Neckties come in a variety of styles, colors and patterns. A necktie can inject interest into a boring outfit. Wearing a tie can be uncomfortable for someone not used it. Nevertheless, it is inevitable that an event will occur at some point in a man's life, when wearing a tie is not optional. Recognizing the different types of ties available may not eliminate the discomfort, but it will help to make the selection process much easier.
The Four-in-Hand Necktie
The four-in-hand necktie is most frequently encountered on tie racks found in men's clothing stores. They are generally made of silk, polyester or cotton. They come in various widths, colors and patterns.
The Seven-Fold Tie
The seven-fold tie is said to be the ultimate in tie luxury. Handmade from a square yard of silk that is precisely folded seven times, the seven-fold tie has no lining; knots easily without binding; and drapes beautifully because of the weight and body derived solely from the layering of silk.
The Bow Tie
The bow tie, worn with a tuxedo or dinner jacket, is a lined ribbon of fabric. Tied in a symmetrical manner around the collar, the fabric forms flattened loops on the opposite ends. Pre-tied and clip-on versions exist. These tend to come askew, creating a slovenly look.
The standard width for the four-in-hand tie and the seven-fold tie is 3.75 inches. Skinny ties were first worn in the 1950s. They re-emerged during the 1980s punk rock era. Skinny ties are 2 inches wide. A wide tie can be 4 inches across.
Standard neckties typically 57 inches in length. They can be as long as 60 inches for taller men.
The Solid Tie
A solid tie is as basic as it gets and requires little effort to match, but its simplicity may reduce the opportunity to bring a distinctive or stylish element into your outfit. Choose a tie color that coordinates with one of the hues in your suit or shirt. Avoid combinations that create a forced look, such as a blue tie, blue shirt and navy blue suit. Alternatively, select a tie color that interjects flair and excitement.
The Striped Tie
A classic men’s stripe tie is easily matched with solid suits and shirts by choosing a complementary color stripe. When wearing a striped tie with a patterned jacket, shirt, or both, choose colors in the tie that complement the other pieces. Pay attention to diversity of scale. A finely pinstriped suit, for example, requires a boldly striped tie. Conversely, a strong checked shirt, coupled with a more subdued stripe tie, creates an aesthetically pleasing result.
Dots, Paisley and Figure Ties
Worn tastefully, polka dots, paisley and novelty ties can liven up any solid or striped shirt or suit. The most important factors to remember when wearing such ties are: match by the tie's primary color; avoid secondary colors that visibly clash; and pay attention to the difference in scale between the patterns.