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Tie Widths??????

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
There seems to be an odd sort of situation around the world, a little comparable to ladies' skirt lenghts....
What on earth is goin' on with tie designers? In my nearly six completed decades, and all I know about menswear history for several centuries, there appears to be no other time when so many tie widths were manufactured and considered acceptible at the same venues.
The trendy men's magazines are showing lots of young guys wearing slim (i.e. "skinny") ties - periodicals such as GQ, Details, Esquire, and many, many others. Ditto the magazines featuring the trendy in general - People, Us, etc. Lots of actors and other "beautiful people" featured wearing these ties. And, of course, the shops where these people purchase - and in general the stores catering to young guys.
Meanwhile, at the very same time, most of the more established tie manufacturers and designers are still producing and featuring ties of at least medium width. I'm talking the general, middle-of-the-road (read typical department store, discount store) ties. Stores with Italian ties - you know, those really bright-colored ones - are selling frequently particularly wide ties. Brooks Brothers is actually showing and selling two distinctly different width ties.... My, my.
When in London last year I saw the same thing as in the U.S. The traditional Savile Row and Jermyn Street tailors and stores like Pink or Burberry were showing the reasonbly wide ties. The trendy (incl. "punk," etc.) shops were showing the narrow.
I've been trying to build up a fabulous collection of neckwear and hope to be able to wear these for many, many years to come. In fact, I've discarded every last narrow tie I acquired in the '60s.
Thoughts, please!
Incidentally, a recent mens magazine (was it Vogue Mens?) showed several bowties; is that a growing trend or were the designers/editorial staff just trying to show looks that are "different?"
Also, the resale shops have gotten to the point - the past few years - of showing few really wide, polyester-type ties from the '70s era. The quality vintage-type shops are showing very narrow - i.e. '60s - as well as the very wide '70s, sometimes - especially if they're particularly heavy and wide. Then there's the further complication of most of these lacking the loops.
post #2 of 24
Tie widths come and go, but I believe the most important thing are the proportions. For instance, "skinny" is very in right now. Even though it's set in the 60's, Mad Man features the main character wearing a lot of skinny ties (1.5 skinny here). Does he look great? Of course! However! Yes, however, I think he would look best with a more normal looking tie (2.5-3 inches). Why? He's a pretty built guy, strong shoulders big chest. While skinny is currently in and looks fashionable, if he sticks with what compliments his body type most, he will be able to get away with it regardless of current fashion.

Super skinny (1.5) and super fat (4) will come and go with the ages. However in-between (say 3ish) will always be acceptable and never wrong.

Since I am on the thinner side, I wear my lapels smaller and my ties skinnier. I don't think I could ever do more than 3.25 as they would simply appear too short and stocky on someone who is small and thin like me.
post #3 of 24
There has also been a huge resurgence in Full and Half Windsor knots in the last decade along with more spread collars seen about to accomodate them. All of which calls for a wider tie.
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDaniels View Post
There has also been a huge resurgence in Full and Half Windsor knots in the last decade along with more spread collars seen about to accomodate them. All of which calls for a wider tie.
Three inches is just about perfect IMO. Perhaps slightly narrower for striped ties and up to 3.25 for patterns. The resurgence of the Windsor and Half Windsor, and the proliferation of spread collars and the wider ties needed to support these abominations is not a positive thing for fashion.
post #5 of 24
I try to decide on tie width based on the width of my lapels. I have a couple of odd jackets with narrow lapels and have a couple of narrow ties that I wear with them. My conventional width lapels get the more typical tie widths.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
I guess a major point I'm trying to make is that in the past those who kept up with style tended to wear ties more or less the same width, yet something in the fashion world has changed all that. And a guy's age seems to have a lot to do with it. It's been for decades a matter of males and store as heading in about the same direction, with obviously those who don't care about or do not follow style (or, obviously, cannot afford purchasing new clothes) being slower to change his tie width. So each year they'd get a little wider or a little narrower and keep going. But not now. As I mentioned skirt lengths, women with skirts above the knee and those with skirts to around the ankle are appearing as such at the same workplace, function, or at the same shopping place or party. And ties seems to be somewhat the same. Yes, a Hermes tie might remain a middle-of-the-road width but most guys' ties are either narrower or wider. Not extremely wide, such as the '1970s five inches, but they get almost to a string on the narrow extreme.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt
Three inches is just about perfect IMO. Perhaps slightly narrower for striped ties and up to 3.25 for patterns.
I agree. Unfortunately it's rather hard to find 3" ties today; most of the nice brands for sale on the B&S forum, for example, are 3.75", while the cheap ones I can find at fashion-oriented stores (e.g., H&M) are usually super-skinny.
post #8 of 24
3.75inches isn't considered wide, is it? That's the width of most of the Kiton and Borrelli ties I've been looking at.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattjames
3.75inches isn't considered wide, is it?
It seems to be the standard today, but on average-to-slim guys, I think it looks pretty wide.
post #10 of 24
3.25 width x 56 inch Length coming soon... (Currently the narrow on the site are 3.5 and vary in length between 56 inch and 58 inch)
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafont View Post
There seems to be an odd sort of situation around the world, a little comparable to ladies' skirt lenghts....
What on earth is goin' on with tie designers? In my nearly six completed decades, and all I know about menswear history for several centuries, there appears to be no other time when so many tie widths were manufactured and considered acceptible at the same venues.
The trendy men's magazines are showing lots of young guys wearing slim (i.e. "skinny") ties - periodicals such as GQ, Details, Esquire, and many, many others. Ditto the magazines featuring the trendy in general - People, Us, etc. Lots of actors and other "beautiful people" featured wearing these ties. And, of course, the shops where these people purchase - and in general the stores catering to young guys.
Meanwhile, at the very same time, most of the more established tie manufacturers and designers are still producing and featuring ties of at least medium width. I'm talking the general, middle-of-the-road (read typical department store, discount store) ties. Stores with Italian ties - you know, those really bright-colored ones - are selling frequently particularly wide ties. Brooks Brothers is actually showing and selling two distinctly different width ties.... My, my.
When in London last year I saw the same thing as in the U.S. The traditional Savile Row and Jermyn Street tailors and stores like Pink or Burberry were showing the reasonbly wide ties. The trendy (incl. "punk," etc.) shops were showing the narrow.
I've been trying to build up a fabulous collection of neckwear and hope to be able to wear these for many, many years to come. In fact, I've discarded every last narrow tie I acquired in the '60s.
Thoughts, please!
Incidentally, a recent mens magazine (was it Vogue Mens?) showed several bowties; is that a growing trend or were the designers/editorial staff just trying to show looks that are "different?"
Also, the resale shops have gotten to the point - the past few years - of showing few really wide, polyester-type ties from the '70s era. The quality vintage-type shops are showing very narrow - i.e. '60s - as well as the very wide '70s, sometimes - especially if they're particularly heavy and wide. Then there's the further complication of most of these lacking the loops.

