Readers often ask for ‘capsule collections’ of types of clothes – shoes, suits, ties etc.
There are many reasons such a list is useful. It can point to the ‘essentials’: those things that provide the foundation of a wardrobe. It can suggest investment pieces. Or, if you commute by bike, it can make up a small, versatile wardrobe at work that can be recycled in different ways.
I keep most, sometimes all, of the ties pictured above at my office.
I find them the most versatile, most useful, most practical. Even, perhaps, the most pleasurable. Because nothing pleases me more than dressing simply but well.
A plain navy tie is extremely versatile, going with almost all colours and patterns of shirts and jackets.
Grenadine is the most versatile tie material in terms of formality, going with all but the smartest suits and all but the most casual knitwear.
I wear this untipped model from Drake’s so often it’s embarrassing.
Grey is not quite as versatile as navy. While navy ties go with navy suits, grey ties often aren’t the best choice with grey suits.
Still, grey is very useful, and a square-ended knitted wool tie will go with casual jackets and dress up some quality knitwear.
I tend to wear this one from Hermes with my Anderson & Sheppard shawl-collar sweaters.
I argued a while ago that this is the most useful tie in a man’s wardrobe. If we stay with relatively formal suits and jackets, that might still be right.
The nice thing about a club stripe is that it is big enough to go with any pattern of shirt, from a micro-stripe to a butcher’s stripe.
As a general rule of thumb, patterns in ties, shirts and suits work when they are not too close in size to each other. A club-stripe tie always avoids that problem.
This particular one from Drake’s is given a subtle bit of a punch by a black edging to the top of the silver stripes. And while I don’t have a club, it is the colours of my college, which is nice.
4. Navy-and-bronze block stripe
The pattern is so useful, I would include two in the capsule collection. Well, a block stripe rather than a club stripe, but the benefits are similar. A nice simple pattern that goes with everything.
Having a brown-toned stripe helps the tie to go with slightly more casual outfits, specifically those with brown accessories.
5. Olive printed tie with black geometrical pattern
This, from Isaia, is perhaps the most interesting tie of the lot.
It’s not an obvious choice: a green background, with small black motifs filled with lilac. Fairly unusual colours; yet it is extremely useful.
The reason is how muted those colours are. Classic Hermes ties have always been popular for that reason – they’re nearly always in muted, simple colours that go with anything.
Most brands don’t design ties like that. Subtle ties don’t jump off the shelf, don’t sell themselves from across the room. But they’re always the most useful, and it allows you to get away with colours like green, black and lilac.
If you want a useful printed-silk tie, pick a muted colour with a small, geometrical pattern.
Ties pictured on my vintage Louis Vuitton Alzer case, with hand-painted initials.
No red !?
I always thought that as white , blue and pink where 3 foundation colours for shirts therefore blue, green and red were the accompanying tie colours.
No, and I almost never wear red. Dark red with a mid-grey suit can be nice (see shots of my Edward Sexton suit) but otherwise mostly no.
Simon, would you discuss further your aversion to red ties please?
I have an aversion to bright red (so many politicians look so bad with a dark suit and a white shirt, with a bright-red tie).
But I have nothing against a burgundy, it’s a lovely colour. I’d have one in my top 10, as I say. It’s just never as versatile as navy, and often as green.
Brown is also very useful but has to be dark to be worn in a formal outfit, and in a casual outfit can be problematic if it’s too close in colour to the shoes or other leather accessories
Good point. So one should eliminate the bright solid red, or any shade approaching it, from the wardrobe, correct?
Absolutely. You’re not on TV. You don’t need to stand out.
Do you have the same aversion to other bright solid ties such as blue,green, and orange for example? A bright red tie appears to be somewhat unique in its ability to make its wearer stand out, and not in a good way. Am I wrong in this observation? If so, should one avoid bright solid ties regardless of color?
Red is particularly bad, but bright colours are always harder to wear than muted ones.
Of the bright colours, orange and lime green are my favourites. Try and soften the colour with a blue shirt and grey suit (softer than white shirts or navy suits)
Good advice, thanks. I’m very fond of orange as well. Is there a second worst bright color tie offender that you would eliminate from the wardrobe?
Blue. Bright zingy acid electric blue. Hate it
Agreed. This has been a very enlightening discussion, thank you.
Surprised the beautiful rust colored tie you wear in most of your pics is absent from this list.
You mean the chalky orange I was wearing with the green Brian Smith suit recently? Yes, that would be in the top 10
Curious to know which other 5 ties you would add actually!
Interesting. I suppose ties are one of the few items in classical menswear where there is very little right or wrong and it all comes down to the individual.
From your list above and applied to me only the Navy Grenadine and either one of the stripes would make it into my capsule collection. Glad, i don’t have a capsule collection…
I would disagree slightly, it is definitely possible to be right or wrong, there are simply many more gradations in between. Bear in mind that this is not necessarily my favourite ties, but the ones that are most useful (hence a capsule collection, at work)
I should qualify that and say it is applied to those au fait with the rules and not sartorial neonates so i agree that there is a definite right and wrong.
