A Guide to Seasonal Tie Fabrics
We often discuss the advantages of seasonal fabrics; flannels and tweeds for the Winter, linens and cottons for the Summer, etc. Choosing an appropriate fabric for the climate is functional, comfortable, and visually appealing. It also allows you the pleasure of unveiling a new wardrobe, or at least some new staple pieces, every time the seasons change.
This concept isn’t exclusive to tailoring. It also applies to accessories like scarves, hats, and of course, neckties.
Here’s a simple guide to choosing the right tie fabric for the season.
A 100% silk tie is the most traditional and the most versatile. It’s one of the few fabrics that can be worn year-round, depending on the color and pattern. This playful colorful pattern, for example, is great for Summer (with a poplin shirt and tropical wool suit, as shown) but perhaps a little too vibrant to jive with more rough and rugged Winter pieces.
Wool ties, which are often cut from suiting cloth (like this herringbone tweed), are for cold Fall/Winter days. Look for one that is unlined, or made with a lining that is thin and flexible enough to tie a nice knot without getting too bulky. Sometimes a seasonal tie can be used to mediate a look as well. For example, in early Spring when it’s still a little chilly out, I’ll wear one with a cotton suit (as shown) to balance out the overall weights.
Cashmere, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated fabrics for neckties. This one, from my friend Angel Bespoke (the power collar shirt and denim suit are also his) ties a wonderful knot and always provides a nice luxe finish to a Fall/Winter outfit. The super soft herringbone fabric has a great hand feel, and flows elegantly with movement. It’s one of my favorite ties in my collection.
Cotton ties should be reserved for Spring and Summer (a patchwork madras like this one is best for hot and sticky days). Cotton is more casual and laidback due to it’s light weight and slightly rumpled texture. I would avoid wearing them with power business suits, and stick to more casually tailored outfits, like here with the pure linen suit and seersucker button-down shirt.
Linen is for Summer only and is preferable on hot days. Just like a linen suit or shirt, a linen tie is super lightweight and dry to the hand. Think about mixing-up your seasonal fabrics to give a look some variety and depth; like a hopsack suit, cotton shirt and linen tie in the Spring, for example.
Due to it’s breathable “open-weave” texture, a silk knit tie is usually reserved for the Spring/Summer. For whatever reason, they’re also usually cut narrow (2″ on average), with a square bottom. In additional to seasonality, it’s important to keep proportions in mind as well. I usually trim down my proportions a little in the summer (less is more when it’s hot out) and beef up the widths come colder months (as a subtle way to bundle up).
Raw silk – the kind with a loosely woven texture and visible “pilling” – is rarely seen anymore, which is what makes it really cool. In my opinion, this is also a 4-season cloth, as it works just as well with a lightweight suit (like this camel hopsack) as it does with a flannel suit (like a classic heather grey). Of course, the color and pattern play an important role in the seasonality as well – forest green with off-white stripes being versatile enough for any season.