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Wool Ties & Pocket Squares

I’ve already talked pretty extensively about ties and pocket squares in my Men’s Essential Accessories series, so if you haven’t sen those articles/videos and don’t know the size of ties you should be wearing or the best ways to fold your pocket squares, check them out. The wool ties & pocket squares I’ll be discussing below are essential for the Fall and Winter seasons because they will compliment the items in your Fall/Winter Wardrobe nicely.

 

Material

For your ties and pocket squares during this season, you need to go all in with wool. There’s also technically cashmere, but there’s not a lot of them being made and I find them to be obscenely expensive when a wool tie looks just as good.

The reason you go all in on wool is because you want your accessories to compliment the fabric weights of the items you’ll be wearing during the various seasons, so if you were wearing silk or linen ties, which are for Spring and Summer, with your heavier wool suits or sport coats, it would look really off.

Colors

As I mentioned in the Series intro, this is the time of year to wear some nice, rich colors, like:

  • greens
  • shades of blues
  • burnt oranges
  • grays
  • burgundy
  • browns

Patterns

As far as patterns, it’s also the best time of year to wear plaids, paisleys and polka dots because they’re visually heavy and pair so well with your Fall and Winter wardrobe.

The one area that I see men really have an issue, though, is with matching these patterns and colors together with their outfits or other accessories.

A good rule of thumb is:

If your tie is a bolder pattern, like a paisley or plaid, then you want your pocket square to be more subtle or as close to a solid color as possible. It doesn’t have to be a solid, but when in doubt, go for a solid one. This ensures you don’t have too many patterns clashing. (See the video above and outfit images below for examples)

And the inverse is true for a patterned pocket square – go for a solid or very subtle patterned tie.

This helps balance these items out so you don’t look like a goofball.

Best ways to wear Wool Ties and Pocket Squares

fallwinteressentialstiespocketsquareashleyweston fallwinteressentialstiespocketsquareashleyweston2TopMan Selected Homme Brown Wool Rich Suit Jacket
The Tie Bar Chambray Shirt 
The Tie Bar Wentworth Plaid 
The Tie Bar Kingsley Attune Pocket Square 
The Tie Bar Metallic Navy Tie Bar
Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans
Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
Johnston & Murphy Nolen Double Monkstrap Shoes
John Varvatos Prince Sunglasses
fallwinteressentialstiespocketsquareashleyweston3 fallwinteressentialstiespocketsquareashleyweston4H&M Wool-Blend Blazer Slim Fit
Burberry Slim Fit Cotton Poplin Shirt
The Tie Bar Score Check Tie 
The Tie Bar Olive Green Tie Bar
The Tie Bar Southeast Plaid Pocket Square
Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans
Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
Allen Edmonds Strand Cap-Toe Oxfords with Dainite Rubber Sole
IWC Portugieser Automatic Dress Watch
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses 

The Best Wool Ties

Notes About My Recommendations

The ties from Tom Ford, Alexander Olch, and Thom Sweeney are pricey, but you’re paying for a high quality, luxurious accessory that’s timeless. If you’re going to shell out this amount of money for a tie, then you want to make sure it’s easy to wear and it’ll never go out of style.

For fun patterned ties that are also easy on the wallet, I’m a huge fan of The Tie Bar (and no, they’re not paying me to say this). For great textured wool ties in solid colors, I love J.Crew. They also made a charcoal chalk stripe tie that is really easy to wear with your existing wardrobe.

$250 – Tom Ford Dot Wool Tie
$180 – Drake’s 8cm Houndstooth Wool and Silk-Blend Tie
$160 – Alexander Olch ‘The Spot’ Knit Necktie
$60 – J. Crew American Wool Tie in Charcoal
$20 – The Tie Bar Webster Medallions Tie
$20 – The Tie Bar Score Check Tie
$20 – The Tie Bar Woolf Houndstooth Tie
$20 – The Tie Bar Wentworth Plaid Tie 

The Best Pocket Squares

Notes About My Recommendations

Brunello Cucinelli makes probably the best – in terms of color, pattern, and quality – pocket squares out there, in my opinion. The Hugo Boss and Alexander Olch pocket square and rounds are all the perfect shade of grey so they’ll pop really nicely from your darker suits or sportcoats.

