How to Choose the Right Wedding-Day Tie

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Matt Dues wore a formal tuxedo from Men's Wearhouse.

Feeling comfortable is the most important part of any outfit, and a wedding outfit is no different.

"It's all about what makes the groom most comfortable," says Shay Merritté, chief creative officer at Columbus suiting shop Pursuit. Merritté says a good rule of thumb is to dress "up a level" from your day-to-day wear. "If you're a guy who wears jeans and a T-shirt every day, wearing a white-tie tuxedo feels very incongruous with who you are," he says. "But you can put on a suit, and it won't feel weird."

This same principle works for neckwear, too. There are four main options from which to choose: long tie, bow tie, cravat and no tie. What you choose depends on what else you're wearing, what kind of wedding you're attending and how you feel most comfortable.

"If you're doing a tuxedo, I recommend a bow tie," Merritté says. "You could wear a long tie, but it would have to be solid black silk with no pattern on it. If you're going for the tuxedo, why not wear a bow tie?"

If you're donning a suit, either a bow tie or a long tie are great options. "Bow ties can be both very dressy and also very casual," Merritté says. But whichever tie style you choose, stick to a classic pattern that's fun but not overly goofy, like the club tie, a polka dot or a light plaid.

And how wide should a long tie be these days? "Contemporary tie widths are about 2.5 inches," he says. (A "skinny tie" is about 1.2 inches.) Keep in mind "the tie should always compliment the lapel on the jacket," adds Curt Olson, manager at Men's Wearhouse. So, if you're wearing a jacket with a wider lapel, wear a wider tie. A

What about the cravat? "The cravat is very, very rarely used," Merritté says. "You'd have to be a very stylish guy and really know what you're doing. It feels very costume-y." The no-tie look is also rare. If the wedding's on a beach and you're not wearing a suit or even a jacket, going for no-tie makes sense. Otherwise, it probably won't work.