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The Best Ties for Tying (Pun Intended) an Outfit Together
From silken stunners to bold Bolos, these are the best ties for men.
In this metaphorical sartorial sundae, the tie is the cherry on top — an optional add-on, sure, but essential to any great sundae. Don't think of your tie as a burden, but rather an opportunity. Your tie can be anything you want it to be, especially now that suits are more relaxed than ever. Pick one that suits your, well, suit, but also your personal style.
Best Overall TieBonobos Premium Necktie Read More
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Best Affordable TieTie Bar Solid Wool Navy Tie Read More
Best Silk TieTie Your Tie Silk Seven-Fold Tie Read More
Best Wool TieAmerican Trench American Woolen Co. Ties Read More
Types of Ties
Generally speaking, there are four types of traditional tie, and they're named based on how they're made. A Three-Fold Untipped Tie, for example, is fabric folded three times without a weighted tip, which helps keep the tie down. Seven-Fold Ties are pieces of fabric folded seven times, meaning it's heavier but more natural looking than a tipped tie.
- Three-Fold Untipped Tie
- Three-Fold Self-Tipped Tie
- Five-Fold Tie
- Seven-Fold Tie
Bolo Ties are made from a piece of cord or leather finished with decorative metal tips (aka aiguillettes). A medallion serves as the knot, tying a shirt together (pun intended) with similar effect.
Knit ties, whether made by your mother or an acclaimed Savile Row tailor, typically come as one piece. They're not folded or tipped, simply one long string you swing together, forming your preferred knot.
Silk ties are much lighter and far more breathable than polyester ties. They're also harder to take care of, though, and typically much more expensive.
Although long banned from formal business settings, wool ties now work pretty much anywhere, whether you're at, well, work or attending a winter wedding.
Cotton (And Corduroy)
Cotton ties, whether they're corduroy or not, typically add texture. They're not as smooth as silk or polyester ties.
Polyester ties typically come with their own sheen, a shiny finish a lot of people associate with formal attire. (Look at politicians, for example.)
How to Pair a Tie with a Shirt
- Consider the size: If you plan on wearing a blazer, match the width of your tie to the width of the jacket’s lapels.
- Feel the fabric: Ties come in a range of materials — cotton, silk, wool, cashmere — and each have a different feel and texture.
- Pick a color: Though most tie colors will pair with a white shirt, there are other combinations depending on the occasion.
- Ponder a pattern: It is easiest to match a patterned garment with a solid accessory, or vice versa.
Become a master matcher with our guide to pairing shirts and ties.
How to Tie a Tie
These directions yield a versatile knot — the Four-in-Hand Knot — you can wear pretty much anywhere.
- Begin with the wide blade of your necktie on the right, hanging 8 to 12 inches lower than the tail.
- Cross the wide blade over the tail, at a position just below your collarbones.
- Wrap the wide blade around the tail.
- Pull the wide blade under and up, through the loop created near your neck.
- Pull the wide blade down through the loop, adjusting the front of the knot as necessary.
- Tighten the knot to the collar, covering the top button, by sliding the knot toward your neck while holding the tie tail.
- Add a dimple just below the knot with your index finger.
Watch two video tutorials in our dedicated guide to tying two types of knots.
Do You Really Need a Tie?
When we avoided offices and events in 2020, our suits were shelved. Until this year, they stayed there, at the rear of our closets. Now, though, we're dressing up again — and for minor events, because suits are, dare I say, sexier than ever. But are ties, too? They can be, if you choose the right one. They're no longer required in most offices, which means they don't carry the same stale connotations.
Learn more about changing office dress codes in our story about post-pandemic dressing.