How to Wear a Tie

Express yourself in a tie that is perfect for any occasion where it's formal, semi formal, traditional or even just that hot date. 

Luckily, today ties come with lots of options to choose from, however, I suppose that could also be a drawback if you are undecided, as to which option to use:

  • solid-colored
  • patterned
  • silk
  • matte finish
  • wide
  • thin
  • and others

Don't be afraid to make bold statements and choose patterns and colors that you would not normally choose. If you follow some rules of thumb, they will look great together and you will be sensational.

Choosing a solid colored tie:

Choose a shirt and tie in the same color family.

Look for colors that are similar, or coordinate well. For example, a navy colored tie can look great with a light blue shirt. Likewise, you can go with a pink tie against a dark red shirt. 

Keep in mind that black ties are usually reserved for solemn or very formal occasions (like funerals).

Choose colors to coordinate with your skin tone.

Pick a tie that goes with your skin if you want your physical appearance to be highlighted. Wear purple, blue, or red ties if you have pale skin. Greens and browns can look great if you have darker skin.

Pick a meaningful color if you want to send a message.

Psychologically, colors convey different attitudes. We feel different when we wear different colors and we and others around us, identify with colors.

  • Red conveys authority.
  • Yellow signifies positivity and energy.
  • Silver suggests celebration.
  • Navy blue is good for business meetings.

Make a bold statement by adding color. 

If you want to stand out, choose a brilliant colored tie, such as purple, teal, or lime green. A bolder colored tie will make a statement that won’t be obnoxious as long as you pair it with a plain shirt (and a traditional suit, if you're wearing one). For example, try a:

  • Lime green tie with a black shirt.
  • Teal tie against a plain white shirt.
  • Orange tie against a light blue shirt.
  • Pink tie against a plain black shirt

Wearing a Patterned Tie

Find the dominant color of a patterned tie. 

For a tie that has multiple colors, look at it and decide which of its colors is most prominent in the pattern. Then choose a shirt accordingly. For instance, a tie with paisleys against a dark blue background (its dominant color) can go well with a light blue shirt.

Go with a traditional patterns for variety.

For example, get a couple of ties with diagonal stripes in contrasting colors. If you don’t want to wear a solid-colored tie, a striped one is a great alternative. Other traditional patterns include:

  • Checked
  • Plaid
  • Floral
  • Dotted

Wear a non-traditional pattern if you want to attract some attention.

 Just as you can wear a bold color to make a statement, choose a tie with an unexpected pattern to turn heads. You should, however, still make sure that the dominant color of the tie coordinates with your shirt.

  • A tie with a single vertical stripe is a great alternative to the traditional diagonally striped tie.
  • Paisley patterns have been around for a long time, but go in and out of fashion. Wearing one will get some attention while still not seeming outlandish.

Coordinate patterned ties and patterned shirts for a bold look.

It is possible to wear a patterned tie with a print shirt. Just follow a simple rule of thumb: choose a tie that has a pattern that’s either noticeably smaller or noticeably larger than the print of the shirt. For instance:

  • Wear a tie with thick diagonal stripes against a shirt with thin vertical stripes.
  • Choose a tie with tiny dots to pair with a shirt that has large dots or another print pattern.

Knotting your Tie:

Pick a knot style that suits your shirt’s collar width. 

Collar width should determine the knot you choose, if at all possible. Tie a four-in-hand knot if your shirt has a narrow or button-down collar. A half Windsor is best for medium or spread-out collars. Go with a full windsor knot for very wide collars.

Knot the tie so its tip sits just above your belt buckle.

No matter the color or pattern, a tie won’t look right if it hangs too low or too high. Ties come in different lengths, however, and people are of different heights. This means you may have to change your knot to get the right look:

  • If your tie seems to hang too low, try using a windsor knot instead of a half-windsor or four-in-hand. It takes more fabric, which will raise the tie’s end up.
  • If your tie hangs too high, use a four-in-hand knot, which takes less fabric.
  • If your tie is still too long or to short even after trying a different knot, choose a different tie that is shorter or longer than the first one.

Choose a knot based on your tie width and suit style. 

Large knots, like the windsor and half-windsor, will look best on wide ties. A four-in-hand will look great with a skinny tie. The same goes for suit styles: choose a wide tie for a full-cut suit, and a thin tie for a slim-fit one.

Wear a tie in non-traditional ways, if you want to express yourself.

Ties are often thought of as part of traditional male formal and semi-formal wear, but the truth is you can use a tie as an accent no matter who you are or what you’re wearing. There are tons of creative ways to wear ties, so just use your imagination or look around for inspiration! 

  • Simply drape a solid-colored tie around your neck to add a pop of color to your outfit.
  • Knot a tie loosely and tuck its ends into a cardigan.
  • Wear a bow tie as a necklace.

Picking the Right Tie for Any Occasion

Wear a tie to most formal and semi-formal occasions.

Unless an occasion is strictly casual or specifically requires other clothing, it’s hard to be out of place wearing a tie. Go for one in many professional, formal, and personal occasions, including:

  • Weddings
  • Fine dining
  • Job interviews
  • First dates
  • Meeting new people you want to impress 
  • Business occasions
  • Networking events

Choose a tie width to coordinate with your body type and the occasion.

 If you have a broad and/or taller body type, pick a wider tie.Alternatively, if you are thin or not tall, go with a thinner tie. Beyond that, skinny ties are best for casual occasions, while wider ties will seem more formal.

Select a fabric finish to match the occasion. 

Choose a fabric that has a shiny finish for formal or evening occasions. If you’re wearing a tie for business or professional reasons, go with silk. A wide variety of matte finish ties are also available, and they’re great for informal occasions.

A bow tie, when appropriate are tasteful. 

 Generally, you can wear bow ties (including clip-on or pre-tied ones) at occasions when a regular tie is also expected. Bow ties have been around for a long time, and are still a way to make a classy statement, if chosen carefully.

  • Bow ties are perfectly acceptable at weddings and other formal events.
  • Most of the time, bow ties can be worn at semi-formal occasions, such as working in an office, going to brunch, or attending religious services.
  • You may not want to wear bow ties to solemn occasions such as funerals, since they may be seen as too outlandish.
  • If wear a bow tie, go for either a bold tie with a plain shirt, or vice versa.
  • Black bow ties may be required at very formal occasions.