In today's men's fashion world, the big picture is all about the little things: shoes, socks, belts, watches. But the biggest piece of the accessory puzzle is the littlest-or skinniest-of them all: the skinny tie.
In another move toward retro fashion, men's skinny and woven ties have seen a resurgence over the last five years that has vaulted the skinny tie from an urban chic look to the standard in many scenes across Hollywood, New York and everywhere in between.
The look was made popular in the 1960s and 70s and continued on within the more punk rock, street grunge crowd into the 90s. Time magazine credits the widening of the standard necktie to Ralph Lauren in the 70s, a look that has burrowed itself in American corporate culture and generally stayed there.
But beginning in 2007, many of the biggest names in fashion started making the skinnyand the woven tie a mainstay, says New York-based stylist Joe Jacobs, who credits Justin Timberlake with helping the skinny tie get its launch.
Five years later the trend is still going strong and Jacobs says that a skinny tie can be utilized on a full spectrum of looks, but only if it's done right.
"Any button down fitted woven shirt with a moderately skinny collar is appropriate," Jacobs advises. But he cautions against "ties over a t-shirt or under a buttoned blazer with no skirt. I know-it sounds awful-but I've seen [that look] on many guys and it's definitely a fashion 'don't!'"
Another 'don't' was noted by the Wall Street Journal's Jason Chow in 2010, who wrote that larger-built guys tend to shy away from skinny ties for good reason. "Skinny ties tend to work on lean bodies, which is why Hollywood celebrities and wiry punk rockers from the 1970s can pull them off," Chow noted. "It's also why you never see NFL linemen wearing them."
Jacobs assured us that all width of ties-sans the Lauren-inspired 4-inch disasters-are "still appropriate" with the proper suit or outfit, meaning a wider shirt collar always calls for a wider tie. And if you're wearing a Mad Men-inspired, slim-fitting suit or jacket, a skinny tie goes much better with that get-up to complete the look.
And if you want to keep with the 400-year tradition of the tie, honor today's trendy skinny and not spend on name-brand looks, there's SkinnyTies.com, which offers options as low as $14.
"For today's look, my favorite woven tie is at All Saints," Jacobs says. It's easy: they only have one option! It's simple with a square cut bottom, which sets it apart from the traditional triangle bottom."
Clemen rocking a Woven Tie by M&S
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