Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Once an indication of family lineage, ties dress up even a casual collared shirt. Colours, patterns and placement help convey a sense of style. We find out what makes a tie worth tying.

The Basics

  • Neckties are made from several different fabrics: silk, cotton, leather, rope, string, lace, linen, acetate, nylon, rayon, ramie and polyester. About 40% of ties on the market are silk.

  • All ties are the same length and should fit most men except those who are exceedingly tall.

  • When tied, it should hit the belt buckle.

  • Neckties are fairly forgiving when it comes to fashion trends. A tie 4 or 5 years old will likely still work at the office.

  • Clean lines are important to how the tie hangs. Look for substantial bar-like tacks on the back of the tie that keep it lying flat. If it twists when you hold it up, it won’t lie properly.

Other Considerations

  • Some style tips for tie shopping:

    • Stripes with stripes is perfectly alright as long as the stripes are different widths.

    • Keep shirt and tie patterns complementary. Only one should be “busy” so as not to be hard on the eye.

    • Patterns that highlight a particular hobby or interest like sports logos or cartoon characters are a little more kooky than fashionable.


Our testers wore these five different ties for a week to see which one they preferred:

  • Geoffrey Beene: $35
  • Nautica: $55
  • Ted Baker: $95
  • Hugo Boss: $110
  • Brioni: $230

Style Test

  • We were all able to pick out the most expensive tie, Brioni. It was obviously good quality and well-made.

  • It was similarly easy to spot the least expensive tie, Geoffrey Beene, for its inferior construction and fabric.

  • The Boss tie was considered to be a good any-occasion tie.

  • Our testers loved the Brioni but admitted that the price tag was too steep

  • The Nautica was a close second.


Our top pick was the Nautica, which looked sharp at a reasonable price.


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