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How to Pick a Tie

Aug 30, 2008
A man's clothes are interpreted as a reflection of his character and standing. As Polonius wisely tells us in Hamlet, 'the apparel oft proclaims the man'. It's a shame, then, that in the arena of formal clothing, men have so few ways to distinguish themselves from one another. One notable exception to this is the men's tie.

Sitting so near to the face, men's ties have the power to make a huge statement about the wearer's character. Bow ties out of context, for example, can have an unintentionally comic undertone, whilst oversized men's ties can evoke an oversized ego.

However, a man who takes the trouble to put on the perfect silk tie, handmade and correct for the outfit and occasion, will give a lasting impression of style and sophistication which is well worth the extra cost. Here are some pointers on how to get it right with men's ties.

Length:

Make sure your tie is the right length. Most shop bought ties are 55/56 inches. Men's ties are the correct length if they just about reach the belt buckle, which is generally 58 inches, although taller men may require even longer ties.

Texture:

It's very important to choose a tie made of high quality material, natural fibres are always best, whether silk, cashmere or wool. However, silk ties don't go with every kind of suit, so be sure that the texture of the tie complements the texture of the suit. Like generally goes with like although there are exceptions, for example a woolen flannel suit looks very chic with satin ties, a complete contrast and opposite.

Pattern:

When deciding on a pattern, there are a number of things to take into account with men's ties. Firstly, take care not to clash with the pattern on the shirt or jacket. The tie should complement, but not compete with, the rest of the clothing. For example, if you go with a striped tie, don't wear a similarly striped shirt or you could be mistaken for an optical illusion. Face shape is also important - men with angular faces suit striped ties, whilst round-faced men will look better in spot or neat printed ties. Nobody should ever wear a novelty tie.

Colour:

Blue in general is a particularly flattering colour for men, including navy, medium or sky blue. Blue ties go best with blue or white shirts and blue or grey suits. When choosing a colour you should take the season into account as well. In winter, for example, wines, green or brown hues are good options and in spring and summer lilac or pink can are a dashing alternative.

Handmade Ties:

Making a top-quality handmade tie is a tricky business, and leads to a more expensive product. But really good handmade ties should last for years and will always create a stylish focal point for a formal suit. Along with other benefits, a good quality handmade tie should be made from generous blocks of silk allowing a deeper fold at the back of the tie, giving the tie a more luxurious feel and enabling it to be hand slipped more securely.
About the Author
David Sanderson buys all of his silk ties from Drakes, the largest independent producer of handmade ties in England. Drakes exports men's ties and other accessories all over the world to the very finest stores, both high fashion and traditional.
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