In the world of male accessories, the tie reigns supreme. It can turn the dullest of outfits into a sharp, fashionable statement or transform the casual into a smart and formal garment.
Navigating the different types of ties can be quite tricky. Style, colors, and patterns are hard to match and get correct, especially for special occasions that require distinct etiquette. We lend a helping hand by giving a rundown of the types of ties available and when they should be worn.
The standard four in hand is the regular tie that most of us are familiar with. A staple of any wardrobe, they come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. No self-respecting gentleman would be without a varied choice of these in their wardrobe.
The beauty of this tie is that it can be easily adapted using a range of knots. Try to keep a selection of both plain and patterned versions in your wardrobe for all eventualities. A plain black tie can be a last-minute lifesaver in many situations.
Certain tie types come with a legacy. The Skinny conjures up images of Carnaby Street and seventies New York, of The Beatles and The Ramones. Not too dissimilar from the standard necktie, it brings an undercurrent of rock and roll rebellion to even the most formal of outfits.
Knitted skinny ties are a variation on a theme that adds another layer of sophistication. They combine the streamlined look and edge of a skinny tie with heavy, high-quality material that you would find in a Seven-Fold or cravat. Click here to view this informative style guide on how to wear knit ties and decide which is the best choice.
Seven-Fold ties can be a little harder to execute. They do not contain a lining but are quite bulky. This is due to the manufacturing process in which a square yard of silk is folded seven times, hence the name.
These ties tend to hang quite heavily and make a big statement. They work best when combined with long overcoats or angular, loose-fitting clothing. Their thickness makes it easy to tie them in a big, fat, and sturdy knot.
Like the standard tie, a Bowtie is a necessity in a man’s wardrobe. It immediately adds an air of eccentricity to an outfit. It is best used in formal situations with dinner jackets and evening suits or combined with a shirt and jeans for a night on the town.
Black and red plain bow ties are indispensable, though patterned and variant fabric ones (tweed or herringbone) are equally as useful.
Quintessentially British, the cravat is a swatch of fabric that ties loosely around the wearer’s neck. Typically, it is made from patterned silk to make a bold and vivacious statement. A Paisley cravat is the go-to pattern for a classy yet relaxed look.
The Ascot is a variation of the cravat that is pinned instead of tied at the neck. It is used in some formal military dress items. The name derives from it being the neckwear of choice at the famed Ascot racecourse.
If the cravat is typically British, then the Western is the look of the US. A staple of the deep south, it is a variation on the bow tie that has longer wings. It evokes the look of a traditional Southern gentleman.
The formality of a Western depends on regions. In some areas, it can be considered too casual, in others, it is formal and smart. Make sure you know the etiquette of your occasion before committing to this striking choice.
The Bolo flirts the line between a type of neck tie and a piece of jewelry, having a decorated centerpiece that holds the tie in place. The centerpiece can come in a variety of shapes, designs, and sizes.
It differs from most of the other ties on the list as it usually has a leather or cord bracelet as opposed to a fabric swatch. Practically, it is a lot cooler and lighter than most other neckties. This is likely the reason that in 1971 the Bolo became the official neckwear of Arizona.
Plain or Pattern?
When choosing a style of tie, always keep in mind the color and pattern of the tie. Plain ties are very versatile and can be used for many occasions, but they must match your shirt and suit. However, they fail to make a grand statement or show the wearer’s personality.
Patterned ties can show a lot more depth and character but can be harder to match with an outfit. Patterns should generally be kept away from other patterns, so opt for plain shirts and suits.
The Novelty Tie
The novelty tie is definitely an odd one. Adorned with kittens, superheroes, or festive fun, they really do need to be kept for a certain time and place. Under no circumstances should you wear them in formal situations.
Save them for family time or occasion when having a good time is expected. Take them lightheartedly and make sure they never match any of the other clothing you are wearing. If you do, people may think you are taking it seriously.
Which Types of Ties are Best for Me?
A tie is much more than an accessory and tells a lot about a person’s character and individuality. It can also show their outlook on life and point of view on situations. Only you know your true personality and the image you want to project, so always choose wisely.
Are you still confused about which types of ties are best for you? Check out our informative style articles and guides to help you accessorize and refresh your wardrobe this season.