I mean your collection lacks a brown tie – which is a sine qua non for most that do not have UK sensibilities.
And for suit wearers a (dark) red – like burgundy/ maroon/ wine is near-essential.
I agree with the spirit of this article.
Yes, I think the restriction here is that these ties must be useful for knitwear, casual jackets and suits. There is only room for one or two smart silks in that scenario, and I find my olive green goes better than red or brown with both grey and navy suits. Both colours would certainly make it into a top 10 however – and ties don’t take up that much space!
How wide is the green muted tie Simon?
I always prefer wider ties. 9cm is ideal. What other PS brands do 9cm ties? Kind regards
Not many. Drake’s does a few, though often in a longer length as well. Shibumi does some nice ones, and has two choices of width, 8 and 9.
For me, a bigger width in the blade is less important than a bigger width in the bottleneck (the middle of the tie) as this is what determines the height of the knot in your collar
Very good point! Bottle-shaped ties almost never tie a rich, full knot.
What is missing for me is the pale blue / almost silvery grey small pattern tie done so well by Hermes / Ferragamo that sits so well with white shirt / any shade of blue suit. Drop the blue striped club tie in its favour.
It is nice, you’re right
Can you provide a link to purchase? Specifically the navy/bronze and the navy club?
I’m afraid I’m not commercial enough (and never will be) to always write about current stock. But have a look at the Drakes website
Nice post, Simon!
1. Navy grenadine. What are your thoughts of pairing it with a navy suit? I always worry that wearing a navy suit, light blue shirt, and a navy grenadine (while texturally nice) is too monochromatic. Thoughts?
2. When you mentioned burgundy/dark red not being as versatile as navy — wouldn’t a burgundy avoid monochromatism in most suit pairings? I doubt most of your readers wear a burgundy suit….
3. Brown/chocolate grenadine. You mentioned in your comments that ideally it should be dark…how would it work with the brown shoes issue?
I ask above because I have a nice navy suit and am looking for tie combinations. I think a navy grenadine would go nice with it but worry it’s too monochrome. I also think a brown grenadine would also go nice with the navy suit but worry about it being “too matchy” with the brown shoes.
Would the brown and brown work if both are dark? The navy suit is a typical wool suit and would be more “formal” than “casual”.
Navy tie with navy suit is fine. Quite formal, but fine. Brown grenadine with brown shoes is harder; make sure they are not a similar tone
What are your thoughts about wearing a navy grenadine tie to a brushed navy wool suit (super 100) and black penny loafers?
That sounds nice. Perhaps a white shirt rather than a blue might be good, to increase the contrast and make the top half look a little smarter, to fit with the shoes?
Simon, this is an excellent article and thank you for writing it. You wrote “nothing pleases me more than dressing simply but well.” That statement is the most astute of the entire article and the essence of proper dress. If your readers would adopt that philosophy they’d all be better off as a result.
Ties as a capsule collection… boggles my mind. I’ve always considered ties to be reflective of a bit of whimsy and a good indulgence to dole out on. A capsule collection of 20 would be an ideal number 🙂
Thanks Sandeep. The point of the ‘capsule’ or small collection is that it is artificially limited – for example by space at an office.
I can only keep about three jackets/suits at the office, four pairs of shoes and around five ties.
More would of course be nicer, in all three areas.
For a slightly different take, Bruce Boyer’s five essential ties are on the Drake’s website:
Greetings Simon – can you clarify what this 5 tie philosophy has to do with “commuting by bike?” I’ve read your into a few times and I’m baffled.
I commute to work by bike, in cycling clothes. When I arrive at the office, I change into smarter clothes that are kept at the office. I can only keep so many clothes at the office – so only a small number of suits, shots, ties etc.
Really interesting choice of ties Simon, thanks also for the insightful explanations. Personally I would add in a brown silk – it goes well with blue, grey and light brown suits/jackets. I think culture and geography also have influence; to an Italian sensibility red (and pink) are seen as florid and gauche whereas in the US red is the first choice for politicians and businessmen (Obama, Trump as illustration – part of a red/white/blue palette). Would also like to know more about Grenadines and what makes them so versatile.
Hi Simon–Who makes quality ascots?
On another subject, have you seen Lobb’s latest boot? It is terrific and I bought one as soon as I saw their email to me. The British are –Good Show!!!
Thanks for yet another interesting post!
I´ve been looking for a high-quality navy gabardine-tie for a while. And I´ve understood that Drake´s (as always!) would be a good alternative. I get a little bit disturbed about that every navy grenadine I can find at their website is for a “large knot” though, since I prefer a smaller knot. What brand/model would you suggest for me? Or maybe, the knot in reality is not that big?
