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Free Shirt And Tie Matching Game

How Good Are You At Matching?

Anyone can put a solid color tie with a patterned shirt, or vice versa. However, matching patterned ties with patterned shirts creates a more sophisticated, stylish look. After spending a few moments reading our How to Match a Shirt and Tie, you are now ready to try your hand at our Coordination Game.

After a few run-throughs, you will see how easy it is to mix and match like a pro. Remember: vary the pattern size and scale for a harmonious effect. Be confident. If it looks right to you, it probably is right.

Everything You Need To Know About Ties

A tie is a tie, is a tie – or is it?

When you’ve found the color and pattern you like, what else is there? Actually, it’s only the beginning. Just like a suit or a dress shirt, you get what you pay for, and it takes an educated eye to recognize the difference.

Tie Construction

Tie construction is multi-faceted, and precision and good workmanship are crucial to wearability and longevity. Some 22 manufacturing steps go into the making of that simple strip of fabric.

 

In a quality tie you’ll find good outer fabrics, resilient construction, proper interlinings and luxurious finishing touches.

 

When examining that next tie you want to buy, look for bias cutting of the lining and tie fabrics, which allows the tie to recover from wrinkling. Slip, another important feature, is a loose stitch that will yield when tied. Today, most ties are machine slip-stitched with resilient thread.

 

Tie Interlinings

While many types of interlinings are used, the most popular is a blend of wool, acrylic and polyester. A properly weighted interlining will give the tie a luxurious feel, knot easily and remain wrinkle free. By the way, it is a myth that the more stripes on a tie’s interlining the better the quality of the tie. The number of stripes merely denotes the weight of the interlining and is a guide to the manufacturer for matching the respective weights of the interlining and outer fabric. Heavier linings are needed to balance lightweight fabrics and conversely, lightweight linings compliment a heavier weight outer fabric.

 

Both the tie linings and outer shell are made up of separate pieces of fabric, sewn together at the neckband and positioned under the shirt collar, where no seams will show.

 

 

 

 

 

Tie Tipping

As part of the sewing process, the tips of the tie are hemmed or “tipped” by machine or sometimes by hand, in the case of more expensive ties. These finishing touches add to the quality and luxury of the product. Hand rolling or tipping is often the hallmark of higher priced neckwear, and means that the tie tips are folded back and stitched by hand. “Facing” is another luxury process, where an extra piece of material is sewn to the back ends of a tie, from 2″ to 11″ in length, to add greater protection and longevity.

 

Careful pressing after sewing assures that tie edges have a “roll” or fullness, and do not lie flat. Bar tacking, another luxury feature, is a heavy stitch just above the apex of the inverted “V” of either or both ends of a tie. It reinforces the slip stitching process and results in greater quality and value.

 

Tie Care

Your neckties are among the easiest items in your wardrobe to maintain. However, they are not zero maintenance. Here are few tips that will ensure you will be wearing the favorite tie until it goes out of style.

 

Always remove your tie by unknotting it. A tie is constructed in a manner that it can be tied in a knot and not wrinkle. This is called Resilient Construction. However, to recover its shape the tie must “rest” unknotted in a hanging position.

 

Always hang your ties, except knits which should be rolled and stored in a drawer. As noted, hanging enables the tie to recover from knotting. However, if you can’t hang your ties, rolling them is preferable to folding. Folding can set a permanent crease in the tie.

 

Allow a tie to “rest” several days between wearings.

 

Never iron a necktie. Ties have rolled edges that are ruined by pressing. If you feel the tie must be ironed, take it to a professional cleaner who is equipped to handle ties.

 

Water spots on silk ties can usually be removed by rubbing the fabric together in the effected area. Greasy spots should be professionally cleaned.

 

Chose your dry cleaner carefully. Ask if they have the forms necessary to safely press a necktie. If they don’t, either go elsewhere, or specify that the tie not be pressed. There are mail order firms that specialize in cleaning ties.

 

When traveling, either roll the tie or place it in a tie travel case.

All About Men’s Shirts

 

 

What makes a dress shirt – a dress shirt?

For one thing, dress shirts are sized by collar and sleeve length, unlike sport shirts which are sized small, medium, large. Sizing a dress shirt by collar and sleeve length allows for a closer more tailored fit.

Additionally, dress shirt collars are designed and constructed to accept a necktie without bulging, puckering or lifting. Finally, the types of fabrics used are generally different leaning more to richer and more polished constructions.   The diagram shows the various parts of a men’s dress shirt and we will talk a little bit about each. In some circles plackets and types of yokes are the subjects of heated debates. Hopefully, you don’t travel in those circles, so we will keep it simple.

