Guide to Ties

Ties are a man’s best friend when it comes to any workplace or social gathering. The tie is, as many people like to call it, a status symbol and with time, how one wears their tie has become an essential aspect of dressing up.

With shirts, jackets and sweater vests, men’s ties can help create a stylish look to elevate your personal style. Ties vary in width, colour and materials from silk, cotton, wool and more. This guide will help you choose the perfect tie for you.

Neck Ties

Ties are an extension of your personality and should reflect who you are. They can be very versatile in terms of how they are worn, so they should complement either your suit or blazer.

Neckties can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on the pattern or colour of the tie. A tie that is plain or simple in design can be worn with a suit but also with a casual outfit. This allows you to wear one tie throughout your day while still looking sharp and professional. If you are wearing a patterned tie, it’s best to pair it with a suit and dress pants for an evening out on the town. Here are some aspects of ties to consider:

Knot Styles:

The kind of knot you wear will affect the general look of your outfit. There are so many different knots out there—but if you’re not sure where to start, here are three tips:

  • The four-in-hand is a classic small knot that looks great on its own or with other accessories. It’s simple to tie and makes a statement without being too over-the-top.
  • The half-Windsor is another great option for everyday wear. A medium knot, it’s not as formal as some of the other knots out there, but it’s still elegant enough for most occasions.
  • The Windsor knot is a large, even knot, perfect if you want something more traditional or formal (like if you’re going to an event). It takes some practice, but once you get it down, it’ll become your go-to!

Knot Sizes:

Tie knots can be large, medium or small. The large tie knot is the one you see on TV and in magazines. It’s a symmetrical knot that sits high on the neck and is perfect for any occasion. This is recommended for people with larger faces to balance the wearer’s features.

On the other hand, the medium tie knot is slightly larger and more symmetrical than the small tie knot but doesn’t sit as high up on your neck. It’s great for work or casual events like weddings, birthdays and graduations.

Lastly, the small tie knot sits low on your neck and is usually asymmetrical, so it’s perfect for more casual events like going out with friends or an interview at a startup company where you want to show off your personality without being too stiff or formal. Similar to the larger knot, this is more suited to people with smaller faces.


Your tie width should be proportional to your shoulder width. If you have broad shoulders, you can opt for a wide tie. If you have narrow shoulders, go for a skinny tie. And if you notice that your wide tie has a dimple at the knot, that’s usually intentional. It helps the tie hang straight down from your neck and gives it a slight wave, which looks sharp and trendy.


Neckties are made from different materials. The most common is woven silk, but you can also find ties made of knits, polyester, or microfiber. If you’re looking for something with a little more texture and weight to it, try out one of the heavier varieties that are available!

Suit Style:

They look better with notch and peak lapel suits. The knot, in particular, can be a bit bulky for a suit with a small or nonexistent collar. The wide base also supports the weight of your tie knot without looking like they’re straining under pressure from all sides.

If you’re looking for a tie to own, you’ve got to get one that can go with black, charcoal, and blue suits. Wine red is a great option for this. It looks good on any skin tone and really pops against the other colours. But if you want something more formal, consider a black tie. They are usually reserved for funerals and weddings.

If your jacket is lower cut, you should definitely wear tie clips. They’ll keep the tie in position and keep it from slipping out of your jacket. But if your tie is long enough to tuck into your vest, do it! This will prevent it from getting caught on anything else while you walk around.

Bow Ties

A bow tie has an open curved end and a square knot that keeps it in place. Most bow ties are made from silk or polyester, but they can also be made from cotton or wool. Bowties are considered more formal than regular neckties.

They are mostly worn in Black tie and White tie events, which are formal events where people wear tuxedos or other formal attire. The rule of thumb is to wear a black bowtie for a black tie and a white one for a white tie dress code. They can also be worn for casual events as a quirky statement piece, but not in between.

