How to pick the right tie


Which tie is the right tie?
Image: Samuel Windsor

The recent storms may have led you to become more acquainted with your tie, as it flaps about your face in gale force winds en route to the office.

But other than such rare annoyances, have you ever given your tie much thought?

If the answer is no, here is how to get your tie looking great.

Why do men wear ties?

Ties are often like mens shoes – we put them on without thinking about it. But unlike a shoe, there are no real practical uses for a tie. So why wear one?

There are several theories as to why men began wearing ties. One being that as Croatian soldiers came to France during the time of Louis XIV, they wore small neckties. These made the locals inquisitive, the elite soon copied the style and soon a longer neck tie was born.

If there is a practical reason for wearing a tie, it is to cover one’s buttons. And if there is a symbolic reason to wearing one, it could well be that a tie is shaped like and points towards a gentleman’s private areas!

But one thing is for certain, a colourful tie can add pizzazz to an outfit and a darker one can add interest. So if you don’t wear a tie for any other reasons, let vanity prevail.

How to tie a tie

Like shoe laces, there are a surprising amount of ways to tie a tie. There are differing levels of difficulty depending on the method, but each one has its merits and downfalls.

The Windsor, Half Windsor and the rather tricky Trinity can all result in a large knot which can be uncomfortable. So unless you’re looking to show off what you learnt in Scouts, it’s best to keep things simple.

The four in hand knot is the most popular and easiest knot of all, and most likely the one you do everyday. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – so if your tie tying skills are currently top notch, then carry on with this knot.

Picking the right tie

Start with the shirt. Pick a colour, fabric and fit you like and take it from there. Differing shades of the same colour is always a good way to go. For example, if your shirt is sky blue, then a dark blue tie will look great.

If you want to wear a patterned tie, then it’s best to pick a plain shirt and subtly incorporate the colour of the shirt into the patterning. Patterning on patterning is a bit over the top, but a very subtle fleur-de-lys is a good example of a sneaky way to add some detailing.

The width and length of your tie is equally important. The general rule of thumb is to have the tie as wide as the lapel on ones jacket, and no longer than where your beltline is. A belt that is wider will take over your upper body and a belt that is longer will just look scruffy!

To summarise…

Though their origins aren’t crystal clear, a tie can add colour, style and hide unsightly buttons – apart from when the wind is up and your tie is flapping in your face.

Posted in How To - Style.

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