By ‘large knot’ they are referring to the type of grenadine, not the knot it will tie.
There are two types of grenadine, large and small knot, and the one you can see in my picture is a large knot. The pattern you can see has slightly larger ‘knots’ in it than the smaller variety, which is much finer, smarter tie. Also referred to as garza grossa and garza fina in Italian
Try Turnbull and Asser. Lovely grenadines, not too thick, not a huge knot.
On a more practical note: do you bike to work in your über-premium trousers and shoes, or do you keep other capsule collections at work? Very curious as I personally hesitate to “sit through” higher quality weavings on my bike. Danke Simon
I keep it all at the office pretty much. Then one day a week I don’t cycle, and swap round a few things
I know a few people who keep their shoes at the office…but that is only so they can hide their real number of shoes hidden from the wife..
I would recommend Budd grenadines as a very good, and much cheaper alternative, to Drakes.
I don’t wear ties as much as I’d like to but, when I do, I find a burgundy grenadine is the most versatile (gives a lovely pop of color against a navy suit.) After that, a brown knit silk tie from Drakes is great for a more dressed down look
another great article/ post! Can you expand on what you might pair with #4? I also have this tie, unsure of what trousers to wear with it. wool? colors?
Sure – I’d wear it with a tweed jacket and grey flannel trousers, for instance, or with most casual suits (eg prince of wales check)
Always very useful as suggestions! Thanks!
thank you for the response– looking forward to purchasing ‘finest menswear’ when released by Amazon, and hope you’ll do more ‘capsule collections’ or a piece on quality slimmer cut trousers and makers to put with the ol Navy Blazer standard.
Thanks. The book is still available through me, and can be bought on Amazon as well. If you buy it through me it will be dedicated and signed
Nice selection. I have a grey cashmere knit tie with a heathered charcoal look that I enjoy. I am not a fan of wool knits and cashmere seems to offer just a bit more of a muted sheen.
Yes, the only thing cashmere sometimes lacks is body – it often doesn’t hang as well as a result. Depends on the weight and weave of course
I have your latest books “permanent style” and “finest menswear in the world” both of which are excellent,but have terrible trouble getting hold of “le snob guide to tailoring” I did get one from amazon but its a German copy!any ideas where I might get a copy please,many thanks martin.
It’s not available any more – but is being reissued in a new format next year
Simon – I simply loved this post, and thank you for making things a little clearer and simpler for those of us who just find putting a look together a little bewildering to say the least! If I could add one small personal perspective here: these posts have an additional use for those of us who are – ahem – transitioning our career and lifestyle. In my case, I spent 20+ years in a suit and tie; however, I am now in a totally different industry and spend most days in “smart business casual”. I have used a number of these posts to assist me in building a new and pretty versatile wardrobe. My one piece of advice: take it slowly, read and re read the posts, spend time trying out the basics : it is a lot of fun! Thank you Simon ! D
Nice to hear someone putting as much into consuming the posts as I do creating them…
Hi Simon, I just came across your site – surely the single best online resource of all that is exemplary in modern menswear – and it has utterly consumed my weekend.
I live in Singapore, which given the climate is quite a sartorially challenging place to be. Offices and homes are robustly temperature-controlled, but a foot out the door douses one in near-100% humidity and merciless sun. Of course nights and early mornings are far less punishing, even pleasant. Quite unlike the crisp heat of an English summer, though Hong Kong in August is arguably worse.
I wonder what your opinion is on ancient madder paisley ties? In callower days I absolutely detested them, but recently I’ve found they appeal to me in a way they didn’t before.
They can be beautiful, really nice with other autumnal colours and materials. Good luck on your sartorial journeys
Thanks Simon – appreciate your reply!
Simon can you explain the difference between a Drakes knitted tie and say one by TM Lewin or Tie Bar that retails at a fraction of the cost at GBP35…or several other cheaper options vs Drakes for that matter…they all claim to be made of full silk and the pictures look similar. I know its a bit like Skoda vs Ferrari but curious to know exactly what the differences are that lead to the wide price gap as I am unable to figure out. Many thanks
With a knitted, square ended tie there are actually far fewer differences than with a regular printed or woven silk. If you like the cheaper options I’d go with them
So you wouldn’t pair a grey tie with a grey suit?
Im thinking along the lines of a dark grey basketweave or cashmere tie with a charcoal mini glen plaid fabric (holland and sherry 2016).
I’ve just read your story with regards to mto-ties on the Drakes website. Interesting because I was thinking of ordering a mto-Drakes-tie myself. I was just wondering which length you chose for your tie. Regular Drakes ties or a hair too long on my body. I was wondering if ordering a tie 2 cm shorter would be enough or should i play safe and order one 4 cm shorter? I think 2 cm should do it but I did ask myself, when is a tie too short? Should the narrow end of the tie be just a little shorter then the broader end, in your opinion, or is this not important as lang as the narrow end is long enough to go through the loop on the broader end?
