From the knot to use to the length and maintenance, essential information about ties.
Choosing the right knot
Four-in-hand, half Windsor, full Windsor . . . it’s all about proportion. Big bloke with a big bonce? A wider tie with a full Windsor knot is a good option. Little fella with a pin head? A thinner tie with a half Windsor or four-in-hand knot does the trick — skinnier is the modern style, too.
Your tie should sit right on top of your belt buckle — not hovering around your belly button, not dangling around your thighs. Donald Trump, who’s a huge fan of a necktie so long it tickles his tackle, hasn’t got the memo, but you should. Again, it’s all about proportion — your tie needs to be the correct length to balance your outfit.
Match made in heaven
Patterned ties work well with block-coloured suits, as long as the tie’s pattern is bolder than any stripes on your shirt. A striped jacket makes a plain tie compulsory, while the texture of a knitted tie counterbalances a checked suit beautifully. Patterned jacket, shirt and tie together? Only if you’re extremely self-confident and ready to mess with convention.
Raise the bar
A tie bar adds a splash of sophistication to your outfit, and there’s a few simple rules to follow. One, the clasp should fasten your tie to the placket of your shirt (the thick layer of fabric the button holes sit in) to stop it flapping around. Two, it should be clipped between the third and fourth buttons of your shirt. Three, never wear a bar that’s wider than your tie. Easy.
At the end of the day, don’t take off your tie by tugging on the short end like a schoolboy at the final bell, which will ruin the tie’s shape. Instead, reverse the knot then drape it over a tie rack (except knit ties, which should be rolled up). And ties are extremely delicate, so take great care cleaning them — a hand steamer or trusted dry cleaner are the safest choices.