The necktie wardrobe

 First, a vocabulary lesson on neckties. A few common terms describe the most traditional tie patterns

- Neat: Sometimes referred to as a "foulard" this tie is covered in a small pattern that repeats continuously and regularly over a solid background.

- Polka dot: A repeating pattern of dots on a solid background. For executive dressing, the dots should be about the size of the buttons on your cell phone. Polka dots are usually white on a navy or burgundy background.

- Pin dot: A small, dressy version of the polka dot, the pin dot is a tiny pattern most often done in white on a dark blue background. It is sometimes referred to as a neat, as well.

- Stripes: Rep stripes are the most traditional. This is an evenly spaced, diagonal stripe, usually in two contrasting colors like navy and white or navy and red. Tasteful stripe ties can add a third or fourth color, like a thin gold stripe evenly interspersed with wider red, blue, and green stripes, for example. But, in general, stripes should be an even, repeating, all-over pattern, not an accent on an otherwise solid tie.

- Club: This pattern derives its name from a time when club members wore ties printed with their organization‘s emblem. Think "prep school." Today’s club tie sports a regularly repeating pattern on a solid background that is more widely spaced than a neat. Holiday ties often fall into this category, with little candy canes or some such sprinkled across them. In general, the club tie is considered more casual. It’s better for weekends with sports coats or blazers.

- Paisley: This pattern takes its inspiration from beautiful wool shawls made in Paisley, Scotland. The intricate, swirling design looks like something you may have seen under a microscope in biology class. Classic as they may be, paisley ties must be chosen carefully. They are considered conservative, but some can also be very bold. The key is taste, not pattern.


Starting a collection

Assuming you have purchased a handsome charcoal gray or navy suit and the recommended lineup of shirts, the following ties will help turn these into a flexible wardrobe. Note that we have given several choices. That’s to save you from running all over town looking for that one specific tie. Any purveyor of fine menswear should stock some acceptable variation.

- Red or burgundy neat or dot

- Red, burgundy, nzny, or black stripe

- Yellow neat or yellow and navy stripe

- Burgundy ground pattern


Bow Ties

Like fedoras and three-piece suits, the bow tie has moved from being the mark of a well-dressed gentleman to unnecessary punctuation. A man who wears bow ties now typically does so as a trademark. It makes him stand out—as in. you won't remember his name, but you remember he wore a bow tie.

For this reason, the bow tie is best avoided unless it is black silk and the occasion is formal. Revered as they are, or at least once were, bow ties tend to impress as a tad quirky at best, goofy at worst. At this tender point in your career, neither serves you. Wait to wear a bow tie until you have it made.


Tie Length

Ties should create a continuous line from collar to pants, To do this, the point ol the necktie should cover the belt buckle, but never fall more than two inches below the top of the waistband.

The largest offense here is a tie swinging short of its mark, exposing the shirt placket, buttons, and, where applicable, girth.

Conversely, the overly long tie looks droopy. Simply adjust the length oi the tie by repositioning the knot. If, in an effort to lengthen the tie, the rear portion hikes up to your chest, buy a longer tie. There are such things as extra-long ties, a must for men over 6‘4“ in height or who wear a size 19“ collar or bigger.