Types of Bowties:

Tying a bowtie is not as easy as it looks. It’s all about the knot and where you tie it that makes all the difference. Fortunately, you can choose from these three types of bowties:

  • Clip-on: These are not recommended for events as they can easily become crooked when worn, and they look rather childish. They’re perfect for kids but not really recommended for adults.
  • Pre-tied: These bow ties hook at the back and are easy to wear. They’re more even compared to clip-ons because they’re pre-tied, but they can still be uneven if you don’t get it right.
  • Self-tied: These are just as easy to wear as pre-tied ones, but you have to tie them yourself. This gives them an organic look that can be uneven if you don’t get it right (which takes practice).

Patterns and Materials:

When choosing a bowtie, remember that patterned ones are casual, while plain ones are more formal. Patterns like paisley and plaid can be worn with any dress code, but they make an especially bold statement with more casual dress codes like jeans and t-shirts. Plain bowties with small details like satin or silk work best for traditional and formal events.


Another cardinal rule: size matters. The width of your bow tie should never be wider than the ends of your eyes. That way, you’ll avoid making yourself look comical. That said, if you’re going for a more eccentric look, then a wider bowtie is definitely an option.


A lapel pin is a small, decorative piece of jewellery that can be attached to a bow tie. The most common materials are gold or silver because these are great with any clothing colour. You may also choose metals like bronze or brass to match them with your belt buckles or watch bands.

Suit Styles:

Bowties take on an entirely new meaning when paired with a shawl lapel suit. The bowtie’s roundness complements the jacket collar’s circular cut and adds a touch of sophistication to this versatile outfit choice. And the wide in-between will give off an impression of authority and power without seeming too aggressive.

There are a few must-have colours for your bowtie collection. Black is always a good choice, as it goes with virtually any suit. A plain silk one in pink or orange will work with your basic black, charcoal, or navy suits. Wine red is also a must-have colour—it works well with all of the above suits, plus browns, golds, and greys. And if you’re looking for something more casual and unique, try a textured bowtie!

Obscure, Unique Ties

Now that you’re already familiar with the two most common types of ties, there’s a few alternatives that you can wear if you want something different. These ties are all about making sure that your style is never boring and will help you stand out in the crowd with little effort!

Bolo Tie

First, we have the bolo tie, also known as shoelace tie. It’s a type of necktie tied in the front and consists of a piece of cord that may have a decorative metal clasp at the end. This rustic-style necktie originated in the American West and is most commonly seen in Western-themed clothing. It’s still worn by many country singers today.

Day Cravat

The day cravat is a statement piece that can be worn in a variety of ways. They are perfect for layering over shirts and vests. You can also wear it with separates, chinos, and casual wear to achieve a laid-back vibe. Its obscure design and colour scheme make it the perfect statement piece for men who want to make a bold statement without going too far out of their comfort zone.

Formal Ascot

The last on our list is the formal ascot. It’s most commonly worn with a morning dress, the most formal daywear dress code. This tie is considered quite rare nowadays and is generally reserved for special occasions when you want to make a statement. The formal ascot is generally silver in colour, though other metals may be used as well. It’s usually worn with a pin—often an obscure one.

Ascots and cravats are both neckties, and though people use the terms interchangeably, they have very different meanings and origins. The former was originally worn by horsemen to keep their necks warm in the 18th century. They’ve since evolved into a style statement, with their shape and colour denoting the wearer’s social status. On the other hand, the cravat originated in the 17th century and was first worn by Croatian soldiers. The cravat then became very popular in France during Louis XIV’s reign as King.


Ties are one of the most important accessories a man can have in his closet. A well-made tie will show an employer or client that you give attention to detail and are confident. At Briggins, we are here to help you look your best. When you visit us to get your suit tailored, you can speak to our stylists to find out the best ties to pair with your new suit. Our ties and bowties make it easy to dress up for that special occasion, but they also lend themselves to more casual wear. Whether you’re heading out on the town or just want to spice up your business casual wardrobe, Briggins has the perfect accessory for you.

If you’re not sure how to wear a tie or bowtie, don’t worry! We can advise everything from knotting techniques and dress shirt styles to where exactly on your body to place the tie (hint: it’s always lower than you think). If you have questions about what types of ties and suits work best for certain occasions or what colours are appropriate for different seasons, our team is happy to help. Email us at or call us during our showroom hours on 1300 452 251.

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