The Beginner’s Guide to Ties

The Beginner’s Guide to Ties

A stylish looking necktie or bow tie can go a long way in tying your outfit together (no pun intended). Get it right, and you’re looking sleek and polished. Get it wrong, though, and the whole thing looks off.


And it isn’t for just formal occasions anymore. Whether you’re at a wedding, business meeting, or a night out with friends, its uses are more versatile than ever. The tie may seem like a small thing, but when it comes to dressing up, the devil’s in the details. Your tie is a focal point, and this one simple addition can elevate any outfit with just a little bit of effort.


And no, clip-on ties are out of the question. You’re better than that!




There are many ways to tie a tie, but the truth is, you only really need to know one: the four in hand, also known as a simple knot or schoolboy knot. It’s easy to do, appropriate for every occasion, and works with different tie widths, shirts, and suits.


You also need to consider your shirt’s collar. Make sure you only show the knot and avoid exposing the part of the tie that loops around your neck. Other knots, like the Windsor, Trinity, and Eldredge are way more complicated in comparison and can only be pulled off under very specific conditions. Proceed at your own risk.




A classic rule of thumb is that the tip of your tie should be right at the middle of your waistband or belt, although some prefer it at the top of the belt buckle. The skinny part should be shorter and hidden behind the wider part, usually tucked into the label found at the back of the tie. This applies for a person of any height, so make sure you get the right length tie.


If you’re going for that modern look, a tie that’s about two and a half inches at its widest point should do it. However, keep in mind that tie width should ultimately complement your body type. A broader frame calls for a wider tie (up to three inches), while slim ties suit skinnier guys. This will keep your outfit in proportion.


When wearing a suit—ideally fitted or tailored to your frame—your tie and lapels should always match. Same goes for the knot. That means a wider tie with wider lapels call for a wider knot, and vice versa.




If you were to own just one tie, it should be a black silk knit. It’s both dressy and casual depending on the shirt or suit you pair it with.


But hey, live a little! Start with keeping a few classic options on hand, like a solid navy or gray. And when you’re up to being a little more adventurous, you can try other deeper solids, just always make sure your tie is at least one shade darker than your shirt.




This is when things get a little tricky, given there are so many patterns, prints, and textures out there. However, it’s hard to go wrong with polka dots and stripes. These are easier to match with the rest of your outfit while making a little bit more of a statement. Again, go for ties that are in the same color family as your shirt, or choose a matching base with a contrasting stripe or polka dot for a little pop of color.


For more intricate patterns like checks and argyle, go with a light-colored, solid shirt to avoid potential disaster.




Bow ties are back, and there’s probably nothing more dapper. And no, they’re not just for hipsters. They’re incredibly versatile and can be paired with a cotton suit, cardigan, or an oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up. This one simple accessory can transform your entire outfit, and we encourage you to give it a go.




We love a good tie bar. Not only does it prevent your tie from flapping in the wind, it also adds a sleek and subtle element to your outfit. Make sure your tie bar is never wider than your tie and that it goes between the third and fourth buttons of your dress shirt.


Secondly, consider sporting a pocket square that matches your tie. It’ll give your outfit that extra punch.


And that’s really all there is to it! If you’re just venturing into the wonderful world of neckwear, just remember to start with the basics and work your way from there. Whatever the occasion, a neck tie or bow tie is sure to up your style game.

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