When to wear a tie: Personality and opportunity

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At Pitti Uomo back in January I took the opportunity to wear mostly tailoring and ties - the two outfits shown above and below. And it felt great. 

I know there are traditionalists who see me as the antithesis of this, as I’m rarely pictured wearing a tie these days. It’s mostly open collars, jackets with jeans, and even (horror of horrors) workwear at the weekend. 

But I’ve never stopped loving ties, it’s just that they don’t fit as much with my lifestyle and with the world around me anymore. I won’t dredge up the arguments about dressing for yourself or others - we talked about those at length here - but even if you want to ignore society and the age you live in, dressing for your lifestyle is still a fundamental part of dressing for you. 

I also believe that stylish men are those that can wear a range of styles - either because that’s the best fit for their life’s activities (not wearing a tweed suit to garden in, even if their grandfather did) or because they have a broader appreciation of fashion than just what they themselves wear. They appreciate clothing as a whole, not just the things they wear. 

So for me, while wearing a tie looks great and feels great (the flattering vertical line, the feeling of the collar on the neck) it’s something I do when I have the opportunity, rather than forcing it into a situation it doesn’t suit. 

Manish is a great one for wearing a tie. If we go out to dinner in Mayfair, chances are I’ll be in an open-necked shirt and he’ll be sporting neckwear. When this happens I kick myself for not doing the same - for not taking the opportunity. 

But that doesn’t mean the outfits I’ve shown here, featuring my PS Plaid jacket and Taillour suit, are appropriate for many people, in many situations. The black knitted-silk tie I’m wearing with the first outfit is actually something Manish would often wear for dinners - but not with a green-and-purple checked jacket; more likely a grey herringbone jacket or a charcoal suit. 

I love the PS Plaid for a real event, for eveningwear and cocktail attire, but it’s not a day-to-day material. 

The same goes for my brown chalkstripe suit from Taillour. 

It looks wonderful with a white oxford shirt and orange challis tie, and I really enjoyed wearing it at Pitti. It felt elegant, subtle and personal. Even though I had lifted the combination wholesale from Yukio Akamine (below), who was the original inspiration for the suit.

But this is Pitti. The outfit is a very vintage-y, being almost entirely shades of brown. I can’t think it would be appropriate for many readers, very often. It’s not really officewear or eveningwear. 

That’s why when I reviewed the suit, I showed it with a black shirt, which I think is a nice evening combination. I’ve also shown it with a black knitted T-shirt. A denim shirt is cool too, and makes the suit a little fashion-y and contemporary.

If I could only wear the suit as pictured below, with a wool tie in such a vintage mode, it would have very limited use, and I wouldn't have commissioned it. 

When I was coming into town this morning, I saw an older guy (perhaps early seventies) in a very traditional trench coat and fedora. He wore a grey suit underneath, and looked great because everything was well executed - good quality clothing, well looked after, well put together. (You need all three.)

I wouldn’t dress like that, even though I can fully appreciate why it looks good on him. It's not me and it's not what I like - I would always want something with a bit more personality, less of a traditional uniform. Perhaps some Ivy influences, some of kind of messing with that standard. 

But he would also have looked out of place in either of the outfits I’ve shown here. I'm not sure they would have been his style, and at 9am on the Tube, it wasn't the time or place.

Of course that doesn’t mean the outfits (his or mine) should be ignored. Instead, as with all inspiration, you lift elements you like.

You observe the combination of burnt-orange challis with brown flannel, and try a similar pocket square with a brown-tweed jacket. Or you admire the chic of the black knitted tie with pink oxford, and try that with your navy suit next time you’re out for dinner. 

Wearing a tie is not a question that’s worth arguing or debating. It’s a question of personality and of opportunity. 

The PS Plaid cloth is being rewoven and will be available again in late Summer, together with other PS cloths.

The jacket is worn with a pink-striped PS Oxford shirt, charcoal flannel trousers from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury, and vintage Polo alligator loafers. More on the loafers at a later date. The shirts and fabric are being restocked (potentially for the last time) this Spring.

The suit is worn with a white PS Oxford shirt, old Church’s tie (we’re talking 20 years here) and bespoke shoes from Yohei Fukuda

Taillour suit picture courtesy of Fabrizio Di Paolo 

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Hi Simon, this article fails to touch upon how ties can be worn in a casual manner. I’ve experimented with this over the years and find it can be done well if the tie is casual enough [mine is knitted, with a stripe] and also if it remains under an over shirt or cardigan. Somehow it feels more casual when just the knot and the upper section is visible [both over shirt and cardigan having a much higher button point that a tailored jacket]. Indeed under a V or round neck jumper is also nice. I wear this combination with chinos or jeans and don’t find it jarring and it allows one the pleasure of wearing a tie in a more casual setting. Ralph Lauren have good examples of causal tie wearing over the years in their imagery.


