Choose the Right Tie
Choosing the right tie makes a difference in the statement your are trying to make.
by Rita Gworek
Ties are the one accessory that make a bold statement. It can say business, casual or formal. It can show your personality. It can even work as a conversation piece in social situations. But whatever the occasion, make sure the tie is appropriate. Ties come in different colors, textures, fabric and patterns. Which ones are right ones for each situation? What knots are appropriate?
Pick a Color
For business the most acceptable colors are the ones that are most common to the eye: reds, grays, blues and yellow/gold. Select these in medium to dark shades. Deep rich colors look more expensive and are more authoritative. Lighter shades of these colors tend to be more friendly and social or used in the summer time. Unusual shades of these colors are more creative, such as bright red, orange red, teal blue and bright yellow.
Anything that causes you to stare at the tie and be distracted is not considered a business tie. It would be more for a social event. A black tie can be more somber or formal. White ties are formal. Ties in shades of brown are earthy. Lime green or bright green, all shades of purple, orange and pinks can be more spring-like and friendly and are used in social settings. The fewer the colors used the more formal the tie.
Smooth as Silk
Textures consist of smooth silks, thick woven silk and grainy knits. Business ties are always made of silk. You will find woven silk ties today. The technology in weaving the silk threads allows for this. It makes for a very interesting texture and adds body to the tie. You can identify the fabric of the tie by looking at the label on the inside of the narrow end of the tie.
If the fabric is silk, the lining needs to have some substance to make the knot hold up and keep the tie from flattening around the neck. Woven silk ties have a lot of substance and do not need much substance in the lining. Too much substance in the lining and the woven fabric will be so thick that you won’t be able to tie a small knot. That is why you see some people wearing unusually large knots in their ties. Grainy knits are usually made of wool, cotton or linen. These fabrics are more casual and usually worn with a sport coat.
Paisley and More
Small patterns that are evenly spaced and consistently spaced are considered business ties. These would include pin dots, foulards and rep or striped ties. A foulard or Ivy League tie has repeating symbols on a solid background. These are both conservative and casual business wear. Solid colors that are dark convey quiet elegance. Solid colors that have a satin finish are more formal. Repeating geometric patterns can be conservative if small or fashionable if larger. Paisley ties are versatile and always in style.
Every season will show a different style of paisley. There are foulard paisleys with small repeating paisley motifs evenly spaced on a solid background. There are overall paisleys in traditional and moderate shapes. These both would be classic for business. If the paisleys are in pastel colors they are considered elegant and dressy. Larger scale paisleys and designer shapes are for the fashion conscious. Club ties are sporty and conservative. They have repeating symbols that signify sporting clubs. The symbols may be hunting motifs, heraldry shields, game birds, or sports symbols, etc. The symbols are usually small and recognizable. These are worn for casual events. Plaid ties are sporty and have a casual image. They are usually worn with a sport coat, blazer or light colored summer suit. These are most often made of wool, cotton and linen.
Don’t Get Caught in a Knot
The knots that are used most often are the four-in-hand, half Windsor and full Windsor. The four-in-hand is the smallest knot and is used in a tab collared shirt and some classic or pointed collars. This knot creates a dimple in the tie which adds character to the tie.
A half Windsor knot is a symmetrical knot and can be used for a lot of collar styles. If you are used to the gig line being in place than a half Windsor knot will satisfy your need for symmetry. The full Windsor knot makes a large knot and is best used in a spread collar.
Be aware of the fabric in your tie. A full Windsor knot in a woven silk fabric will create an extra large knot. Adjust this size knot by tying a half Windsor instead to get the look of a full Windsor. And if your silk tie has no substance in it you will never get the look of a full Windsor knot.
Bow ties are in a category all by themselves. If you do wear one tie it yourself. It should never be a clip-on. A bow tie is more creative when used during the day and more formal when used at night. Again the pattern would also determine when it is worn.
Choose your tie to make a statement!