a brief note on neckwear, pt. 1

Dec. 7, 2008, 9:15 p.m. by Sam
windsor knot
I've noticed that almost none of the male teachers at my school wear ties. I can only recall seeing one teacher wear one, and usually only the principal and AP's wear them. I firmly believe that when you dress nicer, you will perform better and be perceived as being more professional. I think part of the problem with my low-performing, academically unacceptable school is that the teachers take no pride in their work and it shows in their dress. Casual Friday, at least at my school, now means bluejeans, any grungy old t-shirt, and flip flops. (On Fridays, I wear whatever I would wear every other day of the week, but with jeans in place of slacks.) In an effort to look more professional at school and to get the principals' attention, I've started wearing ties, and it's working. The students are slightly more respectful, teachers have told me how nice I look and the principals now say good morning to me. I only have a handful of modern, fashionable ties, but slowly making my collection larger. Good ties cost as much or more than a good shirt, but can be well worth the cost. Your tie should be darker than your shirt and should have similar colors, unless you're wearing a solid white or light colored shirt, in which case your tie can be almost any color. Note how the tie in the photo picks up the gold lines on the shirt. Current fashion dictates that your tie be patterned and not solid. The monochrome look went out in the early 2000s, but go ahead and hang onto those ties as they'll likely become fashionable again in 10-15 years. Patterns may be like the one shown here (but a little less shiny), or diagonal stripes. You should never wear a tie with images or pictures unless it's to your goofy office holiday party. The tip of your tie should just touch the top of your belt--no longer, no shorter. Your tie should be silk. Wool and polyester ties have not been in fashion for a long time, and hopefully never will be again. Unless you're going in costume as a 70s sleaze, your tie should not be very wide. Unless you're a jazz musician, your tie should not be very thin. A good rule of thumb is that your tie should be as wide as your lapel if you're wearing a jacket, and luckily for you, dear reader, almost all ties sold in stores are of the preferred standard width. There are a variety of knots which may be used. The most common is the four-in-hand knot, the one your father likely taught you when you were 12 and attending your first wedding. This knot is good and versatile, but other knots can be more appropriate for certain shirts and situations. In a more formal situation, a half- or full-windsor is more appropriate. The knot in the photo is a full-windsor. It leaves a wide, symmetrical triangle as opposed to the thin, slightly lopsided four-in-hand. This knot also works well for wide collars and for gentlemen of a larger frame, such as myself. Bow ties are another option. They should be worn with a tux, obviously, but can also be worn in any other situation which requires a tie, but with discretion. If you're very skinny or very corpulent, a bow tie will only make you look skinnier or fatter. If you choose to wear a bow tie to work, make sure you're the only one in your office or workplace who does. If you can pull of a bow tie, you can be the "bow tie guy", which, when done correctly, allows other people you don't interact with daily to remember who you are. If you can't pull off a bow tie, you will be known as "_that guy_ with a bow tie", who you do not want to be. I'm going to buy a bow tie this week and see if I can pull it off.
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Mark Says:

Dec. 11, 2008
more power to ya, I know I could never pull off a bowtie. I\'ll stick to my full windsor worn long enough to cover half of my belt latch/buckle, with no pinch. I think it looks goofy on me to stop short of the belt.

vince Says:

Dec. 8, 2008
I\'m going to try and make the bow-tie part of my daily attire. If I can meet the president of the University with it, I can wear it whenever.

Paul Stiverson Says:

Dec. 8, 2008
Well, that may be the case, but fashions change pretty regularly and I’m not some GQ butthole, I’ll keep wearing it my lame out of fashion style. See that, I’m being my own man, man.

sam Says:

Dec. 8, 2008
I read that the dimple should always be present. When it\'s \"flat\", it isn\'t really flat...it bows out to the front and can look like an ascot.

Paul Stiverson Says:

Dec. 7, 2008
I usually wear the full-windsor although I don’t go with the pinch (like the one pictured), I keep the tie smooth. I think it works better with the ties I wear. I will admit that it does look really nice with that gold tie though.

LEW Says:

Dec. 8, 2008
you sounds authoritative on this matter. do you have a long history of tie wearing?

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