Chapter 4: Tie – Three Degrees of the Well-Dressed Man

AS WE FINALLY MOVE AWAY FROM THE CASUAL FRIDAY DRESS CODE, WHICH MANAGED TO BLEED INTO THE ENTIRE WORK WEEK, IT’S TIME TO REVISIT THE ULTIMATE MEN’S ACCESSORY. A NECKTIE SIGNALS THAT YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR CLOTHES AND HOW THEY LOOK. WHETHER WITH JEANS AND A BLAZER OR A SHARP SUIT, THE RIGHT TIE CAN TAKE AN OUTFIT FROM SCHLUMPY TO STYLISH WITH A QUICK FLIP OF THE WRIST. SO BY ALL MEANS, PREPARE TO TIE ONE ON.

 

 

TIE BASICS – KNOTS

Four-in-hand

1.) Place the tie around your collar with the wider side draped on your right and under your right hand. Take each side in each hand midway down the tie. The skinny side should be a bout a foot shorter than the wide side.

2.) Put your right hand over your left, pull under and across – you’ve just established the length of the tie.

3.) Now flip the tie from your right shoulder across to your left and hold the knot in your left hand.

4.) A great knot comes down to tension – and a dimple. Carefully reach through the knot with your right hand and pull up, then feed the tie down and into itself. You will see the knot forming nicely.

5.) To finish the tie properly, pull gently from just beneath the knot to achieve the right tension. Pinching the center of the tie between thumb and forefinger is the best way to go here. That way you’ll create that all-important dimple.

Bow Tie Knot

Believe it or not, knotting a bow tie isn’t that difficult to master. It may take a few attempts, but once you get it down, it’s no sweat.

1.) Start with a simple right over left.

2.) Take the left side and fold it at the throat into half a bow.

3.) Take the right up and over so it hangs down the middle of the bow. Fold the right end horizontally and slip it through the knot behind the left.

4.) Pull the loops at each end to tighten the bow. What follows is a lot of wiggling to even out the ends and make your bow smooth and balanced. A bow tie shouldn’t be perfect, or you won’t get credit for having tied it.

Remember, bow ties look best when worn with a tux. There’s a pretty significant putz factor otherwise. So unless you’re changing your name to
Redenbacher, do yourself a favor, and stay away.

PRINT

Print ties add visual interest and color to your wardrobe. Just stay away from novelty patterns.

SOLID COLOR

Solid-color ties are underrated. They look particularly sophisticated
with striped shirts.

BRIGHT

Balance playful, brightly colored ties with equally eye-catching pocket squares or socks.

SMALL PATTERN

Keep your neck-wear tasteful, not overpowering, with a tiny houndstooth or microdot pattern.

STRIPE

Striped ties, worn with a navy blazer and a crisp white shirt, are a classic combination.

VARIEGATED STRIPE

Essential accessories don’t have to be boring. The variegated stripe adds stylish pizzazz.

POLKA DOT

Dots used to be exceedingly popular. Their extreme versatility will make them so again.

THE DIMPLE

Much overlooked is the dimple, which should lie directly below the knot. A tie without a dimple is like pants without a fly. It absolutely needs to be there.

THE PERFECT FIT

 

THE RIGHT LENGTH

Bigger isn’t better when it comes to ties. Rule# 1: The bottom of your tie should never extend below your waistline. Some men choose to tuck a tie into their pants, which is not a sin, but not recommended. If you’re vertically challenged, you can let the tail – the thinner back portion of the tie-hang longer and tuck it into your pants.

THE KNOT

The knot you choose depends mostly on the shape of your shirt collar. Spread collars need a larger knot to fill the gap. While there are dozens of variations on the tie knot, if you can believe it, only one really matters. The four-in-hand is the basic, and best, knot, one that can be worn successfully with all collar types. Windsor knots are overrated, and as such, should be avoided. It’s a myth that the Duke of Windsor tied a Windsor knot. He simply had his haberdasher use thicker silk.

WELL-MADE

A properly knotted tie is meant to arc from the neck a bit. It’s easier to accomplish this with a well-made silk tie, but a tab collar or tie bar will assist in achieving the same effect.

THE WIDTH

Tie widths tend to vary from one year to the next. You can try to keep up with the comings and goings of a fickle fashion flock, but with miles of ties out there – and the fact that a well-cared-for one can last a lifetime-you are better off finding a style that fits your face and frame.

HOW TO BUY TIES

 

Ties allow us to show some personal style in a sea of navy suits. Like shoes, they can dress up an outfit or make it more relaxed. Most men don’t have nearly enough ties in their wardrobe. Start with a solid navy tie. Buy some ties with stripes in two colors. Then branch out into some basic patterns. Remember to get a conservative dominant color: blue, brown, red, or even yellow.

Remember, ties are meant to accent your outfit, not over-power it. It’s about nuance, not neon.

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