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Not all men wear a tie all the time, but when you wear one, it shouldn’t be a novelty piece or just a piece of your costume deemed solely as a compliment to your suit or dress shirt. It’s meant to speak to the rest of your outfit, not stand apart from or clash with it. So, whether you are looking to get a valuable customer, a better job or an astounding lady to offer your heart to; your tie becomes a very important piece of your dressing. Do not listen to people who say “a tie is a tie” because nothing is farther from the truth. So let us look at four things to consider when choosing a tie that will go with your dress shirts for different occasions. 1. LENGTH Whether you are tall or short, the rule for tie length is that when tied in a properly fitted Windsor knot (or any other knot for that matter), the triangular point at the wide end of the tie should be able to meet your belt buckle – the tip of the tie should hit right at your belt-line— not three inches below it, not two inches above it. You can always try it on at the store before you buy.   2. COLOUR As you would match the shirt and suit to your skin tone before buying, you should follow the same principles while selecting a tie. Solid coloured ties can be worn by everyone especially for formal occasions. A dark/black tie is appropriate for business wear; it goes with everything and is suitable for all occasions from funerals to work.   3. PATTERN When choosing your ties, it is very important that you consider the pattern. Always determine the occasion before buying/wearing a patterned tie; for example, since weddings are formal affairs, a formal solid colour tie is the best option to go with. The rule is to always pick a pattern that complements your outfit. If your shirt’s pattern is pronounced, choose a subtle tie; if your shirt is muted, your tie can be a bit flashier. Ties with dots pattern can be very nice; the smaller the dot on the tie, the more formal the tie will look. But be wary of large polka-dots because you might end up looking like a clown. Checked ties also can make a bold statement but you have to skillfully combine a checked tie with a differently checked shirt. The rule to follow in this case is to always wear smaller checked prints on your body and larger checks around your neck. The key to wearing patterned neck-wear is to first ensure that the tie’s own colours do not clash, and that the tie’s patterns do not conflict with any patterns on your shirt or suit. When combining a patterned tie with a shirt and suit ensemble, ensure the pattern is not already present in the clothing.  A thin-striped shirt should not be combined with a thin-striped tie; however, that same thin-striped shirt will work well with a polka dot, solid, or even thick regimental striped tie as the patterns are not similar.   4. BALANCE Finally, look for a tie that goes well with your dress shirt. Make sure it has a nice balance or colour to it so that it looks good. When in doubt, stay subtle; while a tie can be the focal point of an outfit, it’s still an accessory and shouldn’t pull the focus away from you. Next time, we will look at how to knot a tie.       About the Writer: Chris Bamidele is a passionate and unapologetic Nigerian, who believes in God and humanity. He is a writer, blogger, and an aspiring Television Director; and an optimist to the core. He blogs at and tweets @Chrisbamidele    

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This article was first published on 3rd April 2015


Chris Bamidele is a passionate and unapologetic Nigerian, who believes in God and humanity. He is a writer, blogger, and an aspiring Television Director; and an optimist to the core. He blogs at and tweets @Chrisbamidele.

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