Skinny Ties – The Low Down


I’ve written on the topic of ties before – from deciding on the right tie knot for the occasion to matching the shirt with the tie. In fact, it was one of my previous posts on bowties that resulted in today’s post. That post resulted in tangential queries on skinny ties and/or slim ties from readers (please do not hesitate to email me or post a comment with a question below) that revolved around when it was suitable to wear them and who a skinny tie looks good on. You could say this post was some time in the writing, so without further ado, let’s discuss skinny ties in depth.

What Is A Skinny Tie?

Skinny TiesA skinny tie is classified as anything between 1.5 to 2.5inches. Some argue that a width up to 3inches still falls under the slim tie category. Anything below 3inches is a slim tie but I feel it should be below 2.5inches to be classified as a skinny tie. The skinny tie was all the rage in the sixties but went out of fashion during the power suit era of the 80s – when traditional, wider ties came into fashion. These days, this retro style seems to be making a comeback.

Who Is Suitable For Slim Ties?


This is a difficult question. The general consensus is that skinny ties look best on tall and, you guessed it, slim men. However, if you fall into this group but are trying to look bulkier, a slim tie may not be suitable as it reinforces your skinny stature. A slimmer tie (not necessarily skinny) works on shorter guys as well since it takes attention away from their stature (due to the thinner width) and brings it to their face. You can read our post on dress shirts that covers the right fit and style for your body type to get a basic understanding for your fit. In my opinion, if you want to rock it, go for it. I count myself a bulky guy and I still wear a skinny tie from time to time for a retro look.

When Is It Suitable To Wear One?Brad Pitt Wearing A Skinny Tie

Skinny ties are gaining in popularity amongst celebrities and are often seen on the red carpet these days, ala Brad Pitt in the photo to the right. Obviously not suitable for a black tie formal occasion (bowties with a tux for those), they can still be worn formally, although I personally feel that they are more suited for casual occasions. I rarely see a skinny tie used at business formals unless the person is from a creative field and trying to make a statement. For work or formal occasions, stick to slim ties (between 2.5-3inches) and leave skinny ties for casual.

How To Wear My Skinny Tie?

Justin Timberlake Wearing Skinny Tie with Vest and Jeans for a Casual LookIf wearing a skinny tie with a suit, the width of the tie should be the same as the width of the suit lapel and with 1 or 2 buttons on the suit. The collar spread and length is also important (read about different types of collars) – a skinny tie would look out of place with a dress shirt sporting a wide spread collar, so try dress shirts with narrower collars. A skinny tie also looks best in solid colors or simple stripes. Leave the fancy plaid/paisleys for the traditional ties. For some reason, a tie pin adds a touch of class to a skinny tie look – so don’t be hesitant to use one when considering accessories to stand out. For a more casual look, simply wear the skinny tie with your dress shirt. You can choose to roll up your sleeves, wear it over jeans or vest – see Justin Timberlake in the photo to the left.

When it comes to the suitable tie knots – a full windsor is not the way to go with skinny ties. For a casual look, keep the knot loose and asymmetrical. A four-in-hand knot is perfect for a skinny tie (see photo below left). For a more formal look, a half-windsor knot works well (photo below right).

Skinny tie with Four In Hand KnotSkinny Tie with Half Windsor Knot

There you have it, the most salient points about skinny ties broken down for you. Do you think I missed out something important? Leave me a comment with your thoughts below.

Image courtesy: Brighterman, For The First Timer, Karan Upadhya’s Blog


About Author

Dhawal Shah

Through Art of Style Club, Dhawal Shah is educating himself on lifestyle matters affecting everyday men and bringing a fresh perspective to answer their questions. He is also the co-founder of 2Stallions Digital Marketing Agency, and an expert on web development, SEO, SEM, Marketing Automation & Social Media.

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