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Necktie Fabrics: Guide to Tie Fabrics

So you’ve gone ahead and purchased that tie  that you've had your heart on for the longest time.  Seasons pass, and you continue to wear it several times a month.  Habit may slowly turn to obsession.  Except for the fact that you have a niggling little doubt about the cravat you continue to adorn your neck with every so often.  Is the fabric or the tie season appropriate?  Now, I’m not going to be a necktie snob and suggest that certain fabrics are only fit for certain seasons.  However, certain tie fabrics can both look more aesthetically pleasing and feel more comfortable during certain weather patterns.   With aspiring dapper gentleman paying further and stronger attention to detail as this fashion revolution shifts stylistic tectonics from right under us, we can see that details do matter.  And they really can make is stand out.  A linen tie with a woolen suit can add textural variation and depth that will have one standing heads and shoulders above their fashion contemporaries.

With that being said, let’s explore the most common tie fabrics out there in greater detail.  Here is our guide to necktie fabrics.

Silk is by far the overwhelming choice of necktie fabrics in the market:

  • Silk happens to be one of the most durable fabrics out there. Despite its soft appearance, silk has high tensile strength, allowing it to withstanding pulling pressure.  It is the strongest natural fiber, with its natural elasticity further contributing towards its tensile strength, with the fabric having the ability to be stretched from between 1/7th to 1/5th of an inch before breaking. 
  • Silk fabrics retain their shape and are fairly resistant to wrinkling
  • Silk happens to drape well. Its suppleness, together with elasticity and tensile strength, allows it to take great shape.
  • Aesthetically, silk happens to be a popular choice because of these many characteristics. Combined with its natural drape and feel, a silk necktie can be offered in both printed and woven silk, allowing for a range of designs, colors and textural variations that can really diversify a gentleman’s wardrobe.  Additionally, silk is considered neither too light nor too warm, allowing it to be the perfect year round necktie.  No wonder most of the market offers a large selection of silk ties!

Before moving onto the next fabric, I would like to point out that printed silk ties of the animal print variety (such as our Animal Print and Funky Animal Print Collection), are a great substitute (if not texturally, aesthetically) for linen and cotton ties.  Playful themes exhibited by printed silk ties, such as relaxed sports vibes or oceanic themes often make for great neckwear during the summer months at work or even during social events such as a country club or beachside wedding!

Grey Silk Abstract Tie

Summer Ties – Linen and Cotton             

The two most common types of Summer Tie Fabrics are Linen and Cotton.  These ties are often offered in light and pastel colors, and add textural variation to either standard woolen suits.  Combined with a Spring or Summer Linen or Cotton suit, they can help to accentuate the relaxed vibe that you would be looking to portray!  Summer ties often come in light pastel colors and exhibit typical summer patterns such as plaids, delicate stripes and more playful polka dots. 

A con of wearing cotton or linen ties is that they tend to wrinkle easily.  It is therefore of paramount importance that these ties are lined properly (please read here for important information on necktie construction) so as to maintain their shape.

Woolen Ties

Given that we are discussing Winter Season, where colors closely follow that of nature and textures are naturally thicker, wool becomes an ideal substitute to the lighter weight silk and summer times that you can adopt at other times of the year.  While silk can be worn year round, the class exuded by woolen ties as a consequence of texture and depth that accompany said neckwear is priceless.  Textured fabrics are heavier, insulate your body well and just flat out add character to your ensemble. More girth on your tie, typically more subdued colors, and an equally if not more impressive knot can really make one stand out. 

While woolen ties can work well with textured jackets such as tweed, they are an excellent complement to traditional suits.  Eschew suits with stronger sheen, as woolen ties are more subdued in nature.  Woolen ties are full in body, drape well and tie thick knots, making them perfect neckwear for any formal setting during the Winter Season.

Grey Woolen Tie

Courtesy of Men's Fashion Blog

Knitted Ties

Knitted Ties are at the less formal end of the neckwear spectrum and can be used to dress down a suit or dress up a more casual outfit.  Knitted ties are characterized by their textured, loosely woven appearance and absence of interlining (as a result of their texture).  Most knitted ties have square ends and are typically constructed of either silk or wool, with the latter being used for Fall and Winter Seasons.

While Knitted Ties wouldn’t typically be worn to a formal business setting, they are ideal for a less than formal, casual setting such as chinos with buttoned-down shirt and blazer wedding.  Even if others are sans-tie, you will not feel overdressed.  It’s basically a win-win!

Because Knitted Ties are generally considered less formal than their silk counterparts, they are best worn using a four in hand knot, evoking a sense of casualness.  Generally, because knitted ties also happen to be of thicker construct with the shell (fabric), any knot that is tied will be larger than if used on a silk tie.  They can also generally be worn slightly shorter than a silk tie.

While silk knitted ties are great for year round wear, woolen knitted ties add more texture and warmth, and hence are a great option for the Fall and Winter months!

yellow knitted tie

Courtesy of Men' Fashion Blog

Hope you have found our necktie fabric guide helpful!  

Do you need help figuring out which ties best suit your wardrobe and lifestyle needs? Maybe you are considering adding Pocket Squares or Lapel Flowers to your wardrobe. Whatever your accessories concerns may be, our Starter Kits, that come with a Free Style Consultation (typically valued at $500!), are the perfect solution. Please feel free to learn more about our Starter Kits here.