Ties 101: What Every Gentleman Should Know About Ties
Posted on 30 September 2018
Welcome to Ties 101.
If you're a gentleman who's looking to know more about ties, you're in the right place.
If you're someone who wears ties even though your colleagues don't, you're the real MVP!
There was a time when you couldn't find a suited man without a tie, but times have changed. What was once a requirement for office workers is now often optional. This has created a trend of open-collars and dressed down Fridays, much to the delight of anyone part of the anti-necktie movement.
Those who are sartorial savvy however, never stopped wearing them. Dressing beyond the mandated corporate code, they continued to leave lasting impressions. There is no denying that a tie makes you look like a classy, professional gentleman.
In the past few years, we have seen an influx of younger men start wearing ties. It seems as though ties are making a comeback. Designers are more creative than ever and have come up with some great innovations. Ties are now made with many different fabrics, can be tailored for specific seasons and printed in any pattern imaginable!
In this article, we will guide you through the world of ties. From fabrics and knots, to maintenance and quality, we will cover everything you need to know about ties.
Let's start with fabrics.
As mentioned above, new trends have brought us an abundance of new tie designs and fabrics. And this is a great thing. Now you can pick from a wide range of ties suitable for different seasons and occasions. Here are some common fabrics used for ties:
Polyester ties get a bad rap, but the truth is they have a lot to offer and can even out last a silk tie. So the tie fabric doesn't have to be a deal breaker. Try it on and see how it feels. It really comes down to your personal preference.
Another alternative fabric is microfiber, which is a mix of polyester and polyamide. Microfiber ties look a lot like silk but are more resistant to stains and wrinkles and are wallet-friendly. Experiment with these tie fabrics to see what you like.
Did you know that there are 177,147 ways to tie a tie?
Luckily you only really need to know three: the Four-in-hand, Windsor, and Half-Windsor.
This knot is the most popular and is the easiest one to tie. This should be the first one you learn. The following animations are a courtesy of animatedknots.com.
The full Windsor knot is a classic. What is important to know here, is that the Windsor knot requires a longer tie as it requires a couple of wrappings. The full Windsor or Double Windsor knot creates a large symmetrical knot that wears best with a wide collar.
The Half-Windsor is another popular choice as it creates a medium sized knot that works with most collar types.
As a bonus, you should learn the Prince Albert knot. It looks like this:
And you tie it like this:
The knot you choose will depend on your collar type. A Windsor knot requires a wider spread collar because the knot is bigger. For a narrow collar, a four-in-hand knot is ideal. Our favorites from the television series Suits demonstrate this well:
When you're done tying the knot, the tie should end somewhere at the center of your belt or waistband. Everything shorter looks funny.
Besides the length, there are different widths of ties. When choosing a tie width you should consider the width of your suit jacket lapels and your body type. As a general rule, try to match the width of your tie with the width of your jacket lapels. As for your body type, a skinny tie (2.25" - 2.75") looks best on a slim figure and wider ties (3" - 3.5") look best on athletic or larger men.
You may have seen the term "7-fold" to describe a tie and asked yourself: What the hell is a 7-fold tie?
Essentially, the “fold” refers to the number of times the fabric is folded to make the tie. 4, 6, and 9 folds are also common. The higher the fold, the thicker the tie.
These ties are handmade and are perceived by many as a high quality luxury item. Handcrafting these ties is a laborious process and is seen as a work of art, making them special and unique.
Are they better than a standard 3-fold tie?
It all depends on personal taste once again. Some swear by 7-fold ties while others don't see what all the fuss is about and prefer the traditional 3-fold tie.
If you're looking to give them a try, here is a little more information to help you with your choice:
Ahhhh the elegant tie dimple. You should make it a habit to tie your tie with a dimple. It adds a 3D texture and depth to your outfit giving you a more polished look. It's a great way to make a statement and shows that you're a menswear enthusiast. Learn how to create a dimple by watching the video below. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Now, you don't need to know how to make a tie but understanding how one is made will help you spot a quality tie.
Whether handmade or machine made, most ties have three main parts: the blade, the neck, and the tail.
In short, these three pieces of fabric are sewn together to make up the length of the tie and the fabric (shell) is folded and sewn over the interlining. As shown in the beautiful infographic below.
The interlining (also known as the "soul" of a tie) is important because it helps the tie keep its shape and provides wrinkle resistance. A lightweight shell requires heavier fabric as interlining, while a heavier shell fabric needs a lighter interlining. If it doesn't say what fabric is used as interlining, it's probably lower quality. Look for wool interlining as it's commonly used in higher quality ties.
When it comes to the fabric used for the shell, it can be woven or printed.
For woven ties, the fabric is made by interlacing different threads to make eye-catching patterns. Making fabrics this way can be very complex and is seen as an art by many. Compared to printed ties, woven ones have details, texture and depth making them look and feel great. You can tell from the picture below that the tie was made by weaving different colored threads to make a beautiful textured plaid pattern.
Compared to woven ties, printed ones offer way more options in terms of colors and patterns. With printed fabric, the patterns can be more complex which make for amazing details like floral.
If you want your tie to stay a while, you need to care for it. Below are some do's and don'ts to prolong the life of your ties:
With the mass production of ties and all the marketing, it is important to not be fooled and recognize quality when you see it. Just because it's expensive doesn't make it a quality tie. The goal is to find a necktie that is within your budget and has all or most of the characteristics below:
If you prefer a visual, the characteristics of a quality tie are summarized in the short video below.
We invite you to browse our collection of ties as they have all the characteristics mentioned above and are very reasonably priced.
Because ties are such an essential piece in a gentleman's wardrobe, it's important to have some necktie knowledge. We covered the basics and hope that next time you shop for a tie, you will be confident that you made the right purchase and that you can wear it in a fashionable way.
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