Audrey A asked: I've recently discovered the wonders of wearing ties. It makes me feel amazing about myself in a totally unexpected way. I'm wearing my ties (they are quite colorful and have stripes) mostly with white or black or grey button-ups but I happen to own a lot of plaid button-ups, mostly blue (turquoise) but I have some red too. My question is: what kind of tie am I supposed to wear with that? Is that even possible? Because I REALLY like ties and I feel so utterly confident when I wear one, I wanna wear them as much as possible! But I don't wanna make some fashion faux-pas that would make me go back to feeling like an idiot.
You’re NOT an idiot! And there are no rules. Allison Graham, Bing, & Mimi (Lover of Stories) do multiple patterns and colors really well.
Allison combines a checked shirt with a heavy-texture knit tie and a school-boy cardigan finished off with tailored pants and the most incredible velvet loafers. How does she do it? Easy: Coordination. Each piece of the outfit compliments the other pieces. (Striking that balance between coordination and subtlety is the art of style.)
Here, Allison pairs white pants and a cream top (a “fashion” faux-paus that completely works here - and beautifully, too) with a loud floral shirt and silk tie. Again, the look is stylish because she nails the balance between coordination and subtlety and this look is so perfectly her.
I love this look for two reasons: 1) I love black. Black on black is my favorite. 2) Patterned shirts and patterned ties, worn together, do me in. (In a lovely way.) Bing’s tie/shirt combo is subtle, but because of the colors, very visually striking. A+
In this outfit, Mimi packed in a lot of gorgeous autumnal texture - crushed suede olive monkstraps, wine cords, knit tie, floral shirt, but it’s the blazer that really anchors the look. Mimi’s accessories - the informal pocket square and playful pattern on their belt really add to this outfit without minimizing the visual impact of any other piece.
And lastly, this person, whoever they are, understands color and texture and everything right in the world.
So, in summary, you can totally wear a patterned tie and shirt. Really, anything can work. Play with it - colors, patterns, designs, textures. Ties are supposed to add something to an outfit. A plain tie against a patterned shirt can add just as much as a patterned tie can against a patterned shirt. It’s all about balance and finding what works for you in that day.