A lot of men are wearing ties that are:
- too wide or skinny, which completely throws off their proportions
- tied with the wrong knots
- not matching their outfits
- really odd textured or patterned ties
- the wrong material or fabric weights for the outfit
A big mistake most men make, whether they’re just starting out or have a little better handle on their personal style, is thinking they need to go overboard and have their accessories be these big statement pieces. That’s when men get into trouble.
Some men think it’s “boring” to stick to the basics, but they’re basics because they work for everybody and look timeless and sharp. And with the right accessories to round out your outfit, you’ll look well-dressed throughout your entire life. If you never own another type of tie in your life, my suggestions will cover you for every situation you’ll ever need.
How to Match Ties To An Outfit
The most common question I get about ties is how do you match them to and outfit. And it’s pretty simple:
The safest thing you can do, which looks great 100% of the time, is to have a similar color in your tie (not exact, just a similar shade) to any other color you’re wearing in your outfit – outside of your dress shirt.
So if you’re wearing a gray suit, white dress shirt and black dress shoes, wear a tie that has black or charcoal/gray in it. If you’re wearing a navy suit with brown dress shoes and charcoal socks, wear a blue or charcoal tie. If you’re wearing a gray blazer with dark wash jeans and brown boots, wear a tie that has some blue or charcoal in it. Brown leather jacket and boots, wear a tie with some brown in it.
Anything outside of that is next level stuff and can go wrong quickly if you’re not sure what you’re doing. You can go your entire life only following this rule and you’ll never go wrong – I promise.
What materials should your ties be?
You really only need ties in two materials to cover you for the whole year.
- Silk Ties
Silk ties work year-round with every kind of outfit where a tie can be worn – dress, business and casual.
- Knitted/Woven Ties
For the Spring and Summer months only – Check out Summer Essentials Ebook for details about those specific ties, but since they’re not for year-round wear, I won’t cover them in this article.
Any other types of materials, like pure wool or linen, have pretty small use cases and definitely won’t be as versatile as the above options and you should wait to get them until you’re much further on your style journey.
What color ties should you own?
Like all the items I recommend in the essential wardrobe series, you want to stick to black, charcoal, and navy, with one exception – which you can throw in there, if you like, and that’s silver or light gray.
These colors will go with 99% of the outfits you’ll wear. Just like with tie materials, any other colors will have specific use cases and are outside the scope of this series.
Once you’ve gotten those basic colors, then and only then can you start expanding to lighter shades or darker or brighter colors like burgundy, brown and other pastel or jewel tones. Again, that’s once you get more comfortable and really understand how to add them to an outfit.
But if choosing tie colors is still tough for you, then those default colors go with pretty much everything and you’ll never have to worry about not looking sharp and put together.
What patterns of ties should I own?
First, stick with plain, solid colored ties in the colors I discussed in the previous section. Then, you can move onto some striped ties with no more than 3 colors in them (ensuring at least the major color in the tie is one the colors I discussed above) and you can also throw in some smaller polka dotted ties in there, too. Also in the same colors I discussed previously.
What Size Tie Shoud You Own?
Follow these rules for your tie widths based on your height and body type so your proportions will always be balanced. Trust me, I deal with clients of all shapes and sizes all day long and these tie widths will work for you.
These sizes are to be used irregardless of the lapel width of your jacket.
Tie lengths really don’t come into play because most places you’ll go don’t make tall or short versions anyways and they’re not entirely necessary unless you’re ridiculously tall (over 6’5″) or short (under 4’10”).
To take your tie width measurements, just use the widest part of the tie near the bottom.
Under 5ft 8in and very thin
You need to get a 2″ width tie. If you’re not sure if you’re very thin, then you probably have an average build. Under no circumstance should you ever wear this width of tie unless you’re very thin and under 5’8” because it will look silly on you. I’d say that at least half the men I see wearing skinny ties shouldn’t be. Don’t fall into that group!
Under 5ft 8in & average/broad Build
Wear a tie that is 2.5″ wide.
5’8” to 6’3″ tall
thin to average Build
Wear a 2.5″ wide tie.
You need a 3″ wide tie.
6’4″ tall and above (no matter your build)
You need a 3″ wide tie no matter what. This will help balance your proportions.
The Best Men’s Ties
I’ve been a customer and user of TheTieBar.com for years now, and they continually prove to me that they are, by far, the best place to get quality, affordable ties. I have never taken a dime from them to promote their products because they deserve all the praise and business in the world. Unless a designer has specifically made a tie for a client, I use them every time.
Black Ties (solid, striped, polka dotted)
Navy Ties (solid, striped, polka dotted)
Charcoal/Gray Ties (solid, striped, polka dotted)
Silver (solid, striped, polka dotted)