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How To Wear A Tie In A Casual Setting

Gray textured tie on navy sweater

For essentially the entirety of its history, the necktie has been a cornerstone of men's formal fashion. However, throughout its evolution, the necktie has gradually found its way into a variety of different corners of men's fashion. One of the more notable areas of men's fashion that the necktie has infiltrated is casual wear. And, just as there are rules for what types of shirts, pants, and shoes are acceptable in a casual setting, there are rules for the types of ties and the way they should be worn. The goal of the rest of this post is to give you advice on how to wear a tie and look like a boss outside of the office.

Fabrics & Patterns

The textile industry has come a long way since the inception of the necktie. As technology has improved and new materials have become available, tie makers have been able to create a great variety of neckties. Ties can be made out of materials anywhere from wool and cotton to silk and polyester. And, as you might have guessed, there is a time and a place for each of these materials.

If you're planning on rocking a tie in a casual setting, it's important to stick with materials that have a matte look. The matte look provided by a wool, cotton or linen tie adds texture and intrigue to complete a more laid back look. The way the fabric is constructed is also an important factor. For example, knit ties do a wonderful job of adding a bit of casual yet refined texture. (Side note: Knit ties are also pretty durable and do a good job of returning to their original shape in case your casual gathering turns a little rambunctious.) Furthermore, a tie woven in a chambray style can add a beautiful, soft texture to almost any casual look.

After identifying the right fabric, the next important step is to choose a pattern that works. Generally speaking, solid color ties tend to work better than patterned ties in a casual setting. Patterns can easily turn loud in a casual setting and that's just not what you want. However, ties with subtle, classic patterns like gingham, houndstooth and herringbone can look great if the colors are not overly contrasted.


Neckties have come in many different shapes and sizes throughout the years and a lot of those shapes and sizes still have their place in men's fashion today. For example, in a casual setting, your necktie should be somewhere between 2.5-inch and 3-inch in width. The term casual is analogous to simple when it comes to fashion, so you don’t want to overdo it. A 3.5-inch wide tie will stand out and draw the kind of attention you don't want.

While the picture that pops into most people's heads when hearing the word necktie is that of a classic pointed end tie, the square end (or flat end) tie is an underrated option that has steadily been gaining popularity over recent years. Square end ties are naturally more casual than their pointy counterparts and usually come in a knit style (which, if you remember from earlier, is already a plus in the casual category).

Wear It The Right Way

Now, you might think it's a rather obvious statement that wearing a tie in a more disheveled manner creates a more casual look, but there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Some people tend to confused casual with sloppy. There is no dress code that allows for sloppy. Casual just means you have more leeway when it comes to what you wear and how you wear it.

Wearing a tie in a casual setting gives you some freedom in terms of how loosely you can wear it around your neck. For example, feel free to undo the top button of your shirt and leave your tie just tight enough to keep the collar in place. You can also leave the skinny part of the tie that is usually kept hidden behind the front of the tie out to hang loosely. However, this method isn’t easy to pull off as it can turn sloppy easily.

One last thing to note is that the end of your tie, no matter how it's tied, should always hang down to the middle of your belt buckle. This is a sort of golden rule that applies to how to wear a tie regardless of the dress code.

About TieMart

TieMart is an online retailer of men’s neckties, bow ties and other accessories. A wide selection of pattern ties are available at TieMart, including popular paisley ties for weddings, traditional plaid ties for the office and collegiate two-color striped ties for graduation or school uniforms. And, yes, if you really want to put your face on a tie, it’s possible with a custom photo tie. TieMart ties are affordable and ship quickly from their Midwest location.


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We are a family-run tie company based in Illinois. We've been in the biz since the late 90s, so by now we know a thing or two about men's fashion and accessories. Tiepedia is our lil spot on the web to share that knowledge with you.