Ties, the magnificent five


Plain, regimental, fantasy, vintage and wool. Here are the essential ties for a man’s wardrobe

“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life”, wrote Oscar Wilde in The Importance of Being Ernest.  The second step, we add, is building up a limited but solid set of quality ties. The wardrobe can then be enriched with other ties, whose number and styles will vary on the basis of personal tastes and needs, but it’s fundamental first of all to have the basics needed to be us at ease in the main occasions. So here are the five ties you can’t do without.


It’s the plain one. The tie par excellence, the indispensable one. It can seem monotonous but it’s always a guarantee of elegance and refinement, perfect for most outfits: from the elegant occasion to the casual moment, it’s the passe-partout for every event, easy to coordinate with, it’s almost impossible to go wrong. To wear it best, just a few rules are sufficient, given that all colors go well with white or in any case light colors. The only thing to be careful about: don’t wear a brightly colored plain tie with an equally audacious shirt. If you have to choose one, the best is a blue sartorial tie, an excellent combination with a white shirt and gray suit.


With diagonal stripes, for many people it’s the tie of the collective imagination. It’s that with the most fascinating history. It’s called this because with this accessory  you could distinguish the different regiments of the English army.

In England the stripes slope downwards from left to right, in America the direction is the opposite. The regimental tie is in a universe of its own. There’s ample literature on its various types –  including single-striped, horizontal and vertical stripes varieties, and Mogador – that differ in the way the stripes are combined. While in the Anglo-Saxon world, the relationship between striped ties and regiments, clubs or colleges is still close, even in Italy, where there isn’t this connection, the regimental tie evokes a sense of belonging in the wearer and communicates solid values. Pairing it up is simple: the tie must incorporate one of the colors in the shirt (or jacket) or a complementary one.

La cravatta fantasia

It’s essential in the wardrobe of a man who wants to be elegant on every occasion. It’s with this tie that creativity is unleashed, one’s style is let loose. Traditionalists will opt for a sober, geometric motif, elegantly replicated on the fabric. Those who aren’t afraid of daring can choose between figures and logos with which to tell something about themselves. Someone who loves the sea, for example, will feel a certain pride in displaying an elegant motif of celestial fish on his blue tie.

The vintage tie

Among the most interesting fantasy patterns, the Paisley designs of the 1940s are still quite popular and allow the wearer to stand out even with a simple grey suit.  They are those teardrop motifs, crafted and colored in an infinite number of versions.  They allow you to create wonderful combinations, light and suitable for different occasions, from office life to worldly events.

While the “Paisley” has been considered a classic for some time, it nonetheless remains more “sporty” than solid color and regimental ties. Wearing it in formal circumstances could expose you to the most conservative critics.

The wool tie

In the past a gentleman would never have worn a wool or knit tie with evening wear. Times have changed and today this tie, once used in the English countryside under a tweed sweater, has also been  adopted by many lovers of classic elegance, who wear it in a solid color – sometimes in cashmere – even with a blue or gray suit to obtain a casual effect that is at the same time sophisticated. Perfect for the winter months, it can be creatively used in numerous ways to accessorize an outfit.