I’ll be the first to admit that the times I wear a tie every year can be counted on the fingers in one hand. It’s not that I dislike wearing them, it’s just that I rarely need to wear one. Truth be told, I love how it looks and on those occasions where it’s mandated, I always feel – how shall I say? – special or maybe suave is the word I’m looking for when I look in the mirror at myself in a tie and think “damn, that looks good.”
As with all the things that can make you look good – a haircut, a tie, a wristwatch – those things can make you look bad too – a bad hair cut, a tie that doesn’t fit, or a clunky watch.
Since ties are so critical to those outfits that are critical for other parts of my life – landing a job, impressing a potential mate, and so on – let’s look at what makes for a good tie in an outfit.
The first thing to get right is the length of the tie. If you’re questioning the length and wondering if it looks too short, you are probably right! This is especially true for taller gentlemen, as shorter men can get away with shorter ties but a good rule to follow is that longer is better than shorter. Not only does a shorter tie distract from the outfit, but it can make you look weak or downright silly.
So how can you determine the right length?
Go for one that hangs down right to your belt line or maybe a hair or two past it. This is considered the proper length for a tie.
Many would say that of equal importance is also the material or fabric of the tie itself. Because the tie acts as the centerpiece of an outfit, it needs to be of a quality material. The best quality ties are made of 100% silk so you’d be wise to use this as a starting point for any neckties you’re going to buy. Using cheap materials suggest you pulled it out of your cheap wardrobe closet inside your cheap apartment. In other words, you don’t want your tie to suggest frugality and cheapness, but rather it should carry you with the power and confidence that comes from wearing high quality, expensive materials.
Finally, the tie needs to compliment the look of your attire. You don’t want any distracting or crazy color clashes – it should blend right in and amplify the power of your look. If you’re wearing a normal white dress shirt, you can get away with wearing just about any colored tie. If the dress shirt is colored, you have to create a workable contrast. This means pairing light versus dark. For instance, a dress shirt in a light blue works well with a necktie in a dark purple. If you’re going to go the route of a striped shirt, then simply sync the color of the stripes to the color of the necktie and it should match perfectly.