Thank you so much for you insight.
I went for 152cm, a 4cm increase on the normal 148cm, so it would be two centimetres longer than normal on the front and on the back blade.
In terms of where a tie should sit, generally the front blade should finish on the trouser waistband, and the back blade should be the same length or even a touch longer (personally I think a touch longer looks more elegant than a touch shorter).
Hope that helps
Any tips on buying a first/last navy grenadine tie? What kind of grenadine would you go for (fina/grossa) and would you go for tipped/untipped?
I’m thinking grossa is more casual than fina, but would like to hear your opinion.
Grossa is certainly more casual, and I find it more useful as it sits nicely between a formal woven or printed silk, and a casual woollen or knitted-silk tie. I like them untipped, but the end can become a little distorted if they are. Just needs a little more looking after
Thank you for the quick reply.
I was wondering where you’d reccomend for Vegan Ties in the UK? Especially thinking about the interlining, as lots of the cotton and linen ties still use a wool interlining.
Simon, what knot would you use for a navy silk grenadine tie on a T&A regent collar white shirt with a navy wool suit? (The tie being slightly darker than the suit in this particular case.)
I only ever use a four in hand…
I have a reader comment of sorts. I’m wondering about ties. There are a few things I don’t get. I recently invested in some quality ties (Drakes, Canali) as well as having inherited some beautuiful old ties (Hermes, RL, some amazing old Tie Rack specials), and I wonder about a few things. First of all, woven vs printed. How do woven ties get colour (and colour differentiation like patterns?) How do printed silks get woven? Are both essentially woven and printed, but the weave on a printed tie can be much finer because the pattern is printed on, whereas with a woven tie the pattern comes from coloured threads being woven into a certain pattern? I struggle to understand this part. The same goes for cut on the bias. I have ties where the weave seemingly goes downward, but it was still cut on the bias. Is silk woven at an angle to get this effect?
Another question I have is regarding the slip stitch. This is on the thinner, back blade, unless I am mistakes. You’ve written that pulling the slip stitch should bunch up a tie. I’ve tried that and it never does, no matter what the quality. Am I being a bit scared to break the tie or is it not as clear as that?
Thanks so much in advance.
Hi, a lot of questions!
To answer the easiest ones:
– The slip stitch runs all the way along the length of the tie. It is fixed at the thick end of the tie, and should have a loose loop of thread at the thin end. Don’t worry about trying to bunch it up, just check that this long stitch down the tie is fairly loose and big, with the loop of excess at the end
– With bias, yes some are woven differently. You usually can’t tell from the finished tie how it was cut
– Woven ties use coloured threads, yes. This is usually jacquard weaving
– Printed silks are woven using undyed silks, usually, and then have their colour printed on top
I have to say…you did a follow up to Boyer’s five tie column on Drakes…and if we look at all ten ties together…it is interesting that the colors are pretty much navy, grey and green. I don’t quite like navy on all greys. I think burgundy or browns or greens go better with grey. Do you think brown ties are okay if one is wearing black shoes with the grey/navy suit?
Absolutely – even some browns and creams with brown shoes
If you were to wear a grey cashmere or knitted tie with a separate tweed type jackets, what colour trousers do you go for, given that navy trousers have the “half suit” look. Will grey flannel or fresco trousers go, or will it look odd as it will be close to the tie colour? Beige and cream would be alright but I am curious about greys as they are the most common and versatile trouser
As long as the trouser is a little different from the tie it’s ok – eg mid-grey flannel and charcoal tie or vice versa
I’ve noticed that with striped British ties, the stripes’ higher side is always on the right, and that with striped American ties the stripes flow in the other direction. British stripes are said to draw the eye up towards the man’s face, since we read from left to right, while American stripes would draw it downwards. Apparently US tie makers reversed the direction to distinguish their ties from those that were considered to be reserved for graduates of specific British universities. I do think that the “upward” British stripes look better, subtly conveying optimism.
Of course, the direction of the stripes is a subtle difference, but people could notice it subconsciously. Do you think it’d be worthwhile for an American to seek out striped ties that flow in the British direction, to emphasize one’s face?
Personally, no I don’t think so Tom. I don’t believe the flow from left to right makes any real difference.
What are your thoughts on wearing a chocolate grenadine tie with a navy suit? The shirt would be a sky blue colour.
Thanks in advance.
Could be very nice, yes
I was wondering about ties that are (at least partly) cotton. I just bought a few that are part cotton part silk and I have to admit they don’t feel cotton apart from a more ‘madder’ touch. In terms of drape they’re just as good as silk and all they lack is some sheen. Do you think cotton is a decent tie material and do they lack any formality over silk ties when it’s not obvious they’re cotton?