Dress Shirt Construction

  1. Collar Band

A strip of fabric that forms the inner part of the collar and attaches the collar to the shirt. The top button is part of the collar band. The band’s width determines the rise or height of the collar.

 

  1. Collar

See section below for discussion of styles. A good shirt collar is always stitched around the edges to stiffen and hold the folded material in place. Usually this stitching is not more than a quarter inch from the collar edge.

 

  1. Collar Point

The points should lie flat and be wrinkle and pucker free. In shirts that have them, the collar stays will be on the reverse side of the points. These will be either permanently sewn in or removable. It is advisable to remove stays before laundering. Button down collars usually do not have stays.

 

  1. Collar Spread

This varies depending on the style of collar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Front Center Placket

The piece of material on the front of the shirt where the buttonholes are placed. Once it was a separate piece of cloth sewn to the front, but today shirt makers fold the edge of the material to form the placket. It gives the shirt a defined center and makes a clean finish where the shirt sides join to be buttoned. Most shirts will have a six or seven button front.

 

  1. Pocket

Most dress shirts today have this feature, but it is absent on some designer brands.

 

  1. Sleeves

Dress shirts come in either full sleeve or half sleeve versions. Many fashion arbiters insist that only the long sleeve is appropriate in a business setting, a tough sale in the warmer climates.

 

  1. Sleeve Placket

This is the open area just above the cuff. Also known as a “Gauntlet.” Many better shirts have a working button on the placket so that this gap can be closed when the shirt is worn. It originated to enable men to roll back their cuffs. It also provides a better fit around the forearm.

 

  1. Cuff

Dress shirts usually come in barrel cuffs, with one or two button closures, French cuffs and convertible cuffs. French cuffs fold over and require cuff links for closure. They are somewhat dressier and bulkier. A convertible cuff can either be buttoned or secured with a cuff link.

 

  1. Yoke

This is the strip of material sewn across the shoulders to attach the front and back pieces of the shirt. Custom shirt makers use a split, or two-piece, yoke so they can adjust each shoulder separately for a custom fit. It is also frequently found on finer quality manufactured shirts.

 

  1. Pleat

This allows for flexibility across the shoulders.

 

  1. Shirttail

It should be long enough to be tucked into the pants and remain so during normal activity, but not so long as to bulk out the front of the trousers. A current style is wear the shirt un-tucked with the shirttails exposed.

 

Dress Shirt Fabrics

Most dress shirts are woven from three basic fabrics: broadcloth, oxford cloth and cotton.

 

Broadcloth is a tightly woven plain weave fabric with a fine rib or ridge in the crosswise direction. It has a smooth finish and a crisp look, especially when starched. Because of its tight weave, it resists soiling.

 

Oxford is a basket weave with a coarser or heavier appearance than broadcloth. It can either look dressy or casual depending on the garments worn with it. It is often used in button downs.

 

Cotton shirting is a group of woven fabrics that have a smooth surface. Chambray, madras, or end-on-end fabrics fit in this category.

 

Most dress shirts are made of all cotton or cotton and synthetic blends. The better the quality of the cotton, the stronger the fibers, as well as the smoother and finer the surface of the shirt. A very high quality cotton fabric will feel almost silk-like and have a luxurious appearance.

 

Cotton is absorbent and breathes, making it a comfortable fiber to wear but prone to wrinkling. Polyester is blended with cotton in shirting fabrics to provide wrinkle resistance. Polyester does not breathe, however, making it less comfortable.

 

In blends, the higher the percentage of cotton, the more absorbent and comfortable the shirt will be to wear. The most common blends are 65% polyester and 35% cotton, 50%/50% polyester and cotton, and 65% cotton/35% polyester.

 

Dress Shirt Care

Care is influenced by fiber content, fabric structure and garment finishing. Check the care label for proper care requirements.

 

Many people take shirts to commercial laundries. Normally, customers specify if they want no, regular or heavy starch. Be aware that starch (cotton) or sizing (polyester) is not completely removed in laundering. It will build up over a period of time and could decrease the wear life of the shirt.

 

Polyester/cotton blend shirts and 100 % cotton shirts with wrinkle resistant finishes are now commonly available. These shirts can be laundered at home with little or no need for ironing.

