more like guidelines: collars and ties

Monday, January 7, 2013

I think it pretty safe to say that most of us have heard a fashion rule or two at some point or another.  You know: "never wear a black belt with brown shoes," "never wear white after labor day," or "don't wear gold and silver together." Well, these rules are more like guidelines, really.  I personally don't believe that you have to know a rule before you bend it, but sometimes knowing the general guidelines can be really helpful in building a coherent look.

As narrow ties have been in vogue for the last several years, some men may wish to try one out, but are hesitant to do so, afraid that it'll look puny and ridiculous.  Here's one way to help avoid that:  Match the width of you tie to the width of your collar.

More conservative dress shirts in the United States have a fairly wide collar on them.  If your shirt has a narrow collar, wear a narrow tie; a wide tie around a narrow collar can make the tie look bulky.  Conversely, if your shirt has a wide collar, wear a wider tie; a narrow tie around a wide collar can make the tie look puny and ridiculous.

As I said, these guidelines can be ignored if you're going for a certain look.  Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld frequently sports a narrow tie around a very large and high collar.  He knows he's being unconventional; that's the point.

(photo from

So, if high collars are your thing, then take a page from Karl's book.  However, if that's not your bag, try to keep the proportions between your collar and tie in balance; it helps the look flow a little more easily from one piece to another.

For what it's worth.

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