7 Tips To Buying A Tie
Everyone wants it but many do not know what to look for.
Neckties are no exception.
Although neckties proportionally make up a small component to a man’s wardrobe, they are statement piece that attract more than their fair share of attention.
Think about it.
When you really have a well-put together and coordinated outfit, most people compliment your tie or pocket square when they see you.
That is because there are many cheap low quality versions of the necktie and it really stands out when you find a truly great one.
With over 150 years of history, the necktie really has come a long way with many designers crafting some superb and high-quality versions. Given the many varieties, it is often difficult for men to choose a really good one from the piles that are available.
With that said, we have compiled 7 things to look for and examine when in the process of purchasing a necktie. Although a pretty extensive list, you will quickly limit your chances of getting a tie that will breakdown on you after a few uses or just as bad, never wear it due to you being unhappy with its quality.
Like most things, ties come in many shapes and sizes. It is critical to get a tie that matches well with your body frame and the outfit you will be wearing.
Take the blazer or suit jacket as an example. The width of your tie should be dictated by the size of the lapels on your suit jacket or blazer. Not having this consistency will result in your entire outfit looking off-balance, which draws attention to yourself for the wrong reasons. Having a tie that meshes well with your existing look is a key component to consider when in the process of purchasing a tie.
2. Tie Bar Tack (Stitch)
This may be the most crucial aspect of a tie to carefully look into before making your purchase.
Turn the tie over and about three quarters of the way down, you should see a heavy stitch joining each ends of the tie together. This reinforced stitch is always horizontal. There are many benefits of having the bar tack on a tie with the 2 most crucial elements being:
- It keeps the two sides of the tie together by providing some reinforcement from a tie’s first set of stitching (slip stitching)
- Just as important, it helps the tie keep it’s shape. Ever have a tie that starts to bubble up, almost looking like there are air pockets within it? This is most likely caused by a lack of a bar tack.
So, a bar tack is a critical component to examine prior to making a tie purchase.
Like most items in the menswear realm – fabric is king. You really do get what you pay for in men’s style and usually fabric plays a huge role in this.
In my opinion, silk is the fabric of choice when it comes to the men’s necktie and should make up the bulk of ties in your wardrobe. Why you may ask?
- Silk is one of the most durable fabrics in the world. Despite silk being soft, its tensile strength is very high. This is thanks to its elasticity as it contributes significantly to its tensile strength.
- Silk Fabrics retain their shape and have moderate resistance to wrinkling
- Silk fabrics drape well. Which is a key component for the necktie to maintain it shape and allow you to create many types of knots
- Silk does not attract dirt because of its smooth finish.
If you want to experiment with other fabrics, here are other ones you can look into:
- Cashmere – Cashmere ties are once again gaining prominence in men’s style. Since the finish of the cashmere tie is not as sheen as the silk variety, they are best worn in less formal environments.
- Cotton – If you live in a colder climate, the cotton tie is a great alternative to the silk variety. The cotton tie is versatile enough to be worn in multiple environments; it also comes in many styles and patterns.
4. The Slip Knot
Truly great (but expensive) handmade ties will contain a loop: a slip knot, which peeks out from the blade tip.
The reasoning behind this is to avoid the wear and tear from years of tying and untying. The slip knot will allow men to adjust the tension over the years, returning its original shape and expanding its life.
When referring to the shell of a necktie, I am talking about its body.
A well-made necktie should consist of three pieces:
- The blade – Which is the large end of the necktie
- The tail – The small and thinner portion of the necktie
- The gusset – Which is the neck piece which joins the two
Looking for these key components of a necktie will not only ensure you purchase a quality tie, but will make you an expert in tie buying.
6. Cut on the Bias
A well-constructed tie is made of fabric that has been cut on the bias (i.e at a 45 degree angle).
Cutting fabric on the bias means that it has been cut diagonally across the grain of fabric, allowing the tie to assume its original shape after knotting.
A bias cut also allows a finished tie to lie flat and resist turning over to one side.
7. The “Little” Details in Tie Construction
Most quality products are determined not just by the construction of its main components but also in what is less noticeable.
There are many areas where quality can be found in a tie. So, when you are out shopping for one, ensure you examine them and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the back of the tie have a keeper for you to place the tail end of the tie through to avoid it flapping about?
- Specifically for patterned ties, do the seems lineup to form one continuous pattern? Or are they stitched in a random way without much attention to the flow of the pattern?
- Are the edges of the tie rolled or do they look folded? Believe it or not, great quality ties are rolled and pressed with great care to ensure fullness at its edges. This also helps the tie maintain its shape for the long haul.
- Give the tie a complete once over, do you see any minor blemishes to the tie and it’s stitching? Even very minor? Always keep in mind that a tie that shows any minor blemishes may not at its core be the most well constructed.
Want to Buy Patterned Neckties That I Personally Recommend?
- Slip stitching – Again turn the tie over and gently try to separate the tie ends were the tie meets. Do you see a single set of stitching there? This helps keep the tie together and along with the bar tack, gives the tie its iconic shape.
- Check out the tipping of the tie – this is the bottom portion of the tie on the reverse. Was there any care or detailing done to this section? This is mostly an afterthought on average ties but not high quality ones.
- Lay the tie on a flat surface and put one palm over the widest part and the other about where the knot will be, and move your palms apart. Does the tie stretch slightly then go back to its original shape when you let go?
- Hold the tie up by its small end, or hang it over your arm. What does it do? If it twists, it wasn’t cut on the bias and is a tie to be avoided.
There you have it. You should now have a great sense of what to look for and what to avoid when it comes to neckties. Owning a selection of great quality ties is of great luxury and will provide you with many years of enjoyment.