Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Men's Fashion: Necktie Proportions

In this series of Men's Fashion, we'll look at the necktie, beginning with its proportions.

Choosing the right proportions for a necktie is a very logical excercise.

First, you have to determine what lapel width is appropriate for your body size. A narrow-shouldered man, having a narrower chest to bear his jacket lapels, should have narrower lapels. Thus, his tie should also be narrow, in proportion with the lapels. Conversely, a broad shouldered man should have wider lapels and a wider necktie.

If you want to play it safe, you can pick a necktie with a width (at its widest point) of somewhere between 3.5 and 4.25 inches. This is the standard width of lapels and so will prevent your tie from falling out of fashion and looking silly. However, that isn't to say that all "trends" in neckties are inappropriate -- the current trend of thin ties is appropriate for thin men and will continue to be after thin ties are no longer widely popular. By the same token, a large man with a thin necktie will always look silly.

Now, beyond picking correct proportions, the secret of wearing a tie well lies in two features: a dimple and a taut knot. The dimple -- or, as Fonzworth Bentley would say, Wall Street cleavage -- produces an aesthetically pleasing line, particularly with the four-in-hand knot. A taut knot will arch the knot out from the collar lending it a certain dignity.

For an example of how to work that Wall Street Cleavage, take a look at (who else?) Obama:

Next issue of men's fashion, we'll look at colour, patterns, and fabric of the necktie.

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