As much as I love ties, I find it VERY hard to wear them casually. Truthfully, outside of a few #menswear forums, few people will make a distinction between knitted, patterned ties, and a classic silk Hermés tie. You’re wearing a tie, period.

Historically, the casual tie made a lot of sense; when the tie was an essential accessory, the type of tie you wore was a nuanced style choice. But today, the choice to wear a tie is a pretty strong style statement in and of itself. The message a tie sends has changed, regardless of if it’s knitted wool or woven silk. And much as I enjoy RL lookbooks, many of those styles really work best if you’re a chiseled model photographed in a victorian country house or a ivy covered castle. For us mere mortals, it risks looking anachronistic, or that you work as a phone salesperson.

None of this should be taken as criticism against the choice of wearing ties for casual outfits (I still try it every now and then), but rather an attempt to add nuance to the question of casual ties 🙂


Takumi Oshima often wears ties in a very casual outfit and in a great way. You can find him on Instagram.


Exactly, I think Derek Guy puts it really well: putting together an outfit is prose, not painting. It’s not really about what colors go well together, but knowing what those colors (and materials) communicate. We didn’t wear navy suits and black shoes to work because those colors went well together, we wore them because navy and black were considered professional, urban colours.

I think this is where many men trying to dress better fall short; they learn rules of colour and mathematics of formality, but neglect the story the clothes tell in their context. A good example is the safari jacket and tie look that sometimes makes it around social media; on paper this is a way to dress town tailoring (safari jacket is more casual than a regular jacket), but in practice safari jackets are so rare that wearing one is a “look” in itself, and wearing one with a tie is only slightly more subtle than a “#MENSWEAR” tattoo on your forehead. Of course, everyone here is probably quite #menswear and if you like to show that off I have no issue with it – wear it like you wear your favourite band t-shirt. But until more of the world learns to speak the language of classic menswear, I think learning what an outfit communicates to the people around you will be an important skill for dressing well without standing out too much.


I agree with much of what you’ve said. I find in the US anyhow, that walking about nearly all you see on men is “athleisure”, clunky, puffy nonsense… and so to simply don a collared shirt, nice older Aran sweater beneath a well fitting wool jacket (a peacoat or jac-shirt), leather footwear… well, then you’re already far ahead of most of the crowd.


I’ve found this to be the case as well. If you have not much more than the knot showing, it’s pretty easy to wear them casually. I’m a HUGE fan of the sweater-and-tie combo, and will also happily wear a tie with a fairly casual vest on occasion. It just feels… complete. Sweater weather is my favorite time of year largely because of this. I’ve got a chest of cardigans, v-necks, and variations of the two, and they’re usually the first thing I think of when I buy a new tie.

A bonus of having much of your nice tie tucked away is that it doesn’t blow around or get stains or picks. Win-win situation!


Nice outfits very well put together especially the one with plaid fabric – given I also got the jacket in that fabric. 😉


Funny to read this article when my Resolution this year was to not buy any more ties, it is my most frequent purchase, but rather invest in Bow ties and Ascots.

My relationship with them comes largely from my time in Uni at a strict Swiss hospitality school, our dress code required full suiting to attend classes. I quickly impressed my teachers with my large selection of ties. One stated, “It is the only way for a man to be creative in the workplace”.
This has stuck with me, making me overpack a minimum of 40 ties with me on my 6-month contracts abroad, despite how strict I am with the rest of my luggage.
I have found that I tend to wear ties at most opportunities, but I resist it when I haven’t shaved under my jaw and I don’t feel like buttoning a shirt-collar.
Though I certainly overdress, I feel I have reached a point where I have to be honest with myself and actually dress the way I wish. It has resulted in me feeling more relaxed and my friends tend to agree.

William Kazak

I wear a tie occasionally now with shirts and chinos or wool trousers. I don’t wear a tie under v-neck sweaters or a crew neck. I just don’t see the point of wrinkling my shirt under a sweater. Not my style to do that. Blazers are fine enough and I will wear one if the situation is good. I recently packed up all of my jeans and I am ready to donate them. Each to their own style.


A timely article, as I find myself wearing a tie increasingly rarely these days. Outside the sporadic professional occasion where I have to (or it would help appearances to), I tend to only wear them for social occasions where dressing a bit more formally doesn’t feel too out of place like a dinner at a nice restaurant, a trip to the theatre or a classical music concert. Your Pitti outfits are exactly the sort of way I would wear a tie socially – smart but not corporate.

The one thing I always find tiresome with this topic is the menswear traditionalists who constantly lament the decline of ties. I would rather enjoy the clothes I wear and appreciate outfits that I like than lament what other people don’t wear.

