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Types of Tie Patterns

A man wearing a gray shirt with a black paisley pattern tie

These days, you can find literally anything on a tie: Flamingos, cheeseburgers and even your own face if you make a custom tie. But there are a few tie patterns that are more traditional when you’re shopping for neckwear. Let’s take a look at those seven main men’s tie patterns (and then we’ll get back to the fun and wild tie designs).

Paisley Ties

If you’re looking for a tried-and-true timeless pattern look no further than paisley, the elegantly swirled repeating pattern that’s so often associated with formal occasions. Chances are you already have a paisley tie in your neckwear collection—and if you don’t, your dad or grandpa definitely do! Paisley has long been the standard for patterned tie wear.

There are many styles of paisley ties, from large bold patterns (like above) to small, tone-on-tone prints.

The rich history of this pattern began thousands of years ago in Kashmir, with cloth producers taking inspiration from China, India and the Middle East. Once reserved only for royalty, paisley was woven into silk shawls worn by men for hundreds of years.

What began as a simple geometric design has evolved into the intricate and varied paisleys we see on ties today. This pattern has shown its ability to stand the test of time and has become a go-to choice for business and formal wear.

Striped Ties

Striped ties are a popular choice for those who want to represent their school or favorite team’s colors, as well as those looking to add a tie to their business casual attire. From pencil stripes to fashion stripes to regimental stripes to widely spaced stripes, there’s a whole world of striped ties out there.

From schools to the office. Striped ties are professional and come in a wide range of color combos and stripe sizes.

Repp stripes are the grandfather of the striped ties we know today. Originally created for servicemen in the British military, the color, width and direction of the stripes represented their regiment and was a way to show their loyalty when out of uniform. Soon, this style made its way across the pond to the United States where the stripe pattern was kept. However, in the U.S. the direction of the diagonal stripes were reversed to avoid directly copying the British.

Today, you can choose from thousands of striped ties in every color under the sun. Striped ties are still a way to show loyalty, or just your favorite colors!

Dotted Ties

Wanting to add a little fun to your attire? Dotted ties (or polka dot ties) are the way to go! Many think of large, clown-like polka dots when envisioning this pattern, but there’s a whole spectrum of dot sizes when it comes to ties.

Keep it subtle with pinpoint dots against a solid background for work attire, or larger dots for more casual occasions. The rule of thumb is: The smaller the dot and the farther apart they are, the more formal.

Polka dots aren't just for swimwear and clowns! Many dotted ties are business and formal wear appropriate.

Plaid Ties

Rich with tradition, plaid is one of the most diverse patterns available, mixing many colors together in one motif. Plaid ties come in a range of print sizes, from the smaller glen plaid to larger tartan.

Plaid ties are a great go-choice choice for the office, but there is a rich history behind this pattern, too.

The pattern as we know it came out of Scotland in the 1700s. Different regions of the country produced different colors of plaid based on the plant dyes and materials that were available. Eventually, these varied plaids came to represent clans and families. Another design based on loyalty!

Take your pick from the many prints and color combinations of plaid ties available, whether they represent your “clan” or just go really well with your favorite shirts and suits.

Floral Ties

Floral ties are currently trending, especially for weddings. This pattern encompasses a wide variety of prints, from large to small, flashy to subtle.

Floral ties are more popular than ever these days and include small, subtle designs like above as well as bolder, more colorful patterns.

When you think of spring and summer events, floral ties are definitely in fashion. Small print florals in muted tones are a favorite for weddings, as well as dressy upscale events where you may want to match to a date’s dress. For bold, fun-in-the-sun wear, large and bright florals are the perfect choice (think the style of Hawaiian shirts with hibiscus flowers).

Whichever you choose, florals are a great way to incorporate a few different colors into one outfit. Find one main color in the pattern to match to a suit, pocket square or casual wear and let the rest of the pattern be complementary colors.

Geometric Ties

From spirals to squares and squiggles, geometric ties house a wide variety of patterns that aren’t quite standard. Keep it subtle with repeating checks, or dazzle with intricate medallions.

These unique patterns often take their inspiration from math and nature: Spirals, waves, tessellations and geometric shapes. Small scale geometric patterned ties (squares, checks, tumbling blocks) are a common choice for formal business attire and occasions. Larger geometric prints (large medallions, zig zags, waves) are most frequently worn for casual settings, which may include a more relaxed business environment.

Swirls, checks, links and more! There are a lot of ties that fall into the geometric pattern category.

Solid Ties

You could definitely argue that this one isn’t really a pattern, but we can’t talk about men’s pattern ties without touching on the solid colored tie. Today, most men have at least one solid color necktie or bow tie in their wardrobe—even if it’s the tie they wore for prom. But solid ties in every color under the rainbow weren’t always so common.

Back when every businessman wore a tie to work (i.e. before the mid 1990s or so), the average guy might have had a handful of neutral solid ties in his wardrobe: Blacks, grays, navys. But that was usually the extent of his color range.

Enter Regis Philbin and the gameshow “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.” While hosting the popular television show, he always wore a bold and shiny solid tie. Suddenly bright, solid color ties were a must-have in the business world and department stores, not just formal wear shops, started stocking these bold solid ties, too.

While not necessarily a pattern, most men have a solid color tie or two in their closet these days.

Today, solid ties are still commonplace in the office, for casual settings and formal events. However, the finish of the tie has evolved since Regis first wore this style. Solid ties can be found in matter finishes than Regist wore, like cotton ties, linen ties, knit ties and more.

Novelty Ties

When a traditional tie just won’t do, take the plunge into novelty ties! From your furry friend’s face to electric guitars, there’s a whole world of funny and heartwarming specialty ties that will highlight your hobby or those you hold dear.

These are fun ties that you wouldn’t normally wear on an everyday basis, but definitely make their appearance on special days such as birthdays, holidays and the like. Consider giving a novelty tie as a gift to that special teacher, for Father’s Day or to that coworker who has a passion for tacos.

Not every pattern tie is serious! Novelty ties, like this fun t-rex pattern, are great for gifts or showing off your personality at work.

Have your own idea for a tie? From artwork to a selfie, you can put (almost anything) on a tie when you design a custom tie.

In Conclusion

With so many patterns to choose from, picking a tie can be daunting. Start by narrowing down your choices to a pattern that suits you, then look for colors that accent or coordinate with your current wardrobe.

If you’re still not sure on colors, stick to today’s “neutrals” (navy, burgundy, dark green) as well as classics like black, gray, brown and off-white/tan. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone once in a while and wear a tie that’s bolder or brighter than your regular go-to. The number of compliments you receive might just surprise you.

About TieMart

TieMart is an online retailer of men’s neckties, bow ties and other accessories. A wide selection of pattern ties are certainly 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.