I once met a guy at a bar who told me there were three things every man needed to know how to do. First, he needs to know how to pick out a quality cigar—learning how to smoke it is implied. Second, he said, a man should learn how to dance the waltz. Let’s be honest, every woman loves a man who can dance, and what’s classier than dancing the waltz? Nothing.
Learning how to tie a tie was the last requirement he mentioned, three pints in to his Gentlemen’s Guide, and I would agree. There is nothing sexier than watching a man tying his tie, loosening it or having him take it off.
Ties can be seen as masculine, stylish and even kinky (ask any woman who’s read Fifty Shades of Grey). Long gone are the days of only accessorizing for formal or business occasions; men’s accessories have become more playful and more accessible, so men have no excuse not to stock up their closets.
If you’re not sure where to start, in the words of Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie,” “Let me show you a few things.”
THE THICK: For the everyday man
How to wear it: Folded under the collar.
Though the most conventional, the classic tie will never go out of style. With a multitude of patterns and colors to choose from, the classic tie is a complementary accessory found in every man’s closet. No matter the event or your personal taste, there’s a tie out there for everyone. Commonly seen on the likes of Ryan Gosling and George Clooney, a well-matched tie can bring out the class in even the most rustic types, such as Nick Offerman and Gary Oldman.
Wear it here: At the office, company banquet or your cousin’s wedding, the classic tie is universally accepted.
THE SKINNY: For the vintage man
How to wear it: Folded under the collar.
Noticeably growing in popularity among celebrities, the skinny tie is usually a thinner version of the regular tie in a solid color that’s paired with a tie bar and a crisp shirt. Some prominent celebrities spotted with this stylish accessory include Zac Efron, Robert Pattinson and David Beckham. Let us not forget that this smart look was first popularized as far back as the ’50s and ’60s and continued to resurface in later decades on the likes of David Bowie, Duran Duran and other musicians of the ’80s.
Wear it here: Virtually anywhere, but looks particularly handsome when out for a night on the town.
THE BOW TIE: For the trendsetter
How to wear: Attach underneath collar.
Often paired with a tuxedo or blazer, the bow tie can come off as both smart and gallant. Much like all other tie styles making a comeback, more and more men are beginning to make fashion statements with unique and colorful bow ties. The iconic James Bond carried the look for years and now modern celebrities like Kanye West, Ashton Kutcher and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have all been spotted flirting with this timeless and dignified look.
Wear it here: Cigar parlors, weddings and whenever you want to add a little flavor to your look.
THE POCKET: For the well-tailored man
How to wear it: The 15” pocket square is placed inside the front breast pocket.
Add a touch of color to your otherwise dark or light suit. The pocket square is an accessory for distinguished gentlemen or the perfect supplement when you want to forgo the tie. Pocket squares can range in price substantially and are often worn by celebrities and influential types as an added symbol of their refinement. Daniel Craig, Robert Downey Jr. and Scott Disick are a few of the many celebrities seen trading in the tie for this casual but stylish look.
Wear it here: Hotel bar, galas and afternoon drinks.
THE ASCOT: For the ladies’ man
How to wear it: This tie/bow tie hybrid is knotted once and folded under an open dress shirt.
Though the ascot is not for everyone, some celebrities have been known to make it work. A few notables are Michael Caine, Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass and Jeremy Piven. At the opposite end of the spectrum, sporting an ascot can also make you look like Christopher Walken’s repugnant character in SNL’s sketch “The Continental.”
Wear it here: Formal or garden party; just not when you’re inviting a woman over for some champagne (or, as Walken would say, “Some champagna”).