For a thin strip of fabric, hung from the neck, the tie plays a significant role in the look of any outfit, as it takes centre stage in the highly visible junction at the neck, which frames your face. Your tie, as with everything else you wear, says a lot about you.
Each year when the seasons change, we migrate to a different wardrobe, from chino’s and casual loafers and linen shirts, to coats, heavier suits and lace-ups or boots (or in my case, more formal loafers). Most men rarely think of changing their ties, though. If you usually wear more corporate and traditional silk ties, then these will work all year around, but it misses out on so many great options which suit the different seasons so well.
These days, I rarely wear any overly formal silk ties or “traditional” corporate ties. My tie rack is full of cashmere’s, wools, linens, cottons and various other blends as they offer so much opportunity to fit in with whatever the weather is doing on a given day, my mood, and they’re far more relaxed, without appearing lazy or overly casual.
Texture is such a key component in any outfit and it’s constantly the case that if something in an outfit doesn’t seem to work, then it’s the texture which doesn’t fit in with everything else you have on (the other options being colour and pattern).
Knits: Knitted ties are incredible for their versatility. Depending on their colour and fabric, they can be worn throughout the year. In summer, lighter silks or cotton/linen in open weaves and in Winter, knits in cashmere and wool, thicker silk and deeper colours. If you don’t own a knit tie, start with a lighter weight silk in navy, it will go with almost anything and can cross over to Winter as well as work easily in summer.
Summer/Spring ties: Linen was made for warmer weather, both literally and figuratively. Its open weave, matte appearance and dry texture is perfect for hot days where a heavier tie feels more like a noose than an accessory. It relaxes and entire outfit and is more at home with summer clothes than the same tie made from silk. Think tailored creme cotton trousers sitting just above a pair of brown tassel loafers, pale blue cotton cutaway collar shirt, linen jacket and brown or forest-green linen tie. Well dressed, easy, relaxed.
Winter/Autumn: Time for cashmere and wool to make an appearance. The muted appearance of a wool tie softens everything else around it, similarly to how flannel does this with a jacket or trousers. Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year, simply for being able to pick up the colours of the changing season in deep greens, rusty oranges, browns and yellows in either wool or knitted silk. Autumn allows you to do this like no other season. Spring is great for florals and bright colours (summer, too), and picking up seasonal colours in winter usually means greys, blacks and whites (limited options, there) but Autumn has a raft of options which make us feel a part of the changes going on around us.
Pocket squares: Many of the same guidelines apply to pocket squares as they do to ties. Pocket squares made from linen and cotton are excellent during warmer months, and when the cold weather hits, changing to slubby silks and wools works so well if the rest of the outfit is similar in feel and texture.
The next time you’re looking to buy a new tie, choose something which may only feel suited to wearing for half of the year. When that time roles around each year, you’ll get so much more enjoyment out of it then if it were another safe silk option.