How to Select the Right Tie For the Occasion

A tie is one of the best ways to add a nice final change to an outfit. However, not all ties for “suited” for all events. If you are going to a formal affair, your choice of tie should be different than if the event is casual. If you are not sure which tie goes best with the rest of your look, here are a few tips that could be helpful.

For a Casual Event

Tie for a Casual EventIf you are going to church or a casual religious service or preparing for a work event, it is fine to stand out. However, you do not want to be noticeable in a (fashionably) bad way. If you want to wear a patterned tie, wear something that you would be comfortable going to work in. Plaid is a great option, since it pairs well with a variety of colors. This pattern is also distinguished and will make you look more polished, even if you are wearing jeans. Paisley is a great choice as well, especially if you choose classic colors like navy or black or jewel tones. This pattern is a little fancier and looks great with a pair of dress pants. You can also go with subtle patterns like small polka dots or thin stripes.

When you are going to dinner or after-work cocktails with friends, you can go a little bolder with your look. It is fine to wear a brightly colored tie that will bring more attention to your outfit. Vivid shades of pink or green are a great choice if you are wearing khakis. Alternatively, you can go with a ruby or aubergine tie if you are wearing dark-wash jeans. A conventional tie works well for these occasions. However, you can go with a thin tie for a more modern look.

For a Semi-Formal Occasion

tie for Semi Formal OccasionIf you are attending a conference or business meeting, heading to a cocktail party, or heading to church or a wedding, you will likely be wearing a dress shirt. Chances are you will also have on a suit, which means your tie should be especially fancy. Do not choose colors that are too attention grabbing. Neutral shades like gray, black, and dark blue are best. The texture of the tie is what is most important for this look. A sleek fabric like silk is refined and sophisticated, and looks great with a tailored navy or gray suit.

Technically, you are in semi-formal attire if you are wearing a dress shirt, dress pants, a jacket, and a tie. This means that you can get a little creative with your tie. A nice striped pattern or small dots or diamonds can help you display your personal style. You can also wear a bowtie to these occasions that is patterned, black, or gray.

When the Occasion Calls for Formal Attire

Black Tie Dress codeEven though many people think it is easy to dress for a formal event, it is important to follow some essential fashion rules. There are several types of formal events that call for a tie.

If you are going to a black tie event, you should keep it simple. Wear a black tuxedo with a formal white shirt. As the name of the event suggests, you will look best with a tie that is black and silk. Bowties are ideal for this type of event. However, you can wear a long tie if you prefer. If your invitation says “black tie optional,” you have a little more freedom in what you choose to wear. This means you can wear a patterned tie. Alternatively, you can wear a tie in a color other than black. However, it is best to stick to darker tones just to make sure your outfit remains formal.

If the event is white tie, you will need to be even more formal than you would for a black-tie occasion. It is best to wear coattails, a starched formal white shirt with a waistcoat, a vest, and gloves. These items of clothing are all expected. Its fine if your tuxedo is black, but you should always opt for a white bowtie. The bowtie should also have a detachable collar. Since this is the most formal event you can attend, just stick to the dress code to make sure you look your best.

How to Tie a Tie

How to Tie a TieNo matter what type of event you are going to, you should know how to tie your tie so you will look your best. There are several tying styles to choose from, so you should choose the style that best matches the event. Here are a few styles to keep in mind.

Four-In -Hand Tie Knot: This is a common knot that is easy to do. The knot is not extremely formal and is asymmetrical. The four-in-hand tie knot is for occasions that are not too formal and it goes well with shirts that have narrow collars. This type of tie knot also looks great with button-down dress shirts. A skinny or medium-width tie is best for  tall men. If you are going to an event where you have to be dressy but not very formal, such as a company party or upscale social gathering, the four-in-hand knot is the way to go.

Half Windsor Knot: This is a symmetrical tie knot. It looks like an upside-down triangle. The tip of the knot is cut off and pairs nicely with shirts that have medium-wide collars. The half-Windsor knot is versatile and takes up less of the tie’s length than a four-in-hand knot. This type of knot is preferred by big and tall men. The half-Windsor knot is fancier than a four-in-hand knot as well, and it is acceptable for formal events like business meetings or lunches and job interviews.

Full Windsor Knot: The full-Windsor knot is ideal for events that are highly formal. So, if you have been inviting to a wedding or have an important business meeting, this is the best tie know. It is best to use the full-Windsor knot if you have a tie that is wide and long. The full-Windsor knot is the same shape as the half-Windsor knot, but is larger. The bigger knot gives the tie a more formal appearance and is best worn with widespread collar dress shirts. Men that have larger or wider necks look best with this tie knot.

What If the Invitation Isn’t Clear?

If you have been invited to an event and do not quite know how to dress, there are a few things to consider. It is important to keep your personal style in mind while still adhering to the rules of the occasion. Not dressing formally enough or being too dressy could be awkward and keep you from enjoying yourself. Check out the clues in the invitation. If the invitation has a formal look to it, dressing formal or semi-formal is probably your best bet. Look at the font on the invitation. If you see calligraphy or cursive, or if the invitation is on thick paper, it is probably best to look polished and wear a suit with a silk tie. This is considered cocktail attire, and it is likely that other people at the event will be dressed similarly. If an event is black tie or white tie, it will likely say so on the invitation. If you are still not sure or the dress code is not indicated on the invitation, contact the host. This will ensure that you are properly dressed for the occasion.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.