Matt S

Never underestimate th power of a sock tie to bridge the sartorial gap 🙂
That said I find climate has a lot of influence as to whether I do or do not wear a tie. In winter heading to the opera or the ballet sure, tie with a suit makes sense and feels right. But on a hot Sydney summer evening on the harbour not so much.

Stephen Dolman

Hi Simon,
A timely topic for me.
I love wearing ties and do so at every opportunity .
What do you consider a good width currently for a tie?
I possess lots of ties with an average width of 3-3-5 inches.
However, I have noticed recently that tv
presenters/newscasters seem to be wearing narrower ties, in particular, Clive Myrie , who I knots his ties beautifully and Michael Browne who I have seen in photographs wearing narrower ties with his signature wider lapels, which I think is an excellent look.
Your thoughts?
Kindest regards
Stephen Dolman

Stephen Dolman

I couldn’t agree more
I can’t bear to see a badly knotted tie
IMHO, you can’t beat a well tied 4 in hand, but it MUST have a simple
Kindest Regards

Stephen Dolman

I meant Dimple


Strongly disagree. The 4 in hand knot is the sign of a beginner who doesn’t understand tie arching. Orient knots provide the wearer with more value.


From a brief Google (I’d never heard of the oriental knot) it looks like a four in hand. Round the back blade, over and through the loop, at least according to what I’ve seen.
Regardless I’m a four in hand fan myself.


The Oriental (aka the Kent, aka the Simple) knot is about the simplest way to tie a tie, even simpler than the four-in-hand. I’ve used the Kent for my grenadines many times to get a smaller knot when the collar called for one.

One can absolutely get by with just the four-in-hand just fine, but if you have a collection of various kinds of ties and shirt collars, it behooves one to also know a few other knots to account for differences in knot size and shape requirements. I have some ties that need a Half (or Full!) Windsor to get the size knot I want, and some that need the Kent. The vast majority of the time, I use a Pratt.


All of my dress shirts, the ones I wear most of the time with a tie, have pretty much the same collar, but I do switch between a four in hand and an old Bertie to account for the tie’s thickness. Once or twice a year in some special occasion I like the symmetry of a half Windsor. I don’t think a symmetrical knot loses anything, it’s just a different look.
By the way I checked the oriental knot and I would not be able to tell that apart from a four in hand, provided that I don’t see the back blade (which is a popular look for four in hand wearers these days)


One unfortunate trend I see on TV hosts and celebrities is to not pull the knot snug — so, the tie is gently knotted but then left wide open without giving it even a slight tug shut. It looks terrible.
As for widths, I’ve noticed in RL ads over many years, that they mix and match tie widths dramatically, depending on the particular outfit. This seems right. So, to heck with what’s in vogue for a certain period, just wear a tie width that seems best for the particular outfit.


Beware putting much stock in what you see dudes wearing on TV.

Perhaps I’m a traditionalist, but I like mine from 3.5″ to 3.75″ wide unless the majority of it will be hidden by a v-neck sweater or something and can be whatever width. I’ve found that really narrow ties (of which I only have a few) will rarely accommodate a dimple. Before I walk out the door, I take a “big picture” look in the mirror at the entire outfit as a cohesive whole and say “Yeah, that width works fine” or “Meh, I’ll swap out the tie”. If you’re happy with it, it works.

And as far as the knot conversation goes, I’ve come to particularly like the Pratt knot over the years. 99.999% of the time, nobody is going to know (or care) what knot you used anyway, so use whatever you’re comfortable with.


Hi Simon,

Is it only the Pink striped oxford which is potentially being restocked, or all the Oxfords? Also, any news regarding the new denim shirts? Thanks.


I don’t really wear them, open shirts feel so much more comfortable to me. Besides, it hardly ever feels like a right choice.


I’ve enjoyed wearing ties for a long time and there are still plenty of us wearing them at my work (university). In some ways ties are a bit like vinyl when CDs arrived – loads of people got rid of their vinyl and you can pick them up very cheap. In the charity shops you can often pick up silk ties for £1 and even in good vintage shops they are a bargain compared to their original cost.
Knitted silk ties are very good for a less formal look with or without a jumper. I don’t quite get the anti-tie feeling that sometimes comes up in discussions and hopefully at some stage they will have a resurgence in the world of work.