Isn't it nice that there are so many differing tie widths available? As someone on the small side, I actively avoid things wider than 3, 3.25 at the very most. I have a few 3.75 ties that basically look like I'm wearing a fish.

Staying proportionally balanced is the most important. The tie should match your frame. Matching lapel widths with ties is a less rule. I have no issue mixing narrower ties with larger lapels but not vice versa.
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
I see in a recent issue of [i]Details[i] (I believe) someone wrote an article announcing the decline in popularity of the skinny tie. He seems to think they're a bit extreme, and typically extreme fashions ("as far as they can go on one direction) don't last that long before heading back in the other direction). Anyway, they never seemed to catch on with any guy over 29 or so, at least not among those I see every day around Cleveland, OH.
As for the guy who referred to the tie in proportion with the individual's body, that's okay to some extent but if a guy is really thin a skinny tie just makes it stand out more, IMHO. As for matching tie width with lapel width, I think there's some merit - if for historical precedent alone - if one doesn't get too fussy about it.
One thing about the so-called "skinny ties" - and I went through all that in the earlier '60s: patterns were usually very limited and that certainly distracts greatly from their appeal on that alone.
post #13 of 24
I would suggest first looking at the tie's length. Just as rough examples: If a tie is 65" long 4" is a good width. If a tie is 52" long 3" would look good. Now if your tie is an average 57" 3.5 to 3.75 inches is a good classic range of width. Next you can further fine-tune by looking at personal preferences, tie constructions and fabrics and finally lapel widths.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Hober View Post
I would suggest first looking at the tie's length.

Just as rough examples:

If a tie is 65" long 4" is a good width.

If a tie is 52" long 3" would look good.

Now if your tie is an average 57" 3.5 to 3.75 inches is a good classic range of width.

Next you can further fine-tune by looking at personal preferences, tie constructions and fabrics and finally lapel widths.

word
post #15 of 24
I feel your pain. The whole suit and tie thing has become rather disconcerting. Thankfully I'm pretty much an average build so can get away with ties between 3-4" and thankfully I kept all my 3.25" - 3.5" ties that I was going to get rid of when I thought they'd become too narrow. Unfortunately I've got some really nice 4" that I think are a little too wide for my body type.

It seems that most of the ties I see are about 3.75"-4" but, like you said, are being sold right next to 2.5"-3" ties. Similarly, I was checking out some suits/jackets at the Polo store a couple of days ago and tried on a Black Label jacket that had just arrived. Lapels about 1", high gorge and the lowest button stance I've ever seen on a jacket. It also had some very short dual vents. I know these guys gotta switch things up every year to help move merchandise but it is odd that the industry is going in so many different directions at the same time.
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