How do I recognize a perfect tie?
‘A man is worth his tie. His essence is revealed through her, his spirit is manifested in her. The man’s spirit is shown in the ability to tie his tie.” Honore de Balzac
Experts disagree about the origin of the tie, it could go back to the ancient Romans. Many sources refer to the Thirty Years’ War in which Croatian soldiers wore tied cloths, which the French then dubbed “à la cravate”. What is certain, however, is that after centuries of variety in form, in 1924 the New York tailor Jesse Langsdorf invented the tie as we know it today. He came up with the idea of cutting the fabric for his ties diagonally and in three parts. The material falls much more elegantly, the knots appear softer, and the tie lasts longer. Langsdorf had his idea patented in 1939, and most ties are still made using this pattern today. Have you ever wondered why the stripes on your tie are always slanted? Now you know why.
Tall men in particular are familiar with the problem: many ties are too short, even with a simple knot they don’t reach to the waist. Some suppliers have extra-long ties in their range (about 155-165 cm). Little gentlemen have the opposite concern: some ties are too long for them. So there are two things to consider before buying a tie: how tall are you and what knot do you prefer? Be sure to try the new piece before you buy it, because length really matters here. The point of your tie ideally ends just above the waistband or belt.
What kind of shirt collar do you prefer to wear? The further apart the collar corners are, the larger the knot should be. The knot sizes vary depending on the material used: If the fabric is quite thick, even a simple knot will be quite bulky, if the fabric is rather thin, a four-in-hand looks small and narrow, but it is perfect for a Windsor knot.
The width of a tie should fit your torso, neck and face. Slim men are visually overwhelmed by wide ties, a burly man with a narrow tie looks a little ridiculous. Normal ties are about eight to nine centimeters wide, narrow ones are about six centimeters wide. It is an unconfirmed rumor that ties with diagonal stripes make their wearers look slimmer.
A pure silk tie is a must in every man’s closet. Silk has a noble sheen, an elegant drape and a pleasant feel. Stay away from viscose and blended fabrics: They may be cheaper, but unfortunately you can see their price. In autumn and winter, wool and knitwear are a warm and cozy alternative.
There is an old rule in men’s fashion: do not combine more than three patterns. The dotted tie can be a hit with a striped shirt and checked jacket. Or not. If you want to be at the forefront of fashion, you can experiment. Everyone else should combine carefully: on official occasions and in the office, you are best advised to wear subtle, single-colored or plain dot or striped ties.
Hand sewn ties are the best bang for your buck. Be sure to pay attention to the longitudinal seam on the inside: Even if a sewing machine was at work, the seam must be flexible. It can then respond elastically to your tugging while tying and maintain its original shape. By the way: The small loop on the back is called Passantino.
To give the tie its volume and strength, an interlining is worked into its wide part. It also prevents the tie from twisting when worn. Outer fabric and interlining should be well coordinated: A thin, cheap silk combined with a thick interlining is supposed to simulate quality.
Even if you are in a hurry in the morning: tie the knot carefully and with feeling. It is gentler on the material and the knot is easier to tie. After wearing, always untie the knot. This allows the material to recover and the tie stays in shape for longer. It is best to roll them up – this way there are no pressure points. And: give your tie a rest more often: wear a different one every day.