They can be very nice yes, particularly in a mix with silk or something else. And yes, their matte texture often makes them a little less formal, but not a lot
Some months ago I started wearing grey ties and the result it’s wonderful.
I work in a bank on a client facing role, and grey ties match perfectly well blue suits.
It is an option I would never have considered until PS appeared in my life some months ago.
Thanks so much and best wishes from Spain
Do you think grenadine ties can go with navy mesh (h&s) blazers? In any case, any types of ties I should avoid with such a jacket?
Yes, definitely. Pretty much any tie could go with it, from a shiny printed silk to a dull old madder
Thanks for the speedy response!! Do you think a plain grenadine would be too plain? The blue jacket with be worn with mid grey crispaire trousers. I was thinking of an light olive grenadine tie. Thoughts?
I think that would be nice. Maybe use a striped shirt if you worry there’s not enough interest overall
Do you think a knitted tie could go with the above outfit? Or do you think that would be too casual. My gut is that it’s too casual.
I can see where that’s coming from, but it might be ok. In a plain dark colour
Any guidelines on tie width? Absolutely hate the trend for skinny ties. My lapels tend to be between 9 and 10cm. Do you think a 9cm wide tie is too wide?
No, I like 9cm myself, but 8cm is the norm these days and is still fine
Whenever I see someone with a red tie, I now always refer to a politician. I just crossed paths on the escalator with a man wearing a navy suit and red tie. From a far I was wondering what he might do. As we crossed, it was Gordon Brown.
What are your thoughts on the quality of HN White ties?
Hi Stephan. I confess I haven’t tried one yet, but I intend to.
Hey Simon. I have this shirt from bryceland, http://www.brycelandsco.com/shirts/products/bryceland-s-oxford-button-down-checked-shirt
It’s a white shirt with blue and yellow checks that makes it kinda vintagey. I’m wondering what kind/color of stripe tie you recommend to pair with navy/blue sportscoat?
Most things could work: green, navy, burgundy, grey. Of those I’d probably pick dark green
Hey Simon what’s your take on soft zig zag knot ties Vs stiff knit ones? Would one be more beneficial to certain outfits or material of sportscoats?
The stiffer knits (usually silk) are more versatile I find – go with knitwear as well as tailoring. I’d still have a wool one though, and a zig-zag only as one further choice, for the novelty of it
Thanks Simon. Any recommendations for where one can find stiff ones? Drake’s is overpriced while the mid tiers brands like shibumi, berg and berg all carry the soft zig zag ones…
Wonderful article and blog — it has been transformational for me and many others. Thank you.
I am hoping you could clarify a point made several times in this thread, namely that care should be taken to ensure that the color shade of your tie is different from that of your shoes (particularly if wearing a brown tie/shoe). In short, if of the same shade, is it “wrong,” or merely an issue that the outfit could have been better by not having “too much of one thing?” If the later is true, why is the logic not commonly applied to one’s belt?
Any thoughts on the above would be of great assistance to those, like me, who are in the process of building a wardrobe and choosing new wardrobe pieces a very deliberative process. Thank you.
Hi Gerald – I’m so pleased you’ve found it useful.
It’s not wrong, no, just perhaps a slightly less attractive combination.
It doesn’t apply to belts because they are of the same material and texture of the shoes I think, though it’s a good point.
Hey Simon how useful are black knit ties and can you wear them with anything other than black shoes even in a sportscoat ensemble?
Just bought a navy grenadine tie online, and love the look. Issue is that it arrived with a pulled thread. Is this the sort of thing that commonly happens with grenadine anyway — i.e., do they end up having a shorter life than printed silk, or should I see this as more of a defect and ask for exchange?
It is a danger with grenadines, yes, but you should probably ask to change it if it’s new
The way you tie your ties always looks great; with the coveted ‘not trying too hard’ look.
Can you please share how you actually form the knot? I am 6’4″ tall, and pre-made ties are simply to short to have both ends be the proper length, reguardless of the knot used. I am going to have some ties made (Shibumi), but the correct length to order will depend on what it takes to steal your knot …
Hi Robert. I have a video planned on it, but it’s a simple four-in-hand. Sometimes fiddling with the dimple a little, but for my height the lengths of the two blades are usually ok. Taller and shorter is harder
Hey simon, I recently purchased a pair of black calf crocket and jones loafer, I’m wondering:
1) What are some neckties which would go well with a menswear uniform (navy sports coat, grey trouser, white/blue/white-blue stripe shirt) besides black knit?
2) What are some considerations I need to make in considering choice of neckwear with black shoes in the above outfit vs brown shoes.
Many thanks Simon
A big range of colours and patterns could go with this outfit – the key is to keep them fairly simple and the colours relatively cold. (See post here.) So red, green, yellow even brown could work. The red would just be a deep maroon, with some simple pattern (see here). Same goes for the other colours. And navy will always work.
