It was Oscar Wilde who originally said that a well-tied tie is the first serious step in life. While more and more men are abandoning the tie in favour of the dull open-neck shirt, ties are still a boardroom fixture that can say a lot about the guy wearing it.
You might be thinking that they’re uncomfortable, fussy, and serve no true functional purpose. That might be true. But what we can verify, gents, is that a quality tie can seal a good impression. They give you an opportunity to express some sartorial creativity and show your boss that you put in a little bit more effort. No one wants to be the bloke in the corner office whose reputation is limited to his shit ties (and co-incidentally, hasn’t seen a promotion in a few years).
These eight ties will see you through the formal and the not-so-formal, work or play, and are made as such that you won’t have to buy a new one for every time you leave the house.
We said ghastly novelty ties should stay on the shelf, but Gucci is working pretty hard to make us reconsider. Woven in Italy from pure wool, this tie comes up on the narrower end at a modest 6cm. The motifs – a UFO ship, serpent, crown, bee, and rose – reflect Gucci’s unapologetic distaste for understatement. So if you’re a shy dresser, it’s probably not for you. But if you’re game, pair this with plain fabrics and softer colours – leave the other patterned kit behind. This is a tie that should stand on its own.
While you’ve hopefully gotten over your 007 aspirations, dressing like the man himself isn’t something you’re quite ready to give up on. If you think bowties look dweeby or you’re too useless to learn to tie one, this French-made velvet tie by Lanvin can step in as a dashing substitute. Wear this with a peaked-lapel tux jacket, or if you’re an especially brave sartorial pathfinder, a velvet alternative. But seriously, keep it to black tie. At night, nursing a vodka martini, you’ll look the business. In the daytime, you’ll look like one of those sorry souls that still thinks Neil Strauss is a legend. Keep it to the once-a-year formal showdowns and that’s it.
Richard James is something of the young man’s clothier on the Row – he brings English sartorial heritage to the mix alongside slim, contemporary cuts and bolder colours more relevant to a youthful audience. This knitted navy tie is Italian made and 100% silk, at a slim 6cm width. However you choose to wear it, you’ll find its versatility outpaces most other ties on the market. It can subdue the formality of a two-piece suit and alternatively, smarten the hell out of a casual blazer-chino combination.
Alexander McQueen infamously caters to the audience that doesn’t do understated, discreet, or modest. This 6cm silk-jacquard tie combines two disparate sartorial motifs – a subdued check and skull pattern – demonstrating the AQ design team’s flair for mixing trusted, old-school tailoring with ominous symbols you might see on a pirate ship. We have no doubt this probably wouldn’t fly in the office. Keep it to nights out where the top dog isn’t there to give you a hard time. You could pair this with a white shirt, but you’re more interesting than that. Complement it with a pale blue shirt and double-breasted jacket for a different take on the usual weekend tailoring gimmick.
It’s hard to discuss menswear without paying Tom Ford his dues. This prince of wales checked tie is Made in Italy from 100% silk, with resilient faille lining that prevents deformities from use and will retain its original structure and shape over time. This number is slightly wider than trendy narrow ties, making it a suitable accompaniment to match broader jacket lapels and wider, more traditional suit cuts. This can go over a white shirt with a navy suit for Monday to Friday, or smarten up a races or wedding tailoring combo outside the office.
We get it, with all the neckwear choices out there it’s easy to get tied up (sorry) finding the right tool for the job. But every guy – from the hapless office drone to the guy who proudly suits up only once a year – needs a reliable, no-fuss, staple navy tie like this 8cm cashmere navy tie from Drake’s. Drake’s embrace heritage values that are a sad rarity in today’s landscape of dodgy sweatshop-sourced fast fashion. Everything they produce is hand-crafted in a London factory, in this case woven from pure cashmere. The furthest thing from a one note accessory, it has versatility on its side – wear it with a sports jacket on the weekend, or a charcoal suit for the upcoming job interview that has you sweating buckets.
The menswear powerhouse that brought the world Nazi uniforms and the suits your boss probably wears also do some formidable ties. Crafted from 100% silk, this Hugo Boss polka dot tie is internally reinforced with jacquard to reduce creasing and retain an aesthetic drape with prolonged wear. At 6cm, it’ll complement narrower jacket lapels and slim, contemporary suit cuts. The polka dot has come a long way from its association with the style misjudgements of the 1980’s, and works with most patterns in your wardrobe. Wear it over a prince of wales check shirt with a navy suit for a playful alternative to your usual plain ties.
Dunhill occupies a coveted space as one of menswear’s leading authorities on traditional masculine style. Paisley has a well-established history in men’s tailoring, and this Dunhill 8cm mulberry silk number can rescue a dull weekday outfit if you’ve been pushing your luck with the same tie three days in a row. This is made from mulberry silk – both stronger and smoother than its lesser cousins – promising a superior drape and longevity (because it’s no secret Dunhill aren’t giving their kit away). In an accommodating navy, the pattern is small enough to go over larger patterns on your shirting and will be an instant hit with your navy and charcoal tailoring.