All About Ties
Choosing the Right Tie
How do you know which tie to wear with which shirt? The answer isn’t simple, but the rules are pretty simple once you learn them:
Think of the setting: Where you are going to wear the tie is paramount to your decision. You wouldn’t necessarily wear the same tie to a dinner date that you would to a job interview. More social and casual settings allow you to be more creative and adventurous, while most business functions call for more traditional and professional look. You don’t want to wear that “Goofy Tie” that your girlfriend gave you to a job interview, even if you are an avid cartoon network fan.
Color Counts: There are colors that don’t go together. You don’t want to wear that lime green shirt with a purple and white striped tie. Use your color wheel and match your colors properly. Remember the complementary colors and that these colors go together because they accentuate one another.
Seasonal Modifications: The color palettes that are appropriate in winter aren’t the same as those in summer. Save your pastels and pale shades for those warmer days and the richer, jewel tones for autumn and winter months.
Don’t Mix Your Patterns: Ties with bold or flashy patterns can make a real impact on your look, but you don’t want to couple them with a shirt that has stripes or a pattern. A striped shirt and a striped tie, or a checked shirt with a paisley tie can just be downright painful to look at. There are always exceptions, but unless you’re confident the patterns will match, play it safe and stick to only one pattern or type of stripe.
You can actually classify your ties into categories that can help you understand what looks are appropriate. The basic groups are:
Novelty Ties: These include the classic fish tie, or the keyboard tie, or the hand-painted tie with the hula dancer on it; basically, any number of images and icons used as graphics on a necktie. These types of ties are great accessories for situation where it’s okay to be funny, or show your whimsy, but they are inappropriate when you need to present a professional or dignified appearance.
The Monochromatic Look: This has become a popular look among professionals and those who want a slick look. It involves shirts and ties coordinated in the same color and in some cases the same shade of the color. Usually the difference in the color is created by the texture of the fabrics used for the tie and shirt. These create a very dramatic and in some cases bold look that is flattering and easy to coordinate.
Traditional: These are your classic ties in a solid color, or simple stripes or small-pattern designs. These are the ties that you wear for the majority of your dressier functions and business situations.
The Power Tie: These are ties that are typically in a very bold color – such as red – or a bold and expressive pattern/color combination. These ties are called power ties because they make a statement and are typically worn in situations where you want to “stand out” and draw attention to yourself. These power ties still need to be color coordinated.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have no need to worry overmuch about looking right in different situations. Just remind yourself to think of the setting you will be in, choose colors that complement or blend and keep the look simple.
Choosing the Right Tie knot
The Four in Hand Knot: Makes for a narrow, more discreet and slightly asymmetrical tie knot. It is best suited for a standard button-down dress shirt and works best with wide neckties made from heavy fabrics.
While this tie knot can be worn by anyone, it looks especially well on men with shorter necks as the knot's rather narrow and elongated form stretches the perceived height of the neck a tiny bit.
The Half Windsor Knot: A modest version of the Windsor Knot, is a symmetrical and triangular tie knot that you can use with any dress shirt. It works best with somewhat wider neckties made from light to medium fabrics.
The Windsor Knot: A thick, wide and triangular tie knot that projects confidence. It would therefore be your knot of choice for presentations, job interviews, courtroom appearances etc. It is best suited for spread collar shirts and it's actually quite easy to do.
While just about everyone can use this tie knot to tie his tie, it looks especially well on men with longer necks as its wide form shortens the perceived height of the neck a little bit.
The Pratt Knot: This also known as the Shelby Knot -- is tidy and fairly wide, yet not as wide as the Windsor Knot. It is well suited for any dress shirt and somewhat wider neckties made from light to medium fabrics.
Having the Right Tie length
As a general rule for all tie knots, the widest part of your tie should hang roughly at the same height as the upper edge of your leather belt, with the tie's tip extending slightly below it. The tip of the narrow end would then hang wherever it may provided it doesn’t extend below the widest part of your tie.
If you run into problems trying to get the length right with either the Windsor Knot or the Half Windsor Knot, try to let the wide end hang down as far as possible so that when you cross the wide end over the narrow end, you can barely hold on to the narrow end. That will give you more length once you have eventually tied the knot.