I rather like the ““nothing pleases me more than dressing simply but well” phrase. Of course there are other dressing strategies including the use of ties as weapons. I can only urge you, even if you choose not to publish this comment, to google John Bercow and imagine his capsule collection.
The tie he wore to announce the blocking of the third brexit vote today might contravene a number of clauses in the Geneva convention.
I’d like to ask you for your opinion.
I want to buy a navy grenadine tie. I like striped shirts, with stripes narrow and relatively close to each other. Do you think it is important to contrast the texture of a grenadine tie to the pattern on a shirt (i. e. to wear garza grossa with delicate, close stripes and garza fina with wide, somewhat spaced stripes)? I have to admit that I like graza fina more than grossa. I follow the general rule about not mixing patterns if they are of the same proportions but I think that with the texture of a plain tie there is no need for such concern. Please, what do you think?
Thank you very much for your answer.
Hi John. No, I wouldn’t worry about the texture of a grenadine and how it relates to thicknesses of stripes on the shirt underneath. Either fina or grossa would make no difference. More important for me is that the fina looks smarter and more formal
Simon, would you suggest that the ‘big knot’ is more suitable for odd jkts….and the Fina for suits…..or, is either ok for a suit? I’m thinking of a b/w large scale glen chk suit which (being rather informal) might benefit from the more pronounced larger scale? Also, I thought black would bring out the checks in the suit..but fear black is for funerals only..and this suit is way too loud for such an event…perhaps dark navy? By the way..Budd seem to refer to the ‘fina’ as ‘piccolo’….thanks,DD.
The big knot grenadine is more casual, but only a bit. Fine with suits still.
Black can be nice and isn’t just for funerals. But it sounds like navy might be nicer with a check suit like that which already has a lot of black in it
What is the brand of 4. Navy-and-bronze block stripe? I’d love buy this.
It’s Drake’s. I’m not sure it’s still available with them, but it is a fairly common design these days so you might be able to find it elsewhere.
Have you any personal experience of Shibumi ties? Also, what makes the most difference to achieving a slightly bigger knot? The number of folds or the lining?
Yes, I’ve worn Shibumi ties for years. Great quality and perhaps the perfect knot for me – I’d particularly recommend the printed silks.
Both folds and lining make a difference, but mostly the lining.
Personally, though, I find the length of the knot the most important thing (and therefore width of the tie at that point)
Looking at a grenadine. For a bigger knot, going 3 fold with a heavier lining, so you think this will do the trick? Or perhaps 5 fold with light lining?
I wouldn’t do 5 fold in a grenadine – stick to three, with a slightly thicker lining if that’s what you want
I have recently read a post of yours regarding Hermes silk ties, in which you recommended not to wear them very often at work as they can look unprofessional and a bit too shinny in an office environment. I have just come into a very big exquisite Hermes and Loewe tie collection, and having in mind your suggestions, I just don’t feel very confident wearing them at the office. Could you give me some piece of advice regarding what kind of ties I can wear and which ones not? Thankyou!
I’m not sure I remember writing that! Can you reference the post?
I plan to buy my first “real” tie soon, to be worn pretty much only (for now) with a navy worsted suit (shirt may vary: white/light blue mostly) at formal events (weddings, etc). I went through your posts + Drake’s selection for inspiration but I struggle to pin one speficic item down: navy grenadine, striped grenadine (https://www.drakes.com/ties/striped-ties/navy-and-burgundy-stripe-shaggy-grenadine-silk-tie), striped silk (https://www.drakes.com/ties/striped-ties/navy-brown-and-red-narrow-stripe-silk-cotton-tie), … I can only put knitted wool ones aside for sure.
Keep up the good work
If it’s your first real tie, I’d go for a plain navy grenadine myself…
hi simon if one wore a menswear uniform (navy sports coat, grey trouser) and a striped ocbd, would a striped tie work or what a patterned one be better given theres too many stripes/lines going on?
A striped one would be fine – a repp tie with that outfit is an Ivy uniform
You just never want these patterns to be too similar to each other in density
would you ever wear a 7cm tie? I understand the general rule of thumb should be the width of the tie should at least match the width of lapel- having said this, then why do people dislike the 7cm tie but ok to wear the knitted ties which comes in at 6cm?
Knitted ties just look odd at bigger widths usually – they’re too chunky.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the lapels/tie rule though. Just wear a style you like, and be aware what’s too fashion-led.
Hi, Simon. Always useful to re-read this post! I wondered if you had any experience with Reef Knots ties. They look nice, are made for a good cause, and have some of the coolest ‘ambassadors’.
All of those seem very nice for a professional wardrobe, but what would you recommend for somebody who hardly ever wears a suit? For instance, once a year at most. I was thinking mostly about knits, with one-two grenadines for more formal looks. Printed silk would seem out of place I think. Also, would you wear a tie with something else than a tailored jacket? So, no suits, no sport jackets/blazers, everything else is fair game. I was wondering whether in the “sport jacket office” formality ladder the ties has to come as the last piece, or is it possible to sneak it in before the jacket?
