I love a sharply tailored silhouette as much as the next guy, but I’m no Bay Street bull. The creative in me would rather reach for patterned shirts, punchy lacquer lapel pins and printed pocket squares — the sartorial equivalent of rolling up my sleeves up at the office (though I do that a lot, too). On the other hand, I also believe that there’s no such thing as being too dressed up, which is why you’ll see me wearing details like a tie even when I’m off the clock.
Yeah, it’s a tough balance. I call this my “GQ goes to work” look (cheesy, right?). It’s put-together, but just irreverent enough to let my personality shine through. When done right, I never feel like I look out of place — work, weddings, at the pub. I find the right tie helps me nail it every time.
Enter the knitted tie. Its woven texture, narrower-than-average profile and squared-off bottom won’t be mistaken for your pop’s business neckwear anytime soon. But as easygoing as it seems, it’s still a damn tie — and no man in history has ever looked less sharp for rocking one, right? Consider it a formal staple in casual camouflage.
Dress it up
Here’s some easy math: take a suit or blazer, subtract the stuffy power tie and add in a knitted number. To the water-cooler crowd, nothing’s out of place — you’re knotted up, after all — but the non-traditional pairing of a knitted tie with a sharp jacket adds a dose of personality.
Sticking to deeper tones and office-friendly solids will keep you one foot firmly in the boardroom, but if you don’t want to deviate too much from your nine-to-five uniform, try an elegant, untipped grenadine with hand-rolled edges — a little trick I picked up in an interview with menswear expert Simon Crompton.
Dress it down
As for the other side of the equation, a knitted tie is probably the easiest way to punch up your casual ensemble — particularly when secured with a less-formal four-in-hand knot (my go-to for most slimmer ties). More laid-back garb begs brighter colours, but knit ties really shine in the pattern department, where their woven construction allows for sporty horizontal stripes.
For a bit of definition (and the opportunity to play with contrasting textures), layer a tonal knitted tie under a shawl-neck cardigan, down-filled vest or denim jacket. If you’re rocking a tie solo, though, never hesitate to grab a tie clip to keep it in place.