If you’re a guy — and if you don’t live in a ramshackle cabin in the mountains, scribbling anti-government manifestos — there’s a very good chance you’ll be required to wear a necktie sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Perhaps for a wedding, a funeral, a job interview or your parole hearing, you’ll have to button a dress shirt all the way to the top and loop a decorative length of fabric around your gullet.
If you’re one of those guys who already wears a tie to work five days a week, and looks especially debonaire when ordering a grande frappe latte, you can stop reading now. You probably make a lot of money and we slobs resent you for it.
We’re not going to teach you how to tie a Four-In-Hand or Half-Windsor or Prince Albert or bow tie or any of the other fancy knots. There are a million videos and step-by-step instructional guides out there that can walk you through those ordeals.
Instead, we’ll share a few important pointers about what not to do. As long as you don’t commit any of the following neck-fashion faux pas, you should be able to fool people, at least temporarily, into believing you’re classy.
1. The Shorty
Rule of thumb: once cinched around your neck, the tip of your tie should just touch the top of your belt. If you’re not wearing a belt, check to make sure you’re wearing pants. If you’re not wearing pants, reconsider going to grandma’s funeral.
2. The Dangler
The opposite of The Shorty, this one might as well be an enormous arrow emblazoned with the words “LOOK AT MY CROTCH.” Perhaps that’s not the message you want to convey during a job interview. Unless you’ve applied for a crotch-related job, in which case the necktie probably wasn’t necessary for the interview.
3. The Novelty
Resist the urge! If you’re a musician, don’t wear a piano keys tie, no matter how much you want to. If you’re a computer geek, don’t wear the light-up circuit-board tie. If you’re a neckwear fashion expert… well, wear whatever tie you think accentuates the color of your eyes and complements the cut of your suit jacket.
4. The Wagging Tail
Nothing says “I was wearing X-Men pajamas until 20 minute ago” like an extra-long tail peeking out from behind that proper part of the tie. It’s the neckwear equivalent of your underwear inching out from the back of your jeans (which, yes, is considered fashionable among some people, but those people are nitwits).
5. The Bra
If this happens to you, then you’ve done something very wrong. We suggest you stay home and don’t operate any heavy machinery.