Finding the Right Tie Width

Choosing the proper tie is an essential skill that all men should have. The choice between thin, thick and bow is dictated by metrics such as age, build, the suit, and the situation. Making the right choice can be the difference between looking svelte and looking foolish.

The Thin Tie

The thin tie, that is a tie with a width of less than 2.75 inches, is a quintessential look for the modern trendy man. Care must be taken however to know when and when not to add a thin tie to your style arsenal.

For the most part consider a skinny tie to be a casual tie. This is not a fashion accessory you would want to wear to the office, rather a skinny tie belongs around your neck for a night out on the town or other events not dictated by the business professional style.

On a more individual style basis it's essential to understand that skinny ties are not for everyone. Skinny ties are a hip and edgy look best suited to men under 40 with thin frames. Men of larger build would do well to balance out their frames and faces with a thicker tie. In addition, one has to consider the suit, in particular the suit’s lapels, before choosing to wear a skinny tie. The tie width must be matched to the lapel size. Therefore, skinny ties should be matched with modern 2 and 3-button suits that have narrow cut lapels. For more information you may also want to read our guide on: Clothes That Make You Look Thinner

The Thick Tie

Thick ties, or wide ties, are a safe bet for almost all occasions. They do not follow the same strict guidelines that thin ties follow and can be used by all men in nearly all situations.

Nowadays a normal width tie ranges from 3 inches to 4 inches in width. Also worth noting is where the tie is purchased. A brand name tie purchased in Europe is typically .25 -.5 inches narrower than the exact same tie bought at a US retailer. The reasons for this phenomenon are different demographic fashion tastes as well as differences in body type. European men typically have a narrower frame and a tie that is a touch narrower is much more complimenting.

Thick mens ties are more formal than thin ties and are the standard go to tie for business and casual events. Care must be taken to avoid overly thick ties that can appear comical (much like a clown tie). These extra thick ties are sometimes marketed under the guise of “power” ties but in fact look good on no-one.

The exception to ubiquitous thick ties are on extremely thin framed men that would do better to wear a moderately thin tie that balances out their frames.

The Bow Tie

Bow ties are a very fashion forward accessory best suited to young to mid aged men of thin frames with an impeccable sense of style. Many of the same rules that apply to the thin tie can be applied to the bow tie; with the exception that the bow tie can also be acceptable in formal situations. The size of the bow tie, or bowtie spread as it is called, ranges from 1.5-3 inches. Typically the size of the bow tie should complement the wearer’s face and neck size. The classic and most common size bow tie has a 2.5 inch spread.