The striped J.Crew pocket square will go with pretty much every Fall suit/sportcoat you have. For some great patterened options at an incredible price point, I love the double sided ones by The Tie Bar.

$95 – Armani Collezioni Chevron Patter Pocket Square
$95 – Marwood Slub Pocket Square
$60 – Boss Wool Patterned Pocket Square
$60 – Alexander Olch ‘The Birdseye’ Wool Pocket Round
$60 – Alexander Olch ‘The Windowpane’ Wool Pocket Round
$30 – J. Crew English Wool-Silk Pocket Square in Stripe
$10 – The Tie Bar Kingsley Attune Pocket Square
$10 – The Tie Bar Quest Tooth Pocket Square
$10 – The Tie Bar Wentworth Houndstooth Pocket Square
$10 – The Tie Bar Southeast Plaid Pocket Square

mens_fallwinter_essentials_sweaters_wordpress_ashley_weston

Men’s Crewneck Sweaters and Cardigans

My favorite sweaters for this time of year are crewnecks and cardigans – either regular or shawl collar styles. They’re great because not only do they keep you warm, but they allow you to create a bunch of new looks depending on how you layer them with the other items you own.

Before I go any further, I want to make sure you’ve already seen my v-neck sweater article and video, because:

  • You should already own some v-neck sweaters since they look amazing on every body type and can be worn year-round.
  • You know the do’s and dont’s with sweaters and how they should fit your body type because I’m going to discuss  crewnecks and cardigans as if you already know these guidelines.

Crewneck Sweaters

Brook's Brothers Golden Fleece Merino Wool Charcoal Crewneck

$300 – Brook’s Brothers Golden Fleece 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Charcoal Crewneck Sweater

I like crewnecks because they can be worn over t-shirts, unlike v-neck sweaters which look weird with t-shirts under them, and they look great in casual outfits or can take a more dressy outfit, like a suited look, and dress it down, while still adding a nice, warm layer to your outfit.

The two things you have to do, though, and I’ll say this forever, is:

  1. Really nail the fit
  2. Know how to wear them, based on your body type.

If you are a broader guy, then crewnecks 100% of the time have to be worn as a layering piece only. So underneath a jacket, blazer or suit – never on their own because, otherwise, it’ll create a huge swath of fabric on your torso and accentuate your size. Trust me, you don’t want this. (Watch my video at the top for examples).

Fit

For any body type, you always want to make sure your crewneck sweater fits like a glove. Make sure you can’t pinch more than an inch of fabric on the back of your tricep and no more than 2 inches of fabric on one side of your belly.

As for length, ensure the sleeves generally stop around the bend of your wrist, and make sure it is no longer than just past your belt buckle area.

The thing that drives me nuts is when I see guys wearing crewnecks with big bunchy sleeves and rolled or rippled mid-sections. Bleh!

Budget Friendly

$26 – Zara Basic Fine Knit Sweater
$40 – TopMan Grey Ripple Textured Raglan Slim Fit Sweater 
$50 – H&M Merino Wool Sweater
$55 – TopMan SELECTED HOMME Black And White Woven Long Sleeve T-Shirt
$70 – H&M Textured Knit Cashmere Sweater 
$158 – J.Crew Lightweight Italian Cashmere Crewneck Sweater 

Designer

$190 – A.P.C. Bros Sweatshirt 
$230 – John Smedley Marcus Crew Neck Merino Wool Sweater (3 colors)
$300 – Brook’s Brothers Golden Fleece 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Brown Crewneck Sweater
$375 – Vince Heathered Cashmere Sweater
$675 – Brunello Cucinelli Cotton Crewneck Spa Sweatshirt
$950 – Prada Cashmere and Silk Blend Sweater 

Cardigans: Regular and Shawl-Collar

J. Crew Slim Merino Wool Navy Cardigan

$90 – J. Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan Navy Sweater

Now let’s move on to cardigans – specifically, regular and shawl collar styles.

