A necktie is a long, slender piece of cloth worn around the neck mostly by men, but also by women at times. Ties date back to the 17th century, when they were called cravats and were actually large pieces of cloth worn around the neck. These evolved into a stock-tie, which consisted of a tied up knot that was fastened at the back of the neck. The modern necktie as we know it appeared in the 20th century, and it has been a fixture in men’s fashion ever since.
Here, we’ll look at some common things you need to know about ties, in order to incorporate these accessories into your business attire.
——What to Consider When Choosing a Tie
By itself, a tie is simply a piece of cloth, but combine it with the right outfit and you end up with a work of art. On the flip side, a tie worn with the wrong outfit or on the wrong occasion can be a disaster. You have to know when to wear your tie, and what tie to wear on different occasions so as not to look awkward. So here are some things to consider when choosing a tie.
The color of your necktie can make or break your outfit. Ties come in a wide selection of colors- brown, white, beige, purple, maroon, pink, blue, yellow, and so on. Choosing the right one for your outfit can be daunting. Avoid wearing the same color of tie with your shirt. For example, if you’re going to wear a grey-blue shirt, don’t wear a grey blue tie. People won’t know where the tie ends and the shirt begins! Wear a tie whose color contrasts with your shirt color.
So, if you’re planning to wear a grey shirt, you can pair it with a men’s purple tie, for example. Or if you’re wondering what would be the best color tie for navy suit, you could try dark blue, grey, or red. The tie will blend in, but also pop out nicely and complete the outfit. Remember, a tie is as part of your clothing as the rest of your outfit, so it has to complement you. Choose a tie that matches your skin tone as well, as a poorly matched color will leave you looking washed-out.
Multi-colored ties are even more difficult to match up. Only buy them if you’re confident in your fashion style. If you’re not sure about what color ties to wear, always go for the basic colors- navy blue and grey.
- The Fabric
Men’s ties come in different fabrics as well, and different fabrics cost differently and thus give a certain impression of the wearer. Neckties made of cotton tend to be affordable (you can easily get $20 ties that also look good) and easy to maintain. No doubt you have a few cotton neckties in your collection. Cotton neckties are popular, but nothing beats the sophisticated and stylish look of 100% silk handmade neckties. This is why it’s so hard to get silk neckties cheap. If you can’t get silk fabric, you can get the next best thing. Technology has given us microfiber polyester, a material that resembles silk in its look and feels. Ties also come in other fabrics such as polyester, linen, and wool.
- The Length
People have different heights, and believe it or not, this has a bearing on how long your tie will look once you wear it. When shopping for a tie, keep in mind that it will shorten once you wear it. This is because you’ll have to wind it around your neck and into a knot. So how long should your tie be? Well, once you’ve tied the tie around your neck, it should stop just around your belt, or your waist. If it stops above your belt, it is too short. If it goes beyond your belt, it’s too long.
- The Width
The width of a tie is also important for a proportional look. You don’t want to look ridiculous in that serious business meeting. The width of the tie should match the body of the wearer. A skinny tie (about two inches) goes with a slim person, while a broad tie (about three inches) will go with a person with a larger body.
- Patterns and Prints
If you’re more adventurous, you can wear a tie with a pattern or print design. These are much more difficult to match, but when done well, give an impression of sophistication and advanced style. Some patterns are more muted than others and easier to match, for example, polka-dots. Striped ties are also subtle and can be matched with plain suits to give a formal business look. A striped necktie in a dark blue color will transform a plain suit into a classic one. If you want to go for a more casual look, you can buy a plaid tie. Plaid ties are fun and their unique print makes them the centerpiece of the outfit. Match them with a simple colored suit for a balanced effect. Paisley ties are the most complex designs for ties and can be quite difficult to match. When worn correctly, however, they make you look confident and bold. Wear them with a muted and solid suit to balance the outfit well.
- The Shape
Most people are familiar with point ended ties, but over the years, flat-ended or square ties have become more popular owing to their casual and laid- back look. They generally come in knit style, which also enhances their casual nature. The point ended neckties are more versatile, though, and can be worn in all types of occasions.
- The Occasion
Men’s ties are part of a dress code, so different ties go with different occasions. Imagine going for a funeral dressed like you’re going for casual Friday in the office? Not cool. A tie can make a big difference in the tone of your outfit. For formal occasions, go for block colors in silk that won’t call too much attention to you. In less formal gatherings, you can go for a square-ended (as opposed to the more common pointed ones) knit ties. Materials that give a matte look like cotton, linen, and wool are also great for casual occasions as they give you a relaxed look. For festive occasions, you can even ditch the tie or bow tie for wedding.
—— Can Baby Wear Ties?
Of course, baby boys can’t wear ties, it would be too risky. But young boys always want to look grown-up, and what better way to indulge them than to buy them a necktie? Teaching your son how to tie a tie is a great bonding experience, and you will also be introducing him to the world of fashion and style. Since boys are shorter, baby boys’ ties tend to be shorter as well. Don’t make him wear your own ties, as it will be too long and he will look ridiculous! A number of stores also sell ties in matching father-son styles.
—— Types of Necktie Knots
There are a number of ways to tie a tie. Each method produces a unique final result that goes best with certain fabrics and shirt collars to give you the best appearance. Here, we’ll only skim over the basic knots.
- The Full Windsor Knot
This is one of the most common knots and is a classic one as well. It leaves you with an asymmetrical, triangular knot. It is worn with traditional suits that are not skinny and is good for a spread collar.
- The Half- Windsor Knot
This knot is similar to the full Windsor knot, but it doesn’t produce as large a knot. It goes well with lighter tie fabrics, broader ties, and a standard collar. It is also worn in a generally more formal occasion. It’s great for people just learning to tie a tie.
- The Four-In-Hand
It is also called the “schoolboy” and is the most commonly used knot out there. It is simple to make and goes with any non- formal occasion. It wears well with ties made of heavier fabrics and looks good with smaller spread collars. Like the half-Winsor knot, this knowledge is suitable for people learning how to tie a tie.
- The Simple Knot
This knot is great with a skinny tie. It is also called the oriental knot and produces the smallest knot out of all the styles. Like the half- Windsor, it produces an equidistant triangle, only much smaller and compact.
- The Pratt Knot
This is also called the Shelby Knot and was made popular by Don Shelby, a 1970s anchorman. It is wide but not as wide as the Windsor. It is great for wide ties of medium to light fabric and goes well with dress shirts that are medium to wide.
- The Nicky Knot
The Nicky knot is an alternative to the Pratt Knot. It is larger than the four-in-hand knot but smaller than the half- Windsor knot. It is also slightly more asymmetrical than the two. It was invented by Italian Ernesto Curami and popularized as an improved Pratt Knot by David Kelsall in the Sunday Telegraph in 1991.
- The Atlantic Knot
This is an unusual knot that is actually a reversed Pratt Knot. Compared to the other knots, it is considered a somewhat difficult knot to tie, because in a sense you’re working backward. It shows the reverse side of the knot and if well-done results in an exotic look. Due to its unusual style, it is more suited for informal, festive occasions, or workplaces that don’t insist on a strictly formal look.
- The Bow Tie Knot
This is used to tie a bow tie. Although many people use pre-tied bow ties, bow tie knots are not that hard to make, and a self-tied knot would definitely look better with a tuxedo. A self-tied bow tie gives the wearer a classical, elegant appearance, and is good for black-tie occasions and weddings.
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