I love wearing ties and am fortunate to work as a teacher, where ties are still the norm. I have joked in the past that I would change careers if schools got more casual! I certainly think that outside of that specific context, wearing a tie feels a bit much now and I generally resort to jacket and open-collar at a nice restaurant. However, I have definitely adjusted my choice of tie over the last few years, as more and more people don’t wear them. My selection has narrowed and rather than bold colours or patterns, I am more than ever wearing textured ties in simple muted colours. Black knit and brown/olive wool in the main. What’s interesting to me is that these lessons have been learnt primarily by enjoying t looks from brands who don’t really do ties anymore. There is a wonderful emphasis on texture, colour and harmony which has indirectly benefited many people’s tie game in my view. Increasingly, when I see a tie in a look, its much more holistically incorporated into the outfit. Perhaps ties used to be more about contrast, which often people now achieve elsewhere in their outfits meaning the bolder, “statement” tie is harder than ever to pull off now, and maybe that’s a good thing!


Yes, I think so Simon. You put it well – maybe the thing that is actually dying out is specifically the grey/navy business suit + tie uniform. Therefore ties that were designed to sit in contrast to that uniform feel less and less relevant. A tie that sits naturally with more contemporary tailoring and shirting can still be very relevant and harmonious.

Chris West

Hi Simon,
I really love the plaid sport coat – I think it would also look great casually with washed out black jeans and maybe a black or charcoal knit or something similar and very muted.
What is your opinion on navy chalk stripe fabric? I’ve noticed it seems to be popular with more fashion based brands at the moment and I think it would be great in a relaxed flannel suit, and perhaps more versatile than the brown? But then I don’t have the same amount of suits as someone like yourself so versatility is very important to me.
Which is your go to grey for the flannels? I have a mid grey pair form berg and berg but would like a darker pair made, but maybe not so dark as charcoal. I really like the colour you wear in the Rubato shots of the new tweed overcoat, and in NY with the donegal.
As always many thanks for the morning read and replies.


My wife and I are heading to the Ritz for our wedding anniversary in April. I believe this will be the first time I’ll be wearing a tie since 2022!


Many interesting points but occassion is key. In a non-fashion context you can bump formality up or down by one level from the expected average, maybe by 1.5, without looking out of place. Being able to fit a range of levels is being well-dressed rather than always forcing a certain look. The nice thing about ivy style is that you’re often within that range without looking either too stuffy or too louche.

Dan James

I still have and wear a lot of ties although I seem to going between plain grenadine midnight blue, black, olive/sage and brown and occasionally a blue or black knitted (a yellow one version sneaks in in the summer). I just spent 1 week in Spain making new acquaintances and seeing old business friends and wore a tie for most of the time. And I loved it. It just felt right and suited the occasions and situations I was in. I won’t wear one for a few weeks or so as there is no real need and then come April, all the regulars will be coming out again. Horses for courses.
Manish’s charcoal suit and black knitted tie sounds great and one look I will try to recreate in my own way soon.

Eric Michel

I have never been more happy to wear a tie than since it is not a constraint anymore. But, first, some cities remain more traditional: if you go to Hong Kong, Tokyo, Madrid or Milan, you will still see a lot of ties on workdays. Paris, is in the middle, and then London (except Mayfair…), New-York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam… have become tie-free. In New York, i recently felt uncomfortable being the only one with a tie in a business meeting. After 15 jokes, I removed it before the next meeting. And then you end-up in an ocean of navy suits with white shirts. Depressing…


Depressing indeed… meaning this move towards casualness is not a move towards a freedom of dress (as is so often advertised), but a move towards conformity, and lack of creativity.
Tacky that you received jokes at this meeting, though I imagine they were not mean spirited.
Interestingly, I think Simon’s site here shows an ability to put together many outfits, with a great range of fabrics and “looks” that are sharp yet doable in a mainly tie-free world.


For me it was a joke that made me start to wear them again full time: I changed jobs and at first I was “toning down” the dressing (I work in IT, but in my previous job I was wearing ties every day, just because I liked it and everyone was used to it), but there was a day that I had something right after work that merited a suit and tie, so I came with one in the morning. I did feel a bit self conscious so after arriving in the office, I went to the bathroom and took it off. When I come back to the office, one of my colleagues says “where’s the tie?”, and the other says “he just was wearing it for the metro”, and we all had a laugh. I have worn ties to work every day since.


It seems likely that the move away from ties will last a long time. Do you think this may eventually impact the silhouette of bespoke tailoring? I think it can be argued that most bespoke jacket patterns have been designed to be worn with a shirt and tie. But these patterns may not be optimal for a world where we wear suits and sports coats without ties 90% of the time.
For example, if you look at blazers from 45R they appear, to me, to be deliberately cut to look better without a tie. The front panels of the jackets are narrow. The jacket has been cut to be worn open with lots of shirt showing from neck to waist. The shirt can then be better used to add visual interest (pattern and colour).
45R’s designs are mostly unisex so it makes sense they will choose patterns that look better without ties. I wonder if we’ll see other brands and tailors eventually optimising for the way people are now dressing.


