How and When Should Men Wear A Tie?

Ties are a fundamental accessory in a man’s essential wardrobe, they can add personality, elegance, and formality to many types of looks, no matter what your personal style is. Rules about style and formality, in both work and social settings, are changing so quickly that it can be tough to know when you should and shouldn’t wear a tie.

So, in this episode of 2 Minute Tuesday we’re discussing when and how men should wear a tie! For a full breakdown on our favorite ties and specific tips, make sure you check out our tie article!

 

With What?

A key thing to remember about ties starts with what you should be wearing them with. Dressier looks like suits and sport coats are definitely options you can and should wear a tie with. For more of a hybrid look, try wearing a tie with a bomber jacket, it can give your casual look a cool dressy vibe. One word of warning though, you don’t want to wear just a tie on its own without a jacket, it just doesn’t look right.

 

With What Types of Dress Codes?

When to wear a tie can also be determined by the dress code or how formal your place of work happens to be. Dress codes like “Formal”, “Cocktail Attire” or “Cocktail Party” often call for a suit and a tie. Business casual tends to lean slightly more casual but a tie can be appropriate given the right scenario. One tip we love, try a knit tie in those less-dressy situations, they’re not as dressy as a silk tie and will give your look a cool vibe.

If you aren’t totally sure about dress codes, ultimately you want to go with the crowd and let that dictate when a tie is appropriate. Always being stylish and a bit more dressed up is a great thing most of the time. But, you don’t want to be significantly overdressing for occasions or workplaces that don’t call for it. It can seem like you’re trying too hard or attempting to stand out, and not in a good way.

How To Wear A Tie Bar

As I’ve talked about before, details like well-chosen accessories can make a huge impact on your outfit. Whether you call it a tie bar or tie clip, this classic accessory is an easy way to add a bit of extra flair to your dressy outfits.  But, there are a few easy tips you need to know when selecting and wearing one.

The two biggest, and really, only, mistakes you can make with a tie bar are: wearing it too high or low and using a tie bar that is not the proper size for your tie width. So let’s fix those problems once and for all.

 

Choosing The Right Size Tie Bar

The key here is to make sure your tie bar does not exceed the length of your tie width and hang over the edge, definitely not a good look.

For A Slim Tie

If you’re wearing a slimmer  2” – 2.5” wide tie, then you want to choose a 1” or 1.5” tie bar.

For A Standard Tie

If you’re wearing a standard 3” tie, then you want to use a 2” tie bar.

Now that you know how wide your tie bar should be, let me show you how to properly wear one with two different approaches.

How To Wear A Tie Bar

Now that you’ve got the right size tie bar selected, let’s move on to the right way to wear it. I highly recommend sticking to one of these two methods as any other way can throw off your entire look.

The OG Approach

This is the tried and true classic way to wear a tie bar. Your tie bar will be placed lower down on your tie which will prevent your tie from moving as much. It’s a more utilitarian use of your tie bar without it showing much. With your blazer on, attach your tie bar about 2 buttons lower than the breast pocket of your jacket.  There you go, the OG approach.

The Modern Approach

The modern approach is my personal favorite because it shows off the accessory a bit more and whether I’m styling for GQ or my clients for the red carpet, this is what I prefer do. To achieve this attach your tie bar slightly below your breast pocket – about 0.5”. Be careful though, any higher and it’ll look ridiculous.

No matter which way you choose to wear it, the right tie bar is an easy upgrade to your accessory game; try one out today!

Top Men’s Accessories Under $100

Accessories may seem like a small thing but they’re one of my favorite ways to mix up your look and add some extra personality in a very affordable way. Whether you’re adding a new tie to your rotation, trying out a new watch or piece of jewelry, or bringing in something more utilitarian like a key holder, these extra touches to your personal style will go a long way.

With that in mind, here are my favorite men’s accessories under $100!

Tie Bar – The Tie Bar

A tie bar is great because it’s both utilitarian and stylish. It’s a small touch but you can mix and match with different colors, finishes, and styles to add just a bit of personality to your tie game.

