PS–He would like the navy corduroy one bc he’s “never seen a bumpy bow tie.”

Dear Lincoln, you have a time machine? Can I go with you? I love bowling and I think Honest Abe has impeccable style.

(Did you know that the top hat, like Abe wore, supposedly first appeared in 1797 on the streets of London. A story goes that an English hatter, a Mr. Hetherington, literally caused a riot on the street and was fined a tidy sum of £500 for disturbing the peace for wearing a hat that he invented. Well, it turns out that is a myth. Sadly.)

Congratulations, Lincoln. You win! You’ll get your bumpy navy corduroy bow tie!

Thanks for entering!

And congratulations to all our winners and contestants. You a quality young men with great imaginations and superb style.




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