The understanding I had is that a printed neat (as beloved on SF) was called a "Spitalsfield," after one of the other centers of British silk weaving, while a Macclesfield is a woven pattern (as underrepresented on SF). In this thread I came up with trying to check my facts, Manton says a Spitalsfield is still a woven pattern, but with a larger scale, so I'll defer to him.
I think the term "Macclesfield pattern" is a menswear term, not a weaving term, so they make more than just that kind of pattern in Macclesfield. That's a paisley (type of pattern) foulard (type of printing), as far as I know. A "Macclesfield pattern" wouldn't make a good square.
Here's an example of a Macclesfield tie, from one of the best things ever written about ties online (Tintin uses the Macclesfield/Spitalsfield terminology as I thought it was):
Thank you. My inclination would have been towards a quieter square, but I felt I had to do something to play with the brightly colored cotton trousers.I know I've heard say that the issue with wearing a patterned tie and square with a solid coat and tie is that it tends to make it look like you're trying to stretch a small wardrobe with bold furnishings -- and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm doing just that.
Flusser talks about the diff between Spits and Maccs in Dressing the Man, and IIRC they're the same basic design- neats - but one is larger than the other. Not sure which tho. He describes them both as formal-ish and has some great pics of Grant and others wearing them. FWIW IMO they both look better narrow with a small knot.
edit: The Spittalsfield appears to be a smaller denser pattern (tho that's opposite of Manton). Found this one of Grant in a Spits (from Flusser)
Edited by Pliny - 1/16/14 at 9:58pm