Just like crewnecks, they’re great worn over most shirts (even with ties) except v-neck t-shirts (unless it’s a really shallow “V”, otherwise it just looks weird with the double “v”) or polo shirts because the collars never lay or look right with cardigans.

Regular cardigans can pretty much be worn underneath everything up to a suit, while shawl collar cardigans, since they’re usually made of thicker wool or cotton, are typically worn on their own. Think of shawl collar cardigans as knit jackets, basically and wear them in their place.

If you’re a larger guy, regular cardigans are to be worn buttoned up AND only underneath another item as a layering piece. If you were to wear it on it’s own, it’ll make you look super big and wide. (examples shown in the video at the top).

If you have a regular or slim body type, then you can wear regular cardigans on their own, but almost always buttoned up – leave the bottom button undone so it lays nicely and doesn’t look bunched up while you’re sitting. I think when they’re worn unbuttoned, they lose their structure and get really floppy and messy looking.

For shawl collar cardigans, if you’re a broader guy, you should absolutely wear them on their own, but never buttoned up. Leaving it unbuttoned breaks up your width nicely and looks great and hides those problem areas around the midsection and upper body. I really love them for this body type.

If you’re any other body type, you can wear your shawl collar cardigan buttoned or unbuttoned, but remember to leave the bottom button undone, of course.

FIT

As to how your cardigans should fit, the same crewneck rules apply:

Pinch no more than 2 inches on one side of your stomach and no more than an inch on the back of your tricep.

It should hit pretty close to past your belt buckle and the sleeves should end somewhere around the bend of your wrist.

Regular Cardigans

Budget Friendly

$30 – Zara Viscose Cardigan 
$90 – J. Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan Sweater (3 colors)
$120 – Club Monaco Soft Wool Cardigan

Designer

$230 – Club Monaco Cashmere Cardigan
$300 – Vince Mixed Rib Cardigan 
$415 – Boglioli Cotton Cardigan

Shawl Collar Cardigan

Budget Friendly


$30 – Only & Sons Shawl Neck Cardigan with Mix Yarn Detail
$118 – J. Crew Shawl Collar Cardigan Sweater
$150 – J. Crew Cotton Shawl Collar Cardigan Sweater 

Designer

 

$275 – Rag & Bone Avery Navy Shawl Cardigan
$275 – Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Army Green Cardigan
$598 – Brooks Brothers Cashmere Shawl Collar Cardigan
$1,590 – Tom Ford Iconic Shawl-Collar Cardigan

Colors

As for colors, I mentioned them in the series intro video, so check that video and article out for details about the colors that will go well with your skin color.

MATERIALS

And lastly, before I show you how I’d style these sweaters, let’s go over the best materials for your sweaters.

If you run warmer, you want your sweaters to be cotton blends, otherwise wool and cashmere are my two favorites.

Best ways to wear your sweater

fallwinteressentialsovercoatcamelsweaterashleyweston

H&M Double Breasted Coat
H&M Merino Wool Sweater
A/X Pima Tee
Burberry Slim Fit Wool Trousers
Johnston & Murphy Jennings Wingtip
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses

MensFallWinterEssentialsSweatersCardiganAshleyWeston

Topman Light Brown Wool Coat
Burberry Slim Fit Cotton Poplin Dress Shirt
The Tie Bar Webster Medallions Tie
J.Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan
John Varvatos Grand Sunglasses
J.Crew Ludlow Suit Pant in English Donegal Tweed
Johnston & Murphy Nolen Double Monkstrap Shoes

1Chiwetel Ejiofor Martian Style Ashley Weston2

Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Collar Cardigan
Brooks Brothers Milano Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt
Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans
Allen Edmonds Decatur Ave Casual Belt
Johnston & Murphy Conard Cap Toe Chukka