How to Wear a Tie Casually

Baltimore is a great city for neckwear. It’s a town that loves its scarves, and they seem to increase in popularity every year. At the same time, the men of Baltimore are not so precious, effete and pretentious that we ever fell for the keffiyeh (shown here, on the left), or, God forbid, the ascot.

But today we want to talk about the simple straight necktie, which should be more of a pleasure than a chore to wear.

The Chop recently procured a new pair of jeans, and with the skies sunny, the winds calm and just a hint of Fall brisk in the air, it’s been the perfect excuse break out the casual ties for mixing with denim.

A: Warhol is cooler than You. B: Steal his look. It's foolproof and works on anyone.

For the sartorially savvy, there may be a tie for every occasion. Where the foppish man might own a closet full of ties for the office, ties for the club, ties for sporting, parties, dinners, etc, the rest of us will have to make due with a handful of more versatile staples which can pull double or even triple duty. So how do you know which ties will be a good fit for both a Monday meeting and a casual Friday, with happy hour? More importantly, how do you know which tie to buy when She’s dragging you down the mall concourse and demanding you to smarten up? Simple: You follow the rules.

Rule 1: Stay away from the silk. Matte is better than shiny. Always. You can wear most ties with suits, but most ties you (probably) own can’t be worn without suits. Go for something wool, cotton, linen, whatever. As long as you don’t need sunglasses to look at it. You can even get away with polyester or rayon, if everything else is in order.

Rule 2: Not too fat, not too thin. Fat ties are for bankers. Skinny ties are a great way to look like an asshole if you don’t know what you’re doing. Get out a ruler and make sure your tie is between 2.75″ and 3.125″ at its widest.

Rule 3: Less is more. Go for a solid color or a very subtle pattern. something like pin dots, pinstripes, or something so tight it resembles a solid from a distance is a safe bet. If it catches your eye among a collection of other ties, its going to be too loud and people will stare. This is not the idea.

Rule 4: Wear the right shirt. The right shirt is usually about the right collar. Button down collars are inherently casual, and are a safe bet. Spread collars are no good. Most regular collars will do, but if you can remove the collar stays, do.

Rule 5: Length. Fun or formal, your tie should end just above your belt. There should be enough of a little end to tuck into the tag.

Rule 6:Loosen up, tighten up. Undo your top button, but wear your tie just tightly enough that it holds the collar together at the neck.

Rule 7: Look at Warhol. He’s 60, but that would work just as well on a 16 year old, or anyone in between. The jacket is unassuming cool at its best, and serves to dress down the shirt and tie, both of which are classic and well sewn, and would look as much at home inside an Italian suit as they do inside this thrift-chic jacket.