 

Knit Tie – The Tie Bar

Speaking of ties, I love the texture and look of a knit tie because it’s just a bit different from the norm.  Plus, because of look and design, knit ties crossover to more casual looks very easily, so try pairing them with a blazer and denim or an oxford and chinos.

Silver Cuff – Topman

A silver cuff is a great place to start with men’s jewelry because it’s simple and not too over-the-top. Just make sure you keep it low key and only wear one piece of jewelry at a time. 

 

Brown Frame Sunglasses – Warby Parker

I love the colored clear-framed sunglass styles that are happening right now.  They’re definitely different enough to add something new to your look but not so bold as to be distracting. Don’t forget to check out my guide to finding the right frame for your face shape!

 

Blue Frame Sunglasses – Warby Parker

As I mentioned above, clear-framed sunglasses are my favorite type of eyewear right now.  Stick with a classic frame shape and you’ll hit just the right balance of modern and timeless.

 

Key Holder – Bellroy

Since I’m sure some of you have that bulky, disorganized key ring, I recommend this key holder as a simple, smart way to keep your keys organized in a stylish way.

 

Wallet – Bellroy

Just like the key holder above, Bellroy has a knack for making stylish leather goods that are the perfect mix of minimal design and high-quality materials. Their Low Down wallet is a great pared-down choice.

 

Slim Phone Case – Elago

Finding a phone case that’s both classy and protective is tough but Elago really nails it.  They’re remarkably slim and minimal but still offer a great fit and protection, no matter what type of phone you have.

 

Watch – Timex Weekender

Despite its name, the Times Weekender is the perfect budget-friendly watch for any day of the week.  In addition to being both high-quality and very affordable, it’s classic design works well with any wardrobe choice, casual or dressy.

 

Watch Straps – Suede, Perlon, Leather, and NATO-Style

Now that you’ve got a great watch you can further mix up your look by swapping out different watch straps. Add a leather or suede one for a polished look or try nylon and perlon for something more sporty.  Buy a few and switch them up depending on your mood, it’s easy and fun.

Backpack – KNOMO London Holborn Southampton Backpack

Finding a good backpack isn’t easy, and finding an affordable one is even tougher. That’s why I love this one from Knomo so much, it’s versatile and stylish without being too bulky, something that’s really tough to find at such a great price point.

How Should an Overcoat or Peacoat Fit?

It’s time to answer the age-old question: How Should an Overcoat or Peacoat Fit? Alright, maybe it’s not age-old, but it’s still important either way. The rules are very similar to how should a suit jacket fit but keep in mind, with an Overcoat, at least, you’ll usually be wearing a suit or blazer underneath it, so the size will need to adjust accordingly.

Before We Begin

When trying on Overcoats, make sure you’re wearing a proper-fitting suit jacket or blazer so you can see how it’ll really fit. Trying on an Overcoat with just a shirt underneath will likely result in getting one that is too small and will look horrible when you’re wearing it with the proper clothing underneath it.

Also, when trying on a Peacoat, make sure you’re NOT wearing a suit jacket or blazer underneath, because like I said in my Overcoats & Peacoats essential article, this coat is not meant to be worn with those items.

Like with almost all your clothing, your coats can and should be tailored, but you always want to make sure at least the shoulders fit, because it’s very difficult and costly for a tailor to fix these, if they can at all.

How Should An Overcoat Fit?

Peacoats-and-Overcoats-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials-2Shoulders

Even though this will be going over a suit jacket or sport coat/blazer, you still want the shoulder seams of the coat to end where your shoulders end. If the shoulders are too tight or loose, they will be very hard to fix at a tailor’s. You should see no divots or wrinkles in the shoulders, as well. If nothing else, the coat’s shoulders should fit perfectly.

RealMenRealStyle has this awesome graphic showing the proper shoulder fit.

shoulder fit graphic

Sleeves

With your arms straight down, bend your wrist, so your palms are facing the ground, the sleeves should lightly touch the top of your hand. This length will cover anything you’re wearing underneath – which is what you want with a coat.