How To Match Your Tie, Suit & Shirt

Select Your Tie First

 

Most men’s fashion advice sites suggest that you first select the suit you want to wear, then the dress shirt, and finally the tie. We disagree. The necktie is the most expressive apparel item in a man’s wardrobe. The whole structure of suit with the lapels and V at the chest is aimed at showcasing the necktie. So, selecting your suit first and then your tie is like first picking the box and then the jewel to go in it.

 

Select your tie based on how you feel that day, who you will be seeing, and what type of impression you want to make (creative, businesslike, outgoing). Then select your dress shirt and, finally, your suit or sport jacket.

 

The first hurdle you have to clear is matching the colors of the various components. It is advisable, but no means a hard and fast rule, that one color in your tie should match the ground color of your dress shirt. Obviously, if you have selected a white dress shirt this does not apply. The main colors of the combined shirt/tie combo should compliment the primary color of the suit/jacket. Here are some guidelines:

 

 

 

 

 

Suit Color             Shirt Ground Color           Tie Color

Grey Black Navy Charcoal              White Blue Pink Yellow  Red Blue Black Pink Yellow Purple Gold Burgundy

Brown Khaki       White Yellow Tan Ecru

Brown Rust Green Red Yellow Garnet Rust Orange Gold

 

Once, again these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. For example, a bright green tie may be a bit of a stretch with a navy suit. However, if the tie has blue in the pattern it will be a striking combination.

 

The next hurdle is pattern coordination. We assume after playing our How to Match a Tie and Shirt Game you are a wiz at putting patterned shirts and ties together. If you are going this route, we suggest that you select either a solid color or wide pinstripe suit.

 

Putting a strongly patterned suit with a patterned shirt and tie is pushing the fashion bubble and best left to window dressers and fashion editors. If, for some reason, you really MUST wear that plaid suit or sport jacket, let that be your fashion statement for the day and tone it down with the tie and dress shirt. For example, stick with a solid color shirt and subtly patterned tie like a paisley, madder, or neat all-over.

How To Match A Shirt and Tie

Get The Look Right

Putting a patterned tie and a patterned shirt together takes some more know-how than just going with solid color of either component but when well done produces a very sophisticated, stylish look.

Here are some quick tie and shirt matching tips.

You can be putting it together like a pro if you spend some time with our Shirt and Tie Matching game after referring to these following tips:

Look at in-store and window displays for guidance.

Train your eye by being conscious of shirt and tie combinations you see men wearing in the media and in your business life.

Make sure the shirt and tie have at least one of the same color.

Unless you are going for the Soprano look, the tie colors should be darker than the shirt.

Try not to match patterns of the same size or type. For example, with a wide-stripe shirt try a small repeat pattern like a pin dot or all-over novelty print.

You can put a stripe tie with a stripe shirt but, once again, vary the scale: a pin stripe shirt with a wide rep stripe tie is a good match.

Bold patterns should be paired with quieter ones: a bold plaid shirt with a subtly colored oriental print tie, for example.

Trust yourself.  If it looks right to you, it probably is right.

When in doubt seek, help from a store sales associate.

If you want to practice matching your necktie to your dress shirt before you go out and buy them, try practicing with our How to Match a Tie to a Shirt Game

How To Buy Men’s Dress Shirts

Selecting the fit and collar of a dress shirt

When making a dress shirt purchase you need to consider: size first and foremost, collar style, construction, and fabric.

Size and Fit

If the first thing you do when leave your office for home is loosen your collar button and pull down your tie, your shirt collar doesn’t fit. A recent study by Cornell University shows that 70 per cent of men wear their shirts too tight. You should not experience, much less tolerate, discomfort when wearing a dress shirt and tie.

 

Don’t Get All Choked Up About It

There are a couple of ways to avoid that choked-up feeling. First, put on one of your shirts and button the collar. If you cannot put your two middle fingers between the collar and your neck without touching, your collar is too small. Buy a half size larger.

 

To be sure, put a tape measure around your neck at the Adam’s apple. Add one half size to that measurement. Dress shirts in the U.S. are sized in half inch increments: 14, 14 ½, 15. 15 ½, etc. So if your neck measures 15 inches, purchase a size 15 ½.

 

Sleeves That Fit Just Right

Getting the sleeve length right is important too. Usually, dress shirt sleeves are sized in ranges: 32/33, 34/35, etc. Ideally the end of the cuff should come ½ inch below the break in the wrist, i.e. where it bends. About ½ inch of cuff should extend beyond the end of the suit jacket cuff. To get your sleeve length, you will need some help. Using the tape, with your arm extended out to the side, have an accomplice take the measurement from the middle of your back, over your shoulder to your wrist.

