How To Get It Right When Choosing a Tie

Ties originated from the neck scarves. King Louis XIV adopted the piece as a mandatory clothing accessory in 1618 during the war in France. He was impressed by the Croat's decorative piece of cloth on top of their uniform around the neck. It was named “La Cravate” and became a requirement in Royal gatherings.

The first invention mimics today's bow tie. In the 19th century, the necktie knot was invented by the British horsemen and the ascot tie was also born around the same time.

With over 150 years of existence, the tie has changed a lot. Many designers have crafted exemplary pieces that make choosing a tie one complicated affair. Though a small piece, a tie, and a pocket square will always stand out when your outfit is all put together.

Some men are naturally inclined to formal dressing hence accustomed to ties. Others have to adapt to career dress code while others succumb to the pressure of girlfriends or mothers on the special occasions. Every man needs a few pieces of ties, especially a black bow tie in their closet. Whichever category you fall in, here is a guide to ensure that you get it right when choosing a tie.

  1. The Stitch, also known as Tie Bar Tack

 When you turn the tie on the other side, about a quarter way from down, there should be a horizontal stitch that joins the two sides of the tie together. This is possibly the most important part of the tie. Before making a purchase, check it and ensure it is intact. The bar tack keeps a tie in shape. If the stitch is missing, a tie will bubble up and appear like it has air pockets spoiling the whole look.


The tie bar stitch also reinforces the slip stitching, which is the first set of stitches and keeps both sides of the tie intact.


  1. Proportion


Ties, like many other things, come in different sizes and styles. When buying or choosing a tie to wear, Your jacket or blazer lapel size determines the width of your tie. This is crucial as you get a proportional look. A skinny tie, for example, goes well with narrow lapels. The tie will look off on wider lapels.

If you do not want to draw attention for the wrong reasons, get a tie that meshes well with your outfit and body frame anytime.

Ensure that the tie matches your height. Go for a long tie if you are tall. A simple way of getting the length right is to make sure the large end tip of the tie reaches your belt.  

  1. Fabric

Most of the ties in the market are made from silk. It is one of the most durable materials with a high tensile strength due to its elasticity. Unlike other fabrics, silk does not get bumpy or shriveled hence maintaining the desired shape. The original form remains intact even after several attempts of trying to get the knot right, which is great news to a beginner. Another advantage that silk has is that it drapes well and maintains its color and shine over an extended period. It has a great feel and appearance too.

Though silk is popular with ties,  cotton and cashmere are other fabrics are also used for ties. Cotton comes in different styles offering versatility to wear in different weather seasons. Cashmere, though expensive does not match the finish of silk.

The fabric is one major factor to guide when choosing a tie.  

  1. The little details

Though little, the details in a tie make the whole difference. For the fullness of its edges, great quality ties are rolled and pressed carefully to maintain its shape for long as well as ensure fullness. At the back of the tie, there should be a keeper to pass the tail end through and keep it in place.

As small as it is, a tie should be perfect with no blemishes, loose threads or even minor stitches default. A gold tie with a stain will quickly ruin a million dollar celebrity look.

If you go for a patterned tie, ensure that the pattern is continuously flawless. Inconsistent randomly stitched patterns are an eyesore and will water down a great outfit.

Ties should be cut across the diagonally across the threads of cloth (cut on the bias) for a beautiful look when worn. Hold the narrow end of the tie up the air and only buy it if it goes down which indicates that it is cut on the bias.  

  1. The body of the tie

A well-done necktie should have the blade, tail, and gusset as critical components. The blade is the wide part of the tie, the tail is the thin part of the tie, and the gusset joins the two together.  

  1. The Slip Knot

You will find this in the handmade ties. The loop is made to avoid wear and tear primarily from the years of fumbling with the fabric. It gives the tie longer life.

Initially, ties were a reserve of the formal wearer. Designers have however introduced various hacks to wearing ties even for the smart casual. Who would have thought a burgundy bow tie can accessorize khaki trousers with a half jacket? The secret lies in getting it right.

May 14, 2018 by The Tie Expert