These six ties work overtime for you

For any tie to gain admission to your professional work wardrobe, you need to be able to wear it with any of your solid color shirts, at a minimum. If you’re following our advice that means ties that don’t look absurd with white, blue or pink. Generally those that are navy or burgundy or gray fit the bill. These colors can be worn with any of the solid shirts, forming either a very put-together look or a creative contrasting look, depending on the permutation.

The most versatile ties for a minimal wardrobe:

Navy grenadine solid tie

Smart savvy: Charles Tyrwhitt navy silk plain grenadine Italian luxury tie  – $69, often available at $39-59

When we talk about grenadine it's a textile, not a color or a drink. An open loose weave of silk, it's a classic that brings enough subtle texture to a solid tie to keep it interesting. All grenadine ties for sale anywhere today roll off the same factory floors in the Northern Italian town of Como. With the material therefore commoditized, quality of construction and cost are the only remaining considerations.

Burgundy or wine grenadine solid tie

Smart savvy: Charles Tyrwhitt burgundy silk plain grenadine Italian luxury tie – $69, often available at $39-59

If you must own only one tie, this is it. Keep one in your desk drawer at work for when your boss pulls you into a board meeting on an idle Tuesday. No matter what you're wearing, it'll look great.

Prince of Wales gray glen plaid tie

Smart savvy: Charles Tyrwhitt grey silk classic Prince of Wales check tie – $69, often available at $24-59

Not only does this one go great with navy suits, but also it's a more formal tie suitable for weddings and funerals.

Burgundy polka dot tie

Smart savvy: Charles Tyrwhitt magenta and white silk classic Oxford spot tie – $69, often available at $24-59

This one has a denser dot pattern than most, making it look like less of an accident that dots got spilled over a tie. The Charles Tyrwhitt we recommend is technically a magenta shade but it works just as well as burgundy.

Navy polka dot tie

Smart savvy: Charles Tyrwhitt navy and white silk classic Oxford spot tie – $69, often available at $24-59

Same pattern as the one above but in navy that goes great with gray suits.

 
Charles Tyrwhitt navy and white silk classic Oxford spot tie

Charles Tyrwhitt navy and white silk classic Oxford spot tie

 

Red and navy repp tie

Smart savvy: Brooks Brothers BB#5 Repp Tie, Red and Navy – $79

Very classic and very common, find one pre-owned. In fact it’s hard to go wrong with any tie made by Brooks Brothers and they’re easy to pick up on eBay.

More tips on ties

Width

Ties are supposed to be proportional to the width of jacket lapels. We think it’s silly to keep buying in different widths to keep up with whether the look is the 1960s or the 1930s. Instead, look for ties that are 3 ¼ to 3 ½ inches wide. They can get away with any lapel width except for the ridiculously narrow ones, which you won’t be wearing anyway since they’re in fashion for two weeks every 20 years and therefore a complete waste of one’s time and money.

Patterns

Solids go with everything and are perfect for just tying one on and getting out the door in the morning. If ties aren’t normally part of your work wardrobe but certain meetings require them, just keep a solid burgundy tie in your desk drawer for when your boss surprises you and drags you into a board meeting on an idle Tuesday.

Repp, or striped, ties are called “classless” not in that they lack class but rather they go over well in blue collar crowds, white collar crowds, and everything in between.

Club or dot ties are more upper-crust but work in pretty much any situation.

Materials

Silk is all-around the best choice for material. Avoid anything manmade like microfiber or polyester. Wool ties are seasonal and therefore not a great choice.

Parting Thoughts

No doubt this tie collection is minimal but may also become boring after a while. Add variety by adding a rotating collection of ties picked up pre-owned. Wear them a while and then let them back into the universe.