 

The other thing to consider is the fit of the shirt. This information is usually on the packaging. Most men’s shirts are either tapered or fitted and full cut. Men with a slim build may prefer the fitted style, while the fuller cut would be a better choice for men who are stocky or have a larger build.

 

 

 

 

 

Collar Style and Construction

Next to fit, collar style is probably the most important consideration when purchasing a dress shirt. The collar is the   most visible part of the shirt. It frames your face and showcases your necktie. Consequentially, the shape of your   face and length of your neck should play in role in the style of collar you choose. As a general rule, the large the man the larger collar he can wear and vice versa.

 

Pinned Collar Dress Shirt

This is the same as the regular collar except that it is worn with a pin that goes through the collar, with collar bars that snap onto the collar, or with a bar that has a screw and ball that connect through eyelets. This style looks best on men with a medium to long neck

 

 

 

Spread Collar Dress Shirt

This collar has medium spread and shorter points. It is a better choice for men with a short neck or who favor a full Windsor tie knot.

 

Button-down Collar Dress Shirt

Similar to the straight point, but the ends of the collar are secured with buttons. Having no collar stays, this is a much softer and relaxed style but is still commonly worn for business wear. It can accommodate any type of knot and is the collar style to be worn with a bow tie.

 

Regular or Straight Point Collar Dress Shirt

This is the main stay of most men’s wardrobe and goes with just about any type of suit or sport coat. The length of the collar tends to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and with the dictates of fashion.

 

Tab Collar Dress Shirt

This style holds the tie in place by tabs attached to the collar and held together under the tie knot. Not all that common today.

The Job Interview

Presentation is Everything

When going out on a job interview the right tie and shirt can be a critical part of a man’s personal presentation.

 

With the pendulum swinging away from business casual and toward a dressier standard in many firms, human resource experts are recommending that candidates dress-up for interviews.

 

The big question, of course, is what is dress-up. MDFA recommends that not only can’t you go wrong by wearing a tie, but a tie can do a lot of positive things for your appearance and may actually help you land the job.

 

John Molloy, consultant and author of the “Dress For Success” books, agrees. “The right tie worn to a business meeting, particularly an interview where both parties are meeting for the first time, announces the wearer’s power and professionalism,” he says. “Even in this casual age the tie remains the heraldic shield of modern man.”

 

Not only does a tie make a man look taller and slimmer but the right tie can make a strong statement about his personality.

 

The tie is the most self-expressive item that men have in their wardrobe and sitting across the desk from someone at an interview it the most noticeable.

 

In a job interview you are trying to sell yourself and in any selling situation, presentation is important.

 

So care should go into a tie’s selection and tying. Here are some tips from the MDFA:

 

Stick with a conservative pattern, but don’t be afraid of color. Strong colors stamp you as someone who is not afraid to stand out in a crowd.

Go with a dark (navy or charcoal) suit and white or blue dress shirt. Let you tie be your personal statement.

Wear a freshly laundered, crisp looking dress shirt.

Tie your tie correctly. The tip of the wide end should touch your belt buckle. The narrow and wide end do not have to be even, but the narrow end should NEVER be longer.

Use a four-in-hand knot. It’s easier to tie and uses less fabric than a Windsor or half-Windsor (a concern if you are tall). If you don’t know how to tie a tie, refer to the instructions here (link back to instructions)

If you haven’t worn a dress shirt in awhile and need to shop for one, keep this tip in mind: buy a shirt with a collar at least a half size larger than your neck measurement. When the top button is buttoned, you should be able to fit two fingers between your collar and neck. This way you’ll be as comfortable as in your favorite old t-shirt when the interviewer is grilling you.

Make sure your tie is up-to-date. You don’t have to be a fashion plate but an obviously old tie sends the wrong message. Similarly, avoid wrinkled or stained ties.

Ask The Experts

Frequently Asked Questions About Shirts and Ties

Can I wear a striped tie with a striped shirt?

Sure. Remember the rule of scale, however. If your shirt has a wide track stripe go with a narrow stripe tie, or vise versa. Play our coordination game to see how this works in practice. Remember: trust your judgment. If it looks goods to you, it will probably look good to others.

Do I have to wear a black tie to a funeral?

Let’s put it this way: you have to wear a tie to a funeral. More and more these days people are going casual to these very solemn occasions. Remember that dressing up is a sign of respect for others, so a jacket and tie are de rigueur. If you are a member of the immediate family, a black tie is appropriate. If not, just select a conservative pattern in subdued colors.

