At Knot Tied Down, we've got the Top Ten Tie Tips (the Quadruple T's, if you will) to help you wear and care for your ties. These tips have been culled from years of personal experience. So, if you're looking for a little bit of unsolicited (but spot on) advice, read on.
1) An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
It doesn't take much to ruin a tie. Therefore, preventing any sort of damage to your tie is much more important than trying to remedy any malady that may befall it. Take care of your ties by:
- Hanging them after each use. This will help prevent wrinkles and keep the tie from misshaping. If you don't have a tie rack, roll your ties and store them in a drawer.
- Brush your teeth before putting on your tie. Or, if you already put on your tie and are in a jam, throw your tie over your shoulder before you brush.
- Throw your tie over your shoulder before you eat or remove it entirely.
2) You can use an iron to get wrinkles out, but you must be careful.
My dad used to say that once you get a wrinkle in your tie, you might as well throw it out. In my desperate frugality, I've found that ironing a tie can actually be done effectively and safely (if the care label allows for ironing). To get wrinkles out:
- First, see if you can get the wrinkles out without use of the iron. Try rolling the tie completely and letting it set overnight.
- If rolling the tie doesn't work, get out the iron, but set it to the lowest heat setting first. Increase heat as necessary.
- Iron from the back of the tie.
- When applying the iron, use the least amount of pressure as possible. Essentially, you just want to glide over the surface of the shell (meaning the outermost fabric of the tie) and let the heat get the wrinkle out. This is the most important step because the edge (the fold of the tie that goes from the front to the back) is rolled and carefully pressed to give the fullness. The edge is usually never a flat crease. If you apply too much pressure when ironing a tie, you'll flatten the edge and you'll never get it back to its original shape.
3) When in doubt, wear a crisp, white dress shirt.
Trying to match a tie -- which can vary by material, color, texture and pattern -- with a shirt can be a daunting task. When in doubt, toss on a crisp, white dress shirt. There is literally no tie that a white dress shirt will not work with. In fact, white dress shirts were all I ever wore with my ties at work. I liked to think of them as blank backdrops for my tie. Hey, it worked for Mad Men, didn't it?
4) The bottom point of a tied tie should touch the top of your belt buckle when standing at attention.
Stand at attention, then tie your tie. Once all is said and done, the bottom of the tie should hit the top of your belt buckle -- simple as that. Of course, if you prefer to wear your ties a little shorter or a little longer, by all means, do so.
5) Your chosen knot you choose speaks volumes.
Everything about the tie you wear should be an expression of you and the occasion -- that includes the knot. The more intricate the knot (i.e. Windsor knot), the more effort it took you to tie your tie and get the knot right. Therefore, more intricate knots are a must for special occasions and important business. Conversely, simpler knots (i.e. four-in-hand knot), if you prefer, are great for Monday through Friday business.
6) Ties can be slimming.
If you had one too many beers over the weekend, your gut might be a bit more rotund than normal. A tie can help slim you down by both adding a bit of cover for your gut and drawing the eyes away from your waistline.
7) The safest way to wear a tie is in complimentary fashion.
When I was a kid, I put all my favorite foods together in a sandwich and expected it to taste amazing. I was absolutely wrong. This lesson can be applied with equal force and effect to your outfit. Mixing your favorite plaid shirt, your favorite windowpane suit and your favorite polka dot tie together doesn't always work out well. Instead, try to use your tie in a complimentary fashion. That means making it either the side dish or the main dish.
In general, a patterned shirt will best be complimented by a solid tie, as a patterned shirt and a patterned tie often clash. Conversely, a solid shirt would look great with a patterned tie, as a solid shirt and solid tie often looks too rigid.
8) Wear a tie bar...seriously.
Wearing a tie bar may look a bit stuffy at first, but trust me, they are great complimentary pieces, whether you're at work or at a wedding. Even if you don't think you can pull a tie bar off, give it a try. I bet you'll want to wear one everyday thereafter. Not only do they provide a great understated look, they keep your tie in place no matter how much you move around.
9) Ties can give you a lot of confidence.
Often, guys choose not to wear ties because they feel self-conscious about looking too formal. But there's nothing wrong with looking presentable and professional, even when you don't have to. In fact, I've found that a great tie gets you a lot of compliments throughout the day and starts a number of conversations, boosting your confidence.
10) Ties are the ultimate expression of who you are on any given day.
That principle is the entire essence of Knot Tied Down. Think about it. Of all the articles of clothing that make up your outfit, your tie is the only one with no utilitarian purpose. Your shirt and suit (if you wear one) keep you warm. Your socks and shoes keep your feet dry and comfortable. The tie's only purpose, however, is decorative in nature. Whether a long tie or a bow tie, solid or striped, red or purple and every color in between, ties are the best way to express who you are or how you're feeling on any given day.
Personally, I tried to match my suit with the business of the day. For example, if I was traveling to take a deposition in a nice sunny place, or if it was a Friday, I'd likely wear a pastel or lighter colored tie. If on the other hand, I was going to be meeting with clients all day, I might wear a tie that was a bit more traditional in navy. Keep that in mind when choosing what tie to wear that day.
Bonus: Loosen your tie both at the beginning and at end of the day.
One more for the road: make sure you loosen your tie and unbutton your top button both when you're traveling to work and at the end of the day when appropriate, especially during the warmer months. I used to build up a serious sweat when traveling to court in a full train car in the morning during the summer months with a suit and tie on until I started loosening my tie. On the back end, nothing feels better then loosening up your tie after a long day, and doing so prevents sweat from building up around your collar, which will ultimately help stave off collar discoloration.
So there you have it, Knot Tied Down's Quadruple T's of wearing and caring for your ties. If you have some personal tips, please feel free to send them our way and we'll include them in a future post!