I’d say last place, yes.
You’re right Karol, and we could do many versions of these for different work/personal situations.
I’d say if you barely ever wear a suit, the most useful might be:
– A navy wool knit
– A dark grenadine (maybe navy, maybe black or brown)
– A dark-green club tie (dark green is pretty versatile, given it’s a colour you’re less likely to be wearing elsewhere)
Thanks! That’s what I’m aiming for, maybe with the addition of burgundy. Right now I only have a grey cashmere knit, which was discounted so much that it was basically free. Although the black grenadine puzzles me. I keep seeing it either in grenadine or knit silk, mostly on trad blogs. However, for me it tends to detract from the outfit more that add to it. But perhaps I’m biased, since black suit+black polyester tie seems to be the formal uniform where I live
Is a grey knitted wool more versatile than a grey knitted silk? If you wear sports jackets and sweaters.
I’d say they’re both pretty much as versatile as each other – the silk is just smarter than the wool. So I might not wear the silk with jeans, for example, but the wool might look a little casual for a smart blazer and trousers.
If I had to pick, I’d probably go with the wool. But it’s marginal
Hi Simon. What tie would you pair with a casual light grey jacket beside navy? Also, how versatile is light grey prince of wales check? Thank you!
Any colour of tie could go with a pale-grey jacket, to be honest. From the dark and sombre to the bright and patterned.
A price of wales as a tie? To be honest I have one and rarely wear it. Only with a navy suit usually
The untipped part of the Drake’s navy grenadine tie is semi-transparent and to my mind makes it look unfinished. Am I missing the point here? What is the advantage, style or otherwise, of it being untipped?
The attraction is that it looks a little more natural, a little more about the outer material (the grenadine) rather than the canvas inside or the tipping in another material.
It recalls a time when many silk ties would just have been a square of silk folded in on itself, and then sewn up
Assuming one wears ties everyday for work (Monday to Friday), how many ties would one need ? I’m not asking for style advice as to how many navy grenadines or how many stripes, but rather how many pieces of ties would one need in his rotation in order that the ties last long and not suffer noticeable damage from wear and tear for a good while? (assuming the basics of a quality tie are present, namely decent silk and slip stitching). I don’t know how long a tie is expected to last, unlike for example, Goodyear welted shoes, which from personal experience I know will last decades if well maintained and not used everyday.
The biggest enemy with ties is stains.
But if you avoid that, then I’d expect a tie to last many years, perhaps 10, if you have a collection of around 20?
Okay so that makes it roughly 1 tie per every weekday of the month. Thanks for your reply Simon! I’m slowly phasing out my cheaper ties in favor of quality ones, so looks like I have quite a way to go to reach 20 (at the minimum).
I remember reading somewhere that you would favour a printed silk tie (I supposed, to a patterned woven one). Could you please expand a little bit on this?
Thanks in advance!
I’m not sure where or why I said that I’m afraid. No other idea what the context was?
On the issue of navy grenadine not going with the smartest of suits – is this really the case though? It is a plain, dark silk tie with a small weave/pattern and should therefore work with the smartest of suits as well, except perhaps a really superfine summer fabric against which it would look too heavy in terms of fabric. But otherwise, I’m not seeing why it doesn’t go perfectly with a white poplin shirt and a simple no-pattern grey, charcoal, or navy staple suit in fresco or fine worsted, or a charcoal or navy with fine stripes in dark smart flannel or fine worsted. What else would go with those? A dark single-colour satin silk or dark navy fine reppe?
The fact that it’s silk doesn’t make that much difference – it has greater texture than any other woven or printed tie you’ll wear.
Of course, it won’t look very out of place, and the vast majority of people won’t notice. But any other woven or printed silk will usually be more pleasing. That encompasses a big range of patterns and shades of colour.
Thanks for your reply and perspective.
In that case, which of the five ties in the capsule will work with the smartest of suits? And related, is there a tie that could cover the entire spectrum? E.g. would a muted navy small twill reppe tie be able to cover everything from the smartest suits down to chunky cardigans? My assumption has always been that a dark grenadine would cover the whole spectrum, both grossa and fina.
Numbers 3, 4 and 5 all work – they are all printed (5) or woven (3 and 4) silks, as described.
No, no tie will really cover everything. But who wants just one tie?
Fair point 😀
Good to understand that a smooth texture is key for smart suits.
It’s pretty much a constant in clothing – smooth, plain, muted things are smarter
Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but it sits best here,
Even though we have been discussing the demise of the tie, I recently purchased a pair of silk ties from Barnaby Silks(Macclesfield). I declare a non-financial interest, Macclesfield is my home town.
I think these are the only uk manufacturer of Macclesfield Neats
I was wondering in what situations would you wear knit ties.
