Watch your parents and grandparents with interest. 

It is always fascinating to see how traditions for dress and its practicality become instinct over time. While at home last week, for example, I noticed that my father was wearing dark blue socks yesterday with small pink (or were they white?) dots. They went perfectly with his plain blue slacks and black loafers (see previous post on sock colours). But a question as to why he was wearing that combination only produced confusion. There was no reason; it was just instinct. 
Equally, my grandfather wore a checked grey tie at my wedding that is known as the Macclesfield tie after the town where it was first woven. This weave of small diamonds, squares or circles was fashionable in the 1920s and became the standard, dress tie for formal day attire – in other words, weddings and daytime celebrations. It seemed smart yet not really of the office. Was it a coincidence or did he instinctively wear the ‘wedding tie’? (I have to confess I haven’t asked him, probably because I’m afraid it was the former.)
Either way, it is interesting to see which traditions or guidelines become instinctive in those that were interested in style at different points in their life. Some relax into a subconscious mode of dressing. Others never stop experimenting. 
What is worried over now can become instinctive (and more personal) over time. 
(Examples of wedding ties are shown above – thanks to, a wonderful site I highly recommend, for this pic.)
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Would the Macclesfield tie also work in the evening, with something like a gray or navy suit (assuming the wedding is not black tie)? Or would you recommend a different tie in the evenings? I ask because when I’ve read about wedding ties like this it most often refers to events taking place during the day. It would be nice to have a tie that would work for most, if not all, weddings.


Makes sense. Thanks so much.

Charles Boroughmuir

What about guests? (Non wedding party)

Do we have more freedom in a traditional formal wedding?

I have a pale grey suit that I plan to wear with black oxfords and a pale blue shirt. Tie undecided.

The wedding is during the day in a warm climate.


Dear Simon,
This post has always fascinated me, I remember reading it years ago and discussing it with you while in London and attending a pop-up of yours, I now don’t recall where it was, but there was whiskey involved from an event sponsor 🙂
I often think back on these ‘wedding ties’, or as I read recently someone calling them ‘formal ties’ on StyleForum and what they are. The ones you would wear for most formal daytime occasions such as weddings.
I understand they are certainly those with small patters that you explain in the article, on the background of grey or silver. I assume likely also a plain deep navy or perhaps reppe or satin navy or plain satin sky blue or grey in mid to lighter shades. But how about e.g. navy with small regularly spaced pin-dots? Such as the one here:comment image. Perhaps the pin-dots should be even smaller for it to qualify?


Thanks, makes sense.