There's been a lot said on how to wear a tie. We've covered topics from tie width and length to knot styles and fabric. But, one thing we haven't discussed is which ties look best with the various suit and jacket styles. A member recently asked this very good question, so let's take a look at another aspect of necktie etiquette to ensure perfection with every jacket and tie ensemble you wear.
When wearing a tie with a suit, sport jacket, or blazer, always choose a tie that coordinates with the jacket's characteristics. Features beyond color should be factored in to your choice everytime the two are teamed together. Here are some simple and straightforward guidelines that will take the guesswork out of matching ties and jackets.
Choosing the appropriate tie to compliment any jacket should begin with its width. Tie width should be proportionate to the width of the jacket's lapels. An easy rule to remember is: narrow lapels require a narrow tie, and wider lapels warrant a wider tie. Balance is the goal, so keeping this rule in mind will prevent the fashion faux pas of "mixed widths".
Standard tie width is between 3.5 and 3.75 inches, and works with most single-breasted jackets. Ties that are less than 3 inches wide are considered "slim", and those 2 inches or less are labeled "skinny". Although tie widths are subject to current trends, all widths are acceptable today. Own an assortment of various tie widths based on your jacket lapels and personal preference.
Ties can be found in many different fabrics. From silk to wool, ties range from dressy to casual and everything in between. Once the proper width is decided on, factor the fabric into the equation. Does the tie's material match the jacket's? It's not necessary to be exact, but go for a harmonious look. If the jacket is made of heavy, coarse fabric like corduroy or worsted wool, pairing it up with a satin finish tie would clash and detract from the continuity of the outfit. The same rule applies to fine fabric jackets and heavy ties, so resist wearing a knitted wool tie, for example, with a dress suit. It's about matching similar fabrics and textures together... I'm sure you get my point.
Matching tie color with jackets typically involves consideration of the shirt being worn with the outfit. We all understand the importance of pairing complementary and matching colors with an ensemble; however, there's more to it. Factor the time of year in to your choice. Light pastel colors are perfect for warm weather months, and darker earth tones work well during cooler months. This is not a hard fast rule, but these guidelines will keep you looking seasonal. Another point to consider is the how the tie's color pairs with your color. Opt for colors that look good on you the same way you do with other articles of clothing. This issue is not major, but wearing complimentary ties will only enhance your appearance.
This gets a bit tricky if the jacket has a pattern, also. When matching tie and jacket patterns, be sure the patterns differ in design and size. Strive for visual balance, which includes avoiding overly busy patterns. Wear a solid color shirt whenever bringing patterned ties and jackets together.
Men and ties are synonymous. We've been successfully wearing them for decades. Matching jackets and ties together isn't rocket science. It isn't even difficult, provided these simple fashion guidelines are kept in mind. Ties can make or break an outfit, so put a little thought into your choices, and I'm certain your aesthetic attentiveness will not go unnoticed.
by Aaron Marino