What To Wear To A Wedding

By now you probably have a stack of summer events you’ve RSVP’d to, from weddings to engagement parties, so now tough part begins, attempting to understanding that dress code and figuring out what the hell to wear. Unfortunately, we live in an age where dress codes have become more and more confusing and unnecessarily complex. But the good news is, I’m here to help you figure it all out and, more importantly, help you out with what to wear.

To begin unraveling what the hell “Beachy Vacation Casual Chic” or “Game Of Thrones-inspired forest semi-formal” really means, it’s important to think about the event and put it in context with four main types of dress code: black tie, formal, semi-formal, and casual. Once you do that, it’s as simple as can be. Stick to the four following examples and dress accordingly.

The Invite Says: Black Tie

The most formal code for obvious reasons, a black tie dress code means tuxedo only.

What To Wear: A tuxedo

This isn’t the place for a suit so embrace your James Bond moment. There are lots of tuxedo options these days, from navy to grey, but if you’re unsure, stick to the classic: black tux, white shirt, black bow tie, and white pocket square you can’t go wrong and provided everything fits properly, you’re going to look amazing.

The Invite Says: Black Tie Optional

Also Known As: Formal

This is the most common type of dress code for evening weddings and, similarly, formal events. You’ll see some people in tuxes but suits will be most common.

What To Wear: A tuxedo or dark suit

By all means, be the best-dressed man in the room and wear a tuxedo, I encourage it. But, a classic dark-colored suit, like charcoal or midnight navy, works equally well. Keep your shirt choice simple and go with white and keep the color in your tie to a minimum. Ideal combos include a white shirt with a simple black, silver, burgundy, or navy tie. I don’t really recommend a ton of patterns or colors here as it’s not really the place.

The Invite Says: Cocktail Attire, Evening Attire or Something with Formal

Also Known As: Semi-Formal

The most common type of dress code, especially for weddings and events in the afternoon or evening.

What To Wear: A suit or blazer with a tie

Depending on the time of the event (day or night) most suit and tie combinations will leave you looking like a sharp-dressed man. Charcoal, Navy, and patterned suits all work for this dress code. If it’s an afternoon or daytime event and outdoors, you could also wear a lightweight cotton suit or blazer combination, especially if it’s going to be hot. Feel free to add a pop of color or print as a personal touch if you’re feeling adventurous. A tie isn’t mandatory, but I always recommend one for events like this.

The Invite Says: Anything with “Resort”, “Beach”, “Garden Party”

Also Known As: Casual

Sure, it’s the broadest category but also potentially the biggest minefield. The most important consideration here is location and time of day. Daytime and beach events are pretty much an open field but I always say ‘dress to impress”.

What To Wear: Dressy Casual Shirts and Pants

Simple cotton, chambray, or linen shirts, chinos, and cotton dress pants work best. For a stylish touch, I recommend throwing on a silk knit tie. For an event that’s slightly more formal, say summer weddings and engagement parties or an evening event, dress up your chinos and shirt with a lightweight cotton or wool blazer and throw on a pair of loafers. You can also feel comfortable wearing all types of colors and patterns here, provided they’re appropriate for the event.

Don’t forget to check out my favorite picks from The Tie Bar to get you ready for wedding season!

Don’t forget to check out all my picks from the video!

Video Picks

Ties from The Tie Bar

Shirts from The Tie Bar

Now that you’ve got your wedding style game plan set to go, all that’s left is to brush up on a few dance moves.

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 To Wear and Match Colors Like A Pro

I know you’ve probably experienced that sense of dread as you’re standing in front of your closet, possibly pantless, definitely shirtless, thinking to yourself “How the hell do I figure out what shirts go with what pants?” or “How do I know which colors go well together?” So before you throw your hands in the air and wear your bathrobe to the office (not recommended, by the way), take a deep breath, I’ve got you. Here are a few of my foolproof strategies for wearing color; master them and in no time you’ll be looking sharp, feeling chill, and have your morning routine dialed in.

Keep It Simple

If you don’t know where to begin, I always say keep it simple. On the dressy side of things, that means starting with a solid white shirt and a neutral black, charcoal, or navy tie. No matter your suit or blazer color, a white shirt and one of the mentioned tie colors will work every time. On the casual side, the same holds true: a white shirt never fails. Whether it’s a basic button-down oxford, one dressed up with a blazer, sweater, or lightweight jacket for a night out, or a T-shirt paired with denim or chinos, the white shirt just works.

