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How Wide Should My Tie Be?

Because, let’s be honest, pulling out the perfect tie isn’t always a doddle.

If there’s one thing us blokes have learned to do, it’s to laugh at our #firstworldproblems - those little, annoying, niggly issues that maybe, probably, definitely shouldn’t bother us in the slightest but, well, do. You know what we’re talking about.

Not checking your pockets for tissues before you toss your jeans in the washing machine. Running out of loo roll in the morning and then forgetting to buy more on your way home from work. Watching that show you recorded on Sky Plus but then forgetting to fast-forward through the adverts. Not shaking the bottle of ketchup before you give it a squeeze only to watch on in horror as that nasty-ketchupy-water-stuff squirts onto your plate. Or forgetting to turn the lights off before you get into bed and then having to decide whether you’ll leave your uber-comfy set-up or concede defeat and just sleep with your head under the pillows. Well, you can add picking a tie to this list of problems because the struggle is real.

Trends change, styles shift, fashions ebb and flow, magazines change their tune and, if that’s not enough to pop a spanner in the sartorial decisions facing us suit-wearing office-bound folk, there’s the little matter of tie widths to overcome too. Yup. Tie widths. But don’t start breathing into a brown paper bag just yet because we’ve got your back (or neck, if you want to be super-specific).

Before we pull on our proverbial snorkels and dive into the wonderful world of neckties, however, there’s a question at the centre of all this that desperately needs answering: what’s the sweet spot when it comes to tie widths?

Well, to answer that as simply as possible, any tie that falls between 2.25” and 3.3”. Stray out of these boundaries on either side and you’re at risk of attracting some quizzical looks from people without these aghast onlookers really knowing what’s wrong.

And, with that covered, let’s crack on with the other factors you need to consider when picking the tie width that’s right for you.

No More Mr Wide Guy

Okay, that subheading is an incy bit misleading, but we couldn’t resist a quick pun (spoiler alert: there’s loads more on the horizon). What we’re getting at, though, is the importance of knowing your body type before settling on a tie width. Thankfully, the equation is simple: the wider you are, the wider you tie should be. Nonetheless, let us break it down for you a little more:

Slim Shady (skinny men): 2.25” - 2.75”

If you’re a slimmish, skinny chap, you don’t want to be puttign on a wide tie for one reason: it is going to look extra wide on you, especially compared to a gent who’s got a healthy dollop of bigness on his side. So keep it slim. That said, if you do want to push the boundaries of what’s possible, we’d say slender men could maybe drop down to a 1.5” - 2.0” tie and still look dashing - you just want to be aware that some people might think you’re trying to rock a retro-look while your mates might do the classic, “cough hipster”. But if you feel great in a skinny-tie, then who cares what others think. It’s all about confidence.

Athletic Guys (aka average): 2.25” - 3.3”

Being called average isn’t anyone’s cup of tea but, on the tie front, if you’re an average dude with an average build you’re laughing all the way to our tie rack because the world is your oyster, sir. You can rock them all - it’s just a matter of taste. Pop on a wider tie to get that classic city look, or go for a slimmer one to give off a trendier, more creative and youthful vibe. It all depends on what sort of day you’ve got planned, really.

Notorious B.I.G. (broader men): 2.75” - 3.3”

Wide guys need wide ties. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve built a massive chest in the gym or bought a bigger belly in the pub - skinny ties can make broader blokes look a little, umm, amusing. That’s why you want to push the wide tide trend. Trust us: you’ll make a lot of people jealous that they can’t pull off such a power move.

Grab Life By The Lapels

Given we’re talking about widths affecting other widths, we should probs talk about lapels because those folded flaps of cloth that run down the front of your suits, jackets and blazers hold the key to picking the perfect tie width. In short, the aim of the game is to match the width of your tie to the width of the lapel.

Of course, that brings in a bunch of new vestiary obstacles to hurdle because, like with tie widths, the world of lapels chops and changes more than which Z-list celebrity is the media’s flavour of the month. However, the same principle remains resolute: slim lapels go with slim ties and wide lapels go with wide ties. Disobey this unwritten rule and you’ll throw the proportions of your whole look right off balance. Oh, and never wear skinny ties with double-breasted jackets; that’s what your Mum would call “a big no-no”. Anyway, the reason we’re giving you a lapel-based heads-up is to help you out the next time you go for one of those spontaneous “I’m gonna bag myself a new suit” shopping excursions (#weddingseason #jobinterview) ‘cos you might want give a little thought to your tie-rack too. Who knows, you may end up needing to add a few more silk numbers to your collection.

Do Knot Worry, Buddy

There’s not any single tie that is going to be perfect for every suit on every occasion no matter the season. The tie unicorn simply doesn’t exist, which should take some pressure off you. That said, there is a “perfect” knot for each tie width, and knowing which one to use when is an art form that will help you properly deploy your neckwear. So, let’s crack on with it, shall we?

The Skinny (1.5” - 2.25”): Four-in-Hand

The Sixties (2.25” - 2.75”): Pratt

The Classic (2.75 - 3.3”): Half-Windsor

The Mafia Boss (3.3” plus): Full-Windsor

Wear Width Confidence

Like we said above, the unicorn tie doesn’t exist. There’s no single tie that’s perfect for every situation. We wish there was, but the world of men’s fashion isn’t that sartorially pure. Instead, the best advice we can handover is this: pick a width that makes you feel more comfortable than Sunday mornings at an all-inclusive resort and more confident than four pints of Moretti on a Thursday evening.

Trends will change, styles will shift and what was in vogue last season probably won’t be forever. That’s why you should treat yourself to a few new ties and give yourself the best thing in life: options. And with that in mind, go with your gut, strut over to your closet with purpose, pick the tie that’ll fill you with swag, and go kick today’s butt in whatever neckwear makes you feel groovy. That’s all any of us blokes can do.

Thanks for reading.
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