I agree with this wholeheartedly. It’s the main reason I continue to buy and wear ties, despite having no regular need to wear one for work (or otherwise). I just find a tie tends to add much needed visual interest to suiting. Even workwear-inspired casual suiting in hardy materials, like the “Games suits” that have been so successful for Drake’s, benefits from the addition of a knitted or tussah tie to break things up and add contrasting color and texture. Handkerchiefs have never really worked for me (despite my best efforts), so I’m happy to keep my ties in regular rotation for the time being.


Agreed. I find I’ve been leaning more into patterned jackets (plaids etc) to put some visual interest in. It’s been good to be forced to experiment more with pattern, silhouette, high low dressing, accessories. But God damn its a lot harder to get right than pre covid when you could do so much with a good collection of ties and pocket squares.

Mark G

Great article. And great sport coat. Agree 100% but, for me, a more casual tie worn with a bold sport coat is simply one manifestation of my approach to the current sartorial reality. I think there’s two ways to approach the more relaxed dressing norms. The first is to show up to the office looking like you came directly from the golf course. Not my speed. The second is to embrace the trend as more generally liberating. It seems to me that while the formality of attire that was the norm in my early days on Wall St two decades ago is mostly gone, the uniformity had mostly remained — only now in fleece vests over button down shirts. Instead, I tread toward wearing items or combinations I wouldn’t have previously dared. Like reasonably bold plaid sport coats with a knit or grenadine tie. Or a navy blazer with a tie, jeans, and suede lace ups or loafers. Or a reasonably formal grey suit but with a black turtleneck. Or a linen and wool summer suit with a finer knit polo and sockless loafers. One can use the more relaxed business dress codes to dress more casually — but still like everyone else — or to color a bit outside the lines.


What is your opinion on button-down collars and ties? I have seen that you are wearing the collar both buttoned and unbuttoned, how and when do you decide what do do? And for a more formal look I guess you wouldnt wear a button-down?


Hey Simon, by ‘other PS cloths,’ do you also mean that the PS Shetland Tweed will be available again in late summer? Thanks and hope you are well!

Jack Linney

In my profession, suits are still required in court, and I wear sport coats or suits, the latter less often, to all my client meetings. In the latter, I choose a tie or no tie depending on the client. Outside of that, I do try to find opportunities to wear ties just because. It can be tricky to wear one with, say, double denim without looking like I walked out of the cast of a John Hughes flick, but I’ll often pick knit or some relatively casual jacquard weaves I’ve stumbled across when I drop down a notch or two from sport coats. It seems to work there. I’ve had the most success with jackets and / or sweaters that fill the middle of that “high low” gap. (But y’all’ll just have to trust me when I write I won’t be featured in your “how to dress like” series any time in the next century.)


If the opportunity presents itself I like to wear a knitted tie with a suit or jacket.Mostly though,it’s easier to wear a long sleeve polo shirt under a suit jacket or a fine crew neck and shirt.To create a strong vibe a pair of dark brown suede lace up boots adds to the contemporary look ( in my opinion).

Tomáš Berka

I recently wore dark blue jeans, black R.M. Williams chelseas, Fursac dark navy flannel suit jacket as a separate, and an unassuming dark blue knit tie with a white OCBD .. it felt very natural even though it might not be to the taste of most readers here, and the western undertone made it a bit more at home here in Czech Republic’s culture of jeans and t-shirts. Very much to the point of this article I hope.


the guys at Brycelands seem to wear ties with the sawtooth. I think that looks great. I would love the opportunity to wear ties with casual attire but not so confident of it. Knitted ties seem to be the way in to that .


The brown chalk stripe with the burnt orange tie looks dreamy! I like it so much that it makes me want to get a brown suit, but at the same time I realize I won’t get many occasions to wear it. I hardly wear tailoring anymore these days and occasions like weddings and parties don’t call for brown flannel suits. Sometimes I wish I lived in a big city so tailoring wouldn’t seem so out of place but if you’re telling us even in London you don’t find many occasions to dress up I don’t know if tailoring has a bright future, at least not the classic suit and tie combination as we know it. That being said I jump head first to any occasion I have to wear a suit and tie even if it means just grey and navy.


So, Simon, you’re basically saying the tie is dead unless one works in the few professions that still require or tolerate it, or one is basically in costume at a convention of fashion nerds. I fear you may be right, unless one wants to be “that guy”.


“that guy” is usually the one person in the room that looks like they took the time to get dressed to walk out the door that morning. I’m always happy to be “that guy”.


Something tells me that the vast majority of us PS readers are likely to be seen as ‘that guy’ in our respective social lives!

