Choosing the right tie is one of those small yet significant sartorial details that speak volumes about how you present yourself. Done well, it sends a message of tastefulness and sophistication. Done incorrectly, and you risk inviting criticism before your work partner or guest at an event even speaks to you. To avoid making an accidental faux-pas, read on for some tips on how to choose a tie correctly.
Right Time At The Right Place
Make sure that the tie you wear is appropriate for the occasion. Everything from the fabric and size of the tie to its color and pattern should be tailored to the situation you’re in. Is it a formal event, or more of a dressed-down gathering? Who can you expect to be meeting? Keep these factors in mind as you search for the right tie. For instance, you could go with a skinny tie for a modern, youthful look within a business casual code. But leave the bow tie for outside of the office.
Solid As They Come
Solid colors are usually the safest choice. Black or some variant of gray is always reliable, and dark blue ties are also typically appropriate in professional settings. Cotton ties, or silk ties with a slight sheen, are a the right ties in formal business settings. Wool ties in darker hues are permissible in fall and winter.
Fit The Part
Patterns aren’t necessarily gaudy. Solid patterns and light stripes are good for professional settings. For more casual occasions, bolder stripes and dots, or even paisley, plaid, and floral can add a touch of color and interest to an outfit. Just make sure to pick wisely with thought to how it will complement the rest of the ensemble in terms of patterns, colors, and textures. For instance, a semi-solid or lightly-patterned tie will be the right tie with a solid-colored suit.
Select a tie with your own physique in mind. To calculate what length tie is best for you, add your height in inches to your collar size. A standard size tie will be fine if the number is less than 90 inches. Any greater, and you may want to try on an extra-long tie. In any case, the tie should be the right length so that it ends in the center of your belt buckle. As for width, the tie should usually be no wider than 3 to 3.75 inches (7.5 to 9.5 cm) if you are average-sized.
Think About The Big Picture
How does the tie work with the rest of your outfit? Take into account what type of shirt collar you will be wearing to help choose the right tie. A widespread collar works best with a Half or Full Windsor Knot. A point collar can be matched with a Four in Hand Knot. Also consider the color of your shirt to make sure your tie will not clash, or simply go with a crisp white shirt. Finally, make sure that the width of the tie is matched to the size of your lapels so as not to look unbalanced.