Oh no, Christmas is Friday and you haven’t found a gift for that special man in your life. The traditional, last minute, impulse holiday present for dads, uncles, brothers, or spouses is the necktie. Few gifts are as liable to be hidden away permanently in the closet than a carelessly chosen tie.
Think about neckties, why they are worn and how seldom we see them these days. When the average guy finally decides to tie one on, the occasion is probably going to be a special one. Perhaps he needs to finish an outfit when attending a wedding, a funeral, or a job interview. Face it, that novel Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse necktie will be inappropriate. The garish poly-blend tie is going to look out of place, draw attention to itself and inspire apologies from the wearer.
If you decide to buy a tie to show your appreciation for the man in your life (or, in some cases the woman) realize that a necktie is a very personal accessory. Whether or not the tie is actually used often depends on just a few factors.
First, observe the type of tie your man usually wears for special occasions. Take note of the colors of shirts, suits, and sport coats he normally wears. You’ll need to choose a color or blend of colors that compliment, not overwhelm his usual color scheme.
Second, notice whether he usually chooses to wear a striped or a solid colored necktie. This is very important because many of us avoid striped ties like the plague. Other men prefer the diagonal striped pattern.
Third, don’t skimp on quality. More than most articles of clothing, when buying a tie, you get what you pay for. Realize that if the man you’re buying the tie for does not usually wear ties, that when he wears a tie, it will be the pièce de résistance of his outfit when he dresses up.
The default fabric of quality neckties is silk. There are two basic types of silk used for ties. Printed silk has a very smooth feel with no texture. Woven silk has depth and loft in the weave. There is a pattern one can see and feel. I like both types. I switch back and forth, depending on my mood.
Watch your weight. I prefer medium weight silk. Too light, and it won’t drape properly. Too heavy requires a large knot which probably won’t compliment today’s fashions.
Look at the tipping, the material at the points on the reverse side of the tie. If it is the same silk as the front of the tie, the necktie will hang better. Make a quick check of the lining, too. Either wool or poly-cotton are good choices.
Pay some attention to the finishing details. A quality tie has double reinforced neck stitching, careful fabric loops and sturdy bar tacks are good signs, too.
Don’t forget the basic shape of the tie. Look for a subtle “bottleneck” cut. There should be plenty of narrow width in order to allow for a great knot. Avoid the extremely wide “retro”, or the very narrow “skinny” ties. Moderation is the key to a tie that will actually get used.
Perhaps the recipient of your well-intentioned gift does not wear silk because of religious or personal convictions. Can a person still find an excellent quality necktie that is made of another fabric?
Fortunately, there are some manufacturers who create neckties made from highest quality, combed cotton. They have a smooth sheen that is very similar to silk. The best “vegan” ties are made with attention to detail as mentioned above. Last year, Jorge bought a fine quality solid color olive green cotton tie that I like to wear with a casual white shirt and nice jeans.
It has become a “go to” tie because it has a pleasing texture, the color coordinates with my hair, and the “Swiss Cotton” tie just looks and feels right; it doesn’t look cheap. Best of all, no creatures were harmed in its making.
If you’re buying a vegetarian friendly tie, you may need to shop around or locate an online source that will deliver promptly. There are many sources that sell “vegan” ties that are very tasteful and will provide the wearer with an accessory to be proud of.
When choosing a tie, ask yourself this, “Will my man wear the tie because he feels obligated not to insult the giver’s taste, or will he wear it because he honestly enjoys the necktie? Will it look like a last-minute impulse purchase from WalMart or will it reflect careful thought and consideration with the wearer in mind.
Happy Tie Month.