Matt L

I was wondering what you thought might be the reasons behind the turn away from ties? The only consistent complaint I find about them is that they feel tight on the neck. This seems to me to be an issue with the shirt collar being too small. And so the problem might be coming from the trend for skinny-fit clothing, rather than the tie itself. But that’s just my reading.


I went for a job interview recently and wore a tailored jacket, shirt with a stiff collar and tie, trousers and polished leather shoes. The interviewer was in skinny jeans with trainers and a t-shirt. I felt like his Dad and completely, embarrasingly over-dressed and it made me realise I’d been trying too hard and worse, out of touch. I dress far less like this as well now so it even felt even odd when once it would have felt ‘proper’.
A subsequent interview was online and I wore am OCBD shirt, no tie, under a navy blue crew neck jumper and felt far more comfortable but didn’t get the job.
I have another interview coming up and I’m thinking of going even a touch more casual. It feels far more appropriate and I’m looking forward to pulling the right outfit together. One thing’s for sure, I won’t be wearing a tie!


This is exactly what I did for job interviews, and I know for a fact that I would have been rejected in one of them, for a job I did eventually get, had I showed up in a suit and tie.


Simon what is the ideal width of bottleneck to achieve what you feel is an ideal -sized knot? I want to achieve a large albeit timeless knot but not one as large and overwhleming as Prince Michael of Kent’s. Incidentally do you know who makes his ties – Turnbill and Asser perhaps? How is the dimple best achieved in a tie? Does this mostly come down to the fabric and lining?


Look in the mirror at the complete outfit. Does the knot look too small, too large, or just right to you? Different types of ties will knot differently, so you’ll have to play it by ear and not worry about breaking out the micrometer..

The easiest way to achieve a dimple is this: Tie the tie. When you get to the last step of putting the wide end through to tighten, start pulling through but pause before you pull it all the way through. Pinch the wide blade ABOVE the knot with one hand and pull it tight from below with the other. Instant dimple. Then, pinch the dimple beneath the knot while you tighten.


Lovely to see this check jacket out again.

Reminds me so much of the travel rug my parents had on the back seat of their car in the 60’s.


Does anyone here know what neckwear etiquete is at courts in the UK? Will all male judges/barristers/prosecutors wear a tie? Also in lower courts and smaller cases?


It’s ‘strange’ how the defendants are always in conservative suits and ties . In fact the nastier the defendant the more sober they appear in court.


It depends on the court in England and Wales. When wearing court dress (in most higher courts) a wing collar and bands is worn by judges and counsel. In the lower courts and tribunals, and some of the higher civil courts, the dress code for male barristers, solicitors and judges is a suit and tie. You occasionally see male barristers wearing a detachable collar shirt with a turndown collar when wearing a suit and tie, so that they can easily change into court dress if they have appearances in different courts or client meetings and court appearances on the same day. There are a few idiosyncrasies – for example, with court dress either a waistcoat or a double breasted jacket must be worn, which comes from the old fashioned concept that the waist should always be covered.

For litigants and defendants it varies. Most people will advise to wear a suit and tie if you need to attend court but many people don’t. Judges won’t penalise someone for how they dress (unless it’s offensive) but it’s an open question whether it influences juries.


Thank you, Alan, very interesting to hear. I hadn’t considered (even) more traditional neckwear/collars than ties still being used.

Here in Denmark for men it has mostly been a shirt and tie under the robe for attorneys and judges in the High Courts and Supreme Court with more and more people skipping the tie nowadays, but still a minority. In City Court only judges wear robes and more and more lawyers appear without a tie and even some judges. At least that’s my impression.

It’s very interesting to see, how people use dress in general and especially ties in these high stakes situations. Very different from the tie as an optional mean of personal expression as described in this piece, I guess.

Isaac Milton

I think this topic is a neat encapsulation of dressing in our modern day. It’s true that the default mode of dress has become more casual in almost all settings, but more importantly the breadth of available options for each occasion has increased massively. Where everyone would once have worn suit and tie for office work, what the range of acceptable dress is now strongly depends upon what one does and where one does it, and it’s upon everyone to know for themselves what the spectrum in one’s personal circumstances is and where on that spectrum one would like to be.
I personally have the good fortune that I can get away with wearing a necktie every working day, so I usually do, but in many banks in the local area the dress code even bans them for back-office workers!


The thing about the Tie is, it feels goooood to wear one. The missus really appreciates it as well, which is a great boon. However, one can’t help but feel self conscious about it. So yeah, I suggest grab every opportunity where it feels okay to wear one; nice dinners with the wife, weddings (of course), new years celebrations etc!


The gray of the flannel trouser is too close to the green of the jacket. Ensemble looks off.


hi i wonder whether vinyl and CD is a good comparison. Not only is vinyl not dead but has overtaken CD. Wish I had gotten into it at its ‘demise’.


