On at least one matter, the conventional wisdom of men’s style and fashion experts is unanimous: every man must own at least one tie. It’s important to get the numbers right: whether one is enough for you, a few will take care of your needs, or your job demands you wear one at least every weekday.
So, How Many Ties Do You Need?
Although you can’t have too many ties, just like a girl cannot have too many high heels, coming up short is a problem, as it can mean forcing ties with shirts and jackets they don’t work with, looking silly and feeling less than confident, and wasting valuable time to sort it all out. The information that follows will give you a good idea of how many and what kind of ties you need.
If you are going to own just one tie
Make it a solid silk tie in a dark color: charcoal gray, black, navy, or some other dark shade of blue. The most versatile tie is a black knit silk tie, as it can work with a shirt and jeans, or a custom made suit. Versatility, however, is generally overrated. While one might get away with this approach, you run a definite risk of looking like someone who uses versatility as an excuse to be a cheapskate.
If you wear ties just now and then
It’s best to have a few on hand for different occasion and seasons. A safe handful should include a few solids in dark and/or versatile colors, some with diagonal or “rep” stripes, and some classic all-over patterns. We suggest all silk, with maybe a cotton or wool tie thrown in to mix things up for summer and winter. You may prefer less traditional colors and patterns, in this case adapt accordingly, making sure your existing wardrobe accommodates bolder or more whimsical hues and prints.
If you wear a tie every day
You should own at least one tie for every shirt and each suit in your closet. You can get by with a baker’s dozen or so, but eventually even this may leave you repeating your tie/shirt/suit combinations a little too frequently. There’s nothing wrong with stepping out in a suit, shirt and tie combination that looks great with some regularity, but you don’t want to be someone who never mixes up his wardrobe.
Look after your ties
Also your ties will last longer if they are given a breather between outings. The best solution is to have a couple of times for each shirt and suit, with each tie affording the ensemble look. Changing your tie is the easiest, least expensive way to give your style variety.
Solid color shirt: if your shirts are mostly white or pale, solid colors, you can pair them with lots of different ties, traditional and on the wilder side. Likewise, blue or gray suits can take lots of different ties.
Patterned shirts: if you own a lot of patterned shirts of subtly striped or patterned suits, you’ll need to build your wardrobe a bit more conservatively.
What you’ve got in the way of shirts and suits will dictate how adventurous you should be.