Go Monochromatic

Here’s another approach I like to use with my clients. Going monochromatic involves pairing different shades of the same color for a complete look. This is not only simple to execute, but it looks both cool and modern.

I recommend starting with blues or greys because they work best visually and are the easiest to execute with everyday pieces. By all means, throw in some subtle patterns (like in your shirt or tie) when layering to add a visually interesting element. I also like an all-black look, but the key to making it work is layering different textures/fabrics.

Consider Your Skin Tone

Our final piece of the puzzle has to do with your skin tone. Now I get asked all the time about matching clothing colors to eye and hair color and the only thing you need to know about that is this: it doesn’t matter one bit. Women pay attention to their eye and hair color when putting on makeup because certain colors can highlight their facial features. When it comes to men, this does not apply unless you’re wearing makeup. The only thing that you should consider is your skin color in regards to clothing choice.

Yellow Skin Tones

For men of Asian descent or those who have yellow tones in their skin, you’re going to want to avoid lighter/pastel versions of the following colors: tan, off-white, yellow, and orange. They’re only going to make your skin look sickly or muted. Solid, darker versions of these colors are ok, and from there, you can wear any other colors.

Brown Skin Tones

If your skin is on the brown spectrum (anything from light to dark) you want to avoid any brown color that closely matches your skin color. Otherwise, you’ll look dull and lifeless. Choose something darker or lighter from your skin and you’ll be in great shape. I highly recommend wearing colors like reds, yellows, greens, and blues, because they’ll look great against your warmer skin tone.

White or Pale Skin Tones

For those of you who burn at even the slightest hint of sunlight, you want to avoid reds, yellows, pinks, and oranges in all shades and forms. These colors are really going to bring out the pink undertones in your fair skin and make you look flushed or washed out. A good rule of thumb to follow is that “cool” colors are good.  Wearing colors like blues, greens, purples and their variations are going to look great against your skin and complement your fairness.

My Favorite No-Fail Color Combos

Finally, I’m going to share an easy cheat sheet with you, a few of my favorite, go-to combinations and how to wear them. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing these casually or dressed up, all of these color combinations are going look great.

Navy and Brown

Both classic and modern, navy and brown go together like peanut butter and jelly.  From dark denim and a brown jacket or blazer to a navy suit with brown accents, to something as simple as tan chinos and a navy casual jacket, this combination is one you absolutely should master.  Throw a white shirt into any navy and brown combination for an easy way to bring it all together.

Blues and Greens

Speaking of rock-solid, one-two punches that work in tandem, blue and greens together are always on point. The wide range of hues gives you the option to dial up the statement level (or tone it down), depending on what shades you choose, what occasion you’re dressing for, or how adventurous you’re feeling.

My favorite ways to wear these colors together are:

  1. A navy suit, light blue shirt, and a green tie
  2. A blue oxford or t-shirt, green chinos, and brown leather belt with chukka boots

Black, Grey, and White

Simple?  Sure. Always sharp, clean, and in good taste? You bet. If you’re one of those guys who can appreciate the idea of a modern uniform or the utmost in classic simplicity, stick to this graphic combination and feel confident knowing you’re always going to look great.

My favorite outfit combos for these colors are:

  1. Grey suit, white shirt, and black tie.
  2. Black bomber jacket, white shirt, and grey pants.

Charcoal/Grey and Pastels

We’ve obviously established the awesome versatility of charcoal and grey, so it makes sense that they would also work well with pastels.  The great thing about pairing them with shades of grey is that their impact is taken down slightly. So, you get the benefit of a splash of color but you’re never going to be over-the-top preppy guy from Martha’s Vineyard or look like you’re on vacation in the Caribbean.

My favorite outfit combos:

  1. Grey suit, white or pastel shirt, and any simple dark tie (pastel shirt) or pastel tie (white shirt).
  2. Grey or charcoal casual jacket, pastel shirt or sweater, and navy pants.

I hope that was helpful and as you can see, wearing colors doesn’t have to be confusing or scary, so give it a shot!

The Essential Business Casual Details & Outfits

To me, business casual for men’s outfits is a loose definition, but it definitely has an upper and lower range of what’s appropriate. The only true way to determine what it means is by looking at it in relation to the current dress code of the company or function you’re dealing with.

