Roundup: Ties That Don’t Suck, Vol. 1

Neutral: 1. Whiskey Business hand-silkscreened tie from Cyberoptix Tie Lab ($30 and up) 2. Alexander Olch Plaid Cotton Tie via Mr. Porter ($150) 3. Creek English wool tie from Pierrepont Hicks (on sale for $52) 4. Peachy necktie made from vintage and deadstock fabric from FORAGE Neckties via Etsy ($48)

Blue: 1. Fab Flowers in Navy/Yellow/Aqua from The Tie Bar ($15) 2. Textured Ribbon Stripe Shirting Skinny Necktie made from deadstock fabric from General Knot & Co. ($98)  3. Sonic Fabric Necktie made from 50% recorded audio cassette tape made by Alyce Santoro via Supermarket ($120) 4. Slim polka dot silk and linen tie from Ben Sherman (£35.00)

Black & White: 1. Scattered beaded line from title of work by Jonathan Meizler ($365) 2. J.Crew cashmere knit tie ($118) 3. Alexander McQueen skull patterned silk woven tie via Mr. Porter ($175) 4. Native Herringbone handmade silk tie from The Tie Bar ($15)

Red: 1. Ceci N’est Pas Une Cravate (This Is Not a Tie) hand-silkscreened tie from Cyberoptix Tie Lab ($30 and up) 2. Winter Plaid twisted silk tie from The Tie Bar ($15) 3. J.Crew cotton plaid tie via Mr. Porter ($75) 4. Red silk skinny tie from Ben Sherman (£35.00)

When planning our wedding, one of the things that surprised me most was how into his outfit Michael got. I mean, this is a man who has to be told that steel-toed boots are not meant to be worn with tube socks and cargo shorts and whose normal wardrobe is a rotating collection of tagless Hanes t-shirts. But the funny thing is, he could have cared less about the clothes themselves. He was all about the accessories (including the, yes, belt buckle featured below that said “Taken” which he fell in love with and proudly showed off to everyone who attended our wedding. This is what happens when you get married straight out of college, folks). But finding a tie that matched the class and candor of his belt buckle was…difficult. Until we turned to the internet. Which is where, it turns out, all the cool ties live.

So today we’re excited to bring you guys a small collection of ties that, well, don’t suck: for the discerning ladies and gentlemen who want to add a little more oomph to their suiting. Now, what we discovered when putting this roundup together is that there are more amazing ties on the internet than I know what to do with. (Michael has gone back to not giving a damn about what he puts on his back, so I’m over here trying to figure out ways to incorporate them into my outfits. I mean, if Baby Spice can do it, so can I.) So this first set is made up of your old standbys: neutrals and primary colors. In the future, we’ll be bringing you some options that are a little more colorful, and then when we’re really in the mood, we might just give you a whole roundup of bow ties. (I KNOW. I’m excited too.) Now, can someone please tell me why I don’t wear ties more often? Because this is way more fun than shoe shopping.

Featured Sponsored Content

  • LZ

    My hubby decided he wanted a “real” bowtie for the wedding (not a pre-knotted clipon, but one he had to tie) — So we looked up youtube videos, and he learned how to tie a bowtie, just for the wedding. It looked pretty great (although I was skeptical).

    He says if we could go back, he would have gotten a custom suit instead of the big-box store tuxedo. His shirt was so large it was a dress, so he wore a snazzy red and black shirt that he already owned. Then he used his own dress shoes because he liked them better. And his tux jacket was shorter than he wanted it to be. Needless to say, he was not thrilled that I had a custom-fitted dress that fit me perfect, and everything we rented for him was sloppier than it should be — It’s both of our day!

    I bought him little hockey goalie mask cufflinks, which he showed off to everyone! And we splurged on a custom Optimo Hat that he fell in love with.

    So — He was totally similar — Not usually a fussy, fashion guy. But for the wedding outfit, he wanted to have all the trimmings!

    • Rebekah

      Um, WHERE?

      Hockey cufflinks? Yes please.

    • Love the cufflinks! I was adamant that hubby get a nice suit out of the wedding. I sent him to JCrew (which it seems everyone does) and he has a nice grey suit that he’s able to wear over and over again.

    • meg

      Yes. 100% having guys wear suits they own (since you can buy a men’s suit at any store, like Nordstrom’s Rack even, and they have a tailor right there who takes it in and hems it). Rental tuxes and shirts for men just flat out don’t fit (because they think men won’t notice…)

  • Carrie

    Yay ties!

    We totally went for The Tie Bar ties for our wedding (asked the dudes to wear whatever black suit they owned, and gave them all ties). The price is definitely right. And we were happy with the quality of the ties, too. (I swear they’re not paying me to say this.) Their selection is kind of overwhelmingly vast. But you can search by the color of the suit you’re trying to match with, as well as by the color, material, pattern, etc. of the tie, so you can narrow it down quickly.

    However, I have to say I adore the “Ceci N’est Pas Une Cravate” ties and would totally have those at my alternate-universe wedding!