The picture below is from my How Should A Suit Fit? article, but I wanted to show you what I’m talking about when I mean palms facing the ground. Where the white shirt cuff is hitting is where your coat sleeves should be hitting. Just enough to cover it, basically.
Sleeve-Length-Ashely-Weston-How-Your-Suit-Should-Fit

Body

When buttoned, the coat should not be roomy, but should lie close to your body. That being said, it should be in no way taut or feel constricting on your chest or midsection when wearing it over a suit or blazer.

This picture below (of the same coat my model is wearing, by Brooks Brothers) perfectly illustrates how it should fit in the body. He’s only wearing a sweater and Oxford dress shirt underneath, so it’d fit a little tighter in the body if he had on a suit or sport coat/blazer.

ML00401_GREY_2

Lapel Width

For Overcoats, the lapels are pretty standard width, so this is a non-issue. The lapels on the Brooks Brothers Overcoat above are a little wide, but they’re still very acceptable.

How Long should an overcoat be?

No matter what climate you live in, it should end somewhere above your knee – never longer. A good rule of thumb is mid-thigh to just above your knee is where your Overcoat should hit. If it needs to be longer because it’s too cold, then it’s time to throw aesthetics/fashion out to the window and go full Constanza Gore-Tex.

How Long Should An Overcoat Be

 

How Should A Peacoat Fit?

Overcoats & Peacoats Ashley Weston

Shoulders

Just like with Overcoats, you want the shoulder seams of a Peacoat to end where your shoulders naturally end – where they start curving down to your arm, basically. You should see no divots or wrinkles in the shoulders anywhere. The shoulders should lay perfectly flat, with no divots or rumpling or pulling on the shoulders. If you have more rounded shoulders, the seam should still end in the same place. If the shoulders are too big or small, a tailor will have a very hard time fixing this, and it would be very expensive – if it was even possible. So ensure these fit properly before buying your peacoat.

RealMenRealStyle has this awesome graphic showing the proper shoulder fit. Even though it’s for suit jackets, your Peacoat shoulders should still look like this when the jacket is buttoned.

shoulder fit graphic

Sleeves

Just like an Overcoat: With your arms straight down, bend your wrist, so your palms are facing the ground, the sleeves should lightly touch the top of your hand. This length will cover anything you’re wearing underneath – which is what you want with a Peacoat.

The picture below is from my How Should A Suit Fit? article, but I wanted to show you what I’m talking about when I mean palms facing the ground. Where the white shirt cuff is hitting is where your Peacoat sleeves should be hitting. Just enough to cover it, basically.

Sleeve-Length-Ashely-Weston-How-Your-Suit-Should-Fit

Body

When buttoned, the jacket should lightly hug your midsection, but not feel tight or constricting. There shouldn’t be a whole lot of “play” if you were to put your hands in the jacket and pull forward. The jacket shouldn’t be pulling at any of the various buttons on the front, making any creases in the front. If it’s very roomy around your stomach/waist area, you can (and should!) have a tailor take in the sides so it fits properly. Remember: better to be slightly too big than too small.

Quick Tip: When wearing your Peacoat, leave the bottom two buttons unbuttoned. It allows the coat’s bottom to flow better when walking or sitting. Buttoning a Peacoat all the way down is very odd looking and never done by anyone but a rookie.

Lapel Width

For Peacoats, the lapels are all standard width, so this is a non-issue.

How Long should a Peacoat be?

Unlike the Overcoat, a Peacoat should hit anywhere from mid to lower crotch. On my model, above, the Peacoat ends right around lower crotch. Anything longer than that wouldn’t be acceptable. Anything longer than lower-crotch or shorter than mid-crotch would throw off the proportions of your body and make you look weird. Balancing proportions is a mistake a lot of guys make and can really influence how big or small you look in clothing.

Crotch Measurements

The Best Overcoats & Peacoats for Men

Check out my Men’s Overcoats & Peacoats essential article for my favorite coats for men of any age or body type and the different ways to wear your Overcoat and Peacoat.

Credits

Photographer: Justiin Charles
Model: Joseph Boyd at Wilhelmina Models
Hair/Makeup: Brendan Robertson for Exclusive Artists Management using Clarins Skincare and Kevin Murphy Hair Care