You may not think about ties too often if you are a freelancer or an outdoorsman, but for most men, there comes a time when ties are necessary. Some men have to wear them every day at the office, while others let their ties sit until they receive a wedding invitation or have another special event. You should have a selection of ties available in your closet and avoid having to rush at the last minute to find the ideal tie. This means keeping a combination of styles for formal and casual wear as well as colors and designs that match your wardrobe. Matching is important when it comes to ties, so make sure your tie rack isn’t entirely dominated by patterns, but that there are some neutral and solid colored conservative ties that can go with anything.
Matching the Tie to the Wearer
The tie that looks great on your cousin may not be such a hit with your outfit. That doesn’t have to do only with the style of the tie, but also the size and shape of the person wearing it. Ties should have length and width proportional to the wearer. In other words, taller men should wear longer ties and shorter men should wear shorter ties. Guys who are a bit hefty should opt for wider ties, while narrow ties suit thin men. Of course, this isn’t taking into account the fashion trends during various times in fashion history, when ties were infamously wide in the 1970s and narrow in the 1980s. Ideally, the tie should hit the top of your belt buckle and be 2 ½ to 4 inches wide.
Colors and Designs
The ultimate conservative choice for a tie is a solid color, and this works well if you want to play it safe or are not sure what kind of shirts you will get from the cleaners on a given day. However, if you want to put some thought into picking out a tie that suits your personality or the occasion, you can afford to go for patterns, colors and unique styles depending on where you are going. Dark ties are fine for formal wear, but if you are going out to dinner with friends or to an art museum or the theater, you can afford to try a vibrant style. Men who are younger and live in warm climates often go for bolder colors and designs that stand out.
Traditional tie designs include dots, stripes, and paisley as well as insignias of organizations and clubs. A number of tie styles show one’s pride, and may have the logo of a famous sports team. Many Scottish men wear a tie in the design of their family tartan, for instance. When it comes to dots, the smaller they are, the more suited they are for formal wear. Select a tie that matches your dress shirt. Woven ties are also designed for more conservative wear, while checked ties make bold statements.
There are some tricks to keep in mind when matching a tie to a dress shirt. If your shirt is made of heavy fabric, choose a necktie that also has bulky fibers, such as wool. If you are putting a striped tie and a striped shirt together, make sure the stripes are not the same size. One idea is to wear a tie with large stripes over a dress shirt with more narrow stripes. However, don’t put one pattern on top of another pattern, unless one is bold and the other is understated and “drowned out” by the more vivid style.
Selecting a Tie
If you are investing in a tie for a special occasion and want to make sure it is top quality, give it a once or twice over and make sure it is worth the price tag. Before inspecting a tie, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the parts of the tie so you will know what to look for. The lining helps your tie keep its shape, and the best ties are made from 100% wool or silk. Run your finger along the edges of the tie across the stitches that hold it together and make sure they are secure. If you are paying a premium for a silk tie, check that it is the genuine article by touching the material. Silk should be soft, but if the fabric is stiff or brittle, it is clearly an imitation. However, some people prefer a stiffer tie, and not everyone needs a silk tie for every occasion. Top quality ties are comprised of three sections of fabric and have a hand-rolled hem that keeps its shape better than a machine stitched tie. Finally, the slip stitch, designed to maintain the shape of the tie, should be tight.
To Have or Have Knot
Many guys learn to tie a necktie in their teenage years, and often enjoy it when that special woman in their lives decides to lend her hand to tying the tie. The typical over and under routine is second nature, even if you don’t wear a tie every day, but you needn’t let it become routine. There are a number of different types of knots you can try, including the Four-in-Hand, Pratt, Windsor and others. Experiment with various knots to see which one fits your style. A number of men vary their knots to fit the tie and the outfit. For instance, larger knots suit longer ties, because they require more fabric. Thin ties go well with the Pratt and the Windsor while the Prince Albert is suitable for formal occasions. It is useful to break out of your tying routine and try your hand a few new knots.
Ties are serious business, but they need not be reserved only for formal occasions. Stock up on ties for a wedding, the office, weekends and that jazz festival. Look for some colorful, bold weekend ties that express your individuality. Choose ties that complement your wardrobe and match your body type as well as your clothing.