1. Understand the various parts of the tie. Knowing a quality tie when you spot it, is dependent on knowing what you should look for. The following elements of the tie are things to check:
- Look at the lining of the tie. The purpose of the lining is to make tying the tie easier and to prevent it from wrinkling. The lining should be made from 100 percent wool. The more gold bars on the lining, the heavier the lining.
- Feel and look at the fabric of the tie. If you're after silk (the ideal tie fabric), make sure it is by feeling it. Silk is smooth; other fabrics mimicking silk tend to feel brittle. A quality tie will be made from three pieces of fabric, while a cheaper one will be made from only two.
- Check for hand rolling: A hand-rolled and hand-stitched hem keeps a much better shape than a machine-made one.
- Look for the slip stitch. This can be pulled to gather the tie together. This helps to maintain the shape of the tie.
- Note the bar tack. This is the piece that supplements the slip stitch and keeps the two ends of the tie from separating.
2. Size it up. Pick a tie that hits the top of your belt buckle and measures between 2¼ and 4 inches (5.5cm - 10cm) wide.
- For a classic look, choose a width that corresponds to the width of your jacket’s lapel.
- A tie should not be too loose or too tight; both ends of the spectrum are incredibly uncomfortable, so be sure it fits well around your neck.
3. Remember textures. Wear wool ties with tweed or heavyweight jackets, and silk ties with business suits. For a deeper color quality on silk ties, make sure they’re woven, rather than screened.
4. Match colors. When it comes to colors, there are literally thousands of colors available in mens' bow ties, striped ties and paisley ties, more than you can imagine. First of all, you have to decide which color of tie will go with your overall attire and the occasion. Select a tie that has the colors of your suit and shirt as well as at least one other color to provide an accent. For formal occasions, choose a solid colored tie that’s darker than your shirt.
- A solid tie is the most versatile of all neckties because it is appropriate with everything.
- A dark tie is appropriate for business wear. Pairing it with a khaki or blue shirt evokes military uniform authority.
- A black tie goes with everything and is suitable for all occasions from funerals to work. It's also ideal for hiding stains.
- Younger men, or men living in warmer climates, tend to prefer colorful ties (and shirts).
- Look for a tie that goes well with your dress shirt. This tie will be kept for best. Make sure it has a nice balance or color to it so that it looks good.
5. Look in the mirror. Frame your face. If you have dark hair and a dark complexion, go with a bright tie; if you’re fair, choose a darker tie. If your hair and skin tone contrast, wear a tie that contrasts with your skin tone.
6. Match patterns. As with the colors, there are different patterns too available in the various online tie stores. Always determine the occasion before buying a patterned tie; since wedding is a formal affair, a formal solid color tie is the best option to go with. Pick a pattern that complements your outfit. If your shirt’s pattern is pronounced, choose a subtle tie; if your shirt is muted, your tie can be a bit flashier. The following pattern information is helpful to know:
- Repeat pattern: This is the most common style of tie and includes paisley, shapes, animals, workplace logos, rope patterns, and more.
- Dots: The smaller the dot on the tie, the more formal the tie is. Be wary of large polka-dots because these can come across as clown-like.
- Striped: These are known as rep or regimental ties. They originated in the need to display the colors of British clubs or army regiments. In Britain, the stripes run from high left to low right, while in America, the stripes run from high right to low left. Just to be different, of course.
- Woven: A woven tie is usually produced only in one color. The weave texture is the pattern. One example is silk grenadine. Woven silk ties are considered formal and conservative.
- Checks: Checked ties make a bold statement. This can be toned down however, with the addition of a checked shirt or tones that match up with the checkers
7. Stay classy. Thanks to the latest fashion trends, even men are getting numerous styles in accessories which are also true for the neckties. There are traditional ties with a broader formation and this is best for the men who are broad shouldered and muscular. When in doubt, stay subtle; while a tie can be the focal point of an outfit, it’s an accessory and shouldn’t pull the focus away from you.
8. Take care with weekend wear. The addition of a tie to casual weekend wear is something to be done with discretion. You don't want to dress it up too much as casual shirts aren't supposed to look as if they're about to go to the office or the annual director's dinner. The way around this is to wear a simple, classic tie over casual shirts with a simple but bold pattern. To go really casual, wear a plain t-shirt (or one with a subtle design) with a loose tie.
- Seek to have at least one tie that defines you.
- If you wear a striped tie and striped shirt, make sure the stripes are different sizes. Avoid mixing patterns that are too similar. For example, a thin-striped shirt should be accompanied by a bold-striped tie.
- If wearing a heavier shirt, such as suede or corduroy, wear an equally heavier fabric or textured tie, preferably in a dark color. This can come across as very professional or academic.
- Try to avoid wearing pattern on pattern. Exceptions are sometimes if one pattern is very subtle, and the other pattern is bold, drawing attention away from the subtle pattern.
- Did you know? The French popularized the necktie in the 17th century after seeing it on Croatian soldiers during the Thirty Years War.
- Ties can also be worn as belts, headbands, pocket squares and a watchband. In a pinch they can also be used as a baggage strap, a tourniquet or arm sling, a loincloth, a lanyard, and a whole lot of craft uses when they're no longer wanted.
- Knit ties should not be hung; they should rolled up like a pair of socks because this prevents them from stretching.
- Avoid novelty ties — though they can provide a festive look, they’re more likely to be distracting.
- Be careful when purchasing ties from mail order. They may not be of the best quality.