Questions from our Readers, Style Advice / March 29th, 2015

When to Wear a Tie | A Blueprint for Men on the Necktie

Picture this.

You’re getting ready for a networking event and are going over the e-invite you received in your inbox.

You notice with increasing anxiety that the invite doesn’t have a description on dress code.

What do you do?

Should you dress up? Dress down? Heck – should you even go at all?

The thought of being out of place is enough to make you cower in fear and avoid the event all together.

You’re even having a hard time deciding if you should wear a tie or not.

Now that you got that off your chest take a deep breath….and relax.

Men approach me at least a few times a month asking when is it appropriate to wear a tie. It’s time to once and for all answer the burning question of when wearing a tie is a necessity and when it’s not.

Which Environments to Wear a Tie

There will come a time in the next 6 months or so where you’ll be invited to an event of some sort. Many of these events will have a pre-determined dress code which should make deciding what to wear less painless.

In the situations where no dress code is mentioned, do your best not to weep or cry out in fear and follow the dress code I outlined below:

Weddings – The act of marriage is slowly turning the arc from formal to casual as time goes on. That doesn’t mean you can wear jeans and shirt with no tie. If there is no mention of dress code on the invite, consider a suit and tie mandatory.

Business / Corporate Events – It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday party or an annual town hall. Your goal should be to always dress how your superiors dress. Unless you work at Facebook, don’t be wearing any hoodies to a business event.

Funerals – A funeral aims to fulfill two purposes. The first is to honour and celebrate the passing of a loved one. The second is to pay tribute and offer your respect. Dressing formally in a black suit complete with tie is one way of showing that.

Networking Events – Whenever you’re in an event where interacting with people is the norm then first impressions will matter. You can get away with wearing a blazer with a shirt and no tie but why not set your bar high? Be the man other’s want to live up to and dress the best you can. Wearing a tie to a networking event is the smart choice.

On a Date – This one is a grey area and rightfully so. There are many places you can take a girl such as the local coffee shop to a nice dinner at a new hot spot. My advice is to wear a tie if going out for drinks at a bar or having dinner at a an upscale restaurant. You should basically wear a tie at any place that has an upscale vibe.

Pairing a Tie with Your Outfits

Now that you have a general idea of what to wear for your events you may be wondering what clothing options to pair with your tie.

Here are a few of my favourites:

A Dress Shirt & No Blazer – Believe it or not this is not my favorite option to go with. I find wearing a tie with a dress shirt but no jacket looks a little too “corporate” for me liking. It still is a solid look and is acceptable around the world. Just don’t make a habit out of it.

A Dress Shirt & Blazer – My personal favorite is pairing a tie with a blazer or a suit jacket. This is the definition of a stylish man that we all have grown accustomed to. If you want to make the ultimate statement. wear your tie with a navy blue suit and all eyes will be on you.

With a Waist Coat – A cool business casual look where the tie acts as a gauge. Wearing a tie with a waist coat and suit jacket is the most formal followed by a tie and waist coat with no suit jacket. Wearing a waistcoat without a tie or jacket is the most casual option.

Under a Cardigan – For something out of the box but still stylish, pair a dress shirt with a tie and throw a cardigan over top. Assuming the colors and patterns match – you will be one stylish gent.

As you can see – deciding when to wear a tie and when to leave one at home is easier than you first thought.

Men have been wearing ties for ages and it has stuck around for a reason. A tie is a great way to leave a first impression on your way to success.