Things to avoid in business casual

Ties

There are rare exceptions, but when in doubt, go without.

Shorts

These are too casual no matter how they’re worn and I’d argue that a man shouldn’t wear shorts in 95% of situations, anyways.

T-Shirts

While I love them, they have no place in a business casual outfit.

Not Tucking In Your Shirt

The sin of all sins for a business casual outfit, no matter your body type, is not tucking in your collared shirts. Polo shirts should only be worn untucked, but the exact opposite is true for collared shirts. It just looks sloppy.

 

Now let’s go over the typical outfits and when they’re appropriate to wear.

Standard Business Casual

For most companies, whether they require a suit (maybe no tie) or a blazer or collared shirt everyday, there are two types of business casual outfits. How close the dress code is to a full suit will determine whether you should wear a jacket or not. Also, depending on the time of year, you may go for lighter or heavier weighted fabrics for your jackets and pants. Hotter = lighter.

With A Jacket

If you are required to wear a suit and tie everyday, definitely go with this one.

Sport Coat/Blazer

Here’s another article I wrote about heavier sport coats/blazers for the Fall & Winter months. Please, whatever you do, don’t wear a suit jacket in place of this. The fabric is too thin and it won’t match the fabric weight of the pants you’ll be wearing.

Oxford Button Down Shirt or Semi-Spread Collared Shirt

Make sure either of these are tucked in to your pants. Definitely wear a belt that matches your shoe color, as well.

Wool trousers, Chino Pants or Dark Wash Jeans

The more formal the dress code, the more likely you should wear wool trousers. Chinos are a little less formal or more used during spring and summer, while jeans a little less so than chinos and typically used year-round. Never, ever – unless the suit pants are a very thick wool (similar to wool trouser weight) – should you wear suit pants without the accompanying jacket.

Oxford Dress Shoes, Monk straps, Brogues, WingtipsBoots (Dress or Chukka) or Loafers

The second you’re not wearing a full suit and tie, you can basically wear anything but sneakers with your business casual outfit. I’d default to Oxfords, Monk Straps or Loafers – either in suede or leather, but any of the options above are acceptable.

Without a jacket

If the dress code or occasion is slightly more casual, you can forgo the jacket and wear this business casual outfit, instead. There’s a few small points to consider.

V-neck sweater

If the weather is too warm, then definitely swap out the sweater for a blazer from the previous section, or, if it can be more casual, go to the next outfit, instead.

Shirt

Same as the previous outfit. You can wear a tie, like in the above picture, but it’s not necessary at all.

Pants

Wool trousers or dark wash jeans. Chino pants have a fabric weight that is too light to go well with v-neck sweaters.

Shoes

Same as previous outfit.

 

Casual Business Casual

This type of business casual outfit is appropriate if there’s a pretty casual dress code normally, or the event is very informal. If you see “business casual” as a requirement anywhere, this is the least formal outfit you can wear that is still appropriate for the dress code. Anything less than this is not business casual.

Harrington Jacket 

This is one of my favorite jackets of all time and fits this outfit perfectly. Obviously, only wear this if the weather is requiring a jacket.

Polo Shirt or Oxford Button Down

I’d probably default to a polo shirt unless you knew for a fact you were going to wear the Harrington Jacket or the weather is cooler. Unless you’re a slimmer guy, an Oxford Button Down worn without a jacket on top of it doesn’t look too good. No matter what, though, make sure the polo shirt fits like a glove or you’re going to look like a goofball and if you wear the oxford, please tuck it in.

Chino Pants or Dark Wash Jeans

Chino pants are the default in an outfit like this, but dark wash jeans are just as appropriate. I’d let the time of year or weather dictate whether I went with chinos or dark wash jeans. The colder it is, the more I’d lean toward wearing the jeans over the chinos.

Sneakers, Loafers, Dress Shoes or Chukka Boots

The more classy you want to make this casual outfit, the more I’d learn toward dressy shoes.

 

That’s it! Hope this is helpful!

POTW: Spring Ties, Pocket Squares and Tie Bars

Happy Spring! This week I wanted to show you some of my favorite Spring ties and pocket squares you can easily (and cheaply!) pick up to add some new life and personality into your current wardrobe. Accessories are a great way to add an element of fun and can help make your year round navy and charcoal suits and sportcoats more seasonally appropriate. 

