When to Wear a Tie: Six Simple Style Rules

Whether you love them or hate them, the necktie is undeniably a timeless accessory that adds a touch of class to any outfit. The question is, when should you wear one? And are there occasions where it is better to choose different neckwear? Read on to discover how best to don this iconic sartorial statement piece.


Rule 1: Casual or Black-Tie? Dress for the Occasion

There’s an enduring myth that the necktie can only be worn on formal occasions. In reality, it’s a versatile accessory that can be tailored to suit any event. To make it work for you, pay close attention to the pattern, color, and fabric you choose. For instance, a silk tie in a neutral, understated color or elegant pattern is best suited to a black-tie affair or formal wedding, complementing your tuxedo or suit. For a real formal occasion, you could even consider a cravat!

If, on the other hand, you’re attending a more relaxed event such as a gala, a day at the races, or a casual dinner, a bold color or playful print can add a touch of flair and personality to your outfit without raising eyebrows. 

Rule 2: Choose the Right Fabric

Ties are all about elegance and opulence, so a cheap-looking fabric will detract from its overall elegance. Consider fabrics such as silk that embody this luxurious essence. Silk is not only a good choice thanks to its appearance; its natural fibers make it durable. It’s easier to tie, too, compared to some of its cheaper counterparts, which can be overly stiff or ostentatiously shiny.

Rule 3: Master the Art of Tying

Once you decide to go for it and embrace the Italian silk tie as part of your style repertoire, the first thing to do is learn how to tie it properly. It’s a relatively simple technique to master – even for the complete beginner!

Begin by wrapping the tie around your neck, ensuring that the wider end is longer than the thin end. Cross the thick end over the thin one and pass it around the back, across the front, and pass it through the space between your tie and your neck. All that’s left is to pass the wide end through the top loop, and to gently tighten and fix the knot until it sits neatly and straight at your throat.

Remember: As with all things, practice makes perfect.


Rule 4: Factor in the Weather

If you’re attending a summer wedding or a gala on a hot day, chances are, certain materials will quickly become uncomfortable to wear. When the sun beats down, the last thing you need is something hot tightly around your neck, but loosening a tie can result in a scruffy appearance.

That’s when the silk comes in. Silk neckwear is more comfortable to wear, avoiding that unwelcome sweaty feeling yet still preserving an air of sophistication and style. This goes for your jacket as well; silk or linen are more appropriate to wear when it’s hot.

Rule 5: Exercise Restraint!

While the tie is the perfect accessory to add a touch of flair to an outfit, it's essential not to overdo it. Exercise restraint by prioritizing just one accessory: any more than that, and they risk competing for attention. Instead, let either your tie or your pocket square be the focal point of your outfit, however you choose to wear it.

Rule 6: Be Confident

While it’s advisable not to go overboard with accessories and patterns, it is important to own your decisions. Once you’ve decided to wear a tie, have chosen the perfect fabric and pattern, and mastered how to tie it, the only thing left to do is to wear it with confidence! The necktie is the perfect accessory to imbue a sense of individuality into formalwear, so be proud of your style and make a statement that is uniquely you.

Mastering the art of wearing formal neckwear is a sure-fire way to add a touch of flair and elegance to any gentleman's wardrobe. By following these six simple style rules, you can wear this timeless accessory with poise, whether you’re attending a black-tie wedding, a formal dinner or simply popping out to meet some old friends for lunch. Cheers!

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Tags:necktie, menswear, style guide

About the Author

Silvia Kabaivanova

As the founder of Be Global Fashion Network and several other fashion websites, Silvia has been working for more than 20 years covering fashion industry trends and news. With a passion for the fashion business, she focuses on sustainable fashion and innovations, custom fashion and print on demand services. Silvia is a Chairman of Bulgarian Fashion Association. You can reach her at silvia@bgfashion.net

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