    • Maddie

      I kept having to go back to The Tie Bar’s website and make sure that the price was right…I was like…is that just for shipping? What’s going on here?!

      Though man, I veered dangerously into some of the more expensive ties and cufflinks, and my brain just kept going WANT WANT WANT.

    • meg

      We had those at our wedding :) This universe one.

      We also had the guys wear suits they owned and gave them ties.

  • I love this post so much – we just spent last Sunday at the mall looking for a red tie AND a white silk pocket square that would go well with the red silk my hairpiece is going to be made from. It was surprisingly hard to find a red that was even close, though we got lucky. The white pocket square was easy, thankfully.

  • Annie

    We did ties through Cyberoptix and they are AWESOME. Fast, super friendly, and open to customizing. I can’t recommend them enough. We got each groomsman and bridesman a tie with a pattern that reminded us of an inside joke we had with them and gave it to them at the rehearsal dinner.

    • we got cyberoptics ties for all our people. we didn’t have a “bridal party” but we have a lot of really relevant people (very few of whom wouldn’t wear a tie occasionally) and it was so much fun picking out ties for people based on their selves!

  • Julia

    So, for those of us who are clueless (but still supposed to make sure everyone looks snazzy) what makes some ties suck and other ties not suck? Because, other than the ones that are obviously funny, to me the ties in this roundup just look like… ties.

    • Maddie

      If I’m being honest, the title of this roundup mostly reflects my personal take on ties. Most of the time when I’m shopping for ties I walk into a store and think the majority of them look like the ties I used to buy for my dad for father’s day when I was a kid.

      But if I were to get technical, I’d say that most of the ties in this roundup are handmade, from silk or an equally high-quality fabric, and some are even made from upcycled or deadstock fabirc, and they generally have a narrower, more modern cut.

      Less technically, I just look around and go, “Hey that is COOL!”

    • Material makes the biggest difference, and craftsmanship (not that that matters much.) Silk is good, and weight matters. A heavier weight tie is not going to flap around in the breeze or move much in pictures, but if it’s too stiff, it can be hard to tie. I think it also has to do with how the tie is interfaced and constructed, but ultimately it’s a question of how well the tie holds up – even a sucky tie will probably hold up to be worn once, but if your partner will wear it more often, you might want to get a more durable tie (solid seams, etc.)

      • LZ

        Agreed! Hubby said that he didn’t like a certain brands ties, because the inner material was “lumpy” — which made it very hard to get the size knot he was looking for when tying….

    • meg

      Just asked David, who (Maddie can attest) is a somewhat classy dresser. The basics of a good tie are just fabric (silk or something that looks nice), shape (not too thin unless that’s the statement you want to make), and pattern.

      The real answer is, you’re SUPPOSED to be clueless, unless you are the kind of lady that wears ties. You are not supposed to make everyone look snazzy, you are supposed to make you (and maybe your ladies) look snazzy. What makes a tie not suck is that it fits the taste of the wearer. And I’m personally in the camp that a groom should not look like he was dressed by a bride. A groom should look like he dressed his damn self. So, ask him what makes a tie not suck in his opinion. And if he doesn’t know, ask him to point out ties that he likes when he sees them (TV is great for this). He’ll develop taste in ties right quick.

      Also, side note: ties can get EXPENSIVE. You do not need a really expensive tie, pretty much ever, unless you really want it. Any tie over $40 is probably a little splurgy. And just for the record: I pretty much think it’s fine for a guy to go as splurgy as he wants for a tie for his wedding. He’ll probably hang on to that tie for a long long time.

      • Susan

        I’m confused: if we’re not supposed to be shopping for our groom’s clothing or accessories (in my case, my future “groom” is a woman who has quite a collection of standard neckties as well as tie-it-yourself bowties, who most certainly will be wearing some kind of neck accessory at the wedding), then why is there a post on ties at all? Doesn’t this play into the “clueless groom” mentality?

        • meg

          No way. Guys totally read APW, and we totally write for them. This isn’t A Practical Bride, it’s A Practical Wedding. Some of the most awesome people that came to events on my book tour were guys.

          Truth: APW has lots of male readers. Most of them read when sent links (many times a week, I hear) by their partners. Some of them read directly. None of them submit content enough. But there are plenty of them. And I bet a fair number of said male or necktie wearing readers were sent a link to this necktie round up with an email saying “whadda think?”

          • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

            I mentioned APW to a couple of friends who are ring shopping. Guy read the title and laughed. I hadn’t read the site since this was posted–but don’t think I could have picked a better first post for him to see.

  • KATE

    “the class and candor of his belt buckle”…..oh my god, you’re cracking me up!

    • “The class and candor of his belt” made me belly laugh, really loudly, in public. I also read that after getting cc’d on a couple’s wedding blog submission questionaire where they responded to the question, “any advice for future brides?” with “nah. fuck ’em.” So I think all the people around me are trying to figure out if I’m scary crazy or just laugh alone really loudly crazy.

      • meg

        Dude. Why didn’t those people submit to US?

        (I know they didn’t, because we don’t ask that question.)