Can I dry clean a necktie?

Yes, but check with the cleaner that they have the necessary forms for pressing ties. If they don’t, they will probably press the tie flat destroying the beautiful soft rolled edges that give the tie life and dimension. There are mail order firms on the internet that specialize in cleaning ties as well.

Can I wear a tie with a button-down collar shirt?

Absolutely. You can wear a tie with any kind of shirt. A button-down shirt with a tie is a great look with a sport jacket, blazer or sweater. It is also great with a more casual suit like a flannel or tweed. If you are going with a more fitted, dressy suit, you might want to stick with a spread or straight collar.

Can I wear one of the new narrow ties with my existing wardrobe of shirts and ties?

Probably, but remember the rule of scale we mentioned earlier. You are the architect of your wardrobe. If your suit lapels are wide and your shirt collars are long or wide, a narrow tie would strike a jarring note, throwing the whole construction out of balance. And balance is what architects and wardrobe designers seek to achieve. Until you can stock up on some of the newer shirts and suits with narrower lapels and collars, work the narrow ties into your casual wardrobe with a button-down shirt and sweater or jacket.

Should I wear French cuffs with a sport jacket?

Sure. With a blue or black blazer, even if you are wearing jeans, cuff links are a great accessory. The problem is, however, if you are wearing tweed or flannel French cuff shirt might be too dressy.

What is the one “must have” item in a man’s wardrobe?

Well aside from a pair of pants, we would say the blue blazer. In fact, if you only own one item of tailored clothing, it should be a blue blazer in an all season fabrication. You can dress it up or down, wear it to a business meeting, or a walk in the park. Another must have is a white dress shirt for all the same reasons.

Do Women Really Care About The Way a Man Dresses?

Whether you are going out on the bar scene, meeting that EHarmony heartthrob for the first time, or taking your lady for a night on the town, women notice what you wear, how you dress and judge you accordingly.

Don’t take our word for it. We asked two women who also happen to be experts on men’s fashion to give you some advice on how to make sure your clothes don’t kill the deal as soon as you walk in the door.

Karen Alberg is editor-in-chief of MR Magazine. Robin Walker is a fashion consultant with a website, MyWardrobeCompanion.com. Believe us, these ladies notice.

1. Good grooming is all-important: clean hair, clean nails, clean teeth. Clean is sexy. Your goal is to look touchable, likeable and squeaky clean. A great smile is your most valuable accessory.

2. Show some Effort. Dress like you’re going on a date and spend some time picking out your clothes. You can even mention that you dressed up for her, she’ll love it.

3. Never wear clothes that make you feel uncomfortable. Regardless of the trend of the season, it won’t work for you if it feels contrived.

4. When in doubt, a sport coat will take you anywhere. Either solid navy, gray or black or else a subtle plaid or pinstripe, a sport coat adds authority to jeans and khakis, and often scores as strongly as a suit. Just make sure it fits (and never button the bottom button!)

5. Soft faded jeans and a white oxford shirt. With or without a necktie, this is a simple sexy look that always gets the girl. (To seal the deal, wear a cool belt!)

6. Interesting socks. Not silly socks with pin-up girls necessarily but something with a little color, a little pattern, a little personality. (Interesting socks will make you seem interesting, even if you’re not…)

7. Make a Statement. Wear something that sets you apart and something that she’ll notice. A great watch, cool belt buckle or a “cause” wristband are all good choices.

8. Accessorize your Wallet. Carry a thin leather wallet and for BONUS POINTS carry a picture of your dog and let the picture slip out when you go to play the bill. Everyone loves a dog lover!

9. Great shoes. Unfortunately, you usually get what your pay for in footwear so you might have to spend a little money here. And while most conservative guys go for black leather, brown looks great with neutral-color pants and even denim. Read our lips: No athletic shoes unless you have a tennis date.

10. A good watch speaks volumes. If you can’t afford a classic Rolex or Patek, check out the re-sale shops. Vintage is in.

11. A beautiful tie that picks up the color of your eyes. Women like neckties. A great looking tie is a great ice breaker and will always draw a compliment.

12. A cashmere scarf, also in the color of your eyes.

13. A slim-cut suit. We said slim, not tight. And make it the best you can afford. You won’t be sorry, we promise.

If you have additional questions – and I assume there would be plenty, please feel free to e-mail me and we will publish the answer.