From his posts on Twitter to his khaki pants, head football coach Jim Harbaugh has been embraced by the U-M and the community. And it’s a good bet that some local dads will be getting his tie on Father’s Day.
At the December press conference where Harbaugh’s hiring was announced, the coach wore a simple navy blue necktie accented with thin, diagonal maize stripes and subtle block M’s. Almost immediately, says Van Boven manager Alex McEachern, “somebody called and said, ‘I’m looking for the tie Jim Harbaugh wore at his press conference.'”
“I think we sold twenty-four ties that day–we had people calling for four ties at a time,” says Nick Margolis, a salesman at the Nickels Arcade store. “We had one tie left at the end of the day, and we had to reorder.”
The design is not new–Van Boven designed the $55 pure silk tie fifty years ago and remains its sole retailer. But as “The Harbaugh Tie,” says Margolis, it “is now the most popular tie we sell.”
McEachern says Harbaugh hasn’t been in the store–“a friend of his bought it as a gift.” But now everyone from Michigan students to alums to hard-core Michigan football fans are buying one.
After a long run of disappointing seasons, some desperate fans are referring to Harbaugh as the “messiah.” But it turns out even his godlike stature goes only so far when it comes to menswear.
“Everybody talks about the khakis,” McEachern says. “So I thought we might see a sales jump in khaki pants. But in the long run, it’s been The Harbaugh Tie.”