Men’s Style suggest some ways to save the necktie as an every day piece in a man’s wardrobe.
The necktie is under siege.
It’s been slammed as a relic of a bygone era, a vestige of an era of stuffy suits and style-blind business wear. “The tie is dead,” screams the Wall Street Journal headline. An Irish study found that three quarters of fashion researchers predict the demise of the tie within 50 years. Market research in the US showed that tie sales halved between 1995 (US$1.3bn) and 2008 ($US$670m), and have only slipped since.
The criticism might be true of your unimaginative striped tie or the same foulard pattern your old man wore three decades ago, but not necessarily of pieces that dare to do something different — more adventurous prints like paisley or floral, brighter pops of colour, vintage pieces of embroidery . . . and, of course, the knitted tie — an endlessly versatile piece that adds a bit of flair to both casual and formalwear.
How to tie it?
Stick to a width of 2.5 inches — slightly skinner than a typical business tie (3 inches) — which suits various lapel widths, as well as both casual and formal environments. You sometimes spot a knit tie with a conventional pointed tip, but most come with a unique square bottom — but just like a traditional tie, it should sit just above the belt buckle.
Don’t depart from the simple four-in-hand knot — the thinnest and easiest-to-tie knot — because a full Windsor knot and anything else more complicated will make the heftier fabric too bulky around the neck. Silk is slightly thinner and adds that extra sheen, while wool adds even more texture.
A knitted necktie works both in summer and winter — obviously with bright pastels in the warmer months and earthier tones during the chillier weather, while fabrics like cashmere and wool suit winter better than summery silk. In a business environment, traditional dark colours — navy, charcoal, burgundy — maintain a formal feel, especially when accessorised with a collar bar.
Keep an eye out for a more open weave — the sign of hand-made quality — as opposed to a tight, machine-made knit. There’s nothing wrong with a solid colour — the texture is an eye-catching statement in itself — but casual wear can handle a pattern such as polka dots and horizontal stripes, or even something more daring like zig-zags or multiple colours.