How to Choose Ties – Colours, Patterns, Logos, Knots & Length

Ties for men - Patterns


How to Choose Ties

I am currently reading a book about the trends of super-hip East Londoners and in particular, their penchant for wearing shirts fastened up to the neck but worn without a tie. The book – aptly titled Buttoned Up – is edited by Fantastic Man magazine’s editors-in-chief Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom and is part of a series paying homage to 150 years of the twelve lines which make up the interwoven, organised chaos that is the London Tube.

It is fair to say I am very much part of this buttoned-up / no tie movement and its disregard for conventional shirt attire but with ties still very much a quintessential part of the male psyche, it seemed appropriate to counter balance the effervescence of youth with a nod towards the classicism still favoured by many a well groomed gent.

From GQ Editor Dylan Jones to male super model David Gandy, the elegant refinery of the tie is still favoured over the more rebellious nature of tieless young upstarts but there are a few rules to adhere to if you are to make the tie but of your sartorial armoury.

What’s Hot For 2013


Unless you are a clown or teach children under the age of six, avoid garish colours. The essence of the tie is to make you look well groomed, to add a touch of panache to your attire; your tie is meant to add a certain je ne sais quoi to your demeanour, not detract from it. There is nothing wrong with a touch of zealous exuberance in ones attire but it needs to be done at the right place and at the right time. A ties social standing is neither the time nor the place; it is a sophisticated addition to the wardrobe, keep it this way.


This should be relatively simple but I am still left aghast at the amount of people who manage to misconstrue the relationship between their tie, shirt and suit. If you are wearing a patterned, check or striped shirt, your tie must be one block colour; if you are wearing a plain shirt, then vice versa. It really is that simple. The only time you can wear a patterned shirt and tie, they must be the same fabric and most of the time they only look good on male models in a photo shoot so best to avoid any unnecessary fashion faux-pas and stick to what you know.


Logos on ties are a no-no unless you are representing a sports club or still at school. Avoid at all costs unless you wish to be mocked by fashion savvy gents. This is not my opinion, this is fact.


Wear your tie too short and you risk looking like a rebellious public school-boy; wear it too long and you will look like you’ve just borrowed it off a long-lost uncle to attend a job interview. Your tie should sit neatly just above your waistband, thus giving your outfit a genteel symmetry and complimenting the rest of your wears.


I could write an entire article on which knot to choose but now is not the time for in-depth conversation about the merits of the Windsor over the Double-Windsor. All I will say is keep your knot small, neat and well fastened to the top of your shirts neckline – if you are going to wear it like you’ve just finished a gruelling day at the office simply remove it – keep it slim (you’re not an overpaid footballer) and hold your head up high.


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Inspirational Buys

4 Responses

  1. Robinson&Dapper

    I totally agree with your tips here. But I also think that there is such a wide range of ties available now, that people should focus on finding special pieces, items with a story or some history. It was part of the inspiration for me in starting up Robinson & Dapper – I got tired of seeing people wearing very expensive designer ties, which, when you look into it, were made from some unspecified fabric and manufactured in China. I don’t see why, considering all the possibilities there are to hand, men wouldn’t want to know exactly the what/where/why/how/when of their accessories!

  2. Alexander Quinones

    Very good tips. Clear, simple advice. Though I do hope you do a longer article on just knots.


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