I’d wear them with tailoring – jackets or suits – to give it a more casual air.
Or with more casual clothing, for example jeans or flannels with a shawl cardigan, to dress that up a touch.
It’s nice that a tie is so unusual today that even a knit navy wool looks more put-together
If you were forced to choose between knit ties or grenadine ties to wear every day, which would you choose?
Depends what else I was wearing, and my office.
Are you wearing a suit? Is everyone else?
I would be wearing a jacket, whether that be a blazer, sports coat or a leather biker jacket, with button down collar shirt with pants, either jeans, chinos or wool twill trousers, and black brogued oxfords.
Also, when would a navy grenadine tie not work? Thank you for your quick response as well.
A navy grenadine wouldn’t work as soon as you stopped wearing tailored clothing – so a blazer or sports coat and tailored trousers.
A knit tie would work with all of those though, so if you had to choose I’d go with that for that reason
What colours would you recommend for a good tie collection? Also, when would a navy grenadine tie not work?
Much of this is in the article above Kyle- was there any of it you were unsure about?
The patterned ones. I am curious about when to use the club tie, the block tie and the olive printed tie.
I was wondering as well when a navy grenadine tie would not work.
The point of this collection is that all of those ties are very versatile, Kyle. They could be worn with most suits and jackets, and shirts from white to blue to pink, plain or with a thin stripe.
A navy grenadine wouldn’t work with jeans, chinos, cords, moleksin etc, but all smart tailored materials would be fine.
It’s really more about what grenadine tie colours and patterns should I get that is my main concern.
Also, when would the pattern ties be used?
Get navy, and perhaps black or olive. But navy will take you a long way.
See other reply on the patterned ties – they can be used with almost everything
Hi – do you know anybody or any tailor that can shorten ties? Many thanks.
The only place I know is Tiecrafters in New York. I’ve had them recommended to me a few times, so they should be good. I don’t know anyone in the UK I’m afraid though. It’s a pretty niche business – you’d need to be making ties as well as a brand probably for it to be profitable
Considering there is a price difference, would you please tell me which one has a better quality and/or makes a better knot: a Drake’s made to order 9 cm navy Grenadine or the similar one from Shibumi? It’s embarrassing, but it’s going to be my very first tie.
Not embarassing at all, a great piece to buy!
I don’t think there will be any difference in quality, or probably the knot. I like the Shibumi silks and knots, but with grenadine there’s far less of a difference
Thanks, really helpful and very nice of you to answer.
Simon – it has been just over 10 years since you wrote about Marinella. Do you think the quality and make of their ties is up there with the best in the world?
From what I’ve seen, I’d say so, yes
Simon, would any of these three qualify as your navy club stripe above, in terms of versatility and ability to pair with your grey, navy and charcoal suit?
They pretty much all would. I might pick the top one or the second, just because it’s less likely to be a similar density of pattern to any other stripe (shirt or suit)
Hi Simon, I didn’t understand why an untipped tie makes you embarrassing. Is it because an untipped one is less formal than a tipped one?
No, it’s just embarassing that I always wear the same tie…
Sorry to resurrect this old discussion, but I wondered if you could point me in the direction of a quality tie maker that makes in longer lengths (160-170cm)? I seem to have a freakishly long torso so standard ties are always way too short by the time they’re knotted nicely!
No worries. Shibumi makes a longer length, 160cm I believe. Also places like Marinella do bespoke – and might do some longer lengths too. They recently opened a new store in London
I hope this is on topic enough, I travel for work- often needed to bring 3-5 ties with me, do you have any suggestions for the best way to roll or transport them?
Yes it’s fine Joseph – any and all comments are good on any posts, as it adds to the resource.
I simply fold my ties in four and place them in my luggage, perhaps between a couple of layers. I’ve never noticed any issues like obvious creases or folds. Rolling them is a way to prevent that, but when I’ve tried it they sometimes get a little crushed.
Given folding works, I don’t see a need for anything else, or a specific case for them, but if you did want more you could use the plastic slips that ties are often sold in.
Which configuration makes a better dimple, a lined 3-fold or an unlined 7-fold?
Both can give you a great dimple, though if the 3-fold is heavily lined it will make it touch harder. With an unlined seven fold you tend to get multiple dimples, which isn’t necessarily what everyone wants
what kind of ties do you wear with a grey herringbone tweed or wool jacket – if the trousers are charcoal/black and the shirt is white? Black grenadine seems too stark. not sure how to keep the whole muted/cold colour
Yes black could be too stark – I’d start with anything else dark with some colour in it, like a navy, a dark brown, a dark olive. But lots of colours should be nice, like a yellow or pink for example
Drake’s have a navy and ecru striped tie available – this might be me overthinking things (almost certainly) but would you say this is close enough to the white/silvery striped one or worth waiting for one with white stripes?
Yes I think you might be overthinking it! That tie looks great, and would fit in here very well