Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I love ties

When it comes to looking good, especially in a formal or gentlemanly sense, nothing aids a guy more than a good tie.

Over the years that I've worn ties, I've discovered that a great tie can offset even the ugliest shirt (and by "offset" I mean "distract people from the sheer hideousness that is your shirt". Of course, the best way to prevent ugly tie-shirt combinations is just don't buy ugly shirts!). If you have a great shirt, add a gorgeous tie to it and you've got a winning look.

A friend of mine asked me today how to pick a good tie. Well, it all depends on the shirt you're wearing. Here are a few tips when it comes to choosing the right tie for your shirt (and to a lesser extent, picking the right shirt as well).

What shade is it?
What do I mean by "it"? The tie or the shirt? Well, both really. The trick to getting a good tie-shirt combination is contrast.

Basically, dark shirt = light tie. Conversely, light shirt = dark tie.

Stripes or dots?
Pattern can also a big factor. Again, contrast. If you're wearing a shirt with an intricate design (my friend wore a shirt with a Batik-esque design), wear a plain tie with a good-looking solid colour, i.e. no fancy designs on the tie. People think matching patterns with like patterns is good. But very often it isn't. Too many fancy-schmancy designs can make you look garish.

If you're wearing a plain shirt with only one colour or a simple design (e.g. pinstripe), wearing a tie with stripes, dots, shapes, cartoons and so on will work well. Don't be afraid to be bold with your tie colours or patterns. It gives your look a bit of life. There is nothing more boring than someone who wears a plain tie with a plain shirt. It's not that it looks terrible. It's just... there. Nothing nice about it, you know?

Mix and match
There is something to be said about matching colours. But at the very least, there should always be a slight difference in shade. If you're wearing a red shirt, for example, a light pink striped tie would go very nicely.

Note to self: Buy that gorgeous light pink striped tie I saw in that store the other day.

Anyway, back to my point-- Red and pink work well together because they're closely related but with a couple shades difference. You can also combine colours that go with one another, like red and orange, or red and yellow (or vice versa).

And then there are some colours which contrast well with each other, such as blue and yellow, green and red (if you're going for a Christmassy look), and even some shades of red and blue. There are so many, so experiment and find the combos that work for you. If unsure, try them out and gauge people's reactions or simply ask their opinions. The ultimate contrast is, of course, black and white. If you really want to look great in contrast, wear a black shirt and a silver tie.

It's also very important to note that putting different colours together is not always a good thing. Wearing a green shirt and a purple tie, for example, is just sacrilege.

What's your colour?
One truth you have to face sooner or later is that there are some colours that are not "you". Whether it's skin-tone or body shape or whatever, there are just some hues that you might not be able to pull off and which make you look frumpy.

This, of course, relates more to the colour of your shirt than your tie since the bulk of your outfit's colour will be your shirt. However, just because you may not be able to pull off a particular colour in a shirt, it doesn't mean you can't pull it off in a tie. Like for me, I would never wear pink because I don't like it and I know I can't pull it off. But a pink tie is a different story.

Reminder to self: BUY that gorgeous light pink striped tie I saw in that store the other day!

Find out from friends or family which colours work best for you, and don't be afraid to experiment with different shades. There are times when your gut instinct is right on a colour. When I went out with a friend, we ended up in a shirt shop and I thought a chocolate-coloured shirt would be good when my friend said it wasn't my colour. I decided to try it on anyway because I knew I could pull off earth tones. And I was right. It looked good, and my friend readily changed her mind.

So if you think you look great in a colour, go for it. If you're unsure, get a second opinion. At the end of the day, if you don't like the way you look in a particular colour, don't wear it.

Tying the tie

Seriously though, it's not as hard as it seems. I sincerely believe that every man should learn how to tie a tie. It's a rite of passage, like shaving.

There are a number of different knots you can learn. My knot of choice is the Half-Windsor. I've tied my ties with it for over 10 years now, and it's a great knot which is easy to tie and fits any size collar. Here's a good tie tutorial video I found on Youtube.

So there you have it, how to pick a tie. So choose a nice tie, get tying, and look your best.

By Chester with 2 comments


haha, green shirt with purple tie... sacrilege indeed.

seriously though, i have yet to come across one hermes tie that doesn't rock: if only they didn't cost so much :(.

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www.nicetiestore.com http://nicetiestore.blogspot.com

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