Look 1

I love playing with color for Spring so I chose this pink polka dot tie which would look fantastic paired with your navy or charcoal suit.

POTW Spring Ties & Pocket Squares - The Tie Bar Ashley Weston

$55 – The Tie Bar Chambray Shirt
$19 – The Tie Bar ‘Nirvana Tie’ in Wild Pink
$15 – The Tie Bar Colored Tie Bar in Cornflower Blue
$10 – The Tie Bar Outpost Paisley Pocket Square in Royal Blue
$8 – The Tie Bar Wheel and Anchor Sock in Navy

Look 2

This lavender tie and floral pocket square combination instantly injects some fun into your year round suits. Pair with a light blue dress shirt (which you should already have!) and now you have a sharp, Spring outfit.

POTW Spring Ties & Pocket Squares - The Tie Bar Ashley Weston 1

$55 – The Tie Bar Pinpoint Solid Shirt in Light Blue
$19 – The Tie Bar Half Moon Floral Tie in Lilac
$10 – The Tie Bar Peninsula Floral Pocket Square in Lilac
$15 – The Tie Bar Brushed Silver Tie Bar

Look 3

If the other two options were too adventurous in terms of color, here are more subtle tie and pocket square combinations that will not only work for your suits, but also for your more casual outfits that involve a sportcoat or brown leather jacket. Complete with a white dress shirt, some dark wash jeans, and a pair of penny loafers.

POTW Spring Ties & Pocket Squares - The Tie Bar Ashley Weston 3

$55 – The Tie Bar Herringbone Non-Iron Shirt in White
$19 – The Tie Bar South Padre Geos Tie in Navy
$25 – The Tie Bar Scramble Silk Knit Tie in Light Blue
$19 – The Tie Bar Calico Chambray Tie in Soft Blue
$15 – The Tie Bar Colored Tie Bar in Peach
$15 – The Tie Bar Brushed Silver Tie Bar
$10 – The Tie Bar Solid Pocket Square with Border in Silver
$10 – The Tie Bar Chambray Pocket Square with Border in Light Blue

Pocket Squares

Pocket squares are an essential accessory because when I talk about the smaller details that set the average guy apart from the well-dressed gentleman, this is exactly the type of accessory I’m referring to. It’s an easily forgotten item that adds a little extra polish to an outfit and really sets you apart from the average guy.

If you’re relatively new to pocket squares, the worst thing you can do is go overboard with them. I see it all the time. It’s a very fine line between looking sharp and tacky. Classy and subtle wins out over loud and flamboyant every time. So please don’t complicate your pocket squares any more than necessary.

Before we get into the pocket squares you should own, let me answer some of the common questions I get asked about pocket squares.

When to wear pocket squares

Anytime you’re wearing a jacket, either with a full suit or a blazer or sport coat. You can also wear them with unlined/unstructured blazers like I discussed in my Summer Essentials ebook. But, never, and I mean never, should you wear a pocket square with an overcoat or top coat.

Do I always need to wear one with all my suits and blazers?

No, but I’d suggest wearing one more often than not. To me, the more casual the outfit, the less necessary one becomes. But even then, the quickest way to add a little extra polish to an outfit is with a pocket square.

How Do I Match My Pocket Square to my outfit?

First off – if you’re matching your pocket square to your tie exactly – stop immediately.

It’s a rookie mistake I see a lot of guys making and it looks bad 100% of the time. I just think of all those silk tie and pocket square sets in prom photosshudder.

Matching your pocket square to your outfit is pretty straight forward.

The safest thing you can do, which looks great 100% of the time, is to match your pocket square to your shirt. You will NEVER go wrong there – as long as you’re not wearing some obnoxious dress shirt color like red or orange. Even then, it wouldn’t look… horrible. So do that if you’re going tie-less or wearing a black tie.

Solid tie that isn’t black

Make sure your pocket square is a similar color (not exact) to the color of your tie. Or, if you’re using a white pocket square with colored tipping, make sure the tipping is a similar shade of the same color.

Patterned tie

Find a color in the tie and have your pocket square, either the tipping, pattern, or solid color of your pocket square have a similar color in it. It doesn’t need to match perfectly, but it should have a similar shade of the color as your tie. So if you’re wearing a blue tie, have a blue shade in your pocket square.

