Style Q&A: What’s the Secret to Pulling Off the Casual Tie?

If you're anything like us, you love the look of a tie with a casual get up. It has been featured frequently in catalogs and magazines in the last few years, however if you've ever tried to wear a tie with jeans you know how hard it can be to pull off. Grant's got some ideas for getting the casual look without a ton of energy.


What's the secret to pulling off the casual weekend tie? I always see guys in catalogs and magazines wearing ties with jeans or casual shirts but every time I try it, it looks as bad as wearing a suit jacket like a blazer. (This and the hassle my buddies give me).

Thanks for your help!

Kevin A.

First of all ties don’t have be worn on the weekend to be casual. Your casual wardrobe can and should extend past Friday to Sunday night, but that’s a different conversation.

Pulling off the casual tie is all about width, fabric, and construction. Your regular business tie is usually 3 inches so keeping your casual ties slimmer than 3 inches you’ll automatically create a more casual look. In my opinion 2 3/4 inches is the sweet spot for a slim tie. I wouldn’t go any less than 2 inches for the skinny tie look unless you’re in a rock band or your last name is Beiber.

When it comes to fabric most of your professional ties are probably silk which is soft and shiny. To downplay your business look and upgrade your casual, wear something matte, (not shiny) and add texture. Try chambray, wool, cashmere or linen. Last but not least the construction of your tie is integral in showing off your casual side. Instead of the pointed blade on your business ties opt for a square or flat bottomed knit tie. These ties are inherently laid back but still stylish. Try a silk or wool knit in 2- 2/34 inches and you’re in business…I mean casual. If you’re a bow tie man the same rules apply. Smooth and silky for business…rough and textured for play. Give these tips a try and your buddies won’t have much to say. If they do, send them my way.

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Grant Harris

Grant Harris is Owner & Chief Style Consultant at Image Granted; a Washington, DC based Image Consulting Company dedicated to solving the complex image, style & fashion issues of today's professional man. He has a healthy obsession with socks. Follow him on Twitter & Facebook.