When it comes to choosing the perfect tie there are many rights and wrongs – choosing the wrong tie is not only a fashion faux-pas, it can create a very bad impression of you immediately, which can be hard to undo.
Just as it’s important to have the right suit for the right occasion, it’s also important to pair that suit with the most appropriate choice of neckwear. For example, you wouldn’t wear a bright pink spotted bowtie to a formal funeral.
Here are some of the things to take into consideration when it comes to deciding which kind of tie to wear to which event.
1. The size of your tie
The width and length of your tie should work with your body shape and your suit style, making everything appear in perfect proportion together. Different body shapes require different ties just as much as they require different cut jackets or trousers.
You should look to match the width of the tie, and the knot you fasten it with, to the lapels on your jacket. If you have slim lapels, go for a slim tie and slim knot – that way everything will look proportional.
A man with broader shoulders should go for a wider tie to match his frame, whereas a man with a slim, narrow frame should go for a smaller shirt collar and narrower tie size, to look in proportion.
When it comes to tie length it should be long enough to hit the trouser waistband of your suit, as a rough guide for every kind of a tie. Now you know the size of tie to go for with your outfits, let’s look at the next aspects to consider.
2. The colour of your tie
When choosing tie colours you need to take into consideration a number of factors including the colour of the suit and shirt you are wearing it with, colours which suit your skin tone and colouring and where you are going to be wearing the tie.
Ideally, your tie should always be darker than your shirt, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the same colour. The best option is to have a range of colors in your wardrobe so that you can dress your suits up or down at will.
There will always be novelty ties received as Christmas presents or bought spontaneously and there are a time and a place for these – generally at parties or fun occasions. But as long as you have a full range of colors which you know suit you and match your suits, you can’t go far wrong.
3. The style of tie
It’s important to choose a tie which suits the occasion as there are so many different styles and shapes of tie available – from bow ties to thin leather ties, from wide paisley patterned ties to silk block color ties.
The key is matching your tie to the occasion correctly. In general, work or business ties are worn every day to look smart are silk one-color ties. These go with all work suits and are the expected attire for men in most offices.
However, if you work in a more creative industry you might try a knitted tie – these have a narrow style with a squared end, rather than a traditional pointed shape. They are far less formal than a traditional silk tie.
Certain work-related gatherings also require men’s formalwear. If the dress code says black tie – don’t be fooled, it doesn’t mean literally a black tie, it means a black bow tie so that should be your choice of neckwear for any event which has a black tie dress code.
A cravat could be an alternative choice to a traditional tie for occasions which are formal but not business-related, for example, a cocktail party that’s not black tie, or a wedding – this type of loose-style neckwear could be perfect.
4. Choosing patterns and textures
Of course, ties aren’t all simply one color – there are many patterns, textures, and prints to choose from when it comes to neckwear and it’s important to get it right. Choosing a gaudy bright patterned tie for a job interview, for example, could create the impression that you don’t take things seriously.
However, you can’t beat a patterned tie for brightening up a drab, traditional work suit so if you are looking for a way to stand out from the crowd a bit more at the office while retaining that sense of formal wear, your tie choice could do that for you.
Striped ties can add color without being too heavy on the eye, or you could opt for polka dots to keep it vintage. Ties can add a touch of creativity to an otherwise very traditional suit, allowing some personality to come through.
Tartan and paisley ties, however, are difficult ones to look good in so are probably best avoided, particularly for more formal occasions as any clashes in pattern matching can end up looking disastrous.
5. To tie or not to tie
Clearly, another element to be considered is whether or not you need to wear a tie at all with your suit as some occasions might require you to look smart, but adding a tie could create a stiff or stuffy impression which you don’t want.
Examples could be when going on a date or meeting colleagues for an evening meal. There are occasions when actually taking the tie off altogether will make for a better impression and better communication all around.
6. Wedding ties
When it comes to choosing a wedding tie for the groom there are a lot more things to consider such as coordinating the colour scheme with the bride’s outfit, and whether the tie will be the main accessory for the wedding suit or if there will be a waistcoat as well.
Choosing a wedding tie will also depend on the formality of the wedding and the style of the suit being worn as a very formal wedding with morning dress suits would require bow ties rather than traditional ties. While most weddings are formal occasions there is more flexibility of tie choice for the groom and it’s the part of his outfit where he can add some color and creativity.
There are endless choices when it comes to the color, pattern, fabric, texture, and size of ties out there so choosing the right one to wear for the right event is an important lesson which every man needs to learn.
Matching the tie which not only complements your suit but also flatters your body shape is crucial in bringing the whole outfit together and making any suit – formal or casual – look in total proportion.
The wrong tie can prove to be disastrous and can create a very negative impression quite quickly, such as wearing a funky bow tie to a formal dinner or wearing a garish paisley tie to a job interview.
Ties make a statement about the man wearing them so having a range of colors and styles in your wardrobe to choose from should make everyday choices of which one to wear a little easier to deal with. From bow ties to block silk ties, there really is a tie for every occasion.