How to Choose a Tie for Every Occasion

Written by Philip Johnson. Posted in Mens

The tie is the main accessory for a suit, and it can make or break an outfit; but more than that, a tie is the perfect way to change the style and function of your suit, and it can make the difference between the very formal and the casual. There are fun situations where you can wear a tie, formal situations, and then there’s the work environment, where you have to obey certain specific guidelines. So if you like wearing ties but always feel like you’re choosing randomly, here are some tips that will help you construct your outfits in a more controlled fashion.

The Fun Guy

When you’re going to a fun event but still want to be a bit elegant, you can give up on the suit jacket and just wear pants and a shirt; adding a tie will definitely spark up your outfit, but you have to know what to choose. For a date night, you can choose a striped tie; a cocktail party is the chance to be elegant and a bit wild, so go with a strong pattern, like checkers. A dinner party with friends can stand combining a simple white shirt with a polka dot tie.

The Formal Guy

Formal events, such as a wedding or a funeral, require more attention and preparation, and the social standards are more important here. When you’re going to the prom, you can easily sport a silk tie, even in brighter colors like purple or blue. For the wedding, the simple black tie is usually ideal, but if your suit is also more modern, you can choose a black tie with a simple colored stripe. As for funerals, you really need to bring it down a notch and show a serious and presentable attire; go with a simple black tie, just like the suit should be; avoid a black shirt however, that is too sensual.

The Work Guy

At work, you’re expected to show professionalism and seriousness, to inspire confidence and gain the trust of people. As such, you could wear ties that match the color of your suit, in a single color: a dark brown suit can look well with a light brown tie, and so on. If you work in an office but your domain is more creative, you can go with bright colors as well, such as yellow, red or green. And if the office is quite casual, add a pair of shoulder straps for a more vintage look.

Another aspect you need to be careful about when choosing a tie is the texture of the suit and the tie; tweed suits and thick jackets work best with wool ties, whereas a business  or event suit go well with silk ties. If you’re going for a pattern tie, or one with various colors, at least one of the colors on it should match that of your suit. How you tie your tie is also essential; avoid complex knots on formal and work ties, and always make sure the length of the tie doesn’t go past your belt. In rarer cases, when you wear a thin tie, you can knot it shorter, in retro style.