Max. width: 7,5cm
Total length: 150cm
Handmade in Como, Italy.
Discussions of accent pieces always begin with neckties -- which is sort of interesting, given that most men these days don't have to wear one, outside of special events like weddings. They're just not part of the uniform the way they were fifty years ago. That said, they are still the most easily personalized accent for the workplaces where they're required. If you work in a business-dress or business-casual office where neckties are the norm, it's worth using them to vary your style a bit. Wearing a tie every day, of course, seems by definition the opposite of variety. That's why it's worth owning one or two each of several distinct styles:
Diagonal stripes are about as default as it gets. A solid base color with thin, wide-spaced stripes of another color (or several other colors) is always unobjectionable. It allows for infinite variations without much thought -- just get a few in different color schemes, and suddenly you've got "variety" in your wardrobe. Easy as that.
Solid colors are either bland or bold depending on the color. They look better when there's a visible texture or pattern than when it's literally just a solid block of one unbroken color. Dark, conservative colors (think burgundy, royal purple, hunter green, etc.) work well; brighter colors like red and orange can sometimes work as "power" ties, but tend to be a little novelty overall.
Figure patterns describes any tie with a solid background overlaid with small, repeating designs. Fleur-de-lis, dots, and crests or logos are all common. The more empty space there is, the more formal the tie looks, so a series of very small figures spaced far apart is more formal than one of larger figures placed close together.
Paisley is essentially a busier and more varied figure pattern. It's quite popular for neckties, and gives a bit of a relaxed air without becoming novelty or tacky. A few paisleys in conservative colors are always worth having as an alternative to the more staid diagonals and figure patterns.
Grids and checks are not the most common family of patterns for neckties, but they exist, particularly in tartan/plaid. Most are fairly casual -- good for adding uniqueness to a business-casual wardrobe, but not well suited to strict business attire.
Knit ties are typically monochrome, but have a bumpy texture that acts as a pattern. They're more casual than smooth-surfaced ties.
A good mix of styles helps keep you from always looking the same when you're wearing ties every day. If you're in a workplace where ties are optional, mix it up -- wear a tie some days, an open collar others, any maybe something as casual as a turtleneck on Fridays. The knot of the tie should always fit comfortably within the spread of your shirt collar. At the bottom, the tip of the tie should fall just past the top of your belt (or waistband if you're wearing suspenders). As a final note, bow ties are an acceptable subsitute for a regular necktie. Avoid plain black or white ones -- those are reserved for semiformal and formal wear, respectively -- but feel free to mix colored/patterned.
This small article of clothing is of an importance out of proportion to its size. All good ties are cut on the bias. This means that you cut across the material diagonally, the silk being woven from threads that travel east to west and north to south. It is important to know this because some ties, mostly inexpensive, are cut on the straight; that is, along the grain of the material. This method, of course, uses less cloth. It is desirable to have a tie cut on the bias because there is then more ‘give’ in the material when you pull it round your neck; it also makes a neater, more regularly shaped knot.