  • Copper

    I bought my guy one of these a couple christmas’s ago, and would not be surprised if it makes a reappearance at our wedding:

    Built in bottle opener. Need I say more?

    • Maddie

      Want. Need.

      • So. Gendered! And it happened that the groom was the one answering. His answer to “describe your wedding in three words was “homemade sugar doughnuts.”

        • Stupid kindle. That was a reply to meg above!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kari

    How funny, I just got a Cyberoptix tie for my man for our wedding! And at the risk of sounding like a total sales pitch – their collection is awesome! They’re also perfect if you’ve got a sense of humor but still wanna pull off a classy look.
    Being a total mountain bike riding-machine shop running-car mechanic extraordinaire kinda guy, my fiance wasn’t just amazed that I found a tie he liked but that it also fit his personality-

    • Maddie

      This is, in fact, Michael’s “fancy” tie too. :) I love that one!

  • My husband bought his tux for our wedding – it was marginally more than renting, and it looked great on him (and he’s worn it for 2 other weddings, saving about $200). We rented him a vest though, which worked fine. I did buy him a Cyberoptix Hops tie for Christmas one year and he loved it, and I really like the quality of the tie.

    I like this roundup but so many of the ties are that woven material, instead of being more satiny. I feel like it looks a little more rustic and it wouldn’t be my personal taste for a wedding. I feel like a tie has to be shiny to be fancy. Just something to keep in mind for your future round ups, in terms of varying your selections. Also, there is a lot of plaid going on… (Now I feel like a jerk. I like them, I do, but why bother rounding up ties if they are all going to look so similar?)

    • LIZ (SINCE 1982)

      I don’t want shiny anywhere NEAR my fancy, but agree that when it comes to roundups, the more variety, the better! (Or maybe this is just my way of saying I want to see ALL THE TIES or whatever the rounded-up object may be.)

    • meg

      Y’alllllllll. If you know what you want, you can do your own roundup your own self and you don’t need us. We only spend a billiony hours pulling these together for you to get your thought process started… and of course they’re going to reflect the personal taste of the rounder-upper! Also, Cyberoptix ties are for sure shiny, if that’s your bag.

      APW: if you liked all the shit we did, we’d be doing a terrible job.

  • Emmy

    I’m making my gent a tie out of Liberty of London fabric that matches my dress, using this pattern: Depending on how that goes, I’ll make one for my dad too.

  • Kimberly

    I got my husband, his best man, and my son matching ties from Cyberoptix for our wedding! My son’s was especially cute because it’s a clip-on mini version.
    It’s my husband’s favorite gift from me (well, it was until I got him Star Trek underwear for Christmas).


    Husbands tie came from a store, but for his brothers we wanted to get them all matching ties. I ordered a selection of ties from to look at with our bridesmaid outfits, and we didn’t want to use any of the first ones. When I contacted them to arrange sending them back and getting different ones, they said no problem just keep them (at no cost) and we will send out new ones. We ended up getting 9 or 10 from them and they were an absolute bargain (they start at $5) and good quality, with a massive range of colours and styles if you’re trying for a specific colour. I’m a sucker for great customer service so would always recommend them.
    Of course the tie I like most in this roundup is $150…. why Maddie, why?!

    • meg

      You and me girlfriend. I can spot the most expensive thing in a roundup, store, arena… in a second. Because it’s what I like best. Damn you, expensive taste.

    • Maddie

      Dude, my favorite was the $300 one. WHY MYSELF, WHY?!

      Oddly, I also always like the most expensive thing in the room, but that’s usually because it’s like…covered in feathers and crystals and fringe.

      • meg

        Truth. That bedazzled cow skull with feathers I wanted to buy you was like… a grand.

  • Mmouse

    We did Cyberoptix ties as well. I liked them a lot – each groomsmen got a different tie in the same color. Like someone above, we also tailored the type of tie to each friend (our chef friend got the pork/meat grinder tie, etc). I would buy a tie from that shop again in a heartbeat!

  • Maria

    Ooooh, thanks for doing something for men finally! My fiancé is having the hardest time finding fashion advice from outside the industry. More like this, please!

  • Brenda

    Ben Sherman is awesome for ties if you’re looking for a skinnier cut. I bought my husband three different ties from there in two months. They’re not too expensive and they look great.

    I’m still learning about shopping for men’s clothes – most of the other ties I looked at I thought, these look like my grandfather’s ties. And not from the forties when he was cool.

  • One More Sara

    I know this is kind of late, but would it be possible to do a roundup of ring bearer looks? For me, finding the flower girl dress was easy (Thanks Target!), but we are having our son bear the rings, and I have NO FREAKING CLUE where to start. Suspenders? A vest? Shorts/pants? I get frustrated shopping by lack of options in regular little boys clothes, and the selection in little boy’s formalwear is proving to be even worse. HELP!

  • My husband is a triathlete and has completed six Ironman competitions. It was important for him to have his sport represented at the wedding. We found a lot of sports ties at I tried to find the exact tie that he wore for our wedding, but I could not find it. Here is a post from my blog that has a picture of him in his triathlete tie.