The pandemic has upended a lot of the rules when it comes to dressing up, and nowhere is that more apparent than when you should wear a tie. Dress codes have relaxed in recent years, but a sharp looking tie still makes sense in many situations. Here’s our take on tying up loose ends when it comes to wearing neckties.
Why Wearing a Tie Matters
Before we dive into the “when,” let’s remind you of “why” wearing a tie matters.
Greater confidence. When you look your best, you act your best. Would you rather go into a business or social situation underdressed or overdressed? A tie sends a message that you’re confident in who you are and who you want to be. It lets people know details matter to you, and you take pride in your appearance.
Establishing a pecking order. When you wear a tie, you’re immediately separated from others who think unbuttoned collars win the day. When you look the part, others will gravitate to you, helping you establish yourself with that edge we all look for in business settings.
Bosses take note. When you’re impeccably dressed, people in positions of power notice, too. Subconsciously you’re sending a message that you want to be taken seriously and that you’re ready for the next level. Bosses also understand that when you dress to impress, highlighted by the proper neckwear, you’ll also make a strong impression on clients.
Fattening your wallet. You’ll eventually get paid like a professional when you look like a professional. Of course, job performance matters most, but when you add how you look when you show up to work every day to the mix, your bosses will have a more favorable impression of you over time, and that can lead to pay raises and advancements. It could also lead to you avoiding layoffs when tough downsizing questions are to be handled.
When To Wear a Tie
Here are several times when you should dress up in high quality neckwear.
Job interviews. Always look your best when trying to land an important position. Many people today don’t take seriously the need to send a message when sitting for a job interview, and they’ll forego a tie in favor of a more casual look. However, a necktie is a must if you’re seeking a job in middle or upper management. And that applies to in-person or Zoom interviews.
Funerals. It’s important to be reverent for a somber occasion. Showing respect for the deceased and their family will not go unnoticed. Keep your dress to a dark suit and a dark tie that is understated.
Religious ceremonies. Again, show respect for the solemn nature of the occasion, whether it’s a wedding, Bar Mitzvah, christening, or other similar religious ceremony. This applies whether you’re a guest of a worshipper or you are celebrating your own faith.
Offices with formal dress codes. They’re becoming rarer these days, but some professions still demand a formal dress code. Attorneys, doctors, executive suite businesspeople, and others who want to instill trust in the people they meet and those they lead should inspire confidence by dressing the part. If you don’t typically wear a tie to work, consider bringing out the necktie for situations like a pitch to a prospective client, a presentation to your colleagues, or a meeting with upper management.
Jobs with high degrees of customer interface. If you’re a white collar worker who deals directly with the public, putting on a tie sends a message that you’re professional, reliable, trustworthy, and that you respect them.
Court appearances. Always dress to impress the judge, jury, witnesses, or anyone involved in a court proceeding. It can give you an upper hand when you walk in and look confident in the outcome of your case, whether you’re a plaintiff, defendant, attorney, or any other court attendee.
Upscale social events. You may be asked to go to an upscale restaurant, to the theatre, to a graduation, or to a charity event. In fact, many invitations and establishments may require it. Dress in a sharp looking tie and coat ensures you’ll attract attention from people who may be in a position to help you in any number of ways.
The Right Way to Wear a Tie
You defeat the purpose of wearing a necktie if you don’t wear it the right way. Here are some reminders so that you look sharp and feel sharp every time you cinch up a tie.
- Don’t wear the same tie more than once every 2-3 weeks. Over time, rotate ties in and out of your wardrobe, and toss frayed ties.
- Your tie should always be darker than your dress shirt for formal occasions.
- Every wardrobe should have a staple of basic and plain colored ties (black, blue, red), but don’t be afraid to mix things up with tasteful and reserved patterns. Ask for advice about what’s currently in fashion if you’re not sure.
- Change up your knot style from time to time. Experiment a little and find what works best for your look.
- Pay attention to changing styles, especially tie widths and lengths.
- Invest in quality ties. When you go cheap others will notice, and not in a good way.
- Wear your tie to the proper length. A man’s tie should always end at the center of his belt buckle when he stands upright.
- Learn how to incorporate a necktie dimple. A dimple is the telltale sign of a professional who knows how to wear a tie.
- Don’t wear short sleeve shirts with ties. Just don’t!