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What Makes A Good Tie

When you want to buy or make a necktie, there are a few things that need to be considered. For those of us that care a little more about the quality of the product, we need to know about the different variations. There are different categories for neckties depending on the type of pattern, the construction method, the length, and the width. For the most part, this is a judgment that you make based on your sense of style. But here are the general perceptions that I have come up with that go with each choice.

CategoryDescriptionComment
skinny tie ~2 in. wide casual; emo rocker
standard tie ~3.75 in. wide professional; standard tie
wide tie >4 in. wide old fashioned
standard length ~57 in. long standard length
extra long ~60 in. long for taller people
striped repeating stripes running along tie the stripes usually run diagonally
paisley amoeba looking yin/yang pattern old fashioned
repeating pattern small pattern that repeats frequently along fabric patterns can vary from shapes to small pictures
solid colored single color on tie color is usually used to contrast with shirt
focused image single large image on front of tie usually a novelty or holiday tie
standard tie lined tie with minimal amount of silk necessary standard tie construction method
six fold lined and self tipped necktie folded six times a lined representation of the seven fold tie made with an interlining for better drape
seven fold unlined necktie make completely out of silk folded seven times original construction method

Good Construction

The qualities that make up a good necktie are similar to that of a nice suit. The fabric should be of high quality. Most ties will say 100% silk, but there are different types of silk that range in price and quality. The reason that silk is chosen is not because it shines so well. Other fabrics made with a satin weave will also shine, but silk drapes very well. If the silk is heavy enough, the weight of the silk will make the tie hang nicely. The alternatives are that it is too stiff and looks like you're wearing cardboard, or the fabric wrinkles and the tie simply looks like a mess.

  • Asides from the fabric, the actual silk should be checked for any loose threads or runs in the fabric.
  • From the front, the necktie needs to be symmetrical along the centerline. It is very noticeable when one edge at the time is longer than the other making it look unbalanced.
  • The edges along the tie should also be straight.
  • When you hold the tie up from one end, it should not twist and turn. This is a good indicator to check if the silk was cut on bias.
  • When you put on the tie, the silk should not be lumpy. If it is, run your fingers across the silk and if it is still lumpy, the slipstitch used to close the tie was probably too tight.
  • On the back, you can inspect the stitches that were used to attach the facing or used to roll the edges on an untipped tie. There should not be any visible threads and the folds/rolls should be of the same width on each edge.

Good Design

A good design on the fabric is almost completely up to the taste of the person wearing the tie. But a few guidelines that I've found is that repeating patterns should not be spaced out. If there is an extravagant pattern on a fabric but only one and a half of it will fit on the front of the tie, its generally not going to be a good choice in fabric. Other than that, it's up to your color coordinating ability to pick out a good necktie combination.

Ben Folds Seven Neckties Copyright 2006-2008

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