For most of us, our first necktie encounter came at high school; short trousers coupled with a blazer two sizes too big and a tie decked in the school colours to complete the look were the norm.
Unfortunately, however, high schools are populated with hormonal teenagers looking to rebel against the system; tell a teenage student how to wear a necktie and it instantly becomes a statement of rebellion to object and it ends up worn either ridiculously short, or long, and certainly not considered ‘cool’ in any way.
It’s unfortunate that teenagers grow up with this stigma attached to possibly the most dynamic and statement making option in their wardrobe. Used correctly, a necktie, or lack thereof, can dictate the tone of an entire outfit.
Choosing the right colour
This is the first, and most important, decision to make when donning a tie to complete your outfit. Aside from a black tie and white shirt combination, many men struggle with their options, often getting it wrong. So here are a few quick tips.
- Use the colour wheel - It really is as simple as going back to basics. Complementary colours and contrasting colours will always work well together. For example, green and dark blue are complementary to light blue, and orange is contrasting. Use this to your advantage.
- Be mindful of your shading - You’d be surprised how many men wear bright full colour combinations that they think work well, when actually they’re just too much for the human eye to take. If you want to wear a combination of blue and orange, make it a pale blue shirt with a burnt orange tie.
- Your tie should always be darker – A tie should never be washed out by the colour of your shirt. Ever. This is just basic fashion sense.
The gentleman can be a creature of habit, and whilst many may know how to tie a plethora of knots they will stick to using their favourite on a daily basis. This is a bit of a fashion faux pas; not ever collar style works with every knot.
As a general rule, a wider collar style should be paired with a larger knot, and vice-versa. For example, a wide spread collar will blend wonderfully with the full Windsor knot, perfect for those who relish an opportunity necktie exposure.
Choosing your Neckties: Common Pitfalls
Everyone has wildly different taste, and that is perfectly acceptable, but there are still some pitfalls to avoid when buying your ties.
- Avoid anything too cheap - That’s not to say you should spend a fortune, but it’s a fact of life that you usually get what you pay for.
- Go for matte and texture over shiny and smooth – More personal preference than anything, this rule yields a very smart and sophisticated result in your wardrobe.
- Buy to match your suit – As a rule, your necktie width should be as close to your lapel width as possible.