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The Clothes Make The Man, But "The Tie" Makes The Outfit

Updated on May 4, 2010

Don't Match Your Tie To Your Clothes

Virtually everyone who offers advice about ties says, in one form or another, that a tie should be a well-thought-out accessory that says something significant about you.and that matching one's tie with the rest of one's clothes is an art. Although I have some agreement with that point of view, I see things very differently. While matching a tie to one's clothing is definitely an art, it's generally far easier to match ones clothing to a spectacular tie. In addition, I don't see a tie as an accessory. The shirt and the pants or jacket fit that description much better. After all, when a man enters a room and he is well put together,it's the tie that enters the room first. Your tie is one of the first things people see when they look at you and it is definitely what they will remember about you. It's the tie that best expresses your personality and taste.

Choosing A Tie

Don't begin dressing yourself by thinking about pants, socks, shoes, or any other article of clothing. Instead, begin by selecting a tie. Look through your collection and find a tie that reflects the occasion, talks to you, and is likely to be noticed. For example, as assistant principal at a high school, I wear many themed ties. On election day, my tie is likely to contain a patriotic theme while my light switch tie may be worn on a day when I'm emotionally ready to fend off the dozens of hands that will inevitably reach out to try to turn me on and off. After you've selected that spectacular tie, begin selecting the true accessories and be guided by the following:

  • If you are wearing a jacket, the width of the lapel should be approximately the same width as that of the tie.
  • Choose colors that do not clash with your tie and that are not so similar that the tie gets lost rather than stands out.
  • The main color of the tie should work well with the rest of your clothing and the tie's secondary colors, if any, should be picked up as well.
  • The texture of your outfit should go with your tie. For example, a shiny silk shirt goes well with a shiny silk tie and wool pants or a wool jacket go well with a wool tie.
  • Patterned ties go better with solid shirts and vice versa.
  • Striped ties look good on those who have strong, angular faces and dotted and paisley prints go well with those who have a round or baby face. Solid colors look good on everyone.
  • Polka dot ties go well with almost everything, and surprisingly enough, they go particularly well with stripes.
  • Ties with sporting themes such as hunting, polo, and golf, can be used effectively to create a dressed down look.
  • Wear a blue tie if you want to project an image of honesty and tranquility. It is said that blue ties have a soothing psychological effect.
  • If the tie is a mix of two or more prominent colors, at least one of them should be reflected in the color of your shirt or jacket.
  • The dominant color in your tie should match or contrast with your dress shirt, suit, or sport coat.
  • if you are wearing a patterned tie with a patterned suit or sport coat, then your shirt should be a solid color,
  • If your tie is a solid color, you may wish to wear a suit or sport coat that is patterned with a shirt that is patterned as well.
  • A striped tie may be worn with a striped shirt. However, to do this right, you must choose a shirt with a thin stripe that makes the shirt look almost as if it is a solid color, or you may choose a shirt whose stripe is of a different size so it does not compete with the stripes on the tie.
  • Choose a tie that complements your hair color, eye color, and skin tone.


How To Consistently Purchase Spectacular Ties

Let's face it, most people own very few spectacular ties and the reason for this has everything to do with the way in which they shop for clothing. As I said before, the conventional wisdom is misguided. A tie is not a well-thought-out accessory. It's the one item of clothing that says the most about your personality and taste. Therefore, when you're out buying clothing for work or for a special occasion, a tie should be your first purchase rather than your last.

If you want to own lots of spectacular ties, you've got to avoid purchasing ties while under pressure. You simply can't wake up one morning and decide that the tie you're looking for is being displayed at this very moment in your favorite store and that all you need to do is to show up and it will be waiting for you. Finding a spectacular tie doesn't happen every day of the week. With this in mind, go shopping regularly at numerous stores and be prepared to pass by the tie displays time and time again, until the day finally comes when one of the ties calls your name. After all, if you want your ties to stand out and speak to everyone, they have to do the same for you when you first see them displayed in the store.

What Else Should I Consider When Purchasing A Tie?

  • Make sure the tie is the correct length for you. Standard tie lengths are approximately 51 to 59 inches long. Tall men should purchase longer ties. Your tie length is correct when the triangle tip of the tie touches your belt buckle.
  • Unless you can afford to buy ties whose widths are presently in fashion, buy those that are 3 to 3 1/2 inches wide. This is a general width that will likely not go out of fashion.
  • Before buying, carefully check the tie for manufacturing defects like loose threads, uneven weaving, stains, discoloration, smudges, etc.


How To Tie A Full Windsor


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