Qweary: Intro to Ties

A asked: "Hi Sonny, I'm 5"3 and want to add some ties to my collection. My question is about sizing - if I buy online, what size should I be looking for, in length / width? Is it better to buy boy's ties or men's ties? Can you recommend a guide for how to wear a tie? Thanks, A"

Hi, A! I recommend men's ties. I'm preparing to review some ties by this company I love called The Grunion Run, which has ties on the shorter end of the standard length, at 57''. I think this length would be perfect for you. However, if you buy longer ties, say 58'', 59'', they won't be a problem, because you can always add more loops to your knots. For longer ties, I love the ones at Mosaic Menswear and Pocket Square Clothing. I prefer the look of the half-windsor and full-windsor knots to the four-in-hand unless I'm wearing the tie in a very casual outfit. These knots are more complex and require more loops around, which will shorten the length of your tie. You want the end of the tie to fall between your belt - though some alternative styles prefer shorter. 

I find the tying instructions on www.tie-a-tie.net the most helpful and straightforward. 

Other things to consider are the tie width in comparison to your your chest and shoulder size, the fit of your suit, shirt collar width, lapel width and your face shape. But an easy rule of thumb is that if you are wearing a jacket, to match the widest point of your tie to the widest point of your suit lapel. If you aren't wearing a jacket, I believe the next important factor is your shirt collar width, which will ideally already be a good collar for your face shape.

Aside from these, avoid other guides that go more in-depth with rule after rule. Perhaps those rules are useful if you're going into a high power business position and want to have a very classic professional look, but otherwise they don't really stand true. A lot of them are against skinny ties, for example, which I love. Others are against wild patterns, which I also love. But hey, you can always read it for fun to learn the classic style and then take it with a grain of salt.

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