By Kevin Mogue
Corporate fashion expert Kevin Mcgue navigates the minefield of necktie faux pas
October has arrived, and the lingering heat and humidity of September have gone. The “Cool Biz” season is unequivocally over, and it is time to put away the collarless shirts and bring out the jackets and ties. A nice tie, properly coordinated and tied, can bring out the best in a suit and create a lasting impression. On the other hand, a hastily selected and poorly tied one can do more damage than good. Since neckties are one of the most common areas for fashion violations, the restart of tie season is the ideal time to review the basics and separate the tie “dos” from the “don’ts.”
01 When a necktie is properly done-up, the tip of the tie will
A Be low enough to tuck into the front of your trousers.
B Reach to the center of the button on the trouser waistline.
C Be the width of two fingers above the trouser waistline.
D Be two fingers below the trouser waistline.
02 While shopping for a tie, you find a nice design with diagonal stripes about the width of your thumb, going from upper right to lower left. This tie was likely made in which country?
03 You are wearing a dark suit with fine, widely spaced pinstripes, and a plain white shirt. What type of tie would you choose to complete the look?
A A tie with wide horizontal stripes.
B Narrow horizontal stripes.
C Narrow, lightly colored, diagonal stripes.
D Dark wide diagonal stripes, the same as the spaces between the pinstripes on the jacket.
04 You are wearing a dark pinstripe suit, and a shirt with narrow white and light blue stripes. What kind of tie is called for?
A A tie with fine diagonal stripes, the same width as the shirt stripes.
B One with diagonal stripes wider than the shirt stripes, but narrower than the width between the pinstripes on the jacket stripes.
C Diagonal stripes the same width as the space between the pinstripes.
D A “crested” tie with small, detailed motifs widely spaced on a solid colored background.
05 For autumn, you have a brand new suit: a brown suite with a wide, subtle check pattern. You select a cream colored shirt with a fine cross check pattern. What tie completes the look?
A A black tie with a wide, light colored check pattern.
B A solid black tie with no pattern.
C A solid brown tie with no pattern.
D A navy tie with a subtle pattern with hints of brown.
06 You need to put together an ensemble that suits the office as well as an after five appointment. What would you chose?
A Solid black suit, plain white shirt, solid red tie.
B A black pinstripe suit, plain white shirt, solid red tie.
C A black pinstripe suit, plain white shirt, red tie with a crest pattern.
D A black pinstripe suit, a shirt with fine white and light blue stripes, tie with stripes of various widths and dark colors.
Tie Your Tie
Despite its name, Tie Your Tie in Minami-Aoyama does not deal exclusively in neckties. The Florence-based brand offers suits, shirts, and shoes in addition to their ties that bring together traditional construction with original designs. All of the ties here are 7-fold silk ties hand made in Italy. The 7-fold tie design dates back to the days when a necktie was actually a rectangular scarf that was folded seven times and then tied around the neck. 7-fold ties do not have stiff inter-lining that gives shapes to common ties and are light and pliant, making them easy to tie and not too heavy around the throat. The shop in Minami-Aoyama is the only location outside Italy, so you can find the tie that will really set you apart from the other guys at the office.
Dormeuil , also in Minami-Aoyama, is mainly known for their high-quality wools, in demand with tailors around the world. The Tokyo shop near Aoyama-Itchome station offers ties made from French silk, shirts made from materials especially selected by Dormeuil and order-made suits, making it the ideal one-stop shop for getting a whole new look.
If you are looking for ties with cutting edge style, International Gallery Beams in Jingumae, Harajuku, offers selections from designers such as Alexander McQueen and Robert Godrey.
B Leaving shirt exposed between the bottom of the tie and the top of the trousers creates a slovenly appearance. Let it hang too low, and you will look like you are slouching, even if you aren’t. And for goodness sakes, don’t tuck your tie into your trousers! You will ruin both your look and the tie.
B Striped ties made in Italy are always in what is called the “Regimental style,” with diagonal stripes from the upper right to the lower left. Striped ties made in America have diagonals from upper left to lower right.
C Bringing together two stripe patterns is OK, but mixing horizontal and vertical is a no-no. Diagonal and vertical stripes are OK, but there needs to be a noticeable contrast between the color and width of the two patterns.
D Mixing three striped patterns is risky business. Proceed with caution.
D A solid tie with a checked jacket will always push focus away from the tie and toward the jacket, creating overall disharmony. Mixing three checked patterns can cause headaches in the person sitting opposite you in the office.
D Choices A and B are too generic for any occasion. Option C is a perennial favorite that is OK for the office but too formal for after work. This is one occasion when you can mix three stripe patterns. A tie with stripes of varying widths and mixed colors can add a sophisticated yet playful feel to a classic look.
Tie Your Tie Minami-Aoyama
PHOTOGRAPHY: Kevin Mcgue