Types of Ties: Unraveling the Art of Tie Wearing


The Fashionisto


Updated July 29, 2023

Types of Ties MenPin
Explore the different types of ties for men. Photo: FP

Neckties, an integral component of a man’s suit ensemble, have been indispensable in sculpting a polished and professional image for centuries. Yet, it’s vital to recognize that not all ties are created equal. The tie spectrum is extensive, each variety presenting its unique style, purpose, and appropriate occasion.

Understanding these tie types and how to wear them can elevate your sartorial game, whether preparing for a job interview, attending a formal event, or simply looking to make a fashion statement. Let’s navigate through the diverse ties landscape, dissecting their styles and appropriate contexts.

Four-in-Hand Necktie: The Versatile Essential

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For contemporary men, the Four-in-Hand Necktie is among the most common. Photo: Shutterstock

The Four-in-Hand necktie, often celebrated as the most well-known of all tie types, anchors the cornerstone of traditional office style. Its suitability for various formal events makes it a go-to accessory. Its distinct charm rests in the unlimited possibilities for personal expression. Widths, colors, patterns, and materials vary greatly, encouraging an individualistic approach to style.

Knotting this tie becomes an art form, offering another dimension of personal flair. While the classic Windsor knot remains a timeless favorite, it serves as a springboard into a world rich with intricate knots. Each new style you learn enables a nuanced transformation of your aesthetic. In short, the Four-in-Hand necktie is a testament to the power of subtlety and detail in men’s fashion.

Seven-Fold Tie: The Luxe Statement

As a distinguished cousin of the Four-in-Hand, the Seven-fold tie makes a compelling statement about men’s accessories. The very name of this tie type tells a story of craftsmanship. Each tie is folded meticulously seven times, a detail that sets this style apart. A full square yard of silk becomes the canvas upon which this artwork is created.

An impressive feature of the Seven-fold tie is the absence of lining. This distinct construction lends the tie a substantial, hefty feel and allows for the creation of a striking knot with little exertion. Given the opulent silk material and the careful attention to detail during construction, these ties usually come with a higher price tag.

This inherent luxury positions them as a favorite choice for those special occasions where making an impression is paramount.

Skinny Tie: The Vintage Revival

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Stage a Mod revival with the stylish Skinny Tie. Photo: Shutterstock

A notable variation of the Four-in-Hand Necktie, the Skinny Necktie, infuses vintage charm into men’s fashion. This tie style, initially capturing hearts in the 1950s and 1960s, is almost synonymous with cultural icons of the era, such as The Beatles, who frequently showcased them.

Ideal for slim and skinny-fit tailoring, the Skinny Necktie accentuates the streamlined silhouette these styles create. This tie can effortlessly transform your ensemble, taking it from day to evening with a fresh and contemporary edge.

When paired with the right elements, it can shape a look that balances perfectly on the tightrope of stylish and edgy. This tie embodies the spirit of fashion that breaks free from the mold and ventures into the realm of daring.

Bowtie: The Charming Addition

Add a novel charm to your formal attire with a Bowtie. Photo: Shutterstock

Opting for a Bowtie presents a spirited diversion from the conventional necktie, appealing particularly to those with a penchant for fun. Bestowing a dash of sophistication upon any outfit, bowties are quintessential for genuinely formal events, thereby earning their place in every gentleman’s accessory collection.

Bowties are currently enjoying a wave of popularity in the South, adding an exclusive charm to the local fashion scene. The ideal companion to a seersucker suit, a bowtie completes this quintessential Southern ensemble with finesse.

Their versatility extends beyond regional trends and grand events. From balls and cocktail parties to the daily rhythm of office wear, a bowtie infuses any outfit with a unique flair. It’s a testament to how an accessory can subtly, yet powerfully, shift the aesthetic of an attire, painting a picture of individuality within the frame of formality.

Western Bowtie: The Southern Signature

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Italian brand pays a nod to the Western Bowtie with its latest collection. Photo: Boglioli

Invoking the timeless appeal of the classic Bowtie, the Western Bowtie presents itself as a compelling offshoot, deeply rooted in Southern style. It has a storied history that brings to mind unforgettable personalities, such as country music legend Johnny Cash, who was known for his all-black ensembles and classic ties. This tie style is trendy in the Southwest, gracing the necks of many at formal gatherings.

However, it’s relaxed charm and regional beginnings may seem somewhat out of place in formal contexts outside of its home territory. Even with this in mind, the Western Bowtie embodies a stylish homage to regional fashion trends, showcasing how location can significantly influence men’s fashion.

Bolo Tie: The Southwestern Spirit

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The Bolo Tie offers men a chance to incorporate unique jewelry into their wardrobe. Photo: Urban Outfitters

Earning its stripes as a statement piece, the Bolo Tie deviates from traditional tie designs. Popularized in the 1970s, it’s more akin to a piece of men’s jewelry than a conventional tie. While it has made a somewhat modest return to the fashion scene in recent years, its applicability to work settings might be restricted unless you’re based in the Southwest.

Regardless, the unique allure of the Bolo Tie lies in its ability to infuse personality into your ensemble. Its distinctive design challenges traditional fashion norms and allows the wearer to express their style boldly. The Bolo Tie is a reminder that fashion serves as a statement of conformity and a celebration of individuality.