Unrelated question – when can we expect the casual style guide?

Peter Bodach-Söderström

When the tie were norm, I usually went with just a jacket and a shirt. (Sometimes with a tie in my pocket just in case.) Now jacket and a shirt is the norm, and ties are interesting again. Menswear has always had some (fun) friction between the conformists and the non conformists and nothing has changed in that respect. The tie has just switched sides.


Lets be honest, ties worn in leisure will look conservative or dandified in the modern world. If a man wishes to embrace his inner dandy, or is conservative, then he can always enjoy wearing ties provided it’s the right setting (bourgeois not proletariat obviously). That’s really all it comes down to, class and personal politics. Rakes and Cads don’t really like ties in leisure, but dandies and Conservative dressers do.
Know thy self.


You seem to quite casually differentiate between Rakes, Cads and Dandies. I don’t think I’d be able to give a clear or distinct definition for each of these. Can you?


Hey Simon. Quick question. I am getting my first bespoke suit made and I want a more casual look (I’m getting it in linen). I was asked if I wanted a single or double vent. I can’t find any reliable information on which is for what. I sometimes see the double vent ending up looking like a flap which I don’t love. Is single vent ok on a suit? Seems like a cleaner aesthetic. Thanks!


Hi Simon. Love the Pitti looks – two great English cuts.

I work in a corporate office in NYC. Post-covid, sadly, no one wears a suit and tie anymore, but people definitely wear sport coats. In the past, navy and grey worsted suits with black shoes were typical, but now I see mostly “separates,” including a lot of tweed and brown dress shoes, which were traditionally casual “country” attire. Do you feel those are ok for the modern office now?

That said, I still enjoy wearing a suit and tie for occasions such as weddings, religious ceremonies, and certain parties. The tie lives on in those important moments of one’s life I think, thankfully.


Thanks, Simon. Those “which office” posts are great. I have a dark navy Moonbeam jacket on order for the colder months and a dark navy Holland & Sherry mesh on order for the warmer ones. Adding some non-navy color palettes in cashmere/wool in the winter and wool/silk/linen in the summer sounds like it may be what I’m looking for in order to have some more variety.


Personality and opportunity could be that less-known Jane Austen novel, but also good parameters to think about when deciding on whether to wear a tie… I liked the comparison between you and Manish and when each of you might wear one, so the personality aspect, while the opportunity might be more self-explanatory. More generally, these more thinking posts (don’t know what else to call them, posts like this one rather than focusing on a specific commission or garment) tend to be some of my favourites on the site, hope there’ll be more coming.

I also love the outfit with the plaid jacket, looks less bold than I’d expect from such a big pattern. And the pink shirt adds something subtle to it, not sure if it’s about less contrast with the black tie, or the pink working with the green in the jacket, but somehow it all just makes sense.

Finally your mention that this might be the last restock of the oxfords is slightly worrying… could you elaborate a bit? Does it refer to all the fabrics, or just one colourway? The PS oxfords weren’t an urgent concern of mine, but always something I’d like to add to my wardrobe at some point, should I rethink it this year?


Lex Friedman manages to incorporate the tie in his daily wear seamlessly. I’m sure his style is out of place here – he *only* wears a (god forbid) black suit and tie – but it’s part of a uniform, he looks great and by now would look strange not wearing a dark suit and tie!


Observation one : the very worst sartorial look today is the classic navy suit and white shirt WITHOUT A TIE. This is everywhere and it is terrible. Do not do it. If you are not going to wear a tie than have a slightly less formal and varied look. Like atleast a blue shirt or a striped shirt.
Observation two : Wearing a tie is not a punishment or a penance. It would be nice if people did not see it as such. I like wearing ties. I have a large range from the most formal heavy silk in muted patterns, solids, wool, causla bright knitted etc etc. It drives me nuts when people says “why are you wearing a tie ?” as if I am being forced to walk on glass barefoot. I like wearing a tie. Full stop. I can wear one to the pub if I want. 🙂
Minor observation three : This may seem arcane or weird but a tie is almost like wearing a “mini scarf”. It may be marginal but it is definitely slightly warmer than not wearing tie. The closer fitting neck ( even with top button undone ) and slight “front insulation” with a jacket.
Don’t feel self-conscious wearing a tie if you want to !


This, when it is chilly and windy outside the open neck is not very practical. And sometimes you don’t need a scarf, closed neck and tie and that’s ok.


