As with any face-based accessory (sunglasses, hats, facial hair) the overall size and shape of your head should be taken into account when selecting a tie and knot.
Though most men won’t have to vary their choices too greatly, it’s important to maintain a sense of proportion. To avoid exaggerating its appearance, those with a slightly larger face should skip the skinny tie and similarly, guys with smaller or thinner heads should forego the fat knot.
The simple rule of thumb is that your choice of tie knot should fill the space between the points of the collar, leaving just a little wiggle room either side.
As such, Dean Gomilsek-Cole, creative director of famed Jermyn Street shirtmaker Turnbull, argues that the safest, most versatile choice of shirt collar is anything not too extreme: neither a strong cutaway, nor a narrow pinned or tab collar.
Consider not just the cut of your collar, but the fabric of your tie. Traditional silk jacquard is the more formal choice and easier to shape a bigger tie knot with, though harder to use for smaller, more complex knots.
“Men don’t typically think of ties as being seasonal either, but they are,” adds shirtmaker Emma Willis. “It’s a better look to wear, for example, a wool and cashmere tie in the winter, and a silk-linen mix in summer, for a more relaxed, casual feel.”
Of course, this can also be influenced by the suit material. The less texture in your two-piece, the more is wanted in your tie, and vice versa.
Dress Codes are now sufficiently fluid that the question isn’t necessarily which knot to choose, but whether to wear a tie at all.
As a guideline: yes to job interviews, weddings (especially your own) and funerals (though, not so important at your own). No to office parties, the Sunday afternoon social and even date night. “But if you’re in two minds about whether or not to wear a tie, wear one,” advises Drake’s Hill. “It’s always better to be over-dressed.”
Colour choice can raise your elegance quotient: wear a shade darker than that of your suit. “The tie acts as a visual anchor, so needs to be different. Darker just looks more harmonious than lighter,” adds Hill.
“The secret is to wear whichever tie knot best expresses your personality. There’s style value in finding your quirk and sticking with it,” says Hill. “Look at some of the best-dressed men. Prince Michael of Kent often wears very big tie knots, while Prince Charles prefers a small, tight knot – which is not so good for your ties. Either way, they own the look.”
Gomilsek-Cole from Turnbull & Asser agrees: “If you want to make up your own tie knot, why not? Though there are already hundreds of variations, so that’s not easy now,” he says. “My go-to knot is a Prince Albert, a variation of the Four-in-Hand knot that every schoolboy learns. Though you do have to be careful telling people you have a ‘Prince Albert’.”