One of the ideologies I’ll mention for the first time now that will certainly be brought up more in the future is that it is better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you are ever unsure about the attire for an event you plan on attending, always err on the formal side of the debated dress code. With that said, you need to make sure that you are properly equipped in all levels of appropriate style. One accessory that has and will always be utilized in the formal setting is the necktie.
Ties can make or break an outfit, and knowing what type of styles compliment which types of outfits and situations are important for an influential gentleman. What is equally important is knowing your own personal style, and possessing the confidence to pull it off. There are definitely situations where a bold tie can be a great accessory that draws attention to yourself, and your personality, in a positive way. There are also situations where you should tone it down and be sure to wear a normal appropriate tie. Your gag tie with cartoon animals probably isn’t funeral or job interview appropriate, for example.
Now, with all of the different situations and styles in mind, how do we as influential gentleman go out and put together a personal collection that has the right tie for any occasion? With all of the situations out there you may be worried that you need a plethora of unique ties in order to be covered. Fortunately, that isn’t the case.
Start with simplicity
Let’s imagine that you currently have no ties, and create the right assortment and variation from scratch. If this isn’t the case for you, you can follow along and make sure that all of the ties I mention are something in your repertoire, and remind yourself to add anything that isn’t.
The first tie you need to own is a standard black tie. Plain black and skinny to medium width. The immensely wide tie, while making a bit of a comeback in certain settings, is a bit bold for your standard go-to tie. The reason this must be your first tie is because it goes with almost anything. You can wear it at any occasion, and with almost any color shirt or jacket. If you have a black tie, you’re ready to go.
Add some color and patterns
Now this is the first step in building your tie arsenal that requires some thought. You need to acknowledge what color button-down shirts you have available, and a basic understanding of what colors compliment each other. You’re not going to want to wear a pink tie with a red shirt, because those colors clash. A pink tie would go with a light blue shirt, white, or gray.
Start by getting a couple ties in different color categories. A blue to represent your cool colors, a red to represent your warm colors. If you’re going to try on ties, bring a couple shirts with you that you plan on wearing newly purchased ties with to help you match.
As far as patterns and multi-colored ties are concerned, match the secondary color with the shirt you plan to wear it with. A green tie with white polka dots looks great on a white shirt. A multi-blue tie with sky blue and navy stripes is perfect for a navy shirt. Take some time to think about your style here and what colors you enjoy wearing. Color and patterns are where you can put your personality into your ties. Eventually, you want to have enough variety that you can go with any basic color scheme (warm colors, cool colors, earthy colors, grays, etc), and have a decent variety of stripes, polka dots, and other basic patterns.
Don’t go overboard here! You don’t want 6 different colors in one tie in a mess of plaids and spirals and odd patterns that make the tie look ridiculous. When in doubt, keep it simple. Solids, stripes, polka dots. If you have to think about whether or not it’s too much, it is.
Getting to the next level
Now, when you’re starting to get your bases covered in terms of your plain black tie and your standard colors and patterns, it’s time to have a few specialty ties. These can be ties for certain occasions, or bold ties for certain settings that give you the liberty to be a bit fearless with your accessory choices. Some examples:
- Holidays: A themed holiday tie is perfect for going to formal events, church or parties that have a shirt and tie dress code. I’m all for wearing an American flag tie to a party on the 4th of July, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, or any day linked to patriotic history. Also a Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, or other religious ties are great to wear to church or a family gathering on those days.
- Office parties: Office parties are supposed to be lighthearted and casual, even if the dress code requires a tie. Fun ties are great at these events. I like floral ties, movie or sports themed ties, or other over the top patterns. As long as they still match, you’re good to go here.
Own at least one bow tie…and know how to tie it
I have two bow ties that clip in the back and don’t have to be tied, but they fall into the category of “fun” ties, as one is an American flag bow tie and the other is a Christmas bow tie. My other two are classic bow ties that I needed to learn how to tie myself, which I can assure you is not easy. If I don’t wear one for a long time, I still have to put a YouTube video on that shows me how to do it so I can replicate the process.
So why does it matter to have a bow tie? Here at the Influential Gentleman, we talk about being equipped with the tools to be the best version of ourselves. Often that means promoting classy behavior, which is often overlooked by men of all ages in our society today. There is nothing classier than a bow tie, and being able to tie one is a life skill that few possess. Tying a bow tie is a great way to stand out amongst other men in a positive manner. Oh, and like your basic tie, your first bow tie should be classic black as well, albeit maybe patterned with some small polka dots or subtle stripes.
Start the process and build your arsenal
Like we discussed, start with the black tie and go from there. Ties can be expensive if you’re concerned with getting top-notch quality. I personally don’t spend any more than $25 on a tie, because I know stores like Marshalls or TJ Maxx always have high quality, name brand ties for huge discounts. Even then, it adds up, so start small and maybe buy a tie or two every 6 months to a year. Eventually, you’ll have a nice army of ties ready for any social event.
Also, don’t worry about reusing ties. If you have a handful of dress shirts, you can likely mix and match a lot of your ties with at least a few shirts, so even if you are wearing a tie multiple times, you can get variety. Think of a tie as a watch. You don’t need to feel ashamed if you repeat an accessory, as an accessory is there to compliment the outfit as a whole, not define it.