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“Show me a man’s ties, and I’ll tell you who he is or who he is trying to be.” – John T. Molloy

By Sam Mukoro
Contrary to popular belief, men’s neckwear is not a thing of the past. Still a symbol of style and professionalism, tie-wearers command respect. How a man adorns his neck reveals a lot about his personality and character. It’s difficult to pinpoint why men choose neckties over bow ties or cravats (also known as ascots) instead of ties.

Most men prefer ties rather than cravats or bowties. Creativity depends on when and where you are going.
Most men prefer ties rather than cravats or bowties. Creativity depends on when and where you are going.

For me, it’s a matter of taste – how I choose to express myself. A pop of color, that interesting design, the personalized impression I can make by mixing and matching with the other elements of my wardrobe. To help you “tie” up a collection of your own, let’s take a look at the modern variants of neckwear.

As I gained experience in the auto industry, the more I appraised the value of vehicles the more I learned about people. What I mean by that is I could always tell what kind of person a client was before I met them just by the radio station they listened to.

The same is true for neckwear. I can tell where the person is from or how worldly they are according to how expressive this one accessory is or not.

Most men prefer ties rather than cravats or bowties. Creativity depends on when and where you are going. Most tie retailers typically offer an overwhelming number of options. Whatever you do though, please stay away from those that are showy and tasteless. Although I am a bit of an eclectic when it comes to fashion, I keep tradition in mind. If clothes make the man, his tie most certainly completes him.
Quality is very important. In terms of construction, ties all look the same when then are displayed together. Its not until you pick one up and look at it more closely, do you notice key differences. Neckties should feel good when touching. If it’s uncomfortable in your hands, then it will uncomfortable around your neck. Silk ties are most common. Lightweight and supple is what you are looking for, not heavy and rough.  The lining adds shape to the tie. Wool or at least a wool mixture is best.

A major difference in the world of ties is fold. The seven fold is the most luxurious and expensive. It is cut from a single piece of silk and folded seven times over itself. The edges are rolled to prevent the silk from coming undone. It is not tipped or lined which helps hold the tie’s shape beautifully. Six fold ties are more popular because they tend not to wrinkle as much. It has more silk at the tips and tends to hold its shape better. The six fold has a lining to give it more weight and is also referred to as “double-four fold” for marketing reasons.

The width of your tie should match or come close to the width of your jacket’s lapel. Secondly, the length should not exceed the waist of the pant you wear. Ties a tad bit shorter are permissible and have more of a European appeal. Please don’t go overboard with shortening or lengthening your tie unless you recently were hired as a circus employee.

The most popular ways to knot a tie are the four-in-hand, the half-Windsor and the Windsor. The four-in-hand is a quick and simple style most appropriate with casual clothes because of its narrow appearance. When you desire a more conservative look, the half-Windsor is best. The most common and traditional is the Windsor knot. It is an all-purpose style and works for any occasion. The Windsor is named after the grandfather of the Duke of Windsor simply because he preferred a wider knot.

Bowties are not for everyone. Most commonly worn with tuxedos, they do have a certain charming appeal about them worn formally or casually. Although they require practice and patience to achieve the desired look, self-tie bow ties are quite original looking. With that being said, clip-on bow ties of any type are never acceptable under any circumstances.

The ascot or cravat is an elegant item that gracefully adorns the neck. It is a stretch of fabric resembling a scarf. Men who choose to wear this accessory are indeed meticulous because tying one on properly requires a certain skill. I wouldn’t suggest wearing an ascot or cravat to a formal occasion; you can have more fun with them in casual situations.

A man’s neckwear collection has a very valuable place in his wardrobe. These are some of the most personal items he will own. A tie is the centerpiece of an outfit and plays its position in every social situation. If you don’t remember the last “nice tie” compliment you received, its probably a good time to reevaluate the selections in your collection.

Stan Mukoro is a style guru living in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Weekly tip: Perfectly matching a pocket square with a tie creates a very dated look. Instead use a little imagination by contrasting these two accessories.
Creative Direction by Reginald L. Walker
Photography by Frederick Anderson


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