The Return Of The Tie: Every Tie You’ll Ever Need

Contrary to what you may have been told, the tie is not dead. From striped ties to patterned ones, these are every type of classic men’s tie you’ll need for work, special occasions, and events.

Types Of Ties For Men

Since the beginning of the necktie’s origins – which can be traced back as far as the seventeenth century – men’s ties and cravats have come in all shapes and sizes. And they’ve evolved in different ways over the years: think of the Western bolo tie or the string tie for example. Or even the sailor tie, a type of scarf worn with traditional naval dress. Back then, just as now, ties were chosen as a decorative or ornamental addition to outfits, rather than a strictly practical item. While bygone articles like the Ascot tie may still, very occasionally, be spotted out and about, the classic men’s necktie has now emerged as by far the most common and popular tie in the last hundred years or so. These days, you’ll find striped, plain, patterned, printed, polka dot, paisley, and even floral ties. Read on to learn more about each style of men’s tie.

Striped Ties For Men

Stripes are, of course, Paul Smith’s bread and butter – and something Paul has been experimenting with since he set up shop at his three-by-three metre store in Nottingham in the 1970s. A stalwart of menswear, a striped tie is a simple and sophisticated way to incorporate a dash of colour into your smart wardrobe. If you’re erring on the side of caution, you can also choose a tie that features just a single band of stripes or small detail – such as one from our Signature Stripe collection.

Repp Ties For Men

Characterised by its diagonal stripes, a repp tie is a subcategory of the striped tie – but its designation as such is one of those ‘you know it when you see it’ things. In fact, according to menswear oracle and G. Bruce Boyer, the name actually refers to the woven ribs of fabric rather than the pattern itself. Reminiscent of school ties, it adds a distinctly preppy edge to looks and is considered a classic of men’s wardrobes. While it can come in almost any colour, rich jewel-like varsity or collegiate tones are the most common.

Plain Ties For Men

A plain tie is a fairly straightforward affair, right? Well, yes, to some degree. Plain silk woven ties can add a touch of colour to smarter outfits, but technically the catch all term ‘plain ties’ also covers anything with texture or variation in the weave so the light catches it which can create a subtle and sophisticated effect. Silk is, naturally, still the most common choice, but also look out for so-called ‘slub’ or ‘slubby’ weaves (where the yarns are spun at different tensions to create different widths) or those mixed with linen for added depth and character.

Patterned Ties For Men

Using the term patterned tie is a little like using the term tailored trousers – they come in all sorts of shapes and forms. For example, a patterned suit tie could refer to a floral tie, paisley tie, polka dot tie, printed tie or even a striped tie – all of which can be achieved by a variety of methods of weaving. But then there’s all the others – too many of them to list here. In fact, most ties are woven in a jacquard (usually silk) to create more subtle textures and patterns, such as herringbone, chevrons, geometric shapes, checks and many many more. Essentially, if you can name it, chances are it exists in the form of a men’s tie.

Floral Ties For Men

A floral tie, like floral shirts, is a classic in menswear, evolving out of the elite dress and men’s cravats worn by the upper echelons of society in the eighteenth century – but, to this day, they remain surprisingly versatile. From large and bold florals to small and ditsy ones, there’s plenty of options to pick from when it comes to men’s floral ties. In particular, those in the latter character are particularly well-suited for pairing with wedding tailoring and even business suits, provided the colours aren’t too bold.

Paisley Ties For Men

A close cousin to the floral print, the paisley pattern dates back over two millennia to Persia, where the pinecone-like emblem was known as a ‘boteh’. It wasn’t until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries though, that it began to gain popularity in Western clothing, most especially in a small Scottish town which gave its name to the English terminology: paisley. Today, you’ll most often spot it on accessories like scarves and, you guessed it, men’s ties and suit ties, where it can add a touch of luxury to formal tailoring and smart office suits.

Printed Ties For Men

Printed ties are less common than patterned ties – but they’re something Paul Smith excels at. It’s important to remember that a printed tie is also technically a subset of patterned ties, but the design has been ‘added’ to the fabric rather than woven into it. If you keep an eye out, you’ll notice that Paul Smith ties often feature seasonal printed ties to match the theme and colour scheme of the wider collection. Think of them as an accessible way to make a statement without going all-out bold.

Polka Dot Ties For Men

Did you know that the term polka dot comes from the name of a folk-dance craze that originated in Bohemia? As with many things in fashion, it’s tricky to trace why this particular terminology was landed on, but what we do know is that the pattern consisting of small spots started to gain popularity soon after – most likely because it was a simple and relatively economical pattern to achieve. It wasn’t until around the 1920s though, that men – following the lead of Hollywood legends like Fred Astaire – started to adopt the polka dot on ties, neckerchiefs, and the like. Nowadays, polka dots – and by extension, polka dot ties – are considered a timeless pillar of men’s style.

Knitted Ties For Men

Knitted ties for men started making an appearance around the turn of the twentieth century, reaching peak popularity in the 1950s before their modern-day revival. They remain a popular option today for their ability to add dimension to a smart outfit – and for the fact that they are often considered a slightly less formal alternative to classic silk ties. Like traditional ties, knitted ties also come in a variety of colours, fabrics, patterns and so on. However, there is one important difference: in most instances, the neck of a knitted tie is a uniform width (rather than tapered) and ends with a squared-off tip (as opposed to your typical point).

Checked Ties For Men

Checks have a long and storied sartorial history, particularly in the world of menswear. Originally used by Scottish clans to identify and distinguish one another, it would be impossible to name every type of check commonly used today in our closets. Suffice to say, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to modern men’s checked ties, including houndstooth (AKA dogtooth), windowpane, gingham and tartan. They’ll put a retro spin on smart tailored look.

Skinny Ties For Men

Though they used to come much wider – think short kipper ties worn with Zoot suits in the 1940s – the most common standard width for a men’s necktie these days is around 8 centimetres or 3.25 inches. In the noughties however – inspired by the slimmer ties donned by mods and the like in the 1960s – the skinny tie for men experienced a renaissance and resurgence in popularity. Clocking in at around 6.25 centimetres, if you’re in the market for a skinny tie, keep in mind they look best with slim-cut suits and narrow collars.

Bow Ties For Men

You’ll most typically see bow ties these days as part of a black-tie ensemble for men – or, perhaps, donned by dapper college professor-types in Wes Anderson movies. Historically speaking, they are the closest relative of the men’s cravat that is still commonly worn today. Most usually made from silk or grosgrain in the case of eveningwear, men’s bow ties can be purchased in both self-tie or pre-tied forms – and whichever you choose will depend on how dextrous you are.

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