How Wide Should Your Tie Be

History says neckties first saw the light of day when Louis XIV of France noticed a regiment of Croatian soldiers sporting handkerchiefs of brightly coloured silk around their necks at the time they were presented at court. The Sun King took a shine to this innovation, and made wearing neckties a badge of royalty.

Four hundred years have passed since then, and the tie has been pulled, broadened, twisted and snipped into a plethora of different proportions. The most striking example can be traced back to the late 1960s and early 70s, when ties grew to a whopping five inches in width at their broadest point, mostly because of the long shirt collars popular at the time.

Today, thin is in the corporate world, at least where clothing is concerned. Suits have taken on a leaner silhouette over the past year, prompting other pieces of the wardrobe to follow. The tie, the finishing touch of any executive’s outfit, has also shed a few inches, and is skinnier than ever before. Says designer Asmita Marwa, “Right now, ties are quite narrow. The average width of a tie at its broadest point is not more than three inches.”

While these ties are trendy, are they a little too stylish for the boardroom? Designer Manoviraj Khosla doesn’t think so. “When trendy suits can be worn in the boardroom, why can’t trendy ties? If someone is naturally fashionable, then a skinny tie doesn’t seem strange around his neck in a professional setting.” Marwa agrees. “Ties are an extension of one’s personality, and if one is comfortable wearing a skinny tie, and can carry it off with ease, then the tie won’t look out of place in the office.”

Apart from personality, another factor that plays an important role when it comes to the width of the tie is body structure. Explains Khosla, “A skinny tie will look odd on a man who has wide proportions. One needs to be reasonably lean in order to wear this style.”

The width of the tie should also correspondent to the lapels of the jacket – the broader the lapels, the broader the tie.

It’s inevitable that the width of a tie alters its look, but it also dictates its patterns, prints and colours. Bold prints look good on wider ties, while skinny ties showcase diagonal stripes and plaid well.

Trends come and go, and ties are a favourite of fickle fashion. Today’s skinny tie can soon become tomorrow’s bib. Says Khosla, “Fashion will continue to play around with the width, colour and look of ties. For me, at the end of the day, nothing works better than a black suit with a black tie.

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