Friday, July 1, 2011

Dressing for Men: The Tie

My father hasn't bought his own clothing in thirty years. You think something as serious as wardrobe is going to be left to a man who just wants to buy the first thing he sees so he can leave?


The only time my brother Owen speaks to me with respect is if I call him up asking if he needs a coat. In this, he trusts me.

Needless to say, I have a lot of tips I can offer the gentlemen.

Today I will be discussing ties.

Ties should not match the suit itself; they should contrast, or compliment, such as matching the pinstripe.

Gray suits: blue, red, green, yellow, pink - anything but gray or silver.

Blue suits: red, green, gray, yellow, pink, brown - steer clear of navy.

Black suits: no navy or brown, anything else okay.

Stripes on ties are very good, but either the suit or shirt should be solid. Owen once showed up in a kaleidoscope of stripes; I felt dizzy.

Be very careful with floral. Some ties can look a little overdone.
Like so. The blooms are too big and too many.

Tread carefully with plaid. I would say that the rest of the look should be as simple as possible, meaning solid suit and shirt. Then the look can be classy.
There are also many other styles and varieties of patterns available, of course. A few pointers: 

Shiny/Iridescent: best with a solid color, perhaps stripes of the same color but different shade are okay, with a simple pattern. Then the tie is distracting rather than enhancing. 

Paisley: I, personally, am not a fan of it in any shape or form.

Novelty: NO. Just NO.


Ish Yehudi said...

I agree in much of what you wrote, but I have a few disagreements as well.

1) Half my ties at least partially match my suit. Not always overly or overtly (except when I'm wearing a white shirt), but their secondary or tertiary colors do.

2) Floral is girly.

3) Plaid's only job is to bring life to a boring suit and shirt. Match the stripe color(s) with the shirt or suit color (clearly black suit white shirt works very well here).

4) A monochrome paisley can be matched well in great taste. Too many colors looks tacky.

6) I love music, and thus, I love musical ties because they express my love for music. They are still bound by the rule of having a decent color palette and matching well with a suit/shirt. You can express yourself with some "out of the box," ties, just keep it conservative and mind the colors/matching.

Princess Lea said...

1) In terms of matching, picking up on pinstripe color is definitely the way to go. As long as it isn't too matchy matchy.

2) I agree. Except I've been seeing a spate of floral ties, so I felt I had to address the matter for pulling it off.

3) If one is willing to up the ante, go for it.

4) Paisely - my position still stands against. Personal preference.

5) Musical ties? Do you mean with music notes on it, meaning they can qualify as novelty?

Anonymous said...

What about the really thin ties? For or against?

%Shocked% said...

I enjoyed reading this post very much and was pleased to see that I haven't done anything terribly wrong in my years of buying and wearing ties. Well, except for the paisley. But as you said, that's personal preference, so I'm in the clear there too.... *phew* :-P

Sefardi Gal said...

Well stated, Princess Lea!
I once typed up a whole post -- about the top 10 things guys should THROW OUT of their closet to a land far, far away, and all of the must haves in their closets. The Do's and the Don't. But then I decided against posting it.

It's so simple for men to dress nicely. There's no excuse!

SiBaW said...

Good post! I completely agree, especially about paisley. Yuck. I don’t think I even owned one paisely tie up until recently when I was gifted a peach/salmon paisely tie, although I have no idea what to do with it now. The only addition I would add is that a tie has to match ones age and build. A snazzy print (such as a Pucci) just looks funny on an elderly gentlemen and boring-stiff ties are just dull on the younger crowd. Similarly, a ultra skinny tie has it's place, but it's not for everyone. As for plaids, I was looking around recently and discovered most of the people wearing plaid were kids (some matching) and the baby-faced demographic. I wonder if there is something behind that…

Princess Lea said...

Thin ties, thin ties . . . hmmmm. I've think those look best when solid black, with a white shirt and black suit. Then it has the whole sharp 60's 007 look.

lawschooldrunk said...

The issue isn't what ties to wear but how to wear one!

One of my pet peeves are men who do not button their top button and wear a tie loosely hung around their neck. What, you just finished a 17 hour work day preparing a class-action law suit?!

Next is the irritating and disrespectful phenomena that for some reason men do not even wear a tie for shabbos mincha. What, does mincha deserve less kavod than kaabolas shabbos?!


Joshua Josephs said...

One thing that stands out right away is the wearing of black suits which in American culture as opposed to dress in our community are really only for one occasion which is a funeral.

The trick with the plaid tie is to use an understated pattern or pair it with a slightly less dressy look such as a blue blazer and khakis.

I think the best piece of advice is not match the tie directly to the suit because it creates a monotone look. The other thing I will say is that many men would look good in pink shirts something you see infrequently.

@Lawschool see the post on about ties at mincha from last week.

Princess Lea said...

lawschool: Yes, men should make sure their shirts fit. If one cannot button the top button, hey, your shirt doesn't fit. Try going 1/2 a collar size up.

Josh (do you mind if I call you Josh? Or do you prefer Joshua?): That's what I'm trying to tell the men. Mix it up! Don't do all gray or all blue. The tie should make the statement.

lawschooldrunk said...

Lea, you misunderstand. Men who wear their top button open can close the button, but for some reason, the yeshivish laziness style of leaving it open is sweeping the population. Their shirts fit; they just don't wear them respectfully.

Anonymous said...

I think the necessity to wear a tie is overdone. I can say (with somewhat pride, that I have never worn a tie. Not even to weddings. I dont believe in wearing something which makes me uncomfortable just to look a certain way. Besides, I feel that wearing a fitted suit, tailored to you, and a shirt which is made the same, you look a lot better without the tie.

Joshua Josephs said...

@ Princess- I go by either name. You might want to whack some men over the head with a frying pan to get suits that fit also but I am sure you could write a whole post about that too.

@lawschool-we might add to that all those who dont see fit to have their shirts ironed or starched so that they look nice.

@Burnt-I agree sometimes the tieless option looks good, but in some of the professional situations I am involved at least the tie is an expectation that it is best to meet even if it is uncomfortable at times.

Princess Lea said...

lawschool: If that is so, that is sad. Looking shlumpy is never chic. What girl is going to be taken with the "just fell out of bed look"?

burnt: That is your prerogative, but I believe that ties really pull the whole look together and take it the well-tailored suit up another notch of awesomeness.

josh: Oh, I intend to. The frying pan is seasoned and ready.

As for shirts, my father insisted, even when he was newly married and finances had to be watched, that his shirts had to go to the cleaners or else he won't look professional. Heavy starch.

Joshua Josephs said...

Since we are on the topic of ties, Jos A Bank outlet stores are having a sale on ties with prices between 7-25 dollars for ties normally 50-100 dollars.
A list of stores is here

I am in no way connected to JosABank except as a loyal costumer.

Princess Lea said...

I believe you. :)

Joshua Josephs said...

The problem with being in medicine and research, everything we/I say requires a disclaimer.

goyisherebbe said...

I hope never to wear a tie again, but that might change, so I'll say bli neder.