Well said. I like buying and wearing ties. If you’re wearing a jacket, it completes the look. I dress for my own enjoyment and nobody hassles me about being overdressed. If they did, I would just say I like clothes. I travel a lot, and it is not at all uncommon for a woman, sometimes a woman forty years younger, to come up to me and say they like what I’m wearing. Flight attendants often notice when I board the plane and say something nice. These things make your day. I don’t wait for an opportunity or special event; every day is a special event. Also, at some point a man’s neck does not look that great, and looks better covered up.


I agree with female comments too. 😇


Agreed on all counts.

And if someone asks me “why are you wearing a tie?”, they often get one of two responses based on how the question was asked. Either “Because I want to” or “Because I f-ing want to”.

It’s only a punishment if your shirt collar is too tight, and that’s self-inflicted.

Michael Artan

Isn’t it all about the context? If you have spent the day in court or in meetings, there is nothing unbecoming about having a drink at the end of the day in a navy suit and white shirt without the tie. It’s an odd look in some contexts, but to say it is the worst look strikes me as an extreme, and sometimes incorrect, statement.
As for whether you wear ties, who is stopping you? I don’t get the hand-wringing because someone asks you why you are wearing a tie.

I do agree ties can be slightly warmer, but it is not always a good thing.


Hi simon. New to menswear and trying to learn through this brilliant website. I wanted some black suede derby shoes to wear and noticed that they are very uncommon. Neither C&J or Alden or Loake make any. There isn’t much black suede at all in their range, if any. Is there a stylistic reason for this? Thank you.


As an dispute resolution lawyer, being often in court, I have quite many occasions to wear a tie but I usually limit myself to a navy or bordeaux grenadine and to a navy striped one, which seem to go with a navy, charcoal and grey suit. By contrast, I never wear suits and the white, light blue and (very seldom) light pink poplin shirts I wear with them without a tie.


Simon, a perfect conclusion to your article on wearing ties, “It’s a question of personality and of opportunity.” Living in a bland sea of hoodies and zippered fleece vests in Silicon Valley, I find it to be a lot of fun to get dressed up when I go out to dinner or a social event. My standard outfit is a sport coat or suit with the addition of a colorful pocket square and this really stands out when most guys are wearing the standard tech-bro uniform (fleece vest, jeans and Allbirds).
Sometimes I’ll throw on a tie based on how I feel or whether I like how my outfit looks without a tie. Yeah, I might be overdressed for the occasion but so what? I’m not wearing clothes for others but for myself.


Some clothes always need to be combined with a closure round the neck – whether it be a shirt and tie or a polo neck jumper. Readers can simply take a look at the photos of you, Simon, (accompanying article this week) in your review of your ten years old Ciffonelli coat. The coat still looks great in itself, but is dreadful combined with your casual open necked shirt. It’s the equivalent of wearing a T-shirt with a tie.

Do the venerable coat justice please!


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder


I wear a tie once or twice a week to my office in Brooklyn, usually knit ties or non-pure silk. No other (male) colleagues make any effort to dress. Does it stand out? Of course. Do people talk about it and make jokes? Yes. Is it a great zoom meeting icebreaker? Absolutely. Does it get compliments? From everyone, all the time.

A lot of commenters seem to be worried about sticking out too much or generating a negative perception. I have fun dressing the way I like, and yet somehow I’m still getting ahead in my career, and my colleagues respect me
and even seem to enjoy the fact that someone is doing something different.

Just go for it, but mix it up with more casual styles to show that your not costume-guy.


Please correct me if I am wrong, but not that long ago you also used to wear a trench coat and a fedora. I am just looking at the PS trench coat pictures. So your personal style has changed quite a bit in the last few years. Please tell me if I am missing something. I obviously did not see the older gentleman’s trench, so I cannot compare. Cheers

Initials CG

Reading the comments sometimes feels like I walked in on a meeting of depressed pseudo intellectual French socialists at some bar on this cloudy drizzly day.
I had the strongest desire to throw on my mid-grey sharkskin suit, white button down shirt, black oxfords and an old YSL knitted wool tie.
On three separate occasions, smiling young twenty-something girls told me, “you look like Alain Delon!”
At 56, I was shocked! Believe me, simply shocked, that they even knew who Alain Delon was!
Gentlemen, life is just better in a suit and tie.


Love the jacket Simon. Classic case for me – if I saw this fabric in a book, I wouldn’t even give it consideration. The fabric sample would be too small for me to visualize. But seeing it built out, it looks great.


Simon, who is the older gentleman in the penultimate photo? The aesthetic is perfect.


Wearing a tie is not a question that’s worth arguing or debating. It’s a question of personality and of opportunity. ” Spot on with that closing line! It’s so nice to read an article that doesn’t take a polemical tone. I wore a tie to the office the other day partly out of nostalgia, partly because I fancied it and also because I felt my outfit looked better with it. I was braced for the “court appearance later is it?” type ribbing but no one batted an eyelid.