How to wear a necktie

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man in necktie
Don't get tied down by necktie anxiety
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Know how to wear a necktie to make the most of this fashionable accessory

It has been years since I've had to wear a necktie every day and I don't miss those days at all. However, I still have many nice, fashionable, funny ties and wild ties that I like to wear occasionally.

Business and formal attire still requires men to wear ties, and most men still have "dress up" occasions like weddings, funerals, parties and church where a tie is appropriate. If you think you need to wear one, here's how to wear a necktie.

Before thinking about knots, itís important to choose a tie for the rest of your ensemble. If itís for work or an occasion when youíre wearing a well-tailored suit, go with a quality silk tie from a fashionable menís store or men's clothing catalog. Many of them still have salespersons who will help you match the tie to your shirt and suit, or color photos that help you put the components together, but a few simple tips will help.

Solid color ties are good for white shirts. If your shirt is a solid non-white color, donít wear a solid tie of the same color Ė go with a stripe or a pattern. Conversely, donít wear a patterned tie that matches your patterned shirt or suit Ė go with a solid color or a stripe. If youíre wearing a striped tie, make sure the stripes donít go in the same direction as the stripes in your shirt or suit.

When choosing a size, average width is always a good choice. Avoid skinny ties unless you are lean and your suit and shirt are form-fitting to your body Ė skinny look silly or sloppy otherwise, unless youíre going for a casual look. Avoid extra-wide ties at all costs unless youíre attending a 60ís party or going for a funny look.

Once youíve made your choice, itís time for the knot. Silk or light satin ties should be tied with a large double knot Ė ask a friend or check the Internet for excellent instructions on how to tie one. If the tie is made from a knit or heavier fabric, go with a single knot. In either case, keep it tight enough to hide the top button of your shirt, but loose enough to breath comfortably Ė no ties go well with a blue face!

For length, the bottom of the tie should touch the middle of your belt buckle - or where the buckle would be if you're not wearing a belt - when you're standing straight up. Take time to measure and re-tie to achieve this length - don't just tuck the too-long other end into your shirt! Always make sure the tie hangs straight down and covers all of the shirt buttons.

It's no longer a requirement to wear tie accessories like tie tacks or tie chains, but a subtle tie bar is acceptable.

Unless it's a casual event or oppressively hot, keep your tie knotted and your top button buttoned. In most situations, a tie is a sign of business, maturity and seriousness. Since it's often the boldest color in your ensemble, make sure your tie sends the proper message to those whose eye it will catch. And when the day or night is over, untie the knot and hang the tie on a proper rack so the wrinkles will relax.

Choose wisely and your tie will serve you well and not leave you tied up in knots.

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