This article is brought to you by The Dark Knot, a men’s accessories line carrying silk ties, linen and silk pocket squares and lapel flowers.
You’re a pro when it comes to matching colors and patterns. Nail the fabric and you’ll be the office tie style guru.
Aspiring dapper gents the world over are looking at different ways of matching colors and patterns. You can refine your sense of style with every nuance, including fabrics.
Topics that were evaded for so long have now come to the forefront of the style conversation – and you need to pay attention.
But the further you go in your stylistic journey, the more you will realize that there are even more layers of detail to be recognized and tested. You can refine your look with every nuance along the way.
Which specific nuance do I mean? Fabric. Not just the choice of fabric on its own. Sure, you want higher grade cottons (such as pima or peruvian cotton shirts) or a Super 120 woolen suit.
But do you pay attention to how different fabrics complement each other?
When choosing ties, understanding fabric properties and how they complement each other to create a textured, layered look will bring further intrigue to your outfits. It also ups your style game by adding a whole new dimension.
With this necktie series, the goal is to share three different aspects of tie matching that will help round out your understanding of neckwear. You can create the ultimate curated look, combining Color (Part 1), Pattern (Part 2) and, now, Fabrics (Part 3).
We’ll start with silk. It is the predominant choice of ties in the market. Silk is a popular fabric choice because of its:
- Durability. Despite its soft appearance, silk is made of strong natural fibers. These provide high tensile strength, allowing it to withstand pressure when being pulled. (You can stretch silk almost 1/5th of an inch without breaking it.)
- Shape. Silk retains its shape well and is fairly resistant to wrinkling.
- Drape. Silk drapes extremely well, affording a level of elegance that other fabrics just can’t.
- Aesthetic. There’s no doubt – a silk tie always looks clean and elegant. Its natural sheen (and the characteristics already listed above) makes silk the #1 choice of ties in the market place.
You can find silk ties in both woven and printed patterns. A woven pattern offers more visual depth. A printed pattern tends to be more striking as a result of the colors created with a hand screen finish.
A silk tie’s sheen and drape make it a popular choice to pair with a high grade cotton shirt and a woolen suit. The muted effect of the suit and shirt is offset by the shine of the silk, creating a striking contrast that (regardless of width) looks great any time of the year.
View an extensive range of silk ties from The Dark Knot.
Cotton and Linen
If you’re looking for textural variation in your wardrobe, cotton and linen ties are the ideal complement during summer months.
Linen ties work as an aesthetic alternative to the traditional woolen suit. Use one to dress down a suit for a less formal occasion, like a beach wedding. Pair your cotton and linen ties with a seersucker, linen or cotton suit during the warmer months for that ultimate refined, yet relaxed vibe.
Cotton and linen are cool fabrics. They make for lighter ties, lending an airy feel when you are dressing up in the summer; perfect for when you’re trying to avoid breaking into a sweat as soon as you leave the house!
Quick Tip: One con of these light, ‘summer’ fabrics is that they tend to wrinkle easily. Make sure yours are lined properly to maintain their shape and resist wrinkling.
Woolen ties are an aesthetic and textural complement during cooler months. Fall and Winter are associated with muted colors such as burgundy, olive green and mustard yellow. Woolen ties complement that look with a refined, nuanced elegance.
While silk ties provide sheen and elegance year around, woolen ties contribute to subtly stylish outfits. Their heavier texture helps to insulate your body; perfect for chilly days.
Quick Tip: Woolen ties work well with textured tweed jackets and are an excellent complement to traditional suits too. Muted colored suits look great with a full body, beautifully draped woolen tie in a thick knot. Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
The final fabric choice to discuss isn’t a fabric, but a style: the knitted tie. These ties are at the less formal end of the spectrum and dress down a suit or dress up casual wear. They’re characterized by their textured, loosely woven appearance and absence of interlining (as a result of using a heavier fabric).
Most knitted ties have square ends and are made from silk or wool. While knitted ties wouldn’t typically be worn in a formal business setting, they are perfect in a casual setting.
Quick Tip: To keep with the casual look, knitted ties are best worn with a four in hand knot, especially since the fabrics are inherently thicker. Silk knitted ties can be worn year round, but woolen knitted ties (due to their thickness) are best reserved for cooler months of the year.
That was a lot of information to take in! Let’s go over the key points:
- Silk ties are the predominant type in the market. Their aesthetics, durability, sheen and drape make them an overwhelming favorite.
- Cotton and Linen ties are lightweight and airy – ideal for Spring and Summer months. They help dress down an outfit, and are particularly suited for less formal occasions such as beach weddings and outdoor events like the Kentucky Derby.
- Woolen ties feature the insulating properties of wool and its heavier texture – ideal for Fall/Winter. The subtle, subdued look of a woolen tie goes perfectly with muted colors and provides textural variation from your traditional silk ties.
- Knitted Ties have been in vogue for some time. They dress down a formal ensemble and dress up casual attire with square ends and thicker fabrics, varying look and texture. Silk knitted ties can generally be worn year round, whereas woolen knitted ties are best suited for cooler months.
That’s a wrap for our 3 part series!
Which tie fabric do you prefer? How do you match it with your outfits, both formal and casual? We would love to read your views and comments on different tie fabrics below!
The Dark Knot is a men’s accessories line carrying silk ties, linen and silk pocket squares and lapel flowers. They also offer Free Style Consultations through their Starter Kits to help you choose ties, pocket squares and lapel flowers that will best suit your existing wardrobe and lifestyle needs.
You can also choose ties based on occasion and by matching suits / shirts right here.
The Dark Knot is happy to offer Effortless Gent Readers 25% off (including on sale items) using the following discount code at checkout: EG25
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