Classic Ties: Their Role in Defining a Southern Gentleman

The classic necktie - the name says it all, doesn’t it? The classic necktie is always in vogue, whether showing respect or expressing oneself. In essence, a classic tie is a statement piece that adds gravitas and grace to a man's attire.

This understated elegance can be dressed up or down, telling a story about your sartorial sensibilities. So, let’s take a gander at why this accessory has stood the test of time, shall we? More specifically, I want to discuss the following:

  • Types of neckties
  • Necktie widths
  • Necktie patterns
  • Necktie colors
  • Complementary outfits
  • Ties to own
  • The relevance of various occasions

Types of Neckties

Neckties come in several fabrics, patterns, and colors. They are not defined by fleeting trends but by timeless style.  It boasts a broad end, commonly called the "blade," and a slim end known as the "tail."

Classic ties, from Wall Street to Waco's Silo District, reflect one's personality and style, honoring tradition in diverse settings. They can be the talk of the party or a subdued sophistication.

Aesthetics: Classic Tie Widths

The Standard Width and When to Wear It

Classic ties are generally 3 1/8" to 3 1/2" wide. This is a good choice if you have a broader chest or shoulders.

Skinny Ties: Fashion Forward and Classic

The skinny tie typically measures 2 ½” to 2 ¾” wide. Picture a skinny tie with a slim fitted suit with thin lapels. It’s a perfect harmony of modern and classic aesthetics.

The Wide Ties: A Nod to Yesteryear

Expanding width takes us back to the mid-20th century, with 4" ties. Less common now but classic for a vintage look. Some old ties from granddads even go up to 4 ¾" wide, a true retro touch!

Like the melody of a Southern symphony, the width of your tie should complement the rest of your ensemble, especially the lapel width of your suit jacket.

Understanding Classic Tie Colors and Patterns

Popular Classic Tie Colors and Their Suitable Occasions

Black Tie

There is no doubt that the black tie is one of the most formal garments that can be worn by a gentleman and is often given to him at black-tie functions, including formal evenings and elegant banquets.

Navy Blue

Designed to stretch seamlessly between formal and casual settings, the navy blue tie complements many suit and shirt combinations.


It's a favorite go-to choose for public speakers and political figures because of its bold and empowering nuances.

Common Tie Patterns and Suit Pairings


There is one timeless pattern that makes classic ties so appealing: stripes. Striped ties, especially in colors like navy blue and white, complement solid suits beautifully and can transform an outfit.

Polka Dots

When paired with complementing attire, polka dots lend an energetic yet sophisticated aesthetic to a gentleman's closet.


A stunning Paisley pattern adds an artistic touch to one's outfit thanks to its intricate teardrop design. You can use it as part of your wedding attire due to its whimsical nature, but keep the rest of your outfit relatively simple to avoid clashing designs.

Using Colors and Patterns to Complement Skin Tone and Attire

Take into account your complexion when choosing the color of your tie. Opting for darker shades can create an attractive contrast for those with lighter skin; conversely, lighter tie colors can make a bold statement if you have a darker skin tone.

When it comes to patterns, if your suit or shirt features a striking design, it's best to complement it with a solid tie and vice versa.

Setting and Occasions for Classic Ties

Corporate and Business Settings

Different events require specific ties.

A conservative approach to attire is recommended for classic business settings. A navy blue or burgundy tie can be an excellent choice, giving an air of authority and reliability. These ties are solid and minimally patterned. Make sure your tie matches your suit and shirt for a cohesive look.

Weddings and Celebrations

When it comes to happier occasions like weddings or celebrations, wearing a bit of tie glitz is entirely acceptable. Usually, lighter, brighter ties with playful patterns, polka dots, or even well-done florals steal the show. In your wardrobe, reflect jubilance, love, and companionship. If you are the groom, choose something unique that will last you a lifetime.

Casual Yet Sophisticated Gatherings

A classic bolo tie lends itself to the occasion when a full suit and tie would be uncomfortably formal for an event. The turquoise bolo tie, paired with a tailored navy suit, is a great way to inject a Southern twist into a classic tie setting for a Sunday brunch or after-work party.

The Southern Soiree

These Southern soirees are characterized by elegance. Combine a seersucker suit with a lightweight bow or pastel tie to look well-dressed.

Fashion Pairings for Classic Ties: The Harmonious Bond

Suit and Shirt Combinations

Whether you're wearing a navy blue suit or a light blue or white shirt, burgundy or gold-striped ties perfectly complement the look.

If you prefer a more neutral suit, wear it with a powder blue or pale pink shirt and finish it with a floral-patterned tie to bring it all together.

Finding the Right Balance with Accessories

There are so many accessories to choose from these days. It's important to keep them all in harmony. For instance, a solid color tie would be great paired with a pinstripe suit.

To add a certain amount of charisma, your pocket square should complement but not exactly match your tie. You should wear a tie bar about two-thirds of the way down your chest.

Incorporating Southern Elements in the Outfit

Casual functions are perfect for seersucker suits and Madras prints, which evoke the gentile charm of the South.

The Essential Classic Ties

The Black and Blue: Unfailing and Universal

Black ties are the epitome of formality and a must-have for funerals, weddings, cocktail parties, and the Oscars.

Whether attending work or semi-formal events, a navy blue tie is your workhorse.

The Stripes and Solids: Flexible and Fundamental

Whether wearing patterned suits or shirts, stripes, and solid ties add visual interest and formality to your outfit. Solid color ties, particularly in shades like burgundy or gray, are versatile and go well with everything.

Did you know that American stripes run from top right to bottom left, while British stripes run from top left to bottom right?

The Playful Patterns: For Days that Desire a Touch of Panache

Do not assume classic ties are all about serenity. You can spice up your attire with paisleys, polka dots, and cheeky critter patterns! Adding a patterned tie to your ensemble will add personality without obscuring your ensemble's sophistication.

Southern Staples: A Nod to the Classic Southern Gentleman

A Southern gentleman's tie arsenal wouldn't be complete without the Bolo tie, also known as the Western necktie.

Bolo Ties assures that a Southern gentleman's pride is recognized in the most formal setting, whether a summer gathering or a formal business setting.

Final Words

Classic neckties symbolize elegance and refinement in a world of ever-evolving fashion trends. Their enduring appeal lies in their ability to effortlessly elevate any outfit, lending an air of sophistication to those who wear them.

Celebrating the enduring charm of classic neckties reminds us that some things never go out of style, and a well-chosen tie will continue to be a wardrobe essential for the discerning individual, transcending eras and trends with its enduring grace and style.

Next Steps

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