Guide to the different types of fabrics that make up ties. Silk, polyester, wool or cotton, ties are made in different materials. This article reviews the main fabrics and presents their advantages and disadvantages.
Finding the perfect tie for every occasion takes a little thought. Not only their thickness, their style or their patterns can vary. But that’s not all, you also have to consider the fabric in which they are cut. The material used to make them will have a major impact on their aesthetic appearance.
As with coats, suits or sweaters, certain fabrics used to make ties will be more suitable depending on the season. And depending on the events for which you are dressing (wedding, baptism, graduation, etc.), materials will be preferred or avoided.
This guide aims to present the main types of fabrics found in ties. It will also specify which ones to choose depending on the occasion.
Silk ties are among the most well-known and widespread. And this is no coincidence since silk has interesting properties. It is a luxurious material that lends a dressy style to an outfit. It is also soft, long-lasting and naturally derived. Its natural elasticity allows it to resist well the tensions that the tie can undergo so that it resists folds rather well and keeps its shape for a long time.
Silk has other properties that make it so successful, such as its ability to keep its wearer warm when it’s cold or to regulate heat when the temperature rises. Its fibres are also very absorbent, dry quickly and allow the skin to breathe.
The main drawbacks of silk are its price (often high) and the difficulty of washing it. If you have made a stain on your tie, you will have to go to a dry cleaner, because this material requires specific products and know-how.
Silk ties can be worn all year round. They will suit a wide range of occasions, whether for professional, ceremonial or simply worked looks. Conversely, their dressy nature will not match for relaxed looks.
Polyester is an artificial material, that is say, created by Man, which is very similar to silk. It largely reproduces its texture, softness and visual appearance.
Polyester ties also have several qualities. They hold up well to wrinkles and are easy to clean (unlike silk). If properly cared for and stored (out of direct sunlight), they can last a long time and retain their colour. And for their price, it is usually quite low.
This material also has flaws. It’s not breathable, which means it can cause you to sweat around your neck during hot weather. Polyester is also relatively firm, which often makes the knot around the neck more slippery. It will then be necessary to tighten it regularly.
If you can’t stand the heat and sweat easily, polyester ties may not be the best option for you. Otherwise, you would be wrong to deprive yourself of it. Especially since polyester is a material that can be dyed easily, which makes it possible to find very different varieties.
These ties will be suitable for almost all occasions, except again for styles that are too relaxed, where the tie would stand out too much with its dressy style, like silk.
As their name suggests, this type of Men’s Tie is made of wool. This material is thicker and more textured than silk or polyester, which gives it a very different visual appearance. The wool tie being bulkier, the knot to tie it around your neck will also be larger and more visible.
As with silk, wool is a natural and durable material. However, if it helps retain heat when it’s cold, it regulates body temperature less when it’s hot.
The thicker your tie, the more casual, that is to say relaxed, it has. The wool tie should therefore be reserved for casual, business and smart casual styles, but avoided for ceremonial outfits or particularly formal ensembles. A wool tie, for example, goes very well with a tweed jacket or a denim shirt. Wool is a winter material, it will be appropriate to reserve your woollen ties for the cold season (autumn-winter).
Related article: the smart casual style
Linen is to summer what wool is to winter. The linen tie is an essential accessory for suits worn between June and September. Designed with linen fibres, it will be particularly resistant and durable (linen is a natural fiber known for its resistance). So you can keep it for years.
Linen also has breathable properties, which help prevent body overheating when the mercury rises too quickly. Less thick than wool, it is also a textured material, which brings depth to your looks.
However, linen has the defect of creasing very easily. You will therefore need to pass it regularly under the iron to relax and smooth its fibres. And as with wool, its textured effect will make it incompatible with ceremonial or very dressy looks. Conversely, linen ties will be ideal for relaxed styles during the summer period.
Cotton is the best known and most widespread of the materials that make up our clothes. It is therefore no surprise that we also find it in our ties. As with linen, it has a rather relaxed style.
It is generally found mixed with other fabrics in ties: cotton/linen or cotton/wool for example. It is a relatively soft and breathable fabric, which is halfway between silk and wool. It can be washed and dyed very easily, which means you will find it in very different colours and patterns.
As for linen, cotton will be reserved for your summer or relaxed outfits. It will mix very well with the other fabrics that make up your clothes (wool, jeans, linen, etc.).
Knit ties can be recognized by their highly textured (i.e. raised) appearance, which resembles that of knitted sweaters. They are also relatively flat and end with a square toe.
Knitting is not a material but a manufacturing technique. This type of tie is usually found in silk or wool, which means it can be seen in both winter and summer.
The main advantage of a knit tie is to bring depth to your look. Your outfit is not all “smooth”, but the knitting of the tie brings relief to your appearance.
The knit tie is generally more casual. They will match many different styles, except again for formal wear (where silk will be the ideal choice). Use it to dress up a relaxed style or loosen up a costume look.
It is also a good accessory if you want to bring a touch of novelty and originality to your style. If you are not used to wearing them, start with plain ties without patterns, such as brown, burgundy or navy blue in winter, and pastel shades in summer.
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