Southern Savvy: Types of Ties and When to Wear Them

Well, hello there, gentlemen! Welcome to an article tailor-made for those fond of donning a tie that speaks volumes about their personality, neatly encircling their collar. This accessory is the focal point of a gentleman's ensemble, the pièce de résistance, providing a glimpse into your character before you even exchange a polite "How do you do."

Within the confines of this article, we shall embark on an exploration of various types of ties. These encompass the timeless necktie, the spirited bowtie, the daring ascot, and the cherished gem of the Southern realm – the bolo tie.

Our journey will take us through each tie style's origins, suitable occasions, and essential instructions.

The Different Types of Ties

Classic Necktie

The tie men simply cannot do without - the classic necktie. Made of silk, cotton, or synthetic materials, it's adaptable functional, and speaks volumes about a gentleman's style and character. 

This standard is seen in business people, at formal gatherings, or just one classy guy!

A few variances:

  • Width
  • Color
  • Pattern

Windsor and Half-Windsor lead the pack in style. A finely crafted classic necktie always looks great when paired with a crisp shirt and a well-tailored suit.


Oh, the bowtie - what a charming piece of neckwear. More often seen at formal events or jazzing up a stylish casual look, the bowtie adds pizzazz.

In the South, bow ties are worn at cocktail parties, weddings, and festive events. To be authentic, try a self-tied bow tie. Adding visual interest with patterned bowties, solid or made of unique materials such as Southern seersucker is a delightful choice.

Ascot Tie

Let's talk about the ascot tie for old time's sake, shall we?

Traditionally made of heavier silk, the Ascot is commonly worn under the shirt collar, folded over, and pinned in place. 

This tie is for those upscale events, such as aristocratic affairs, where you want to make a strong statement.

Bolo Tie 

Now, we come to one of the most unusual ties, the Bolo Tie. Distinctive, different, and downright interesting is how I describe it. 

Bolo ties consist of a leather or braided cord looped as if to mimic a necktie, but a decorative metal slide, often of sterling silver, clasps it together. 

Southern men often wear a Bolo tie with a crisp white shirt, waistcoat, and jacket to convey a timeless, stylish image.

When and Where to Wear Different Types of Ties 

Formal Occasions

Pure elegance with great taste slays a formal occasion—a charity ball, upscale wedding, or high-profile luncheon.

For grand occasions, your best bet is a classic necktie or a formal, self-tied bow tie, especially if the dress code is "black tie." In terms of color, you can't go wrong with black, navy, or silver.

Business Settings

Here, the name of the game is to look professional yet approachable. 

A simple necktie works best in a business setting. Choose solid colors, subtle patterns, or collegiate stripes. 

A stylish skinny tie could make all the difference in a creative or less traditional working environment.

Informal or Casual Events

You may opt to go tieless for an informal meet and greet or Sunday service. But hold on, consider the good old Southern bow tie as an option. After all, you want to keep yourself looking as dapper as possible, right?

With its unique leather cord and ornamental clasp, the bolo tie would be a delightful surprise at a local Country Western dance or a casual yet trendy event.

Which Type of Tie is Best?

It depends based on the following:

  • The occasion
  • The rest of your outfit
  • Your Style
  • Regional fashion expectations


  • High-powered business meetings in the city where you want to appear powerful and sophisticated. Wear the classic necktie in navy or maroon, knotted in a suave Windsor.
  • Formal black-tie event. Make your appearance in a crisply tied, elegant silk bow tie. (not pre-tied). Self-tied separates a gentleman from the boys. 
  • Attending a Southern music festival. How about a bolo tie? Why not, am I right? With their Western roots, bolos exude a laid-back cool that's uniquely Southern.
  • You have an invitation to the Kentucky Derby. The paddocks are always awash with style, and an ascot tie would certainly make you the talk of the racecourse. 

Choose a tie that boosts confidence and comfort. Fashion reflects personal style, so pick ties to convey your message. Your tie is more than an accessory; it's a statement. Make yours known!

Styling Tips for Different Types of Ties 

Matching Ties with Shirts and Suits

  1. If you pair a dark navy suit with a crisp white shirt, attempt to add a bit of contrast with a burgundy or gold necktie

  2. For a light gray suit and pastel blue shirt, a blue or silver tie can draw the ensemble together graciously.

  3. A black bowtie with a black tuxedo is a classic Southern elegant look that can never steer you wrong.

      Choosing the Right Tie for the Occasion

      Choosing the perfect tie for any occasion is as imperative as selecting the correct suit. For instance:

      1. When it comes to black-tie events or ceremonies, the black tuxedo and self-tied bowtie are a great choice.

      2. Classic neckties make business meetings more professional, regardless of the style.

      3. Casual affairs could call for a bolo tie sporting a more relaxed yet charming look.

          Classic vs. Modern Tie-Wearing Etiquette

          In the ever-changing realm of fashion, both timeless and contemporary tie-wearing customs remain steadfast.

          Conventional guidelines dictate that the tie should consistently extend to the upper edge of your belt buckle, with the slender end never drooping below the broader counterpart. 

          From a more contemporary perspective, sporting a slightly shorter, even slightly skewed skinny tie can uniquely express your style.

          Tips for Choosing the Right Type of Tie

          Consider your Physical Stature

          If you are a man with a larger frame, opt for wider, traditional ties, which provide a nice balance.

          For those gentlemen who are mean and lean, skinny ties can flatter you. Take, for instance, a skinny tie that can look distinguished against a tailored slim-fit suit, giving a modern, sleek finish.

          Color Factor

          Neutrals like navy, black, and gray are staples every man should have in his arsenal. These can go with just about any shirt or suit, and they're appropriate for any event, from business meetings to weddings. 

          For instance, a sterling silver-gray tie paired with a crisp white shirt can create a striking contrast that never fails to impress.

          A darker tie can make a stunning contrast if you're wearing a light-colored suit and shirt. 

          Patterns and Materials

          Solid ties are versatile, but stripes and polka dots add a little something with character to your attire.

          Imagine wearing a burgundy tie with subtle cream polka dots against a dark navy suit. 

          A patterned tie can liven up a monotonous ensemble, but don't let it overwhelm the rest of your attire. 

          As for materials, silk has long been regarded as the gold standard. However, a cotton tie can lend an air of casual sophistication to a summer soiree or a Sunday church service. 

          Fit and Care

          If you prefer a Windsor or four-in-hand knot, your tie should reach just above your belt buckle.

          Store your ties rolled or hung, and avoid excessive dry cleaning- these can prolong your tie's life, and one day, the next generation might look back on them with fond memories.

          These tips and advice allow you to mix and match your favorites and flaunt an effortless, timeless charm that only a true Southern gentleman can pull off.

          Final Touch

          I must proclaim that a realm of endless possibilities awaits those who venture into the world of ties, my dear gentlemen! Embracing your style with self-assurance and elegance is the key to it all.

          Remember that the perfect selection can elevate your attire to a harmonious symphony of flair and refinement, whether you opt for a timeless necktie, a suave bowtie, or a distinctive bolo tie.

          Explore the world of ties, experiment with different styles, and find the ties that speak to your unique sense of fashion and individuality.

          Next Steps

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