I was sorting through my ties the other day when a thought occurred to me; I have way too many. While the variety is nice, there are really only a few that I would consider essential, so I thought that I would share them with you. Here is my list of the only five essential ties, and a few that it would be good to have as well. All images are from The Tie Bar; if you haven’t already, I definitely recommend checking them out.
No.1 – The Navy Tie
Of all the ties I have owned, this is my favorite; dark enough for most formal occasions, but colourful enough to add tasteful interest to a sombre outfit.
No.2 – The Power Tie
Your power tie should be bold and colourful, but not whimsical or cartoonish; it should say “look at me, I’m in charge”, and should work equally well when you are on stage giving a speech as it does when you are sitting in job interview. Red is an excellent choice for a power tie, particularly when paired with a navy suit; my power tie is usually either plain red, or red with white and blue stripes.
No.3 – The Striped Tie
The striped tie is an excellent way to add a bit of extra colour to your outfit (great for coordinating with your pocket square), or to signify membership of certain groups (school ties, British regimental ties). Stick with something conservative for your first striped tie, like the navy/white tie pictured, and progress to bolder patterns later on.
No.4 – The Silk Knit Tie
The black silk knit tie is one of the most versatile ties that you can own; it pairs as well with a casual suit as it does with a pair of jeans and a leather jacket. The literary James Bond was known for wearing his knit tie with his formal city suits, but you would be better off wearing them with more casual attire. When in doubt, try pairing it with a navy blazer, a pair of dark jeans, and a plain white shirt.
No.5 – The Burgundy Tie
Bolder and more memorable than the navy tie, the burgundy tie is perfect for when you are trying be noticed, but still look professional.
Not Essential (but good to have)
No.6 – The Plaid Tie
Combine with a navy blazer (gold buttons), white chinos, boat shoes, and a white shirt for a perfect outfit for an afternoon on your yacht. If you don’t own a yacht, it also works on land as part of a warm weather casual attire. This tie is great to own, but not essential because it can easily be substituted by a silk knit tie, or a casual striped tie.
No.8 – The Black Bow Tie
The Black Bow Tie is essential for every Black Tie event, but if you don’t attend Black Tie events, then you don’t need to own one. I’m fond of the diamond tipped tie, but choose a shape that suits you.
No.9 – The Patterned Tie
I like the fleur-de-lis motif, but you could also go with a subtle paisley pattern; if you are only going to have one patterned tie, pick something that isn’t too ostentatious. When done properly, a patterned tie can be a great accessory; but you can definitely live without one. All the ties pictured can be found at The Tie Bar, along with hundreds of other patterns, so go and check them out. Coming soon is my guide to pairing ties and pocket squares, so keep an eye out for that.