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red paisley knit tie with square bottom

How To Wear a Knit Tie

Unfortunate as it may be, COVID-19 still has a firm grip on us here in the United States. This has myriad effects, not the least of which is the accelerated path to the “casualization” of our closets. We’ve talked about dressing for the #wfh lifestyle elsewhere on this blog, so we won’t revisit that here. Instead, we’d rather look at a way to dress up a bit but still keep things casual. Specifically, we’ll discuss how to wear a knit tie.

Ties & Formality

man wearing silk tie and suit
With a traditional suit, woven silk ties are best.

For most of us, the act of donning a tie signifies crossing the line from casual to dressy. This is perfectly sensible, given that we tend to pair ties with suits and custom shirts.

At the end of the day, though, ties are decorative garments. You can pair one with more casual ensembles, including denim, if you’re strategic about it.

Neckwear Hierarchy – Silk to Knits to Wools

blue silk knit tie with multi-colored square patternNot all ties are created equal. The majority of ties on the market are made of silk, and the pattern is either printed on the surface or woven throughout the silk. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have a sizable collection of these to begin with. You might even have a couple of wool options for the cold weather.

What Is A Knit Tie?

closeup of knit tie texture
Closeup of a knit tie’s texture.

A knit tie is made of silk, but as its name suggests, it’s knit into a tie, not woven. This results in a nubby texture with a pronounced, tactile feel. They’re often solid in colors, but you’ll occasionally see them with patterns such as dots or paisleys sewn into them.

The lion’s share of knit ties come with a square bottom instead of a pointed one as standard ties do. So, how do you wear a knit tie well?

Wearing A Knit Tie

knit tie with cotton khaki suitDue to their texture, knit ties are more casual than woven silk ones. This relationship is akin to a worsted wool suit’s formality compared to that of a heavy tweed sport jacket.

Knit ties look their best against more casual garments. In warmer weather, they’re a smash with cotton khaki suits. The unavoidable wrinkling of the cotton pairs well with a knit tie’s casual, nubby texture.

red paisley knit tie with square bottom
Note the squared-off bottom of this knit tie.

Following this logic, it makes sense to pair these ties with other casual ensembles. Sport coats and odd trousers are a great starting point. If you’ve ever been curious about how to pull off the jeans-with-a-tie look, a knit tie is your key to getting it done.

The Best Knot For Knit Ties

On average, knit ties are narrower than woven ones. Their texture makes for a thicker knot than you’d find on a woven tie of similar size, too. Last but not least, they’re simply more casual than other ties.

As such, we prefer the simple four-in-hand knot

Knit Ties & Your Image

From an image perspective, knit ties can be a bit tricky. They still have a reputation as something a college professor of English Literature might pair with his elbow-patched corduroy jacket. Given how stylish a knit tie can look, we think this is an unfair assessment, but you should know that it exists in the world.

As with anything, you should exercise your best judgement before wearing a knit tie for the day. If you’re in, say, investment banking, you might as well pretend knit ties don’t exist. On the other hand, if you’re the Creative Director for a graphic design firm, a knit tie could serve you well at the office.

Next Steps

We’ve got plenty of knit ties to look at, and then some. Curious to stop in? Call us at 215-310-0219 or email us at info@henrydavidsen.com to schedule a private appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.

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