How to rock a tie as a big man - Style guide

November 08, 2016

Done right, a tie is the strongest single accessory to give you elegant formality. Done wrong, it can make you look like a slob who's inadvertently strangling himself. Here are a few tips for getting this fashion staple right when you're a bigger guy.

How wide should your tie be?

The general consensus is that the width of your tie should match the width of your suit lapels.

There's a lean towards thinner ties in current fashion, but this isn't necessarily a trend you'll benefit from following. Like the current penchant for skinny jeans, this is a style that doesn't take large men into account. Instead, you're probably better off wearing a wider tie and a spread collar (one that angles out wider than 90 degrees). These proportions will better suit your face, and give you the room for a larger knot as well.

The general consensus is that regardless of your size, the width of your tie should match the width of your suit lapels. This is fine though, as the argument for wider ties on a bigger man works equally for details like lapels - these should be a bit larger than average if you yourself are larger than average. Always keep in mind the principles of proportion and balance when choosing accessories.

And how long?

As for how long your tie should be, the standard rule applies: You'll want your tie to finish at your belt line. For a man with more height, more stomach, or both, you're going to need a longer tie to get that ideal length once it's tied. Alternatively, you can still wear a regular-length tie, but use a smaller knot such as the four-in-hand that doesn't use as much of the tie. Bear in mind though, this isn't the ideal knot for a larger face.

There is another option to consider, if you have a tie you absolutely love that's just too small for you. Get a tailor to lengthen the tie by adding a few inches of material to the narrowest part (this will be under your collar when you're wearing the tie, so no need to worry about it being seen).

What knot to wear

Again, the idea is to keep it proportional. For a big tie on a big neck, you want a solid knot like the Full Windsor that will have the right visual presence. As for how tight to wear it: It should sit comfortably, and not so tight that it's constricting. You can wear it a bit loose for a more relaxed, casual look - but remember the point of a tie is to look smart, not sloppy.

A photo posted by Smartsuit (@smartsuit) on

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