The Today Tie
A tie is a tie, right? How many of you have said "I don't need another tie, I have a hundred of them." Well, a tie isn't just a tie, and you might very well have one hundred of them, but how many do you actually wear- and how many should you not be wearing?
Like other pieces of clothing, ties go out of style, and you should make those that are go away (donate to Goodwill or another charitable organization). Many things play into what makes a tie a "today tie."
The width is one of the biggest factors in making a tie look current vs dated, with narrower being better. A tie is measured at its widest part across, usually the bottom side points. Ten years ago you might have been sold 3.5 or 4 inch ties, and they may have been expensive, but that doesn't mean you should still be wearing them. The absolute widest tie that you should be wearing is 3 inches, and this goes for all ages out there! If you are younger, 2.5 inches is the narrowest you should go in a business setting; for causal ties 2 inches is fine. If you are younger and just starting, for example, that great job as a rookie attorney and don't want to be that "young punk- who does he think he is" guy, this is where the 2.75 or 3 inch tie is the perfect fit.
Really the 3 inch tie is the perfect tie for all, not so wide it looks "old" and just narrow enough to still be fashionable. Also, keep the idea of proportions in mind. If you are heavy set, you might want to stick with the 3 inch tie, skinnier ones may look a little off.
To illustrate my point: the two pictures above are 3.5 and 3.75 inch ties, and there is a reason the pictures look old- they are! The ties below range from 2.5 to 3 inches and are much more current.
Not sure where the end of the tie should reach? In general the tie should hit the belt buckle, aligning the side points of the tie with the waistband. Today you will see some people with a little more forward style have it a few inches shorter. Regardless of fashion-forwardness, if you are in a professional setting keep it at the belt buckle. Knit ties are usually are worn a few inches higher as they are a more casual tie.
Knot size depends on the collar spread and your proportions. Some people think a huge knot is in, so they tie a knot the size of a tennis ball under their chin. That isn't how it's played, guys.
On a narrow to medium basic collar spread, definitely stick with the half or full windsor. If you have a wide spread or cutaway collar, you are welcome to put that huge knot under your chin, but I would still advise you to go with a knot that is no bigger than a regular full windsor. Also consider your face shape and your body type. A tall skinny guy with a slender face should most definitely have a smaller knot, but a larger guy can get away with them all, half windsor to tennis ball - still, choose wisely my friend.
Merle Hodge (on the bottom right) is notorious for his enormous knots. The other three are nice, his is knot (see what I did there?).
When picking out ties, also consider the fabric weight. Typically printed ties are a little thinner, as they don't have the added weight from stitching that textured ties do (this is why I don't love them). If a tie is a little thicker it looks much better and also ties a much better knot.
Don't be afraid to add ties to the list for your closet cleanout- we both know you have ties you shouldn't. It's time to update the accessories!