Magnificent Bastard

Friday, November 28, 2014

Ask the MB: The Great Tie Width Debate

Ask the MB: The Great Tie Width Debate
Q: Hate to drag this up yet again, but all the ties you recommended in your recent post, "matchy-matchy," are 3" width. So now I'm curious, when you urge everyone to abandon skinny ties and go wide, what width do you consider "skinny," and is it possible, in your view, to go too wide? I also ask because, trends be damned, I think 3"ish is ideal, but at my conservative job, my 3" ties are generally regarded as "skinny".
--J. Nelson


A: A width of three inches is our starting point. If it's narrower than that, we throw it back and cast again. As for maximum width, it's all about proportion: You want a tie that echoes the width of your jacket's lapels. The wider your lapel, the wider tie you need -- and these days, like Jessica Simpson, lapels are widening. But if you ever need a tie wider than 3.75 inches, then it's time to put your lapels on a diet.

Who's on our side in the tie width debate? In the 2010 GQ Style Manual, designers Scott Sternberg (Band of Outsiders) and Tom Ford (Tom Ford) offer their thoughts:

SCOTT STERNBERG: "A skinnier tie just feels of-the-moment right now....And there's less material, so there's less potential for a color or pattern to feel garish or offensive."

TOM FORD: "There is something a bit meager and uptight about a skinny tie and jacket...I think that accentuating the natural V of a man's body makes men look more masculine, less boyish, and in general more powerful."

AT LEFT: Both designers put their theories into practice. Ford looks classically masculine. Sternberg radiates of-the-moment inoffensiveness. The choice is yours to make.

Earlier: More from Tom Ford about tie width.

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