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It used to be a running joke: I owned 77 ties. According to my girlfriend (now wife), that was too many for a 27-year-old to own. Ever since then (nine years ago), I’ve stopped counting – mostly out of fear of coming clean with my wife – but I would bet my life that number has climbed.
But really, how many ties is too many?
As much as it will make my wife cringe, I’m here to argue that, like sunsets (yes, I’m a romantic), one’s life can never have too many ties. (Don’t even get me started on pocket squares.)
Gone are the days when wearing a tie was a daily routine for the majority of men: a mundane, following-the-guidelines choice that was the antithesis of standing out. In today’s world of business casual, casual Fridays and remote work (among countless other attacks on the integrity of how a man dresses in the modern world), I believe wearing a tie has never been more meaningful. Instead of feeling like a pencil-pusher – reflexively following a soulless, office-mandated, dress code – donning a tie today is a very conscious choice for the boldest of us to go against the grain and non-verbally cue we’re comfortable standing out and we want to look our best to feel our best.
Within this brave new world, then, the more ties one owns, the better. Ties are to men what I imagine jewelry is to women. The right selection can change your entire look – and, consequently, your entire outlook. A different tie can turn a been-there-worn-before outfit into a where-has-this-been-hiding ensemble, giving you a damn-don’t-you-look-good swagger.
And, like jewelry, the range of ties is seemingly endless: repp ties, floral ties, solid ties, pin-dot ties; thick (but-not-too-thick) ties, skinny (but-not-too-skinny) ties; silk ties, knit ties, and, of course, black tie.
With this breadth of versatility at your fingertips, you will always have the right tie for whatever occasion presents itself: a holiday date-night with your partner, your friend’s 30th birthday out on the town, a summer soirée on a boat, an awards dinner at work, a lazy Saturday afternoon reading in a coffee shop, your parents’ 50th anniversary, your 7th wedding of the season.
But while I set no limits on the number of ties a man should own, I do swear by two deceptively simple rules in tying said ties: your tie should hit just at your belt buckle (certainly not above and never below) and it should have a strong knot with a prominent dimple that Ariana Grande would be jealous of (which is why I generally opt for a four-in-hand knot).
Despite tying well over 1,000 ties in my lifetime, I still find myself often requiring a retie or two to get the length just right and invariably some “massaging” to achieve the je ne sais quoi dimple. But once done, this plebian article of clothing that can look so bland on someone who couldn’t care less about wearing it (think of that tie-donning grumpy waiter we’ve all had) becomes a badge of honor for us civilians; a tacit statement that I care how I carry myself and that I care enough about you to look my best.
So, to stand out, expand your wardrobe’s versatility and look and feel your best, I’m a firm believer you can never have too many ties.
(Which, I must admit, I’m biased in reaching that conclusion seeing as my 77-tie collection has grown nearly two-fold to 141 today…wish me luck when my wife sees this article.)
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