Ties have staged a big comeback in the past few years, and a lot of guys have gotten into learning different tie knots and matching specific knots with different types of collars.
But there is a final frontier, when it comes to neckwear.
It’s all about breaking the rules and loosening up the tie without actually loosening it.
Because the big problem with a loosened tie is that it often looks just terrible. It destroys the relationship between tie and collar. It creates a bunch of distracting lines up around a man’s neck where there shouldn’t be any. And it makes a dude seem kind of beat and exhausted, rather than crisp and ready to take on the world.
There is, however, a way to introduce some irreverence to necktie-wearing without becoming messy.
Here’s a good example, from the Instagram feed of Curtis Newkirk, who works for up-and-coming menswear brand Beckett & Robb:
A photo posted by Curtis Newkirk (@curtisanewkirk) on Jul 14, 2015 at 6:00pm PDT
Look what he’s done here. He’s tied his tie long, allowing it to fall well below his beltline. Received wisdom says that your tie’s point should hit at or just above your belt-buckle or beltline.
He’s also tied his tie so that the thinner back blade is longer than the wider front blade.
These are both daring moves that are completely unfamiliar to the vast majority of American necktie-wearers, but that are common among Italian men. And for what it’s worth, English guys routinely tie their ties long.
The effect is to take some of the stuffing out of wearing a tie without actually wearing the tie loose or sloppy. As a plus, the slightly offbeat nature of the back blade being revealed provides a visual dynamic that makes the tie more than an obligatory sartorial noose.
Newkirk is a master of formally informal tie-wearing. Here’s another example, where he breaks another rule:
A photo posted by Curtis Newkirk (@curtisanewkirk) on Jul 9, 2015 at 4:33pm PDT
When worn, a tie has two sections, but most guys believe they should hide the back blade by slipping it through the tie’s label or the small loop of fabric known as the “keeper.”
This isn’t necessary! It’s far more stylish to let that back blade fly! It shows that you enjoy wearing a tie.
But do bear in mind that this is harder to pull off with today’s skinny ties. It’s better if the front blade is wider than the back. An exception would be a narrow knit tie. I don’t think you should ever hide the back section of one of those, given that the nature of a knit tie is inherently somewhat casual.
Give it a try! Follow Newkirk’s lead and loosen up you tie-wearing mojo — without looking at all slovenly in the process.