A Style Statement

“Do I need a tie for this?” How many times have you been in this situation? “I’ll wear one, just to be on the safe side.” And how many times have you answered it this way?

What about taking a risk and losing the tie altogether – how many times was that the answer to this ongoing dilemma?

Without raising dodgy numbers and statistics about a supposed decrease in sales and the wearing of ties throughout the world, we here at FashionBeans have come up with a simplified guide on how to ditch what’s considered the ultimate male accessory.

But before we start, read through the next few sections carefully to work out if this rebellion is for you…

Why Would I Want To Go Tie-Less?

There are many reasons for someone not to wear a tie. If yours relate to ‘comfort’, laziness or neglect, they aren’t good enough. Skipping the tie is all about self-expression, and it should help you feel more confident, sexier and bold – all represented through the art of underdressing.

Frenchmen are the masters of underdressing. Without wanting to stereotype, they turn up to black tie events in dinner jackets and t-shirts, regularly undo more than two buttons of their shirts, and even manage to make it through the door in jeans when most of an event’s attendees are suited. All while looking on-point. How do they manage it? We’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure that out ourselves.

The art of slightly underdressing isn’t easy to master. We’re not all ready to stand out by wearing less than expected, and there are always moments in which we cannot (and should not) play this game. Douche-awareness is key here.

When You SHOULD Or SHOULD NOT Ditch The Tie

The Workplace: If you work in a suit and tie and so do your colleagues, losing the tie (unless it’s dress-down Friday) isn’t recommended.

This is because, unfortunately, in a professional environment with a dress code that doesn’t encourage self-expression, it would be seen as rebellion. And rebels don’t usually make it in the corporate world.

Weddings & Christenings: Put on a tie if it’s going to be a more formal event, such as a city or traditional church wedding. You don’t want to show disrespect toward your hosts or stand out and make someone else’s celebration all about your attire.

Job interviews: There’s a guideline that’s very clear and simple to apply here – wear the very best version of whatever dress code the job requires. If you’re interviewing for a corporate job, wear a tie and a well-tailored suit. If you’re interviewing for a job that doesn’t require a tie, such as a tradesman, leave it at home and wear a perfectly ironed shirt.

Unsure? Ask around or take a walk by the company’s HQ, but don’t rely on instincts alone.

Red Carpet, Cocktail Parties & Openings: All great opportunities to go bare-neck. These are the type of events in which we are allowed – encouraged, even – to express ourselves. Standing out (in a positive way) is great, and will ensure others remember you.

In A Creative Business Meeting/Working Environment: When breaking corporate protocol might help you close the deal, if you work in a creative environment/industry, or if your goal is to come across as a creative individual, being the tie-less fellow in a room full of stiffly choked peers might give you the edge you need.

Just remember: you must be 100 per cent sure and have complete confidence in your look, otherwise you’re just the idiot who couldn’t be bothered to put on a tie.

How To Ditch The Tie

There are a few different ways to skip the tie in a modern and stylish way. Check out our guidelines below and see which technique works best for you:

1) No Tie. Full Stop.

This means you’ll have nothing on but your shirt and either one or two – if it’s high summer, you’re tanned and it’s not a business meeting – buttons undone.

This gives you the relaxed edge but might make you feel a little bit naked. If this is the case, remember that in the absence of a tie everything else becomes more noticeable. Therefore well-cut tailoring, a crisp shirt and great accessories are mandatory:

Men's Shirt With No Tie Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

mj bale ss12de fursac ss14m&s ss14zara editions 2013sarar ss14he by mango ss14suitsupply ss15river island ss13 life of tailorduchamp aw13burton aw14tommy hilfiger tailroed ss14sanahunt ss14
2) Alternative Neck Wear

A cravat, scarf or even a bandana tied around your neck will replace the colour/accessorising element of a traditional neck tie.

They will, nonetheless, send out a completely different message. You’ll be ‘the bohemian’, ‘the playboy’ or other less professional stereotypes. It’s important to own this look, practice the knot in advance and never apologise or try to justify your choice (or lifestyle):

Men's Tie Alternatives Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

m&s aw14massimo dutti 2013massimo dutti march 2014angelo nardelli aw13the kooples ss14ted baker ss14Gieves & Hawkes ss14sarar ss14he by mango ss14dunhill ss15dunhill ss15Boglioli ss15
3) Fully Buttoned Up

If you want to maintain a sharp and refined appearance, getting rid of the neck wear but keeping your shirt fully buttoned up is a minimal move that actually draws attention to the fact that you’re not wearing a tie.

This aesthetic looks particularly great when you take a similarly pared-back approach to the rest of your accessories – why not ditch the belt, socks and pocket square while you’re at it?

Men's Fully Buttoned-Up Shirt With No Tie Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

austin reed x nick hart ss14louis copeland ss14austin reed ss14zara editions 2013h&m ss14burton ss14de fursac ss14club monaco ss14zara man may 2014BOHEMIAN ss14reiss aw14sanahunt ss13
4) When The Shirt Goes Too

OK, so you decided you’d not only be tie-less, but also replace your shirt with a t-shirt or polo.

Very bold. A bit rebel, even. In this instance it’s best to stick to classic neutral staples rather than bold coloured or printed versions, which will only draw more attention to the fact that you are flouting the rules slightly:

Men's Polos/T-Shirts With Tailoring Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

tiger of sweden ss14j crew aw14jigsaw ss14burton aw14Gieves & hawkes ss14Brioni ss15louis copeland ss14de fursac ss14BOHEMIAN ss14reiss ss14todd snyder ss14corneliani aw14
General Styling Guidelines For When You Go Tie-Less

As with any other style statement, you want the look to appear coherent, so here are a few ideas that will complement going tie-less:

  • Two or three day stubble will enhance the reframing effect a tie-less shirt provides. Read our tips on maintaining stubble or a short beard to ensure you don’t look scruffy.
  • Style your hair differently. There’s an opportunity for a less polished, more dishevelled hairstyle here.
  • If the weather allows for it, go sockless and let your naked ankles mirror the look of your neck.
  • You might have room for a statement belt, since you’ll have one less accessory going on. Why not take advantage of it?
  • If you wear a necklace/pendant that usually hides behind your collar and tie, make sure you display it proudly, or take it off altogether.
Final Word

There you go, a few ways to ditch the tie and some implications of doing so.

As always, we’d love to hear from you: how do you go tie-less? Have you ever gotten in trouble for it? Do you keep a folded tie in your pocket just in case?

Let us know in the comments section…