Men's Fashion Basics - Part 13 - Ties

This week’s article is going to be on ties and is inspired by the complete lack of them being worn by you guys! I can’t understand why most guys don’t jump at the opportunity to knot up and let a little bit of style and flair pop out of your outfit. Aside from a watch, the tie is the one truly masculine accessory that we have and can add a lot of different things to your outfit depending on the occasion. However, just for the purposes of this article, I’m going to stick to them within a casual context, more on office ties and formal occasions later.

Firstly, let’s clear a few things up. One of the main reasons a lot of men out there shy away from ties with their everyday clothes is because they remind them too much of ‘work’. Now that IS true but only if you’re buying a certain type of tie. You know the one I’m talking about, it’s about 5 inches at its widest point, is in a disgusting pattern/colour/flower/pianokey and you borrowed it off your Dad. Well, you can throw these out (and I’ll pretend you never had them) because these days ties have been slimmed down and updated just like everything else in Men’s fashion. Aside from the Indie man’s standard choice; the skinny tie, the ties you want to be looking for are no more than 2-3 inches at their widest point. Just try and keep your ties in proportion to the rest of your body, wider ties for the wider chests out there and vice versa.

Ties are great because they can really dress up your shirts in a simplistic way. Or, if you’re like me and don’t like being knotted all the way up to the neck, pulling it out a little bit is a great way to make even the most formal of outfits look a bit more relaxed and casual.

The one rule to remember when it does come to a tie though is what the tie is like. If it’s predominately neutral in colour then that gives you the options to go crazy with your shirts; I’m talking plaids, stripes, gingham or even madras for the summer. Whereas if your tie has a lot of patterns of colours on it then keep your shirt as simple as possible, think whites, blues, pinks, greys and blacks and let the tie do the talking guys.

Tie Styles

The three main styles that ties come in are: –

  1. Solid – these are your basic coloured ties that come in a block colour and are the easiest to match up with the rest of your outfit.
  2. Striped – predominately in diagonal stripes but occasionally horizontal, they are often referred to as Rep ties and are often more associated with the workplace.
  3. Club ties – Getting their name from sports teams that have their team logo printed on their ties, these ties come with a unlimited option of symbols on them and are a great way of individualising your look.

They also come in a variety of materials. Mainly in cotton but there is also knitted ties for the winter and silk or seersucker for the summer months.

I think every guy should own a dark solid tie (and so does Tom Ford by the way), be it in black, navy or grey. It will go with almost everything you own and are a really easy way of dressing up your outfit. A striped tie with a neutral and a bright colour is always a great thing to have as well because it gives you more options colour-wise for the rest of your clothing and you’ll be seeing a lot of this for spring/summer too. I’m also a huge fan of knitted ties and would suggest that you get yourself one in black because they look fantastic with plaid shirts too.

Ways to Wear

And as always here is some fool-proof was of wearing your ties: –

  • Grab yourself a knitted black, navy or dark red tie and pair it with your plaid shirts and jeans. Either have the colour of your tie match a colour on the shirt or go for a brightly multi-coloured ‘spring’ plaid and rely on the neutral colour of the tie to anchor it. Maybe even throw on a neutral coloured gilet with that ensemble too.
  • Reach for a casual oxford-cloth shirt in either white, blue or pink stripes and match it with a rep tie that is of a complimenting colour. The thing to remember is to keep it all in the same ‘family’ so if it’s a pink shirt try a red and navy stripe tie and keep the width of the stripes more than the ones on the shirt. Then pair it with a pair of camel chinos and navy blazer and boat shoes for some true American Prep that’s coming up this summer. Or simply grab a pair of white/light grey chino shorts and flip flops for a smart/casual look as the sun starts to appear again.
  • Ties with cardigans are a great look! Keep the shirt simple and give yourself a chance to get experimental with the tie. I usually go for some grey chinos, a plain white shirt and a grey/blue plaid tie with a navy cardigan. But it’s really up to you and what suits your tastes so try every weird and wonderful club and rep tie you can get your hands on and see how it looks!
  • And finally, don’t underestimate a simple shirt and tie combination. Kind a complimenting shirt and tie combination you like and where it with your favourite pair of jeans, brown loafers and pea coat while the winter remains for an simplistic, easy and well-put together look that never goes out of style.

For some great shirt and tie combinations check out the link here, it’s given me plenty of ideas over the past few months. Notice how all the ties pick out colours from the shirt and are predominately darker than the shirt colour; an easy rule to live by when it comes to shirt and tie combos.

Until next weeks guys,
Matt Allinson

Tie Picks

Burton

Sky Blue Multi Stripe TieSilver Stripe Skinny TiePlain Grey Ribbed Skinny Tie

Topman

Blue Check Square End TieGreen Striped Slim TieForest Green Slim Knit Tie

Black Slim TieBlack Acid Wash Check Slim TieNavy and Burgundy Striped Tie

ASOS

Richard James Spot TieDrakes Of London Silk Spotted TieDrakes Of London Tartan Tie

French Connection Check Point TieASOS Slim Check TieASOS Three Colour Stripe Tie

ASOS Jersey Striped TieASOS Slim TieASOS Two Colour Stripe Tie