Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tie Commandments

Neckties are an important part of a gentleman's wardrobe. If you are a sharp, well kempt, self-respecting man, you should at least have a couple ties hanging in your closet. Even if your line of work doesn't necessitate the use of a necktie, own at least a few simple ties. Here are some basic tips for those of you out there who may be unfamiliar with how to find a good tie. Keep in mind, though, that these are very general rules; ultimately your own personal style is up to you.

I. Size Matters
Oh it does indeed! The width of the tie at it's widest point should be between the width of your palm by itself and the width of your palm with your thumb on the side. It's not much of a window, but there are a lot of ties out there.

II. Shade Also Matters
With a business suit, your tie should be lighter than your suit but darker than your shirt. In a casual outfit, try to keep your tie and slacks at about the same level.

III. I'm Seeing A Pattern Here
The pattern of your tie is more important than it's color. I recommend micro-patterns or small icon pattern ties, like the one President Obama wore to his inauguration. If you're going to get a diagonally lined tie, make sure that it goes from the side of your dominant hand downward towards the opposite side. It will look better when you're writing something on paper (the lines will run parallel with your arm.)

IV. Color
Look at the T-Shirts you own. Those are colors you've already picked that you're comfortable with. I wouldn't stray too far from them.

V. Where Does A Stained Tie Belong?
Not around your neck, that's for sure. It's almost impossible to clean a tie. Even when you think you've cleaned a tie, the reflective properties will be permanently effected. If you see a stain on your tie, take your tie off right then and there, and toss it.

VI. Who Can Get Away With Draping A Tie Around Their Neck Untied?
Sonny Corleone, and no one else.

VII. GQ Says I Should Wear A Tie Bar
Yea, well, GQ also says don't wear socks this year. Okay, I tried a tie bar for a little while. It certainly gave me a unique uniform look. Then two of my coworkers started wearing tie bars, and suddenly it wasn't so special anymore.

VIII. How To Tie A Tie
Half-Windsor with a dimple, every time.

IX. How Much Should I Throw Down?
Designer ties start at $50. You can get a good tie without the label between $20 and $30. But if you really want to go for the high quality, go name brand. Polo and Dior make good stuff.

X. Don't Keep It Too Simple
Single color no-pattern ties are not to be worn unless you're wearing them with a tuxedo. And don't wear a black tie to a funeral, that's a bit much.

9 comments:

darby said...

I enjoyed this article, and wanted to mention that ties are not just for gentlemen. I recently started a job where I need to wear a tie daily, and had no idea where to start. This was a great beginning. I'll be tie shopping this weekend.

Damo said...

I will undoubtedly refer to this post the next time I need to purchase a tie. Kudos!

Alex said...

Just out of curiosity- why a half Windsor? I've always done a full Windsor. (And by 'always' I mean in my pseudo-rebellious 'why can't girls wear ties and trousers instead of skirts?' middle school days.)

Ozkirbas said...

I wonder if the rules would be different when applied to court attire.

Ozkirbas said...

Oh, how about suits? I always felt a proper Gentleman had at least one

Stephen said...

@alex
I find the Windsor to be too bulky, almost to the point of being a distraction. There's a lot of tie in that knot. Plus you'll have to get a longer tie to pull off the full Windsor, unless you can handle the narrow end poking out the side.

@Oz
It depends if you're a prosecutor or a defense attorney.

Alex said...

I will certainly buy that logic. and I do like the dimple. As far as the suit thing... I think Pratt needs to be part of that discussion. Though I must say, cuff links tend to make me swoon.

Stephen said...

I think a nice pair of cuff links rounds out a formal look quite nicely. I wear them sparingly though; overplaying cuff links can have one looking like the boss from Office Space.

Alex said...

A very sensible position. You know, Steve, you might be my new favorite gentleman.