Ties are the cherry on top of the cake: they wrap up the outfit and give it that sophisticated look. They can’t go missing in your closet and this is how you tie the knot.
There are actually many types of neckwear, like bow ties and cravats for example, but they are not the most common alternatives. Ties were actually a daily wear accessory, but over time they have become exclusive to business attire and formal apparel, such as wedding suits.
As you can imagine, there are several styles when it comes to ties and which one you choose will depend on what you are wearing and where you are going, as well as your personality. Here you’ll find an instructive guide on neckwear and some styling tips to get you inspired.
Ties and styles
Ties come in a variety of lengths, widths, patterns, colors and fabrics. The more affordable options are usually made of polyester fabrics, while quality ties are usually made of premium silk. Nonetheless, nowadays you can find endless alternatives and styles, including knitted ties.
Skinny ties were very popular during the 50s and 60s among British rock bands and they continue to be a favourite. They are two-thirds of the width of a regular tie and they have a more casual approach, so try to avoid them when it comes to formal business attire. They would be perfect for social gatherings though.
Thanks to the casual style, skinny ties can be paired with a suit or with a shirt and sweater as well. If you’re wearing a suit just make sure that the lapels are as narrow as the tie’s middle section. A smaller, basic knot works best with this type of neckties, as a larger knot would totally disrupt the balance of the tie.
Another style you can opt for are knit ties. They might not be a fit for everyone, that will depend on your personal style, but they are definitely a bold, modern choice if you are up for the challenge. Texture is definitely the main character here, so there are a few things to take into consideration.
Knit ties are usually made of wool and cashmere, which are the classic alternatives, yet you can also find ones made of silk. They should be worn exclusively with suits 一casualwear is out of the question一 and they pair well with patterned jackets in tweed or seersucker. If you want to make a statement, this is your go-to option.
In case you have further doubts about choosing a formal outfit, in this article you’ll learn how to combine a suit, shirt and tie.
Aside from the styles, ties also come in different colors and patterns. Solid colors are often the first choice when it comes for formal occasions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative.
A solid color tie can either match the tones of your shirt and suit, or create contrast. The most common shades for formal events are navy, burgundy, grey and, of course, black. When it comes to tie patterns, these are the standard options: diagonal striped ties, tartan ties, checked ties, polka dots and plaid ties.
Types of knots
The Four-In-Hand knot (or “schoolboy” knot) is the most common and easiest knot of them all, and it’s probably the first one you’ve ever learned. It’s the one any father teaches his son because it’s a standard, slimmer knot appropriate for most formal and casual occasions.
If you’re a beginner in the tying a knot game, this might be a good place to start. The Four-In-Hand knot works best with ties made of heavier materials and it will look great if you pair it with button-down dress shirts with smaller spread collars.
The second best alternative is the widely known Half Windsor knot because it has the perfect width to fill the gap between your collar and the necktie. It’s a medium size, symmetrical triangle knot that works best with lighter fabrics and wider ties. Regarding the outfit, it works well with pretty much any shirt, but you should opt for one with a standard collar for better results.
Once you’ve mastered Half Windsor, you can proceed and try the Full Windsor knot, also known as the “Eton” knot. This is quite a tricky one, but if you manage to pull it off, you’ll have achieved the fanciest, formal knot there is. The Full Windsor knot is also the largest and it results in a very polished, distinctive, even knot.
You should try it out with a wide spread-collar shirt, whether it is a professional, business event (including a job interview) or a social gathering.
A fourth alternative is the Shelby knot, popularized in the 70s, and it’s perfect for wider ties made of heavier fabrics. Last but not least, you can opt for the Simple Oriental knot, which is a quick and easy knot, quite similar to the Four-In-Hand one. The Simple Oriental knot is not that common and it results in an uneven, small knot.
If you’re wondering how you can accessorize your tie, these are the essential rules for wearing a tie bar.
Tie the knot
As we said at the beginning, there are plenty of styles of ties for you to explore and many knots that you can experiment with. These are the most common ones that any man definitely needs to know.
The type of knot and tie you choose will definitely depend on what you’re wearing, which occasion you’re attending and surely your personal style too. So it’s easier to remember, here’s a short wrap up.
If it’s a more smart-casual event, you can opt for the Four-In-Hand knot or the Simple Oriental knot. On the other hand, if it’s a formal occasion such as a wedding, you want to go for the Half or Full Windsor knot, or the Shelby knot if you want to make a statement.
One last thing, the length of the tie should never go past your belt, it should be right above the belt bucket.