Cravats & Ascots: The Regal Selection

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Celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher add an elegant touch to their ensembles using Cravats and Ascots. Photo: IMAGO / Eventpress

In the lively sphere of men’s fashion, ascots and cravats have evolved to the point where they’ve become practically indistinguishable. Any differences that might have historically set them apart have significantly blurred in today’s style context. Both serve a fundamental function—to add sophistication and elegance to a man’s outfit.

Originating from unique periods and cultural settings, these accessories have converged in modern men’s fashion, often used interchangeably. Wearing an ascot or a cravat can enhance an ensemble’s stylishness for a formal event, a day at the races, or simply a fashionable outing.

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Robert Downey Jr. showcases the charm of the ascot cravat tie. Photo: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

This combination reflects fashion’s dynamic, fluid nature, where trends, styles, and terms often blend and evolve. It underscores the vast canvas of men’s fashion, where personal style often precedes traditional categories and labels.

To the average style-conscious individual, the ascot and cravat are essentially the same—a statement accessory that injects a dose of class into their look.

Neckerchief: The Casual Trendsetter

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Versatile enough to dress up or down, the Neckerchief is the modern man’s friend. Photo: Tinxi / Shutterstock.com

Often sitting unnoticed on the periphery of neckwear, the Neckerchief offers a distinctive sartorial choice. This tie type is familiar to many as an integral part of Boy Scout uniforms, marking a signature element of their attire.

However, the Neckerchief’s relatively informal nature usually precludes its use in most work settings or formal events unless it’s a specific uniform requirement. Yet, its appeal lies precisely in this casual, off-beat charm.

The Neckerchief presents an opportunity to imbue everyday wear with an individual touch, thus offering a unique pathway to personal style. In this light, the Neckerchief reminds us that fashion extends beyond formality, reaching into everyday life where personal expression takes precedence.

Clip-on Tie: The Ready-to-Wear Solution

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Clip-on Ties are typically associated with convenience and are a part of uniforms. Photo: Amazon

The Clip-On Tie offers a ready-to-wear option in the world of neckwear. As the name suggests, it’s a pre-tied tie equipped with clips for easy attachment to your collar, thus mimicking the look of a standard tie. Although it may not always be the primary choice for fashion-forward individuals, the Clip-On Tie has benefits.

The ease and convenience it provides become truly evident on last-minute formal occasions. The Clip-On Tie is invaluable if you’re short on time or have never mastered tying a tie. It serves as a reminder that while style is significant, the functional aspects of fashion can sometimes come to the rescue, ensuring that you always look your best, no matter the circumstances.

Kipper Tie: The British Flashback

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Bob Wilson, George Best, and Michael Parkinson wear Kipper Ties at a 1975 event for the release of Best’s biography. Photo: IMAGO / Colorsport

The Kipper Tie, with its wide blade and frequent showcasing of daring patterns, is a striking declaration in the world of neckwear. This particular tie style, which became a sensation in the 1960s and 1970s, hails from the fashion avenues of the United Kingdom, offering it a historical charm.

Integrating a Kipper Tie into an ensemble introduces a daring dash of personality. The tie’s distinctive aesthetics showcase the transformative power of accessories in fashion, acting as an effective device to revolutionize an outfit. Within the vast mural of men’s fashion, the Kipper Tie emerges as a courageous stroke, a nod to the more adventurous facets of style.

Knit Tie: The Textured Sophisticate

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The Knit Tie is a standout amongst ties due to its texture. Photo: Todd Snyder

Enter the Knit Tie, a variation that blends tradition with texture, presenting a tastefully understated choice for the modern gentleman. The Knit Tie’s distinguishing characteristic is knitted rather than woven fabric, which delivers a tactile quality that sets it apart from its peers. This unique texturing breathes life into a conventional outfit, infusing it with a touch of interest that doesn’t overshadow the ensemble’s overall aesthetic.

With a balance of sophistication and quirkiness, the Knit Tie suits a range of contexts. It shines in semi-formal settings and smart-casual occasions, offering a flexible addition to your tie arsenal. The Knit Tie maintains a consistent charm, whether paired with a crisp suit or blazer and jeans combination.

Its inherent versatility showcases the power of a carefully selected accessory, demonstrating how a single, textured piece can elevate an ensemble from regular to memorable.

Final Words

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Add the perfect finishing touch to your suit with the ideal tie. Photo: Shutterstock

In this exploration of the varied world of ties, it’s evident how this seemingly simple accessory spans many styles, each reflecting distinct eras, occasions, and identities. Every tie, from the traditional four-in-hand to the audacious Kipper, is a crucial element within a man’s wardrobe, complementing an outfit and adding an extra dimension of personal expression.

Understanding this aspect underscores the significance of ties in men’s fashion and their continued relevance in the modern wardrobe. Stepping into a future that champions individual style, your tie choice becomes more than just an accessory; it becomes an indicator of your aesthetic sensibility.

Whether for a corporate event or a laid-back gathering, the appropriate tie can enhance your outfit, resonating with your unique personality. This ethos keeps ties relevant, acting as an extension of your fashion statement. Your tie, after all, can be the final piece that transforms your outfit from the ordinary to the standout.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Add a pop of color to your suit with a matching tie and pocket square. Photo: FP

What types of ties are popular right now?

Currently, the fashion world is seemingly in a tie-trend limbo. The skinny tie has become too slim, the Kipper tie too bold, and the perfect one for every occasion seems to be the universally pleasing medium-width tie in solid or vibrant colors.

What ties should a man own?

Every man should own a selection of ties for different occasions. For office wear, work-related functions, or happy hours, it’s good to have a few medium-width ties in solid colors and a few patterned ties.

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