A tie is to a shirt as paint is to a canvas, or so they say. We prefer to think that it’s the best way to inject a bit of style into an otherwise plain look. Whichever way you look at it, buying men’s ties is not a straightforward as you might imagine. There are more styles than you can shake the proverbial fashion stick at. So let’s take a look and see what’s what.
The classic tie refers to the width of the tie. And as the name might suggest, this is the tie that you will see most often. Your dad, your colleague, even the bus driver will most likely be wearing a classic tie. It’s perfect for pretty much any occasion that calls for wearing a long tie and is the style you should really be wearing to the office. Now just because it’s a classic tie, doesn’t mean it’s boring. If you’re looking for a tie with thick stripes, the chances are it will be of classic width. As with any long tie, the classic can be tied in a variety of knots with each considered suitable for a specific occasion. If you want to know a little more about mastering these knots for yourself check out our video on tying a tie.
So how many of you think that the bow tie is only for the ultra-formal occasion? You’ve all heard of black tie, and the bow tie is an integral part of that look. Black tie events are usually dinner parties, awards shows, or weddings. Of course black is not the only colour, white is often chosen for evening weddings and is the most formal bow tie out there. But we don’t want you to be fooled into thinking that the bow tie is only for formal occasions. In the last few years, we’ve seen a resurgence of the casual bow tie that was once the trademark of history teachers. More and more men are choosing this style of tie for smart casual outfits and as such we’ve seen a huge increase in the styles and materials available on the market. Usually, they come in three styles, the slim line bow, the jumbo bow, and the batwing tie. If you’re not the most dexterously gifted of chaps check out our video on tying a bow tie or buy a ready tied one.
As with the bow tie, this is a piece of neckwear that is often misunderstood. Many presume it to be something worn only by grooms and their best men. But it’s actually a quite stylish necktie that can be worn with your smart casual outfit or your formal wear. From a casual standpoint, it’s perfect for a day at the regatta or if you’re invited to an informal wedding party, but you want to look a bit dapper. It’s worn tucked into an open shirt collar and is usually self-tie, but we like the ones that you can just fasten on. If it’s for a formal occasion then it’s a little different as it will usually involve a scrunchie knot and a pin to keep it in place. This is a good substitute for a bow tie or a tie when attending any formal function. But beware of the dress code especially if it’s a wedding, you don’t want to clash with the groom.
The width of your tie really depends on many factors. The size of your shoulders, the size of your chest, your taste in shirts and most importantly the fit of your suit. If you stop to think about it, is a wider tie going to look good on a guy with a very slim build or vice versa? When choosing your tie width, the easiest way to go is to match it to your suit. You might be asking how the hell you do that, but it’s not that difficult. Just match your tie width to the widest point of your lapels. Or even easier would be to choose a slim tie if you have a slim-fit suit. Sounds too easy, right? Well, it is. Matching your tie size to your suit is good common sense and sometimes (but not too often) common sense is all you need in men’s fashion.
Not to be confused with the slim tie, skinny ties are retro style ties that hark back to the days of the mods. They went out of fashion in the 80s but have made a big comeback of late. They can be worn on any occasion, but we’d avoid wearing them to the office too often. Right now there is a casual look that’s quite popular that consists of a casual shirt, jeans and a skinny tie and we quite like it. If wearing to a formal occasion, you should stick with plain black or navy depending on your suit colour. Now as with the slim tie, the skinny tie is best suited to skinny fit shirts and suits. There is just no sense in wearing a voluminous 90s style suit with a tie that looks like a shoelace by comparison. Then again why would you be wearing a 90s suit anyway?
We have to say this is the best choice for a casual tie. The wool tie comes in a wide variety of styles, but we like the square tip style best. Perfect for any casual look that you want to dress up just a bit. So a friend’s birthday party or a first date are the perfect occasions for this most casual of ties. Wool ties have a certain texture that remind us of our old school scarves, so we’re not sure if it’s a psychological thing, but our necks feel warmer when we wear them. Now we did say that we love this as a casual tie, but there are plenty of wool ties that can be used as a direct replacement for your silk tie during the winter months.
So next time you’re in the market for a tie, bear in mind the occasion you plan to wear it on. You might also like to take a step outside your comfort zone and try something new and adventurous.
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