How to Nail the Plaid Tie

Over the past few years, the tie has gone by the wayside. Once a staple of board rooms and startups, many now only see it as a necessity for special occasions such as weddings and funerals. Walk into the wrong job interview in one and you might even be penalized. Also, he might not be our sartorial leader in chief but Obama didn’t even wear one at the G8 summit this year, and that’s saying something. But while it may be one way for the rest of the world, those of us into menswear generally jump in the opposite direction when it comes to style.

In my opinion, there’s still a huge opportunity for those of us into men’s style to make it our own in casual settings. And when it comes to making it happen, there’s no pattern more killer than plaid. When matched against a dark blazer or chunky cardigan, plaid ties can give a pop to your outfit that may have been lacking before. Particularly for the fall season (the golden hour of menswear, for sure), plaid makes a special appearance on ties that are wool and cotton, rather than the usual finely made silk.

My recommendation with these ties is to keep it simple and laid back. Feel free to let your plaid tie add some color to your more muted autumnal browns and greys, but stay away from plaids with overly-bright pastels. Instead opt for a mix of more saturated colors: burgundy, royal purple and deep blues. Lastly, leave the pattern mixing to the pros. Generally, it’s good to stick with a solid color shirt if you’re choosing to go plaid with your tie.

Don’t worry too much about nailing the knot, length and dimple, particularly with non-silk ties. This isn’t an interview, it’s fall, so loosen up. A plaid tie that’s a little more twisted up under a tweed jacket and thick sweater holds a certain appeal. If one end hangs a little lower than the other, so be it – you’re old enough to do what you want. Finally, you might want to think about growing out those whiskers just a little bit too to keep off the winter winds and add a bit of roughness to your day-to-day wardrobe.

Sure wearing the tie to the office is a nice touch when everyone else is in t-shirts (yes, even at a startup), but feel free to bring that plaid-patterned bad boy out after work hours too. Sunday brunch, or even better, Friday night trouble making, is the perfect time to add a pattern to your look. Whatever you do though, don’t be that guy that takes off his tie and hangs it loosely around his neck. If it’s a little chilly out, just pop it off and roll it nicely in your pocket for next time your fall look needs some sartorial spunk. It’s time to embrace all that is fall (except maybe the Pumpkin Spice Latte’s), so break out that plaid tie and bring back some old-school style to your autumnal look.

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