Nearly every guy has to wear a tie sometime in his life. Whether you wear a tie every day or only about twice a year, picking out the perfect tie is a great skill to have. Even though finding the right one for every occasion can be a little daunting. Don’t let the huge number of choices get you down. Check out this list of helpful hints to make sure you’re always dressed just right, every time.
Get to Know Your Dress Codes for Various Functions
What’s the difference between casual, business casual, formal, white tie? Knowing what the dress code requires will help you to pick the right tie (and the right outfit) for every party.
White Tie: White tie is about as formal as it gets. Coat tails, white vests, and gloves are a must. Also required are a starched formal shirt with waistcoat and detachable collar. Gentlemen can even wear a top hat for the occasion. Lucky for you, your tie is already picked out for a white tie party; a white bow tie is the must for this classy configuration.
Black Tie: Still super formal, but you can get away with a simple tuxedo and a nice white shirt. As the name suggests, you’ll want to go with a simple black, silk tie. Don’t try to go crazy with colors for a black tie. But there might be some leeway with colors and patterns if it labelled as a “Creative Black Tie.”
Semi-Formal also called Cocktail Attire: As long as you are wearing dress pants, a dress shirt, tie, and a jacket, you will be all set for semi-formal. So go wild with the ties, just so long as they match.
Festive Formal: The same as Semi-Formal, but holiday colors are a must. Festive formal is usually saved for Christmas or winter celebration parties, but other holidays can be festive formal too. So make sure to wear your dress pants and jacket. But bringing out that adorable Santa tie with the blinking lights would make you the talk of the party.
Business Formal: These kinds of events have similar dress codes to semi-formals, but you’re going to have to make sure the colors are toned down. Keep the brights to a minimum and select more neutral browns, navy blues, and blacks.
Business Casual: Optional ties here! But if you are wearing a dress shirt, they just beg for a sweet tie to go with it. Be sure to select colors that match well and still make your look like a professional.
Dressy Casual: Think business casual, but any colors are a great option. You can wear any dress shirts paired with a nice pair of creased dress pants to a dressy casual event. Don’t be afraid to wear your boldest and brightest if you love color; dressy casual is great for making quite the statement. And remember, ties are not a must.
Black Tie Optional: Much like a Black Tie, but the tux can be subbed out for a dark suit. So if you don’t have a tuxedo laying around, you can still fit in at a black tie optional. Just remember to keep the ties dark and formal. It’s best if your tie matches the color and cut of your suit. Keep in mind that this is still a very formal event.
What If the Invite Doesn’t Say?
What should you do if the type of event is not on the invitation? Study the invite. Does it look formal? The more expensive the invite looks, the more formal the event will most likely be. If you see embossed, thick paper with formal, calligraphic writing, you can expect at least Cocktail Attire. When in doubt, give the host or hostess a call. They’ll let you know.
Always Look for a Quality Tie
Regardless of what kind of event you are going to, you’ll always want a high-quality tie. Although the cheap ones might be tempting, a quality tie will stand the test of time. Always look for a high-quality lining, hand-stitching, and quality details. Check for online reviews of the tie and company. Also, never buy a tie that comes in closed packaging; it’s better if you can feel the tie for quality and ease of tying.
Who Makes the Best Ties?
If you are looking for a quality tie for your next event, look up these brands. They are known for high quality, unique pieces with fantastic reviews, and is totally worth checking out.
Hermés – This French based company has some of the most luxurious ties in the world. They make ties that have low-key, formal patterns for very formal events, but not a single one of them could ever be considered plain.
Carlo Franco – Wool-lined and made from seven-fold 100% Italian silk, these ties are the absolute height of real luxury in ties. Each and every one of their beautiful ties is a masterpiece.
Burberry – Burberry makes high-quality, highly-rated casual ties. They will feel like the expensive formal ties, but have a stunning selection of informal pieces to really light up your wardrobe.
Know Your Tie’s Perfect Length
A tied tie should go all the way to the top of your pants. The knot should be tight without strangling you, and the fabric should hold the knot in place. Make sure to tie it around your neck for good measure before purchasing it to make sure that it fits properly.
Know Your Tie’s Perfect Width
Matching your width can be as important as matching length. A good rule is that the width of your tie should match the width of your body. Skinnier bodies look better with slimmer ties. Wider bodies look better with wider, more proportionate ties. A skinny tie on a wide body, or vice versa, may have you looking a little off balance in your outfit.
Match Your Shirt and Jacket With Your Tie
If you have a shirt and jacket in mind for your next event, keep those fabrics and colors in mind while picking out a tie. A good rule of thumb is making sure at least one of the colors featured in the tie matches the shirt.
Unfortunately, about 8% of the male population is colorblind. And there are some more who just have a hard time knowing if colors match. A great way to always make sure your tie matches is to pick only white shirts. That way, no matter how crazy the color or pattern of your tie, it should match almost 100% of the time.
Take a Good Look at the Pattern
Patterns can make or break a tie, and your outfit. If you are looking for formal pieces, simpler is better. Keep the patterns small and simple for anything formal. If the event is more creative or more casual, then don’t be afraid to ramp up the patterns and colors. That’s what crazy patterned and colored ties were made for.
Tie Shopping Doesn’t Have to Be a Nightmare
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to phone a friend. If none of your friends are particularly clothing-savvy, there are still a tonne of experts that can help you get the right tie. Most men’s dress stores will have in-store consultants to help you find the right look even if you are on a budget. Finding the right tie doesn’t have to be impossible.