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All you need to know about ties

– Rukmini Iyer, Director, Exult! Solutions
(Published at Rediff.com)

Do you know how to wear a tie? This formal wear accessory can be a source of amusement, if not worn properly. Given the hot Indian climate, many of us do not wear ties on a regular basis unless the occasion demands it.

To make sure you carry off your tie well, it is important to choose and wear it with care. Else, it can clearly make a wrong impression.

Buying the right tie

The quality of your tie denotes taste and sense of style. So choose your tie with care. Several materials like silk and wool-blended go well with different suits and shirts.

Fashion designer Dipti Irla offers the following tips:

~ Touch the tie while buying it – it must feel smooth.

~ A good quality tie will have three, not two, pieces sewn together

~ At the back of the tie between the two joined flaps, you will find a loose thread called the slip stitch. In a good quality tie, if you pull this slip stitch, the tie will gather in folds.

~ Another test is to sling the tie over your hands. The narrow end of the tie should lie exactly behind the centre of the wider end. Don’t buy the tie if it twists when you drape it over your hands – it will not lie flat on your chest.

Patterns and colours

Now that you’ve chosen the material, the next part is choosing the colour. Corporate training professional and part-time model Mahesh Nazare says, “There are two universal coloured shirts that can go with any tie: white and black. Otherwise, go in for contrasts. You can even go in for a tie that has matching prints and colours of the shirt or the suit,” she says.

“Personally, I think that if you are wearing a black suit, a bright coloured silk tie such as yellow, green, silver or light blue looks best. With a blue or a grey suit, I prefer the same coloured tie. If you are wearing the tie with a shirt, then a contrast looks good.”

Contrasts are usually the norm. But Irla cautions, “Make sure that the patterns complement your shirt and not compete with it. You would not want to end up looking like a botched up painting. If the shirt has subtle colours and patterns, a bold tie will look good. But if the shirt is bright or has an attractive pattern, the tie has to be sober.”

For business meetings, stick to simple patterned ties with twin colours.

Length and width

While fashion trends keep changing, the average length of a tie is 54 inches and the width 3.25 inches.

For taller men, longer ties, about 60 inches in length, are better. The knot should be tied in such a way that the tie ends at the belt. Ideally, half an inch of the tie hangs over the belt. It should not end above the belt, nor below it.

To choose the width, one must keep in mind the body type.

A slim individual wearing a broader tie will end up looking even slimmer while a bigger person in a slim tie would look bigger.

“These days slim ties are out of fashion. But in general, a rounder person should go in for a wider tie while a thinner man would look better in a slimmer one,” Nazare says.


Irla says smaller knots to work or business meetings are ideal. “They take less time and do not require a very long tie even if you are tall,” she says.┬áNazare seconds her, “A single knot is fast and simple – it is better for regular wear.

“A bigger man could try the Windsor style knot, which is more traditional. It results in a thick bow that looks good on a larger frame. But it is time-consuming.”

Getting the knot neat is an important part of making an impression with a tie.

Armed with these tie tips, are you all set to look hotter?