Plain tie

Match your pocket square to your dress shirt. It doesn’t need to be perfectly matching, just a similar shade of the same color. That will keep a nice contrast between the items you’re wearing.

Going Tie-less

Again, match your pocket square to your shirt color.

So if you’re wearing a blue suit and white dress shirt, then you can wear a white pocket square.

What Material Should My Pocket Squares Be?

This one is simple: cotton.

Cotton works in 100% of situations, no matter the outfit, color, etc. and goes perfectly with your essential silk ties. So don’t waste your time or complicate things further by even considering other materials.

I occasionally use wool or linen pockets squares with clients or on shoots, but they have very specific use cases and cotton pocket squares would still work in all of these situations, so stick with cotton and you’ll be just fine. For silk pocket squares, I think I can count on one hand how many times I’ve used them over the course of my career.

What Colors and Patterns Should My Pocket Square be?

I’ll always default to classic and timeless colors and patterns so stick with these and they’ll go with any suit or jacket you’ll own:

  • Plain white (if you have 1 color, this is the color)
  • White with gray or navy tipping
  • Navy or gray gingham patterns

Any other types of patterns or colors and you’re venturing into territory that’s outside the scope of this series and where things can go wrong very quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing – and trust me, most guys don’t know what they’re doing in this department, even the so-called “experts”.

I’ll do a whole other video or series about patterns and materials later on, but that’s next level stuff and is not appropriate for the Essential Accessories Series since these are the items that need to work with my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials and also need to work for every guy, regardless of his age or body type.

How to fold a pocket square

Check out my article and video about the 3 best ways to fold a pocket square.

Best Pocket Squares

Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong with any pocket squares, as long as they’re cotton and you’ve stuck to plain white, white with colored tipping and navy or gray gingham patterns. So if you have a preferred place to get your pocket squares go ahead and use them.

I get hit up by a gazillion tie and pocket square companies all day long, but for all my pocket square needs – and they’re not paying me to say this – I use TheTieBar.com.

I’ve been a customer of theirs since they were a little company, who didn’t know who I was or what I did for a living and and they’ve continued to impress me each and every time I order from them. Suffice it to say, they’re amazing. And trust me, I use them A LOT.

The Tie Bar Solid White Cotton Pocket Square
The Tie Bar Solid Pocket Square with Midnight Navy Border
The Tie Bar Solid Pocket Square with Dark Charcoal Border
The Tie Bar Novel Gingham Navy Pocket Square
The Tie Bar Metric Plaid Charcoal Pocket Square

Pocket Squares Outfit Inspiration

The king of all pocket square inspiration photos is my friend Rainier over at TheDressedChest.com, my images below pale in comparison to his, so go check him out, as well.

The Best Men’s Ties

Just like all the other essential accessory pieces, you want your ties to work perfectly with all the items in your essential wardrobe. If you own a suit or blazer, then you absolutely need ties! Unfortunately, I see a lot of guys also completely crapping the bed with their ties.

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.

That’s 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.

  1. Silk Ties
    Silk ties work year-round with every kind of outfit where a tie can be worn – dress, business and casual.
  2. 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.

Large/Broad Build

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)

The Tie Bar Black Grenafaux Tie
The Tie Bar Black Knit Tie
The Tie Bar Black Delta Stripe Tie
The Tie Bar Black Satin Dot Tie

Navy Ties (solid, striped, polka dotted)

The Tie Bar Navy Grenafaux Tie
The Tie Bar Navy Textured Solid Knit Tie
The Tie Bar Navy Trad Stripe
The Tie Bar Navy Satin Dot Tie

Charcoal/Gray Ties (solid, striped, polka dotted)

The Tie Bar Charcoal Grenafaux Tie
The Tie Bar Charcoal Knitted Tie
The Tie Bar Charcoal Pencil Pinstripes Tie
The Tie Bar Charcoal Shock Dots Tie

Silver (solid, striped, polka dotted)

The Tie Bar Silver Grenafaux Tie
The Tie Bar Silver Knitted Tie
The Tie Bar Silver Trainer Stripe Tie
The Tie Bar Silver Satin Dot Tie

 

Men’s Ties Outfit Inspiration