Sizing up your necktie

Posted April 04, 2012, at 10 a.m.
Metro Creative Services

Ties are a staple of men’s wardrobes. Some choose a flashy tie, but others prefer something understated.

The necktie has been an important male fashion accessory for generations. Although it is something many people wear on a daily basis, some men are still unsure how to properly buy a tie.

Throughout history, a tie has been worn as a signifier of status. The tie of today is thought to have originated from a similar design worn by Chinese Emperor Shi Huang Ti. Ancient Romans also wore neckwear that resembles the modern-day tie.

The modern necktie was developed in 1924 by Jessie Langsdorf. He created a method of cutting the tie on a 45-degree bias and dividing the necktie into three separate parts, which were then attached together.

Through the years the tie has been through many incarnations. During the second World War, silk was replaced with artificial materials for tie manufacture. Advancements in tie production enabled the printing of images on ties. One of the first images to adorn a tie was a photo of Marilyn Monroe. In the 1970s, neckties were wide in width, while in the 1980s they shrunk to skinny ties. At of the beginning of the 21st century, ties standardized at a three- or four-inch width, which has become classic. Although tie width should still correlate with the lapel of a suit jacket: The wider the lapel, the wider the tie.

Here are some other tips for wearing and shopping for ties.

* Ties come in two major lengths: Regular at around 57 inches and extra-long at 62 inches. Most people can wear the regular length. However, men who are very tall (over 6 feet), should choose a longer length. The same can be said for men with a thick neck.

* A tie that is properly tied should hit on the bottom point at just about the top of the belt line.

* It is acceptable to wear a necktie that is a little long. Some stars are taking to wearing ties a bit long. However, a tie that is too short looks foolish.

* Tie patterns change from season to season. It’s best to toss away old ties and update a wardrobe from time to time to stay in style.

* Avoid bold colors unless you’re really looking to make a statement. Pick a tie that coordinates with the color of the shirt you’re wearing. If the shirt is white, go with a safe bet, like a pale blue or a grey tie.

* Getting a new tie is one of the easiest ways to update the look of a suit without spending a fortune.

* Although you may be tempted to shop at a discount retailer, sometimes it pays to visit a menswear shop to get the personalized service they offer. A consultant can help you pick out a suit and tie combination that is classic and works with your shape and height.

Ties may have been around for centuries, but some men need a little help picking out a size and pattern that is appropriate for their wardrobe.

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