I have a new obsession and that obsession is skinny ties. Here’s the most important thing you need to know about skinny ties: You should be wearing one. I’m even wearing one right now, I kid you not. I like them on anyone — girly, boi-ish, andro, Shane, Don Draper — anyone. Especially Don Draper. Don’t know if you can pull them off? You can pull it off. Think you have too many curves for a skinny tie? You’re wrong. Let me hold your hand as together we waltz through the land of being super fucking dapper.
First things first, do you own a tie? You can make your own skinny tie out of a regular tie if you’re crafty. Second, do you know how to tie a tie? It is so easy. It just takes some practice.
Now that we’ve got that down, let’s see what to pair our ties with.
I cannot stress to you enough how amazing skinny ties look with blazers and sport jackets and suits. You already own a blazer, I hope, as per Lizz’s request, and if you don’t, please go buy one so you can wear it with your skinny tie. I recommend a black blazer because it will go with any kind of tie ever, even navy, because I don’t believe in clashing colors. (Yeah, I said it, what about it). Go messy or go fancy with your blazer and skinny tie as long as you’re going.
Vests are a good casual yet dressy kind of look if you’re not feeling the blazer. Make sure it’s a dark vest, maybe even a pinstriped one if you’re feeling super fancy. Vests can tone down the craziness of a shirt pattern (or tie pattern, if you need) and make you look really put together. I’m a fan of buttoned vests as well as open vests.
If you’re wearing a denim vest with your tie just take it off right now and go sit in the corner to think about what you’ve done wrong with your life.
A classic button-up
The simplest look to get right. All you need is a shirt you probably already own. Can I fully recommend not matching your tie to your button-up? Can you guys not make that a thing? Wearing a tie with your button-up seriously looks best with rolled up sleeves and a slightly disheveled collar/tie combo. You’re trying hard, but not too hard, you know? I love it when femmes wear this look in particular, but really I just love it on everyone.
This is a hard one to pull off. Maybe I should put a label on this one, like advanced tie wearing queers only, proceed with caution. The thing is, it’s really easy to delve right into Harry Potter/Warblers/school uniform territory with a sweater. It is such a good look when you pull it off, though. I’d recommend your tie be darker than your sweater and your collared shirt. This combo is also amazing under a blazer (and very warm).
Sometimes I find that the buttons on my shirt look pretty weird under a sweater, especially around the boob-region. Make sure your tie is straight and it’ll cover up those buttons for you. If you’re just super annoyed by buttons, take a deep breath and try men’s shirts because they sit better under the fabric of the sweater or wear a thicker sweater.
Now, before I let you go off on your own and start wearing some pretty hot skinny ties, let’s quickly cover some extra cardinal rules of tie-wearing. I consulted one of the most dapper queers among us, Fonseca, on the must-knows. We don’t want you to look silly, do we? No. Okay.
1. “The bottom tip of any tie should barely touch the top of one’s belt. None of that ‘isn’t this cute I got it from the boy’s department and it barely touches my navel’ stuff.” – Fonseca
2. If you are rocking a tie with a white shirt, be careful not to look like a Mormon missionary. Perhaps it is best to ask an honest person before you leave the house, “Does this make me look like I’m trying to spread the gospel or look super cute?” Be careful of the pants selection in this case. That said, rocking a dark solid color tie with a light-colored shirt almost always looks good.
3. “If you’re wearing a tie, you’d best be wearing a belt.” – Fonseca
4. I like to leave my shirt open on the very top button. Maybe this is my severe anxiety disorder revolving around choking talking, but it’s just too tight. Also, I think you look a little bit like a five-year-old in Sunday School with it all done up, but maybe that is the look you are going for! You do you. Let me know how this works out.
5. NEVER wear your tie with a tank top or t-shirt or any shirt that does not have a collar and therefore does not support tie-wearing. You are not Avril Lavigne circa 2000.
See how dapper and dandy and wonderful you look in that skinny tie? It’s okay to check yourself out in the mirror a little longer, I won’t tell anyone.
Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And A+ members keep the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you’re able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?