What’s in a name?

Here at Bird Dog Bay, we get a lot of comments on our brands name, as well as the naming of our products… The usual questions are Where is Bird Dog Bay? or What is “Dog Park Dos” or Who is Gus the dog?…  Even more common than those questions is the always entertaining, Who the hell comes up with all these names?!?

Steve enjoys brainstorming new ideas, especially when it comes to naming. Every mailer we send, every tie we design, is carefully, yet in the same manner casually named. A lot of times Steve will ask our opinions, and sometimes to give him ideas for design names… Yet at the end of the day Steve Mayer is a master tie namer!

The name of our brand, Bird Dog Bay, is a perfect example of Steve’s ability to conjure up humble and spot on names. Steve rescued Gus, our friendly mascot and lousy “Bird Dog” from a kill center in Illinois…Every morning Steve would leave his home for work, and Gus, would stare our sadly from Steve’s “Bay” window of his home on the west side of Chicago. Eventually Steve began designing our line of neckwear in that very home. Bird Dog Bay, really has come to represent home, wherever that may be… From the inlets of New England, to the warm Gulf waters of South Florida, to the Pacific Bays of California…

What we sell is a very unique product. Our neckties are seen as gifts, collectibles, and to some a simple addition to their everyday attire. We have Texas Longhorn ties, sock monkey Christmas Ties, Fly Fishing ties, Cowboy Ties, Dodo bird ties, Golf ties, American Flag ties, and the list goes on and on… Of course our fan favorite Dog and Hunting ties always come back every open season, yet all of the other ties, are carefully scripted colored, and named by Steve.


One example of a name, I enjoy, is “Birdie on Three”… A whimsically hand drawn white bird is hazardously yet playfully picking up a golf ball on the third tee of a golf green colored tie. A birdie also refers to the ever eluscent (at least in my golf game) stroke under par after the completion of  a hole… This tie is just one of the many examples that depict whats in a name here at Bird Dog Bay.


The History of Houndstooth

What is houndstooth?

Countless people ask us what the pattern means or represents… Interestingly, it can mean many different things. To people from the state of Alabama, and crimson tide fans across the globe, it represents the tradition of their beloved football program. The famous black and white check pattern covered legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s famous wool fedora. It has become a symbol of the University program in many ways and continues to be seen across the Tuscaloosa campus during tailgates, and other events. In fact, Alabama has become so connected to the pattern that the pattern created a lawsuit over the proper usage of the pattern. Check out the incident here. http://www.al.com/news/tuscaloosa/index.ssf/2014/05/university_of_alabama_settles.html


Countless fashion designers also use the pattern to cover anything from women’s skirts to mens dress shirts… It comes in different sizes, colors, and fabrics… It is seen is countless manners. It has found a way to be a staple in classic American style. How did this come to be, you may ask? Lets look at the history behind houndstooth.


Houndstooth is also known as  dogstooth, making it even more of a perfect pattern for us here at Bird Dog Bay. It is a two tone textile pattern characterized by broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes, usually in black and white, although other colors are and can be used. Here at Bird Dog Bay, we even created a christmas houndstooth, using red and green.  The classic houndstooth pattern is an example of a tessellationHoundstooth checks originated in woven cloth, usually from wool, found in the Scottish Lowlands, as a clan pattern that was easily recognizable, but are now used in many other materials, like woven silk! From Scotland, it found its way to England mills, in and outside of London around the Industrial Revolution… Eventually British fashion found its way across the pond, to our great country… The pattern has recently made a revival in American fashion… It also had quite a showing during the 1970’s!



The traditional houndstooth check is made with alternating bands of four dark and four light threads in both warp and weft or willing woven in a simple 2 by 2 twill, two over/two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass.We use the pattern to make houndstooth cufflinks, houndstooth cummerbund sets, houndstooth neckties, and houndstooth bow ties! We even have pre tied houndstooth boy’s bow ties

 In essence, houndstooth has become a classic traditional pattern that pairs incredibly well with everything from formal attire, to a white oxford shirt and khakis for a Southern tailgate. Roll Tide! 


“Hoppy Hour”

Summertime seems to bring an elated feeling of jubilance here in Chicago. The city seems to double in size and opportunity. Every bar seems packed, every beach filled, and every apartment rooftop crowded. At each of these locations there always seems to be one constant…Beer. Ah, yes that delightful fermented beverage that brings people together around the world… Beer has even found its way onto one of Bird Dog Bay’s necktie designs… Yes. A beer themed tie.

Steve explains how our “Hoppy Hour” tie came to be…

“One of my best buddies, Matt Gallagher, is the head brewer and co-owner of Half Acre Brewery in Chicago. He started as a home brewer when he lived next door to me in Humboldt Park, and six years later he has built one of the biggest, most respected microbreweries in all of Cook County. At the start, he planted three strains of hops in the front lawn to get the business started; now just a handful of summers later those hops grow all the way to the roof and Matt still comes back to that house to harvest them for a special small batch every fall. Here’s a nod to my buddy, an inspiration to me and this design. Swing by the taproom if you’re ever in Chicago and get a brewery tour: http://halfacrebeer.com/

FYI: Modest ass kissing gets you free Daisy Cutter Pale Ales for life.”

“Hoppy Hour” comes in three colors and is worn best alongside a cold pint… Cheers!



“Baseball, Our National Past Tie”

Swing Batter Batter, Swing…

It is difficult to think of something more American than the game of baseball… The smell of the fresh cut grass, the sound of the rowdy crowd, the sights of people crowding into iconic ball parks to enjoy our country’s national pastime. The dog days of summer seem to find a way to bring out baseball fans, even those not remotely interested in the great sport.

In Chicago, the energy and enjoyment surrounding the game of baseball seems heightened with two storied and beloved franchises calling the Windy City home. Here at Bird Dog Bay, the office is split on which team in Chicago reigns supreme, but we can all agree that summer in Chicago means baseball!

On one side (the south side) you have the iconic black and white clad hit-men, the Chicago White Sox. Known for their hard nosed and passionate fans, along with their 2005 World Series Champion team, the Sox (as they are called by most Chicagoans) pride themselves on the their performance, beautiful ballpark, delicious hot dogs, and die hard fans. Any game at US Cellular (the cell) is sure be a hit!

On the other side (the north side) you have the storied lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs. Playing their home games at the historic Wrigley Field, (which is celebrating its 100th season) the Cubbies continue to keep their passionate and devoted fans hoping and wishing for a World Series appearance. The brick, the ivy, the bleachers, the manual scoreboard… all create an atmosphere that is unparalleled in baseball. If only they could put together a winning ball club!


Steve, being a native and loyal Chicagoan, immersed in the great baseball tradition of the city could not go another collection without making a baseball themed tie. Alas, “The National Past-Tie“… A whimsical yet traditional tie that “ties in” a classic repetitive pattern with intricate drawings of a pitcher an batter! This baseball tie is sure to be a home run with any fan of the game! The rich blue silk color seems to give the necktie and warm and jovial summer feel, while transitioning well into the Fall and Spring. The lime green bow also lights up a summer outfit in a playful way!

Whether you are sitting at home, the office, or at the ol’ ballpark, grab a maxwell street Polish, an Old Style and tie on a National Past Tie! A sports themed tie that is both professional and fun!